Tag Archives: Twitter

Message Lost in 140 Character Translation

“Clarity is the counterbalance of profound thoughts.” ~ Luc de Clapiers

Twitter is an amazing communication tool that allows people to share their ideas, jokes and HiResfavourite stories. It also connects new friends or business partners and provides us with direct access to celebrities and CEOs in a way that was never before possible.

But there is a downside to this innovative platform. And just like with e-mail, that drawback is often a user’s misinterpretation of the associated emotion or context related to a text message.

Earlier this week, I received what I thought was an offensive tweet from someone that I had met on Twitter. But because I couldn’t figure out what I had done or said to trigger a negative message, I thought it would be best to ask the sender (via the Twitter direct messaging service) to explain what they meant by their tweet.

It turned out that they weren’t being malicious at all. Instead, they were trying to tell me a joke. Unfortunately, I really wasn’t able to get the full context of that joke from such a short text-based message.

Afterwards, I was relieved and thankful that I had asked the person to explain their tweet in further detail. And their joke was kinda funny.

So, the next time you sit down to craft the next 140 character message that you think will enlighten or amuse your Twitter followers, try to think about how the end user might interpret it. Otherwise, you might confuse or insult someone without even knowing it.

What’s next for Twitter?

Last week, Twitter announced a new milestone – over 100 million active users are now registered with the service. While “40% of Twitter users simply log on to read Tweets from others,” I’m left wondering about what’s next for those who actually publish messages on the platform?

As the company matures, I’m sure that there is a lot of debate over how Twitter should evolve. Charles Arthur from The Guardian raised a good point over whether Twitter should focus on being a “media company or a technology company?”

If they go the way of a media company, helping organizations and individuals to publish their own content and messages in real-time, there are some tools that I’d like to see developed.

I’ve put together a wish list of things that might useful to publishers:

  • Enabling people to publish their messages in Rich Text Format. It’s currently difficult to emphasize certain words unless you put them in quotation marks or ALL CAPS.
  • Making the hashtag experience less awkward. Perhaps hashtags shouldn’t actually be visible in the Tweet but included somehow on the back-end of a message, just like “meta data” in HTML code? That would also allow more room for your messages, when being limited to 140 characters (another limitation that might need to be altered).
  • Making discussions around an event or location easier to find and participate in the conversation. Toronto startup Crowdfield may be on to something with their location-based conversation discovery app. If there are multiple conversations happening simultaneously at a conference or location, it can be confusing to follow just one hashtag at the same time. How does one decipher one conversation from another? There’s got to be a better solution for this.
These are just some of my requests for a better user experience. What would you like to see next from Twitter? Please share your thoughts below.

Timing is everything

Yesterday, I listened to Dan Zarrella from HubSpot‘s webinar about the “Science of Timing.” As a blogger and as a social media participant, I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of the insights that he provided. Here’s just a taste of what was discussed:

Timing for social media
Zarrella shared a slide which identifies the best time of day to get Re-Tweets. Content that is Tweeted in the afternoon and evening is much more likely to be Re-Tweeted than in the morning. I’ve seen this same trend happen with my own content. See the HubSpot slide below for scientific proof:
Re-Tweets by Hour

When it comes to Facebook sharing, it appears that weekends are the best time to share content with your “fans”.

Timing for blogs
Zarrella has done a lot of research on when people are most likely to read blogs. He showed data that indicated that blogs are more likely to be read in the morning and during the day. However, when it comes to gender differences, men are more likely than women to read blogs at night. Therefore, if your blog is targeted to male readers, you may want to alter your blog publishing strategy slightly.

Zarrella showed a slide that indicated that weekends are when you are more likely to receive comments from your readers. While most bloggers (myself included) prefer to blog during the week, there is definitely some merit in also blogging on the weekend. See Zarrella’s slide about comment timing below:
Hubspot slide on timing of comments

There were even more valuable insights presented in the HubSpot webinar yesterday. In case you want to see all of the data, here’s a link to Dan Zarrella’s webinar slides on SlideShare.