Twitterfone, Simply Perfection

Twitterfone is a new service that let’s you send Twitter updates through speech recognition. You dial a number, record your tweet and hang up. It’s that simple.

My headline is a bold statement but allow me to explain why I believe that Twitterfone might in fact be a perfect application service:

  1. It works. I have no way of testing it against dialects, etc. but for my California english, it works flawlessly.
  2. Simplicity. You sign up, get a confirmation code via SMS, add your Twitter account details, and it’s ready to go. You call the number, record your tweet and hang up. It’s a 3 minute process.
  3. Amazingly viral. There are two aspects of the way this service is designed that make it incredibly viral. The first is really just the way Twitter is designed, the tweets include a status line indicating what client the user is using. The second is more important, for every Twitterfone tweet the service includes a tinyurl link back to the Twitterfone page that include an audio recording of your tweet. So basically, every tweet is an opportunity to acquire a new customer because of the high leverage factor (I am one Twitterfone user but 600 followers see my Twitterfone tweets and all get a link back to Twitterfone). Say I send 15 tweets a day using Twitterfone, multiplied by the number of followers I have and that is 8,700 impressions each day I am generating.
  4. It’s compact. The core service engine has to be robust but this is a solved problem (i.e. call centers). The user experience does not require significant feature buildout and aside from adding languages and dialects, there’s not a lot that they have to do.
  5. Monetization potential. Given the demographics and the mobile-centric nature of the service, along with the traffic growth they could generate in a very short period of time, this is a natural for advertising… a legitimate advertising model, not the “advertising because we couldn’t think of any other way to make money” kind.
  6. The WOW Moment. Every product and service has a moment in the first 60 seconds of use that an impression is formed which will shape all future interactions. This is the WOW Moment and it’s binary, you either have it or you don’t.

Twitter Withdrawals

And I thought it was just a slow weekend in Twitterville… interestingly, I was getting Twitter updates in Alert Thingy via FriendFeed, not sure why it worked there but not in other Twitter clients or their own web interface.

Siegler’s comments about service status updates is really customer service 101 for companies like Twitter. I can’t imagine anyone saying at this point that when there is a major service disruption that it’s no big deal not to post any updates in places where people can find them.

Having a service update channel on twitter is fine, but it’s a little hard to update twitter users about a service breakdown when the network isn’t working properly… and GetSatisfaction is nice but as has been pointed out, .00001% of the userbase knows this exists, much less actually thinks about it when their is a problem.

With Web 2.0 this week I cannot think of a worse time for the service to fail. It would be like a widespread power failure on tax day…

If this problem spills over into tomorrow – or worse, Tuesday when the huge Web 2.0 Expo starts in San Francisco, expect a world of pain for Twitter. If they would simply acknowledge and update the users it might not be so bad. Otherwise we’re going to see Bitchmeme taken to a whole new level.

[From ParisLemon: Twitter FAIL Day 3: Communications Breakdown]

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Oh Yeah, Everyone Can See This

Funny moment in the NewsGator board meeting yesterday when @karlgco had the sudden realization that everyone could see the 3 way tweet chat between her, @bfeld and myself.


I think there is something in here about how we have become desensitized to the notion of public email. What’s also interesting is how I have collapsed down the things I really want to be private about and impose much more security toward them as a result.

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NewsGator Twittering

I took note of Evernote the other day when they followed me on twitter... thinking “hey that’s actually a good idea”.

NewsGator Widgets is now on Twitter. Like a lot of people we are in the experimentation phase on this, so I think we’ll target a couple of tactics that help us in our outreach efforts.

  1. Follow people who reference NewsGator and any of our products.
  2. Follow people we consider to be influencers in our space.
  3. Tweet out meaningful updates about our activities, try to stay away from simply rebroadcasting PR.
  4. Tweet out events we will be participating in or attending.
  5. Re-tweet what we consider insightful and interesting stuff from other people.

Thanks to Andrew for the inspiration.

Information Wants to be Syndicated

Bloomberg doesn’t offer RSS feeds. While I’m not aware of the official story on this, when I was in NYC a few weeks ago I asked them about it and they basically said they don’t want people consuming their content on non-Bloomberg sites. Okay, I think that’s wrong but it’s their content so they can do whatever they want with it.

Interesting things happen to information when it becomes digital; your intentions as a publisher about how it should not be used often don’t work out like you planned. I really like Bloomberg news but I’m not going to hover over their site all day just to catch the latest updates, and apparently someone else didn’t like that approach…

It turns out that Google News does syndicate Bloomberg headlines with a link back to the source article. Using Twitterfeed, someone who shall remain nameless (and it wasn’t me, really) pumped the RSS feed for Google News through Yahoo Pipes to extract the Bloomberg headlines and then fed them into Twitter. The result is Bloombergbiz. Pure awesomeness.

This is my last twitter post of the day, I promise.


Twitter Analytics

Here’s are some cool services for slicing-and-dicing Twitter:

TweetVolume : Enter a keywords and a graph will be built showing the frequency of the keywords. It’s great for seeing how often your company is referred to versus competitors or doing a buzzword trend analysis.

TweetStats : Analyze your Twitter traffic. Apparently I am a Monday morning Twitterer and I share way too many DMs with Kedrosky, or more accurately, we just don’t use email with each other anymore.

Tweet Scan : Real time Twitter search… but it’s slow and doesn’t do anything that search in Thwirl doesn’t do, which is powered by Terraminds.

UPDATE: Great minds think alike… Brian Solis wrote about a great post about this very subject today as well. Brian included #hashtags, which I thought about writing about in my post but decided to hold off while I thought about it some more in the context of my friend Craig Cmehil’s @eventtrack service for tracking tweets while at events and conferences.

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Ambient Intimacy

Tom alerts me to a really great term to describe why Twitter is so sticky, ambient intimacy.

Dave Weinberger called it “continuous partial friendship” but I think it goes beyond that. The term Ambient Intimacy has been coined to cover one of the aspects of Twitter – it brings you a lot closer to people you might ordinarily never get to know (if you decide you don’t want to know them, you simply stop following them!).

[From Blame it on the Twitter! at Tom Raftery’s Social Media]