Please Login or Register

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

The Dangers of Social Media Success:

How to overload your server with Twitter traffic.

social media marketing successNot all problems are created equal. Last week our brand new Auckland-based server crashed. Normally this would be a bad thing, especially for a small kiwi IT company, but the team at IT Itch (especially the social media marketing team) are still grinning like Cheshire cats from achieving the feat.

You see, our server didn’t crash from dodgy hardware or from programming errors. No, no, no. Nor did it crash from incorrect configuration. Our IT geeks had recently huddled into a chrysalis in a trance-like state for days on end, configuring a new server codenamed “Butterfly”. When the boffins resurfaced, they proclaimed:


Learn more

Russian Riot Police Get Domain Name Birthday Present

The Moscow branch of the OMON riot police have received an unusual 25th birthday present, the personalised domain name The squad, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, is planning to use the domain to create a social network whereby the squad can share riot policing experiences. The domain name was recently bought by the domain name registrar and re-registered it to the OMON riot squad yesterday. According to co-owner of, Filipp Gross-Dneprov Izvestia:

We need to increase the prestige of police work, including through social sites. We must show that these guys are risking their lives and demonstrate how tough their training is: mastering hand-to-hand combat skills, storming buildings and holding tactical drills.

domain name birthday present












The squad, which has publicly endorsed its birthday present, released this statement:

We plan to create a multifunctional website. It will probably have a forum for OMON members and educational games for other visitors. Muscovites will be able to play at being an OMON policeman, learning hand-to-hand combat skills and the legal aspects of our work, or trying to detain a criminal.

Other suggestions for the site include creating memorial pages for deceased colleagues and providing an area to poll the squad members, asking them what they dislike about their work and what problems they have.

Many OMON squad members use social media sites, like Twitter, under assumed names because their superiors have warned them against registering under their own names. For the same reason, they never discuss service issues or post their photographs on social sites. This new domain name birthday present may boost moral by giving them the freedom to be themselves.

Tips For Using Twitter For Business

Twitter is a great tool for business. The instant nature of ‘tweeting’ (posting micro-blogs of 140 characters or less) appeals to people who want immediate access to up-to-date information. Often, information is purposely posted or leaked on twitter long before it’s officially announced in the mainstream media. While individuals use this immediacy to stay informed about friends, celebrities, people and products they admire, business can use the power of Twitter to connect and build deeper relationships with their customers.

Businesses that tweet have a distinct advantage over their non-tweeting rivals. For instance, consider these examples:

  • Business owners can promote their products and services directly to a target audience by focusing their efforts on people likely to be interested. For instance, a store selling BMX bikes can find people in their local area that tweet about BMX bikes by using the ‘advanced search’ feature.
  • Getting instant access to what’s being said – this minute – about your company, people, products, or brands enables professional and responsive brand management. Also, monitoring the negative comments about your competitors enables business owners to swoop in the moment unhappy customers are ready to jump ship.
  • The ability to quickly connect and network with others in your industry opens up opportunities for collaboration and reciprocation. It can be a good tool to establish relationships with potential suppliers and even potential employees.
  • The constant steady stream of ideas, content, resources and links helps you stay informed and enhances your knowledge in your field of expertise.
  • You can extend the reach of your thought leadership by sharing your blog posts and other content.

Tips for effective business tweeting

The most common mistake businesses make on twitter is losing the human touch. If your twitter time-line for your business is solely focused on announcing to the world ‘BUY OUR PRODUCTS NOW!’, you’ll quickly be seen as spam and people will avoid you like the plague. Of course, you want people to buy your products, but to do this on Twitter involves building and interacting with a community, rather than non-stop pimping of your stuff.

Commenting on tweets and re-tweeting posts is a great way to get involved with your community. However, in order to build trust with your community, the comments you make must add value to the conversation. Simply saying ‘great post’ to everything you read adds no value whatsoever. You need to use your area of expertise, whatever it is, to show that you are an expert in your field, or at least a competent participant.

Share links and point to nifty content in your community, even if its your competitors. Remember, its not just about you. If you find something that grabs your attention in your niche, tell your followers and share it. It’s far better to be seen as a great source of quality information, rather than a self-absorbed exclude-a-bot (narcissistic robot).

If your website has an RSS feed, you can post it straight to your twitter account using an app called Twitterfeed. This neat app posts tweets about your new web content automatically, saving you the hassle. You can also configure it to post on other social media sites like Facebook and LinkdIn. If you have a blog, this app is an absolute necessity.

To find people in your industry, use a Twitter directory like Twellow. Add a listing for your business if you haven’t already. Sometimes following and interacting with people who have a large number of followers can lead to more people following you. If your goal is networking, however, it can often be a good idea to find people who are also just getting started. If your goal is to keep tabs on your industry leaders, then spend more time focusing on finding and interacting with them.

Make your website Twitter friendly by adding twitter widgets, tweet buttons and follow buttons. Third party clients like Followerwonk or SocialBro can give you amazing insights such as when the best time to tweet is (based on when most of your followers are online). You can break down and analyse your followers by location, bio, who they follow and how influential they are. By tracking when you gained and lost followers, you can see how your twitter behaviour translates to growing your social media presence.

Finally, consider using the ‘promoted products’ feature of Twitter. Unlike traditional ads, this feature places your tweets in front of the right people at the right time (people who have already shown an interest in your products or services). You don’t pay for simply showing up on someone’s page – you pay when they click or interact with your content (see video below).

If you would like more information about using Twitter for your business, please contact the friendly team at IT Itch and we’ll see how we can help.

Google Plus One Clicks ‘Not Important’.

When Google launched the Google Plus One button, many webmasters and SEO professionals were curious as to how this tool would affect their web page rankings. Most bets were placed on it being important; after all,  the social signals coming out of popular social networks like Twitter and Facebook carry so much weight these days. But no, Google Plus One clicks carry very little weight and, according to a recent interview with Matt Cutts (head of webspam at Google), have very little effect on your rankings:

In the short term, we’re still going to have to study and see how good the signal is. Right now, there’s not really a direct effect where if you have a lot of +1s, you’ll rank higher.


The failure of the +1 clicks to provide accurate social signals stems from Google’s dismal  social network. Over a billion people now use Facebook and its ‘like’ button to give search engines a wealth of social data. In contrast, hardly anyone uses the Google Plus social network and its associated +1 button. Search engine users may be confused by + 1′s, which differ from the Facebook ‘like’ button which directly shares content to a user’s social stream. They may also be put off by the spammy nature of the buttons, which appear next to search results in Google and on websites fooled into teaming up with Google Plus.

The +1 feature was designed by Google to help people discover and share relevant content from the people they already know and trust. However, because so few people are using the feature to give their vote to search results, websites and advertisements, Google has no choice but to largely ignore its own creation.

Although Google +1 clicks have no direct impact on your ranking in search engines, they may offer a very slight indirect benefit by helping to increase click-through-rate (CTR). The logic is that people will be more likely to click on a search result that display a higher number of +1′s, or click links that are recommended by your friends (the catch being that you have to be signed into Google Plus and your friends have to be using the service for this to work).

This is not the first time Cutts has downplayed the significance of the +1 button with regards to ranking. At the SMX Advanced conference in June, he said:

When we look at +1, we’ve found it’s not necessarily the best quality signal right now.

Matt Cutts comments on authorship show that this could be a more important signal in rankings factors in the future. If your website contains content that can be attributed to a particular author, author verification could help your site:

There are things like, we have an authorship proposal, where you can use nice standards to markup your webpage, and you’ll actually see a picture of the author right there, and it turns out that if you see a picture of the author, sometimes you’ll have higher click through, and people will say, ‘oh, that looks like a trusted resource.’

So there are ways that you can participate and sort of get ready for the longer term trend of getting to know not just that something was said, but who said it and how reputable they were.

If you look further out in the future and look at something that we call ‘social signals’ or ‘authorship’ or whatever you want to call it, in ten years, I think knowing that a really reputable guy – if Dan has written an article, whether it’s a comment on a forum or on a blog – I would still want to see that. So that’s the long-term trend.

However, the effect of a verified authorship on the rankings of your website seems to be quite low at current and could simply be an attempt to get more Google+ users.

Medium – The New Social Share Site

From the makers of Blogger comes “Medium”.

social media site mediumThirteen years ago a radical idea changed the world wide web – anyone anywhere could suddenly publish their thoughts to the global internet audience through a free platform called Blogger (now owned by Google). The brains behind Blogger – Evan Williams and Christopher ‘Biz‘ Stone – are now trying to repeat history by building a new publishing platform from scratch. Called ‘Medium’, the new platform aims to redress the major flaw with social media and blogging communities – most services have lowered the bar for sharing information, making quality content hard to find.

The Obvious Corporation have taken on this project as they believe media is still the ‘connective tissue of society’. Williams and Stone are trying to re-imagine publishing in an attempt to make an evolutionary leap forward – they want to build a community where quality content always trumps quantity. Unlike Blogger, users posting on Medium wont have the burden of building an audience. Instead, they can focus on posting quality content, organised into ‘collections’. Collections are designed to give people a context to publish their own stories, photos and ideas. Users then rate the posts they visit, culminating in the highest-rated posts showing up at the top of the page, a democratic process designed to help users find the best posts easily. A green bull’s eye with a score from one to ten indicates how many viewers voted for the post.

Inside Medium

The developers of Medium are still in the testing phase and posting privileges are limited to a small invited list of friends and family of the founders. As a Beta member, I was still able to view and vote on content, which currently included the boards ‘Been There, Loved That’, a beautiful collection of photos from around the world.

seo new zealanddesign

A particular favourite was the collection titled ‘Look What I’ve Made’, which included ‘Orwell’s Firewall’ – a router constructed from the decayed remains of an HP 80138 Pulse Generator. The device plays homage to Orwell’s 1984 novel with the name MINITRUE (short for the Ministry of Truth). The blinking lights are reminders that data is sent into a world of systems, corporations and governments that do not always share the maker’s own values of openess, transparency or privacy.

ministry of truth


‘The Writer’s Room’, was a collection that displayed the musings on the mental forces involved in writing and advice on how to grapple with the sometimes overwhelming drive to procrastinate. ‘The Obvious Collection’ was an ode to the company behind the Medium project – The Obvious Corporation – and had articles on collaboration in business.

Will it be any good?

With such lofty goals, Medium looks set to fail in it’s modus operandi. Like every other social media site that gets users to vote or ‘like’ content, quality content will simply be replaced by ‘popular’ content. Popular does not equal quality, and some would argue that it is inversely related. The Medium community will only be as good as its users – it looks good now because it has few users and fits a particular taste. As soon as Medium becomes popular, its ‘taste’ and ‘feel’ will degrade to the mainstream norm and we will be back where we started (drowning in a deluge of poor quality content).

However, where Medium can succeed is in its attempt to be the antithesis of the noisy Twitter feed. Posting on Medium looks elegant and easy and the good design will appeal to people wanting a less busy interface.