Confucius said, twitter is growing

Time for a quite update on how Confucius140 is growing on twitter. It is a experimental account that tweet twice a day a famous quote.

Growth is steady, about 8 new followers per day. The account is now reaching 4.000 followers.

According the it’s getting about 8 retweet for each quote. This is a 0.2% retweet per follower.

The most retweeted tweet resulted of Enrique Bunbury retweet. Thank you Enrique and your 150k followers.

Tweetreach provided nicely presented stats but I struggled to make anything out of it and found the number confusing.

The Confucius experiment is now spreading to Facebook – as the Confucius Wisdom fan page. This simple tweet allowed the page to get started with 7 likes. Let’s wait and observe how virality works on Facebook now.

Crowdsoursing your strategy

McKinsey Quarterly published an article “The social side of strategy” that includes examples how companies can leverage the wisdom of their own crowd (employees) into their strategy planning, also gaining organisational alignments in the process. The companies are:

HCL Technologies an indian IT service company switched their business planning process from top-down to bottom/middle-up by having 300 manager proposing business plans and allowing the 8000 employees (from any departement) to review and directly provide inputs on each plans.

“Because the managers knew that the plans would be reviewed by a large number of people, including their own teams, the depth of their business analysis and the quality of their planned strategy improved. They were more honest in their assessment of current chal- lenges and opportunities. They talked less about what they hoped to accomplish and more about the actions they intended to take to achieve specific results.” At the conclusion of the inaugural My Blueprint process, there was broad consensus that participatory business planning had been far more valuable than the traditional top-down review process.

RedHat an opensource software provider defined aera of exploration and setup multi-displinary team to work on 5-months ‘open’ company-wide idea generation phase which lead to 9 refined strategic priorities. Team leaders were then empowered to execute fleshed initaives without further approval.

Red Hat’s vice president of strategy and corporate mar- keting, Jackie Yeaney, cites three key benefits of the company’s new approach: first, the process generated “more creativity, accountability, and commitment.” Second, “By not bubbling every decision up to the se- nior-executive level, we avoided the typical 50,000-foot oversimplification” of issues. And third, “We improved the flexibility and adaptability of the strategy.”

Rite-Solution a software provider for the US Navy used a game based approach to harness the wisdom of their crowd. They created a stock market game where legacy programs and new programs competed for cash and talents. Each employee had a virtual $10,000 to spend. New project starts at $10 a share. When a project ‘stock’ gains momentum and makes it to the top 20, it is brought to life and the investors get a share of the profits.

The internal market for ideas has bolstered the com- pany’s pipeline of new products, and the 15 ideas the company has thus far launched as a result now account for one-fifth of Rite-Solutions’ revenues. Some of the blockbusters were generated in unexpected places— including Win/Play/Learn, a Web-based educational tool licensed by toy maker Hasbro. The source of the idea: an administrative assistant.

Talking about gamification, this is a clever way to bring the fun factor into the priorisation process.

Download the pdf of the article here

Confucius still tweeting

Confucius is still tweeting – or the bot behind Confucius140 twitter account is. I adapted it recently to support the new twitter API and just fixed the auto-follow of followers. After a year an a half of activity, confucius140 has now 772 followers and is in 51 lists. Follower progression was fast between Oct’09 and July’10 and is now back to a lower more steady rate.

I hope to be able to celebrate the first 1000 soon. But more interesting that the number of followers is the amount of re-tweet. Most of the Confucius tweets seems to be re-tweeted once or twice. A re-tweet means that someone actually read the tweet and decided to share it with the rest of their followers. Quite an endorsement.

According to the retweet rank is an indicator of how frequently you are retweeted. @confucius140 is 91481st most-retweeted user on Twitter. Out of about 50m active users, that’s pretty good.

Confucius said: I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. So the experiment continues…

Raising your profile, PR and social media

Yesterday KnowledgePeers organised a panel on Raising Your Profile – Here are the few interesting notes I took on PR and social media.

Small business can use PR to tell a better story than the bigger companies that will just broadcast press release on the wires. The story of the artisan crafting his product, the baker preparing his cake or the winemaker cherishing his grapes is often more compelling.

Caroline Kinsey from the panel used an analogy to compare PR to a bowling ball that is sent and hit as many pins as possible and social media to a pinball ball that is sent and hit wherever it bounces next.

As someone in the audience put it, marketing via social media is like preaching to the converted. The people you reach already ‘like’ your product. The point then becomes to incentivize those fans so they will spread the word and act as the ambassador to the product. This could be done by:
– giving reward related to the brand and the product (free sample?)
– giving information a head of the mass so they feel they are on the inside

A good way to think about how to communicate with your customer on the social media is by asking the question: how does my present in social media add value to my customers.

When thinking about marketing a small business, I find those point helpful.

Twitter search: now relevant

Previously, Twitter search results were only offered according to time, not any form of relevancy.

“We want to make real-time search even more valuable by surfacing the best tweets about a particular topic, by considering recency, but also the interactions on a tweet. This means analyzing the author’s profile, as well as the number times the tweet has been retweeted, favorited, replied, and more. It’s an evolving algorithm that we’ll be iterating on & tuning until practically the end of time.”

The two point I found interesting in that story:

  • how they compute relevance, by considering many factors (not just popularity)
  • how they are going to tweak the algorithm… forever.

Read the full story on the ReadWriteWeb.

Social media at work – breakfast with WebJam

This morning webjam breakfast was organised to trigger the discussion on the use of social media in the context of work. The small group was greeted by Marc Campman, the marketing director who invited Euan Semple a social media thought leader to share his thought.

Euan surely knows his stuff, giving loads of examples of application of social media in the work place. He started by quoting the Cluetrain Manifesto, defining internet disruptive impact as: globally distributed, near instant, person to person conversations, peer-to-peer communication.

A few examples of the use of social media by companies in the work context (unsorted):

  • Workers using social media as a tool to get information.
  • The use of wiki and forums to sharing the information.
  • A internal blogs which has more reader than the staff newsletter.
  • Twitter used to tap into the crowd wisdom to get questions answered and Yammer, the twitter like version for the workplace, being used.
  • The well known case of staff, helping their company with customer issues or queries via twitter and other social media. A person to person communication.
  • The use of social media for recruiting by posting job specs for instance.

Marc C. explained WebJam’s vision, pointing out the ‘brand ambassador’ benefit that social media should bring to the workplace. They are helping a big company developing their social media ‘inside the firewall’. The approach he says was to focus on the user (employee) enabling them sharing and contribution. An Intranet 2.0 with a smaller place for top-down message. A Facebook like site for colleagues.

The point, I think, with the social media in the workplace is about replicating and enhancing existing human behaviours, in the digital space. Throughout the example we saw the promise of more peer-to-peer conversation and less trying top-down communication. Which is, in essence a change that some organisation are already embracing. Social media might well be its catalysis.

Confucius progress on twitter

Time for a quick update on confucius140, my little Chinese wisdom experiment on twitter. To make Confucius more findable, I added hash tags to each quote when room allowed it. I still didn’t promote the account in anyway.
Follower and re-tweets, the 2 metrics I am looking at, have been progressing slowly.

Confucius Twitter progress, Sept09

Confucius Twitter progress, Sept’09

Number of followers is now 45, some of them are marketing spam but some of them are relevant users that re-tweet and engage with the proposition.

Not sure what is the best way to count effectively the number of re-tweet. This is a good indicator to measure the engagement of the followers (a re-tweet/tweet ratio). Another good indicator is the number of followfriday / recommendations is the account getting. A few sites are providing some analysis and ranking:

Checkretweet is ranking the account as: Retweet rank: 6571- approx 86.33 percentile.

TwitterGrader is ranking the account as 75 over 100.

Twinfluence is giving some insight about the social network linked to the account:

2nd-order followers: 318,935
Velocity: 5,407 second-order followers/day
Social Capital: 7,087.4 +1.1 High
Centralization: 18.00% / 0.0 Average – Resilient

The definitions of the term, and how they are computed are explained here.

Most of those stats are missing a clear engagement metrics. From my perspective user or follower engagement can be measured with number of re-tweets, mentions and direct replies that the account is getting. Or may be I just haven’t found the service measuring this.

Confucius on Twitter – first findings

Let’s revisit that Confucius experiment with some numbers.

Confucius has 16 followers. He is following them all back. Without planned promotion this wont go very far and growth will be organic. To gain in popularity, Confucius needs to be promoted. This is very much confirming a early Internet web 1.0 moto: ‘If you build it, they won’t automatically come.’

In an attempt to promote or make Confucius more findable, I added the tags #quote and #Confucius when they could fit, which probaly helped a bit.

Interestingly his quotes were re-tweeted 6 times (one quote re-tweeted 4 times). He follows the users re-tweeting. This prompts me to think that we are seeing a little bit of the viral effect here, where the quote are being re-tweeted. Number of re-tweet if a good endorsement metric. It is actual human interaction, as followers sometimes can be simple spam. This is a good indication that the user liked or found value in following Confucius.

Today, I changed the name to Confucius140, which I find a bit more clever.

Next steps are to pro-actively promote Confucius on twitter. Stay tuned.

Confucius on Twitter

This is a quick experiment on Twitter. The idea is simple. Create a twitter account where the tweets are relevant to the followers and updated regularly. To start with: no promotion or buzz, no tags, 2 updates per days.  Then play with some of those settings and see how this influence the number of followers / retweet etc…

Tweeting famous quotes seems like a good of providing the relevant regular content updates. Confucius must be one of the most quoted and less controversial person. So I created the @confucious__says twitter account, wired it to the TweetLater service and populated some tweets.

With the TweetLater service I also added an auto-follow and ‘auto direct message response’ to new followers, to make this a little more interactive.

I hope to make interesting observations on the number of follower, how it does increase (or not) and how often the updates are retweeted.

Similar services are already existing on twitter:

  • @justquoted with over 1700 followers and a quote every hour, tagged with #quote and linking back to the site.
  • @Quotweet 137 followers and irregular updates.
  • @TheBestQuotes over 1200 followers: “We bring you the best, worst, funniest and most inspiring Quotes ever uttered.”
  • @Confucius_Says (996 followers)
  • @tinyConfucius – the most successfull with 1900 followers have a similar concept
  • @KongQiu (140 followers)

Let’s see where this one goes. Next will be to push the feed to Facebook :)

As Confucius says: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”