Tag Archives: Twitter

Can Twitter be used as viral marketing?

I’ve been redesigning my website – www.sakcreations.co.uk for the last couple of weeks, it was long overdue an update.   Sak Creations has been my Web Design moniker for the last 10 years, but as web design has now become a sideline to my PhD I’ve also put a section up to be the formal home of my research interests.   Leaving this blog to be the home of my infrequent ramblings.

I’ve been giving some thought to SEO whilst redesigning my website,  also sparked by a discussion with my graphic designer friend KJ Creative about how to improve google rankings.  The main reason I’ve kept my research on my Sak Creations domain (as well as the fact I have hosting and everything set up already and I don’t really want to have my identity pinned on Stacey Greenaway, in case I don’t always stay Stacey Greenaway) is that it is creeping up the page rank scale (slowly) and Google know to return Sak Creations if someone types my name in.   So shameless backlinks aside, I have given thought to how you promote websites nowadays when you can’t compete with just good meta information, textual content and the good old reciprocal link.  It seems any designer creeping up the page ranks does so by promoting themselves and their work on various forums and designer community websites, commenting on blogs, writing blogs, twittering about their work.   This social web gives a whole new depth to viral marketing.  I remember sitting in meetings discussing how to market our current projects in viral emails, is it as simple now as just twittering about it and posting a link on facebook?  Well maybe if you have enough followers and friends.   So here’s the next question, how do you get all the followers and friends in order to make you viral marketing/shameless self promotion a success?  Do you have to spend more time twittering about your work than actually doing the work?  Does a marketing assisitants job spec now include running the companies twitter account?

There are more problems with relying on social web to improve those rankings, first to engage in the social web and make it work for you, you have to be a social person and second you need to invest the time on the sites ‘networking’ instead of doing the work.  Is social media really only useful for people with ALOT of time on their hands, or for big companies who can afford to employ someone to be the ‘social’ face of the company/organisation?

So, as a person with not enough time on my hands, but a desire to find new ways to avoid doing the actual work of my PhD by finding tasks that can loosely be deemed as work;  I have decided to succumb to the power of Twitter and set up an account for VideoTag.  I can start twittering about the game and ideas and struggles during development, then hopefully have some followers who want to play the game when it launches.  then I can continue to use it as a vehicle to launch new games.

I’d like to just add another problem to using social media to promote yourself/project – usernames, they are always taken by someone!!! Mr jesse videotag isn’t even using his account!!!  So you can follow videotag2 instead.  Now comes the hard work knowing what to twitter about!

Twitter Button from twitbuttons.com

**Is part of Twitters appeal the cute little bird?

Is Twitter endorsed by the BBC?

When I started out researching Web 2.0 back in early 2007, I spent ages looking at and trying out different Web 2.0 sites and applications until I settled on my thesis idea. One such site I signed up to was Twitter. At the time I remember the selling point being that it was mobile and everyone at SXSW was apparently twittering, it was the new way for friends to know your every waking moment, as long as you twittered it. It was an American phenomenon, I joined, I knew no one on the site, so I had nobody to Twitter with and so have never used it. Even now I know 3 “real world” people with a Twitter account. By “real world” I mean people I actually talk to in the old fashioned face to face method (only occasionally obviously).

But now, like Facebook and MySpace before it, Twitter is suddenly everywhere. I cannot turn on Radio 1 anymore without hearing DJ’s twittering on about twitter. I succumbed to MySpace, before I knew it was Web 2.0 and I would one day be listening to talks about it. I gave it up in favour of Facebook, which I do use and I like because it is good to find and keep in touch with old friends I would have lost forever. But I am trying not to succumb to Twitter. I find myself mostly put off by the amount of celebrities who have embraced it. I’m sure at 16 I would have loved to know what my idols were doing, I’d have followed them and maybe even made contact with them. But now I couldn’t give a stuff. The days of searching for celebrities on MySpace, finding 150 of the same person and not knowing whether they’re the real person or not, must nearly be over, because we’re told all the time if a celebrity is on Twitter. Perhaps it is so they can get more followers and then they can gauge their level of fame and popularity compared to other celebrities.

But then you have to be more extrovert (egotistical?) to be a celebrity and I think to fully embrace social applications, being extroverted helps. I am an introvert, I approach social sites as I would if I were at a party, I stand by the wall with a small group of friends and wait for people to come to me. I have more time to think about what I’m saying on social sites too and so inevitably end up not saying it. Do I really need another application in my life that allows me to waste all my time informing people of things about my life they have no interest in? And of course reading everybody else’s insights on life? Would my life have been better had I not known my supervisor had had a really good dump at some point last year? There really is such a thing as too much information.

All that said I am finding myself more and more interested in the micro blog concept and how it could be applied so that all these opinions floating around could be utilized in some way? Despite my objections to the furore about twitter, as a social application I can see its uses. Its appeal, like Facebook and MySpace is to feel connected to people. If you can engage in communities and find a place to belong online, it’s possible to escape a lonely or troubled real world existence. These sites are a goldmine of social information, but what other information do they hold? Can a micro blogging environment be utilised to create collective opinions on web resources? In the same way that collaborative tagging can use people power to create collective descriptors for anything from websites, music, photos, movies and academic papers. The same old questions arise however as to what motivates users to interact with a micro blogging site and how can those motivations be harnessed to make the users participate in an activity that produces useful, usable data?