How Twibes Lists Work

Twibes lists were changed on Sunday 24th January 2010 in response to complaints from many people that they were being listed “too many times.” This post describes the new functionality.

1. Twibes keeps a list of Twitter users organized by keyword tag on Twibes.com.

2. Anyone can join the Twibes lists by tagging themselves.

3. You can also have Twibes copy of the list to your Twitter account.

4. If you were the first person to click “Make Twitter List,” on Twibes, you have the main Twitter list. The list will be created in your name, for example “@adamloving/twibes-socialmedia.” Twibes will add and remove users from the list as they are added and removed from the list on Twibes. If someone else already has the main list, you will be assigned to follow their list (@someone_else/twibes-socialmedia). If they delete their list, another list (possibly yours) will be delegated as the main Twitter list. If necessary, Twibes will assign your account to follow another copy of the same list.

We have to do it this way because the @twibes Twitter account can’t own all the Twitter lists. There is a limit of 20 Twitter lists per account. We assign people to follow someone else’s Twitter list to reduce the number of duplicate lists (there were many complaints about inflated Twitter list membership counts).

5. If you do not want to follow someone else’s Twibes list, click one of the “Convert” links on your Twibes account page. Log in to Twibes, click “Profile,” then click “Edit Twitter Lists” from the right hand side.

Webinar with Shauna Causey

If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced the Twitter roller coaster. Twitter seems so simple starting out, but then there’s a bunch of crazy lingo and applications to learn. The more you learn, the more questions come up.

shaunacausey

It helps to find great people to tweet with. That’s why I’m so excited to announce that Twitter pro Shauna Causey (@ShaunaCausey) is going to join us for a free webinar next week. In this live one hour call, we’re going to cover all the Twitter basics, and do our best to answer your questions about Twitter.

The webinar will be Tuesday, January 19th at 7PM PST (10PM EST, 0300 GMT)
Here’s the link to sign up: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/833220233

We’ll cover questions like:

* What is the point of Twitter?
* What should I tweet about?
* How do I get more followers?
* Should I use my own name, or my the name of my business?

So who is Shauna? Shauna Causey manages communications, community relations and social media for Comcast. She was recently voted one of the 100 Top Women in Tech by the Puget Sound Business Journal’s TechFlash. Shauna serves on the board of directors for Social Media Club Seattle as the Communications Director. In early 2009, she started Voluntweetup, an event series where local technology enthusiasts volunteer to train and educate non-profits how to effectively use social media. She is on the steering committee for Twestival Seattle (part of a global non-profit social media event) and Gnomedex (the premier Puget Sound tech conference). You can also find Shauna on Seattle 2.0 TV interviewing tech startup companies, co-hosting a weekly social media Google Wave chat, and volunteering to help local non-profits and elected officials with their social media efforts.

She has more than 15 years of experience in the communications industry and has worked for the Seattle Mariners, Fox Sports Net, FOX, and Comcast.

Here’s the link to register again:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/833220233

Please sign up soon to save your place in line. I’ll follow up next week via email with instructions on how to attend. Lastly, if you can’t make it due to timing, please sign up with your email anyway. I’ll record the call and send you the audio file.

Jay Frost: Philanthropy Twitter Group

GordonJayFrostJay Frost (@GordonJayFrost) is a speaker, consultant and author on wealth, philanthropy and fundraising. He is founder of the Philanthropy Twitter group, and you can read his insights on his blog: Frost on Fundraising. Listen in to our conversation on the role of Twibes in social media for social change.



Jay Frost:

Hello, this is Jay.

Adam Loving:

Hi Jay, this is Adam from Twibes. How are you today?

Jay:

I’m fine, how are you?

Adam:

Besides pulling your hair out and ready to slam your computer to the ground.

Jay:

Yeah, and I’m at the age where pulling your hair out is not a good thing.

Adam:

[laughs] Oh. I feel your pain. I switched to Mac about two years ago and I’ve not looked back since. It has been highly rewarding. Whoops.
[pause]

Jay:

[laughs] Wow, we’re really being kicked by technology.
[laughter]

Adam:

It’s great when it works but yeah, when it doesn’t, boy.

Jay:

Well, if we were pushing a wheelbarrow, the wheel could fall off so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

Adam:

Yeah, so I was just looking down the list of popular Twibes. One question I get a lot is what can I do to promote my Twibe? And certainly there are some people like yourself who are really making it work, really killing it, so to speak.
I just wanted to meet you and see how you’re using Twibes and how you’re using Twitter. First off, it would be great to know a little bit about yourself and about your organizations.

Jay:

Oh, sure. I’m wearing multiple hats like a lot of people out there are, I think. I’ve always been involved in world fundraising and philanthropy. We’ve had a succession of tiny companies, almost micro-enterprises, the most recent of which was a screening company.
This is where people help non-profits to identify their donors at the greatest capacity, so you can get to know them better and treat them more intelligently and sensitively.

I sold that company in 2005 to a competitor and then over the last year and a half, two years, I’ve been working with some partners in developing a new application which is for fundraising or for sales, which is a technology tool.

But I do a lot of speaking as well. One of the things I wanted to do was spend more in time in the social media world and more particularly how it relates to, again, fundraising and philanthropy.

I think, again, that non-profits have been both way ahead of the curve in some respects and way behind the curve in others, with respect to social media. So I didn’t get involved in Twitter until very late in the game, just a few months ago, and found it really fascinating. It really appeals to my ADHD mentality, as opposed to Facebook, which I see as ADD. I mean those are very distinct.

People are all over Facebook for fundraising and philanthropy and I think that’s fine, but I think Twitter is far better in so many ways. And so when you launched Twibes – and I haven’t really figured out how you use it… So I’m delighted I’m doing something right. I don’t know what it is.

But I think it’s a great idea to try to develop watering holes for people who have common interests. Because one thing I think that’s keeping people away, at least in the non-profit world, from Twitter, is they cannot see the value.

It’s too hard for them to see the picture at 30, 000 feet. And you’re allowing them to see it by essentially showing them a map by interest and by the people within that interest area.

And it’s very, very hard – it’s a mirage – to people in fundraising, absent what you’re developing here.

Adam:

Right, especially with the short messages like you mentioned. It seems almost senseless when you glance at it and was certainly what motivated me to form something like Twibes. I sensed that there’s value there if you can filter it down to the topics that I’m interested in.
And from the people I’m talking to, Twibes has been a networking tool as much as anything else.

Jay:

Oh, yeah. I mean I haven’t used it that way yet but that’s – yes, absolutely.

Adam:

It’s almost as though that collection of photos at the top is the main point of being there. The Tweets don’t even factor in for some groups, just to find these people that can carry on their conversations in a million other mediums, but just to identify who they are has been valuable.
So, yeah, before we get too far into the Twibes stuff, Frost On Fundraising is your blog.

Jay:

Yes, but I haven’t been very active there, because it’s long form and frankly, I think there’s too much blogging going on. I may be alone in that but a lot of people are talking and not many people are listening.
Maybe that’s happening on Twitter too, but the concentration of information on Twitter when you look in the right places is terrific. And in the blogosphere, there is a lot of verbal diarrhea out there with no editing.

I always thought that was the case and I continue to feel that way, where there are some people who are brilliant and the fact that they’re brilliant without an editor is a testimony to how brilliant they are.

But there are a lot of other people writing and probably nobody should be reading it because it’s just awful and they’re not contributing anything. And that’s OK; that’s free expression and I love it. That’s why I love this country, but it’s not particularly useful if you want to read something of value.

And so I’ve done some blogging there and I’m going to do more, but I view that as so different in character from what is going on in Twitter, which is far more dynamic, where people can learn on the fly from one another, not just from the information that they’re relating but from the way they’re communicating with one another.

There are so many examples of this, especially with really young people on Twitter and Twitter isn’t the demographic for really young people. But there are people like Zach, he’d be one. Do you know about his walk?

Adam:

No, I don’t.

Jay:

Oh, this is an 11-year-old kid who walked from Florida to Washington DC to raise attention to childhood homelessness. He’s an 11-year-old kid. And then there’s some other guy, I don’t know what he is, he’s around 17, I think, who was pushing stoves through Rwanda. Did you hear about this?

Adam:

No, no.

Jay:

Well this is somebody – I don’t even know what their connection is to this organization that is providing sun stoves to people in Rwanda. Rwanda has been through everything Rwanda has been through, but there are also issues with poverty alleviation and basic cooking supplies so that people can eat.
And so he decided to put the force of Twitter behind getting votes for Stove for Rwanda to get $25, 000 from Disney. Now, most of the people in the United States don’t know where Rwanda is or what it is or how to pronounce.

And so there’s a 17-year-old who finds a way through Twitter – I don’t know if he would have done this through Facebook – to get people to focus on this and see, “You know what? All I have to do is click here and it can turn into $25, 000. It’s real.”

And so there’s a lot of that happening and again, not to go right back to Twibes, but I think Twibes fits right into that neatly once people figure out how to make that work. I haven’t seen them doing that yet, certainly not in the little sphere I’m in, but I can see it.

Twitter doesn’t really allow you to really see who your friends are without going through these massive lists. You’re visualizing it and that’s one step in that direction and it’s very different.

I can easily imagine that you can take a group of people who understand that they can take one step together as a group and carry the weight of an elephant, even though you are a bunch of ants. And that will make it instantly powerful.

Right now people are talking all about crowd sourcing. It’s fine; it’s a very fun term. But it really has very little meaning. I mean crowds are great and fun and they’re also terrifying.

But what you’re doing with Twibes is you’re bringing organization to the crowd, and the organizing principle is what brings real value to the individuals there.

If it’s the other way around, nobody really has any power. If something happens, it’s accidental. But you’re creating a venue through which people can actually combine their power. That is power.

Jay:

Wow. Well, thank you. That’s a great way of expressing it. I hadn’t quite put my finger on it, but, yes, you’re right.
Let’s see. Was there anything in particular that you did with the Philanthropy Twibe that made people latch on to it? I noticed you actually had started a couple others as well that hadn’t taken off nearly as much as this one had.

Do you attribute that to anything, or is that the luck of picking a great name and going with it?

Jay:

It’s hard to know without knowing more about the demographics of the people who are on that group. But I suspect it’s because it’s simply broad.
If it were fund-raising, a lot of the fund-raisers are still not there yet. They’re uncertain about social media in general and Twitter specifically. They’re nervous about it. They’re nervous about being there, and they’re nervous about being seen there. The scholars, who are one part of the philanthropic world, I don’t think they’re on Twitter to all.

But philanthropy is enough of a generic term – it sounds good – that I think it’s acceptable, so it’s easy for people to run into it and know what it means. It’s also somewhat of an exclusive term, unlike saying sales. If I said it’s the Sales Twibe, then everybody selling everything could be there. Then it has no value, and so there’s no real reason to join.

You might get a lot of people initially and the next day, but with philanthropy, it’s self-defining. I think that the term is useful, but that was the next step.

I would have that that something that’s more along the lines of fund-raising would have been better, but I don’t think I could get that. It wouldn’t have gone anywhere. I think that’s helpful.

What’s interesting to me though is who’s joining and why. There are a lot of organizations on Twitter, and there are a number of them that are joining something like this, but not in the numbers I would have thought.

Jay:

Yes, you still seem to be mostly individuals.

Jay:

Right. So who are they? This is what I’d really like to know. This guy, Pud, whatever his real name is. Do you know who I’m talking about?

Jay:

No.

Jay:

There’s a guy who has developed an application. I hope it’s not for doing something bad, but anyway, he developed an application…

Jay:

You never quite know until… Right.

Jay:

… to get people to list where they went to school.
Twitter is great, except it has no really good demographic data on individual users. That’s one of the things that makes it comfortable for people to post because it’s somewhat anonymous.

But if you had a sense, for example, that a lot of your people were coming to a particular twibe from either a certain part of the country, or a certain age demographic, or a certain profession, or a certain college, university, that would begin to tell you something really important.

I don’t know a way of doing that with the exception of starting to run – and I’ve done a bit of this on Twitter, and I’m going to start doing more of this on the twibe – things like the Twit Polls, and also cross-pollinating.

I use HootSuite a lot, just by way of an example. What I’ll do is I’ll – and then I’m also on LISTSERVs. I’ll see how many people are hitting different things I post. Some of those I’m hash-tagging as “philanthropy” so they’ll go on the Philanthropy Twibe.

Some of them I won’t, and some of them I will, and I’ll see what goes back and forth. Sometimes I’ll go and I’ll fake one of those little Owly – the shortened URLs. I’ll push something to LISTSERV.

I did that yesterday, and I had something amazing happen. It was just a Forbes article anybody could read about billionaires and billionaire giving. Not particularly amazing information, but the title was catchy, and I put it there with this little link.

I had 1, 200 people click on that link from the LISTSERV. Those people are not on Twitter. So what I did was I used this as an opportunity to do two things, to talk about how this kind of content’s on Twitter and that’s where I’m finding it. In other words, I’m getting it three days in advance of most of you guys. That would be implicit.

Then what I did was I put this thing about the Philanthropy Twibe. I said that this is where everybody who’s finding this kind of information is going. So if you’re really looking for this kind of information, this is where you need to be.

So I’m using the last generation of social media to try and drag some of these people into the newest generation of social media. What they’re doing there in the LISTSERV is they’re writing like blog entries, these long-form questions, which get very little response instead of Twitter-type of questions and responses, which are very easy for people to do.

Here’s a point of information; what do you think about it? Yes, no, that was just a poll response, or PM me. It’s relatively easy. It gets over the ejection phase of dealing with data.

Again, by forming the twibe, I think you’ve really empowered people to have conversations in a way that before they had to do in mash form and couldn’t do very effectively. It’ll be very interesting to see if the 3, 500 people on that one LISTSERV are in fact going to start moving over and joining the twibes.

Are you seeing that with the other twibes?

Jay:

Well, I’m definitely seeing people using a mish-mash of technologies. Twitter and Twibes are just pieces in people’s arsenals of their greater blogs, and Facebook pages, and email LISTSERVs like you’ve mentioned.
The savvy founders are those who recognized early on that this is one more channel to start connecting to people. For better or worse, I’ve tried to keep Twibes fairly small and focused so that it plays its role in an ecosystem.

When you start mentioning demographics and things that gives me some ideas of some features I can add. An area where I haven’t done very much is to let each individual build their Twibes profile as apart from their Twitter profile.

There’s no reason why I couldn’t prompt people for that – they don’t have to enter it in – for their age, or city, or whatever, and then begin to build a better picture of who’s in the twibe.

But, yes, I think that’s a common theme is using all these tools together, and being savvy enough to recognize the value, and then go to the efforts of creating these tiny URLs. That’s a whole other level of sophistication that’s required.

One of the women was saying you’ve got to know your tools in order to build your twibe. That’s exactly it.

Jay:

You know what’s funny? I didn’t know how to, or what I should put in that description. You have, I’m sure, an automated feature encouraging people like me who are slow to do that to go and do that. I wasn’t doing it. I was putting it off for the longest time.
In fact, I had this fear that if I didn’t do it, you’d take the twibe away. [inaudible 16:47] fear.

I finally put a description up there, but I don’t even know is that description like other people’s? Is it not? Having something that was not a template but an example could have been useful for me.

In fact, maybe that could be done on an individual basis where when people set up their – I know they just go from Twitter into the twibe, but if they could have a thing that was specific to Twibes – maybe that’s too much engineering – where they could say here’s my…

Adam:

My role in relation to Twibe has been one thing.

Jay:

Or in this field. Why am I in this Twibe? And they might end up saying, or you might be able to tuck in optional things, like where, the state, city or country, favorite color, super hero. Whatever, it is can be serious or silly, but that might enable people to start answering questions because the survey seems relevant.
If twitter were to do that, I could see that people would say en masse, “I’m not going to reveal that information to you.” But if it’s specific to a group, then they might well become like colleagues.

In effect, to go back to your point about networking, they’d see it immediately. Because they do it already on the Ning, for example, and stuff like that where they are listing lots of details.

In fact, it takes so long to manage all that, it would be much easier in this context. Could you imagine now seeing over the picture, you see the little thing pop up and say, ”is a graduate of, is a fund raiser at…”

Adam:

Attorney from Philadelphia or who yeah… that’s great. Cool. Has there been anything else about Twibe that to you were waiting for?
Back to back up, one more point about the description actually. There are two reasons why we’ve got that motivation on my part; one is so people can find it and understand what it’s about and why they should join.

The second is, that is there for Google. It’s in both of our interest that when people search on Twitter Philanthropy, or Twitter Philanthropy Group, that we would have enough description on this page to give hints to Google that this is the place, page that it should recommend.

Jay:

OK.

Adam:

So any little extra description, and in fact the category plays a small part in that as well. That’s my motivation for prompting or nagging Twibe founders to enter a description.

Jay:

I think it’s a good idea. I really didn’t know what to do, so that’s why I was not doing it.

Adam:

Right. A sample would be a good thing for me to do, very easy for me to do as well. Anything else that sticks out, that you’ve been waiting for or wanting?

Jay:

I know that this sounds like more marketing but, in fact, as soon as you told me that I was in one of the top 150 twibes, I made a point of listing our LinkedIn. And putting the church tweets group. And then putting it on my facebook page, putting it out in this little note, these 3, 500 people on this list serve.
So, I think if you had something that essentially said, some kind of ranking for these groups that would be very useful. Not only behind them but to promote the groups. It’s going to be hard for me to get researches to come, fundraising researchers, to come into this till they see somebody’s seal of approval.

Adam:

You mean Twibe seal of approval for you or an external approval for your Twibe?

Jay:

Twibe seal of approval for the Twibe on the basis of rank or number of something. I mean whatever it is. Of course as Twibe itself gains more notoriety, that’s going to be useful. But it might be nice to see some kind of ranking.
You know all those rankings for Twitter are interesting and they get people’s attention, even when they’re silly. I would think that they could be more meaningful here. It won’t be Ashton kutcher, whatever his name is, or one of those people. It would be really about what are the types of ideas which are capturing people, what kind of professions are moving things.

Let me ask you, what is the top Twibe? I mean are there thousands of people on one of these things?

Adam:

Yeah, the photography Twibe, I believe is the top. Let me go look here-with about 4, 000 members. That was a very interesting one. Obviously I didn’t predict any of this. I think that was largely people moving over from Fllickr, where they want to share their photos, they’re photographers. And there’s no good way to do that and find each other on Twitter.
And I think Edsee is another hand craft website, which is a similar type of thing where these other websites exist without community, everyone is on Twitter anyway, so Twibe is the intersection where they can find each other.

Jay:

Interesting.

Adam:

Yeah it is. It’s a special interest that the group identifies with, they have a desire to find each other and, the founder doesn’t have too much control, or too much of their own agenda.
The ones that work they form very organically. The founders are often working furiously behind the scenes, but they’re not pushing their own agenda. They’re just facilitating, communicating and networking, which is pretty interesting.

Jay:

Have the political circles found Twibes yet? Do you have a big Republican or a big Democratic thing, or big health care discussion going on?

Adam:

Yeah, amazingly we’ve got two Sarah Palin Twibes, which are warring in a friendly way. [laughs] The liberals have been slower on the uptake. But there’s a few of those. They’re slightly more niche. I think those are in the two to 500 member range. They’re not the giant ones but they’re definitely a vocal group.
I rely on the founders to keep me in check when I’ve got bugs. It’s whatever you guys ask for that I prioritize at the top of the list. Because, obviously if I make you successful then I’m the more successful I am.

Jay:

Oh right. That brings up another thing; are you thinking about or have you already made movements toward being able to deploy the content of a Twibe? So, for example, on a person’s blog, in the same way they can have twitter posts, they can have the whole twibe, start appearing on a blog, on a website, or within a group on LinkedIn?

Adam:

Yeah, not LinkedIn yet. I’m going to look at that after some of the conversations I’ve had in the last couple of hours. But I’m working on script you can include in a blog or website. Then I’ve already done a custom implementation for a Twitter conference that’s coming up in L.A. next month.

Jay:

Oh no kidding. I wrote to them. I wrote a little note to them saying, “Hey do you have anybody talking about the nonprofit world”. They said, “Well no we don’t, so we’ll put you on our list of maybes.” And then I haven’t heard anything again so.

Adam:

Alright. I’ll ask them about that. For them, a company called Parnassus Group, a group of guys. So I set up 140 Twibe.Parnassusgroup.com. Which is completely on their domain. The main benefits of doing it that way is that all the Tweets to join the Twibe, actually point to their domain. So you get all this sort of link love as you promote the Twibe.
So that’s something I’d be interested in setting up for other people, but it does take a bit of work on my part at this point still. But yeah I’m actively working on all that. Hopefully there will be an easy version, where you can just cut and paste a few lines of code. And then the more complex version like running on its own domain.

Jay:

Hopefully somebody pays you for that.

Adam:

Yeah. At some point yeah.

Jay:

Oh that’s great. Sounds like you got some fun things going on. I figure you’re talking to 100 people, so I don’t want to eat up too much of your time. I like to keep in contact and find out what you do with this, what your next project is. It’s good stuff.

Adam:

This has been fantastic. I really appreciate your time and shoot me an email at adam@twibes if anything crosses your mind. I’ve got some good notes here from our conversations. Thank you very much.

Jay:

Great, OK. Are you on LinkedIn? You are aren’t you?

Adam:

Yes.

Jay:

OK, Monday I’ll send you something there too. That’s where I keep most of my contacts.

Adam:

Great.

Jay:

Thanks so much.

Adam:

Thanks a lot Jay.

Jay:

OK, take care.

Adam:

Talk to you soon, bye.

Jay:

Bye.

Sarah Palin Web Brigade

sarahpalinlinksFay, better known as @SarahPalinLinks, uses the Sarah Palin Twitter group as part of a network of Web sites supporting Alaska’s former governor. In this interview she describes what she likes about twibes and how it fits in to her broader Twitter campaign.



Adam Loving:

You’re the founder of the “Sarah Palin Web Brigade Twibe,” right?

Fay:

That’s correct.

Adam:

Can you just tell me a little bit about how you got involved with Sarah Palin, and how you found Twibes, and what you use it for?

Fay:

Well I got involved in supporting Sarah Palin back in the 2008 Election. I was very disappointed that she is not now our Vice-President and hoping sincerely that she will be our next President, because I feel that she is the right person to lead us forward in a direction that will take us back to the conservative values that our founding fathers espoused. The Twibe is an outgrowth from our Twitter efforts.

The “Sarah Palin Web Brigade” is a network of 12 websites, and among those websites, we have a Twitter website @SarahPalinLinks. All of our Tweets go to the Twibe, as well as members who have joined the Twibe. Let’s say all of Tweets that have the SPWBT tag applied to them.

Sarah Palin supporters can join the Twibe and add the SPWBT tag to their Tweets, and pool their Sarah Palin Tweets so that we can all see what news is available about Sarah’s activities. And this week it’s very abundant–these last two weeks.

Adam:

Right.

Fay:

It’s just a place to support Sarah Palin, and to compare our notes on our activities, and her activities, and just generally a Sarah Palin support site.

Adam:

That’s great. How have you found generally–how does Twitter work with in conjunction with that network of websites? Do you find it’s the same people but it’s easier to communicate? Or is it a different audience of people on Twitter?

Fay:

Well, I think that we have–it’s–generally, there are a lot of people that are interested in Sarah Palin. We have about, on the Twitter site, we have about–over 3,000 followers now. Some of them–there are other Twitter sites that have a lot of followers also, so there’s a lot of interest in Sarah Palin. Now I’d say that the ones that join the Twibe are the group that’s probably the most active in supporting her–through their Twitter efforts, and blogging, and other efforts on the Internet.

Adam:

So is this like a part-time job for you, a hobby on the side or? How much time do you spend on the Twitter site and your own sites?

Fay:

Well, all together, between all the websites, I don’t keep track of my time. Let’s say all of my spare time and then some.
[laughter]

Adam:

I hear you. I hear you.

Fay:

There is so much to do. There’s always something that you have to put on the backburner until you can get to it, so I just think that Twitter and the Twibe and all the other groups out there just a way to pool your efforts, so everybody knows what everybody else is doing–and everybody wants to know what Sarah’s doing.

We all call her “Sarah,” but we should probably call her “Governor Palin.” But that’s part of her–of the attractiveness of her persona–is her “down to earth”-ness and just her availability.

Adam:

And so you mentioned you had some questions for me? What have you got?

Fay:

Yes I had several. Are we still being recorded?

Adam:

Yeah, yeah.

Fay:

There are some features that I really like about the Twibes–three in particular. I like the ability to use more than 140 characters. Whenever I have a long message, I can go to the Twibe and type it in and it’s still accessible through Twitter so it shows up on Twitter. You can click on it and it gives you the whole message–so you’re not limited to 140 characters.
And I like the re-Tweet feature better on Twitter’s, because when you hit on re-Tweet, it pops up in your message box, and you can alter it–if you want to. You can add something to it. Or if you just want it to go to certain tags you can just put on the ones that you want it go to.

And you can also post to the Twibe page, so it has a certain amount of privacy to it. It just doesn’t go out all over Twitter. If you want to say something to the group, to Twibe, you can do so.

Adam:

Cool. Some of those things are fairly subtle, so I’m glad you noticed it. The long Tweets, for example, it’s not obvious that you can do that necessarily. So great.

Fay:

Yes, I had to do that one just in the last few days because there was something that I needed to say, and I couldn’t say it on Twitter so.

Adam:

Cool. Anything that’s not working…

Fay:

Another thing, too, is a lot of times you have problems with the Twitter feeds and you can’t post on Twitter. No, no, let me back up. Your Twitter Tweets won’t post on any of the Twitter groups, unless your feed is working. Sometimes they get dropped for various reasons but if your Twitter feed is not working you can still post on the Twibe by going into the box there, and it still shows up on the Twibe.
I also noticed that during that period of time when Twitter went down–when it was hacked, that the Twibe still functioned. You could still use the message function on Twibe for sometime after that happened. So they lasted longer than Twitter. So that’s good. You’ve got some advantages.

Adam:

Well, that’s good, considering I’m’ just one guy and they’re a whole company, that’s good.

Fay:

Sorry?

Adam:

Considering that I’m just one guy, and they’re a whole company, I’m very proud of that.

Fay:

Yeah. You’ve got some definitely unique features. Those are just some of the ones that I found that are an advantage but there are a lot of unique features with the Twibe, that you keep adding.

Adam:

I keep trying. What have you found to be difficult or hard to explain to people when they land on Twibes?

Fay:

What have I found to be difficult?

Adam:

Yes.

Fay:

The one thing that I have noticed, is the display of the tweets. Obviously, you can click on anybody’s Twibe Tweets and find them, but sometimes all the Tweets don’t show up. One time–this morning, I noticed there was one that was done two hours, fourteen hours, one day and two days. There were some in between, farther down the page–when you get to the bottom of the page. Some of them don’t continue to show up. So that is a little bit of a–you know, you’d like to be able to get all of them and see them and even having some pages you could click at the bottom, if you go back to the ‘Previous Tweets’ would be really nice.
Adam. I see. There should be a button there, and I see it’s missing.

Fay:

Oh and the robots. It’s funny how the robots sometimes picks up some of your main Tweets. But I was wondering was there was any way to set the robot to update more often? Or the particular time, say once an hour, or once every 30 minutes?
Adam. Yeah. Sure, I can do that. I think it’s once an hour now–if a Tweet has occurred. I believe it Tweets at most, once an hour now, so if a Tweet has occurred in the last hour, it will tweet it. I can turn that down to a half an hour and we’ll see if that gets too noisy.

Fay:

I wanted to mention the hoodie that you sent. It’s my son’s favorite hoodie now.
Adam. Great. It was fun making those. I actually ordered a couple for myself, and I was glad at how good they came out. So good–I’m glad he likes it.

Fay:

They turned out very nice.

Adam:

I just wanted to give you some explanation on the reason why not all the Tweets show up. It’s actually a limitation in how I’m able to get those from Twitter. Since your Twibe has so many members since there’s 200 members, I can only search for five or six of them at a time. So you see that little counter that says “Next Search in 10 seconds” or “Next Search in 20 seconds” at the top?
It’s actually working its way through and searching everybody’s Tweets for ones that match the keywords. We do that both as you’re the viewing the page, but also the server on the backend does it. It’s working hard to try and collect all the Tweets for all the people in all the Twibes, but there are enough people that it has to work through at a certain pace. That’s why it doesn’t always catch them. I do from time to time try and tweak it so it does find more, but that’s kind of a limitation that I’m working with.

Fay:

What you’re really looking for is the latest ones anyway. Sometimes you’d like to look backwards and just see if there were any you missed, in between times.

Adam:

Right. You mentioned that your Twitter page has like 3000 followers. I see 3200, in fact. Do you actively try and promote the Twibe? Or are you just happy to have followers? Or do you have any other techniques? With 200 members, the Twibe is more successful than most. Some people do start a Twibe, and they have five or ten members and they’re trying to learn how they can recruit more. Do you have any special tips? You probably just linked to it from your Twitter accounts and also from your multiple sites. Any other tricks you can recommend?

Fay:

I periodically send out a Tweet to people that joined Twibes. We also have a little icon set up on the MySpace and on WordPress sites where you can click to join. On our Blogger, and our Ning site, we have a feed. I was able to put a feed there. The WordPress and MySpace formats wouldn’t accommodate the feed, but there’s a very nice feed on the Ning site, and the Blogger site, which has the latest Tweets and has a link where you can join the Twibe.

Adam:

Yes I spotted that down on the right hand side. Yes.

Fay:

Sorry?

Adam:

I spotted the link to Twibes on the right-hand side of the WordPress site. Cool.

Fay:

If you get HTML code that will work on WordPress or MySpace let me know. Then I can get the feed there also.

Adam:

Anything else I can help you with while I’ve got you on the phone? I know we were talking about spammers yesterday. There is in fact, a menu, I have it on my screen up here. If you’re signed-in as the founder, it should show a red X in that pop up menu and that will give you the option…

Fay:

Yes, I used that this morning.

Adam:

You found that? Great.

Fay:

I appreciate that.

Adam:

It’s annoying, but at least it gives us a way to quickly shut people down.

Fay:

Yes, everybody is welcome that is as least “friendly” to Sarah Palin. On our sites, we are not going to give a platform for anybody to bash Sarah Palin. Our sites are “Palin-friendly” sites. We support Sarah Palin 100% and maybe better. We’re just not going to tolerate some of the vitriol that we see out on the Internet. It’s a safe haven for Sarah Palin supporters. That’s what it’s intended to be.

Adam:

Any other things you’ve had troubles with lately?

Fay:

Sorry?

Adam:

Any other things that you have had trouble with lately?

Fay:

No. These are mostly minor things that I have mentioned. It’s a pretty stable site and very attractive. There are a lot of things you can do with the graphics, and so forth, if you have the skills. I think we have been able to use my limited graphics skills to make an attractive site. With what you provide there.

Adam:

Great. Okey-doke. Unless you have any other questions for me, I will get out of your way and let you have a great weekend.

Fay:

You too. I appreciate being able to talk with you.

Adam:

It’s been a pleasure.

Fay:

You have done a great job.

Adam:

Thanks very much. You certainly know where to find me. Let me know if anything comes up.

Fay:

OK.

Adam:

Take care.

Considering tabs to filter tweets

This is a quick question for power Twibes users about a change I’m considering. I want to make it so tweets posted to the Twibe page don’t get lost in all the tweets found via search. This would (I imagine) make it more worthwhile to tweet from the twibe page, because you have greater confidence that someone will read it. I’m considering adding tabs to the twibe page to filter the tweets. Please drop a quick answer in the comments. Thank you for your help!

Question 1: Would tabs be useful?

tweet-tabs-1

Question 2: Do you currently use the filter controls on your home page?

home-page-filters-1-2

Please drop a quick answer in the comments. Thank you for your help!

Stephen Fairley: Attorney Twitter Group

stephenfairleyStephen Fairley is a Law Firm Marketing expert. His company, The Rain Maker Institute (see also The Rain Maker Blog) helps attorneys make the most of social media. In this interview, Stephen describes how his Attorney Twitter group fits in to a holistic social media platform and describes his blueprint for connecting with customers online.



Stephen Fairley:

My business is law firm marketing, and the Rainmaker Institute is the nation’s largest law firm marketing company that specializes in small and solo law firms. We’ve worked with over 6,000 attorneys all across the country and well over 90% of them are small or solo. The way that we define that is anywhere from one to 25 attorneys in the law firm.

So almost all of our clients are small business owners, and they’re all looking for more effective ways to generate more referrals, build their practice, increase their revenues, and so on. I think social media, to me, is a tool and the tool needs to be put in to the right perspective. It’s not the only tool and it’s not even, necessarily, the best tool for lawyers, but it is a tool.

I do think social media, as a whole, is a fundamental shift in the way that we communicate. I’m not talking about the differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, but it goes much, much deeper than that. Social media is about influence. It’s about communicating directly with prospects, leads, and referral sources and your clients, but the one, and perhaps biggest, thing that scares attorneys, my clients, away from social media, is that they can’t control it.

Attorneys are, they have – I’m speaking in generalities here — but as a profession they have a great need to be able to control things and you can’t control social media. You have no idea what someone is going to say about you or what someone is not going to say about you. It’s impossible to tell.

And it’s impossible to control, but you can influence it. The way that I talk about social media to my clients, it says, "Look, think of social media as a tidal wave. It is a fundamental shift in how we communicate online. You can either ride the wave or be crushed by it."

Adam Loving:

[laughs] Right.

Stephen:

Your choice. The tidal wave is coming and you can’t stop it. When you talk about things like, I’m sure you’ve seen the YouTube video "Social Revolution," great video. In there it gives some fascinating statistics and one of those statistics is it took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users, 38 years.

It took DVDs, or CDs, one or the other, 12 years, I think it was CDs, to reach 50 million users. Facebook garnered 100 million users in six months. [laughs] The astronomical size of these social media outlets is just mind-boggling. It just is. But you were asking me about Twitter and what do we do. One of the things that a lot of people, who don’t follow us closely, what they don’t know is that we actually have five different Twitter accounts.

Adam:

OK.

Stephen:

So we target them. We have completely different followers. The one that people are probably most familiar with is Stephen Fairley, because I personally go in and do that account. If you see something on there, chances are, 99% of the time, I’ve personally typed that in..

And thank God for iPhones. When I’m traveling, the number of tweets that I do per day go way up, whereas if I’m just here at the office working, typically I’ll send out two or three a day, but it can be five or ten a day, if I’m traveling. Just things that I’m thinking about. I do a high percentage of linking strategies. I try to do probably at least half or more of the tweets that I send out have a link, either a website or a blog post or a re-tweet of someone else that has a link in it.

So we’ve got, I think we’re getting close to, 30,000 followers on Twitter, scattered among all of the various five accounts. Right now, as I’m looking at this, probably in the next few days here, I’ll break 8,000 thousand followers on Twitter for just my account, Stephen, Fairley. But we have four other accounts that are anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 followers as well.

Our primary goal is to have attorneys follow us. I don’t really care about individual consumers. Of course, you can’t really stop people from following you, as you know. I don’t really care about consumers, because nine out of ten tweets that we do are directly targeted towards our target market. Now I might put one in there that relates directly to small business owners in general, versus just lawyers, but most of our target market are small business owners, who just happen to practice law. Make sense?

Adam:

Yeah.

Stephen:

The way that we do it with our social, we’ve got an internal social media blueprint that we’ve created for our purposes. We use our blog to drive information. For me, social media is fundamentally, at the core, is about one thing, building your platform.

Your platform is how many people know who you are, what you do, and who you help. Who you are, what you do, and who you help, and you might even add a fourth one, how you’re different.

Because, whether you’re a software developer or a lawyer, there are thousands of other people who do exactly what you do, so how are you different? So, for me, what we’ve seen is that there’s a direct correlation between the size of your platform and the size of your bank account. The bigger your platform, the bigger your bank account.

If you want to grow your business, you need to increase the size of your platform. Many small business owners, like many lawyers, are trapped in the old, broken, model of marketing one-to-one. What we try to do is to break them out of the mold of marketing one-to-one and start showing them, and giving them the tools, of how to market one-to-many.

That’s exactly what social media is all about. It’s about getting the word out there about who you are, who you help, why you’re different, what you do and it’s education-based marketing. I’m a huge proponent of education-based marketing. It’s all about the education.

Lawyers, they almost have an – I don’t know if it’s a moral or an ethical, whatever you want to call it – obligation to educate the public. There’s a lot of myths and misconceptions about the field of law. There really is. For example, if you were to ask the average person, "What does a lawyer do?" They have the preconceived notion that most of us spend all their day in court, because they saw it on "Boston Legal." They watched it in a movie, right?

Adam:

Sure, yeah.

Stephen:

Or saw it on "The Practice." Well, they gather in a conference room and then they go to court.

Adam:

Giant books, right? Carrying giant books.

Stephen:

What’s that?

Adam:

Carrying giant books, right?

Stephen:

Yes, carrying giant books. Well, the thing is most lawyers in fact, I would say well over 95% of lawyers, never step foot in court, ever. There are lawyers who have never stepped foot in court their entire lives. That’s one of those preconceived notions. Does that make sense?

Adam:

Yeah, yeah, it makes perfect sense.

Stephen:

So part of the lawyers job is to educate the public about what they do. For example, we work with a lot of estate planning attorneys. They do wills, trusts, and estates. Do you have a will, trust, or estate, Adam?

Adam:

I don’t, no.

Stephen:

You personally.

Adam:

No.

Stephen:

Yes you do. It’s actually a trick question, because every single state in the entire US, as part of their bylines and guidelines for their particular state, have actually given every single citizen of that state a will. It actually lays out exactly, in the event of their death, exactly how their estate will be divided. Who gets to decide where their kids go for care? What happens to them? What happens to their estate? What the taxation is.

Now if you don’t like that, then it’s up to you to change that and you can do that by hiring a lawyer who creates a will, trust, estate plan that fits your needs versus the states needs. Because what does the state do? Well, they send your kids – if you were married, both you and your wife, something happened to both of you and you had children, a judge would get to decide who watches over your kid and who gets to raise them.

A judge would decide how your property is divided. And oh, by the way, you’d also have to go through probate, which would take you about two years and would cost you, hmm, $10,000 to $30,000.

Now if you don’t like that — because every single member or citizen of that state is automatically opted in, in Internet speak — then you’ve got to change it.

Well, that’s part of the education that lawyers have to put out there. So I look at social media as probably the best tool that’s come along for marketing one to many, and educating them about what you do, who you are, and how you help and how you’re different.

So what we do, we use our blog, and this is part of our social media blueprint, we use our blog to drive everything. One of the things that we do with our Twitter account is every single time we post a blog, we post a link to it and a shortened title of it on all of our Twitter accounts. Which also updates — and we use Hoot Suite for this, we also update our LinkedIn status, our Plaxo status, our Facebook status and all of our fan pages on Facebook.

And what I did, I set up Tweet Deck and I have a separate column specifically for each of my Twibes. So I have one for attorneys, and I also have one for lawfirm marketing, the other Twibe that I have which isn’t doing nearly as well as attorneys.

[laughter]

Stephen:

I think we have like 35 or36 members on law firm marketing, because I don’t push it that much. But about once every other day, I push out an email and I set up a separate column that every single time someone tweets, "Just joined the Twibe, visit twibes.com/attorney to join," I’ll randomly pick a person and re-tweet that.

Like today or in the last24 hours, I’ve had one, two, three, four, five people join the Twibe, and so I’ll just pick one of them and I will push it out to my list to tell them that hey, that’s around.

And I heard one Twitter expert, he said — and I don’t know if this really applies — but he said his goal, and based on his tracking mechanism, is that when ever he sends out a link, about 2% of his followers will click on the link. And I don’t know how well that translates, but basically that means for every thousand followers that you have, you’ll get about 20 people clicking the link.

So if you’ve got 10,000 followers, that’s 200 people clicking the link and then a small percentage of them will actually take action based on whatever that link is. Whether it’s read the blog post, sign up for free special report, or whatever. Is that what you’ve seen?

Adam:

Yeah. Actually I was just doing the math in my head, so on my main Twibes account, which has between 60,000 and 70,000 followers, depending on how urgent and topical the tweet is. Yeah, I’ve seen up to 800 or 1,000 people click through it,.

Stephen:

How many followers do you have?

Adam:

Between 60 and 70, so that’s roughly one in 60, which would be 2%.

Stephen:

Yeah, there you go.

Adam:

Yeah, that’s great. And I really like that particular tip of just retweeting what people are saying, because you’re both supporting them and validating your own message at the same time. So someone else has joined the Twibe, therefore, they must see the value and here’s a little bit of link to let you know – here’s a retweet for them, which is a vote of credibility for them, in return.

Stephen:

And I think, if you’re going to push your Twibe, you need to use Tweet Deck to set up a separate column just for your Twibe. Why? Because it keeps it in front of your face. You know, Tweet Deck, you only get a limited number of columns. I don’t remember if it’s nine, or ten or something like that, but that’s valuable real estate.

So you want to keep the most important things in front of your face. If my goal is to build my Twibe, and that’s one of my goals for social media, is that I’ve got to keep it in front of my face, and so when I scroll across Tweet Deck, I come across the Twibe and someone joins it and boom, I push it out.

Now one of the things — and I know you guys are expanding, the different ways to take that Twibe offline,, and we’ve just started experimenting with that. I’m not sure when you came out with it, I think it was rather recently.

Adam:

Yeah, it’s just been about a week I think.

Stephen:

Yeah, so when we started — it hasn’t worked 100% of the time on our case, especially with like470-plus members, but I’ve had one of my staff people go in and manually follow every single person on our Twibe, and follow them on all five of our Twitter accounts. To me, it’s about multiple connections.

If a person only has one connection with me, let’s say they’re reading my monthly newsletter, and they decide for whatever reason that they want to opt out, then I’ve lost all ability to influence that person or to have a relationship with that person. So the very first thing, the very first thing that I do when someone sends me a connection on Twitter is that I use an Auto-DM — yes, I am one of those people that uses an Auto-DM, direct message.

But here’s what it says: "Thanks for following me, please follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn, here’s the links." I don’t sell them anything, I don’t pitch them anything, I don’t even drive them to my blog. All I do, is use the Auto-DM to send them to my Facebook account and to my LinkedIn account.

Why do I do that? Because at some point, if the stats are right, that a large percentage of people who start using Twitter fade out after the first 30, 60, 90 days, I want to make sure that I stay connected with them, and the way to do that is Facebook.

So 11 million people a day log in into their Facebook account, 11 million people a day. That’s actually much higher than LinkedIn. LinkedIn people, they typically only visit their profile once or twice a month.

Now, we also have several groups — you can’t create multiple profiles on LinkedIn like you can Twitter, but you can have groups. And so we’ve got about eight to ten groups on LinkedIn and each one has attorneys that anywhere from 50 to 500 or 600 attorneys on each one of our LinkedIn groups. And so, we push our groups in LinkedIn, and we also push our groups through our Twitter accounts. And we also have multiple fan pages.

So we’ve got 2,000 or 3,000 lawyers now that are following us on our various fan pages on Facebook and we push our Facebook pages on Twitter. So what we’re trying to do is to get people to connect with us multiple ways, so if that they choose- for whatever reason to disconnect or pull the plug on one way, then we’ve still got three or four other ways than we can stay connected to them.

And we also try to get everyone on our all of our social media to sign up for our free monthly newsletter. So it’s a great tool if you know how to do it right. And now I’m not saying we have all the answers, right, I certainly know that there are people out there that are doing, I think, a heck of a lot better job that we probably are. But in the legal community, I don’t think anyone’s doing even close to what we are.

Adam:

You know, it strikes me that certainly you’ve gotten more of a thing, a blueprint, a plan, that’s more thought-out, more intentional what you’re doing. Whereas the average person is just, even if they are intending to use these technologies, they’re just trying to stay caught up. You know, create random groups here and there.

I like your approach for how thought out it is. You have the blog at the center. You have these multiple channels of communications, and you just basically have pools, eddies, where people collect, wherever they prefer to interact with you, that’s where you find them there.

Stephen:

So the golden rule is do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Well, there’s a person out there. There’s a couple of people who claim that this is their own.

One person, Jay Foonberg, is a giant in the legal community. He said his rule is the platinum rule. He said the golden rule is do until others as you would have them do unto you, but he said the platinum rule is do unto others as they would have them do unto them.

So in other words, where I take this from is that you use the tools that allow you to communicate to people the way that they want to be communicated to. Don’t force them into this preconceived funnel because they might not fit the funnel. So in sales and marketing it’s all about the funnel, the funnel system. It’s kind of like the philosophy, get them in cheap, sell them deep, so you get them in and you just sell them through the funnel.

What we found with social media is that people don’t want to be in a funnel. They want to come in from all different places. Some people want to come in at the top, and some want to come in at the middle, and some people want to come in at the bottom and they’re buyers. So you have to communicate them on the way that they want to be communicated to.

Well, they want to use the tools to extrapolate on this. You need to use the tools that they want to use. So, some people, they use LinkedIn all the time. Other people may check it once or twice a month, if that. Some people are on Twitter multiple times a day. Other people, they like Facebook.

The only way you’re going to be able to have an influence, to be able to influence the conversation and join in on the conversation that’s already existing, that’s already happening is to be everywhere at once. Now, fortunately we’re in a position where we can do that.

We have a dedicated full-time social media person on staff plus I’m involved with social media just much more part-time, but, you know, I probably dedicate three, four hours a week to it if you were to add it all up. And then, we also have another person that does some social media for us as well.

It’s probably a lot more than the typical solo practitioner or small business owner can do, but again, we look at it as platform. We’re building our platform and, of course, the consistent call that Twitters demise is near, I think that’s foolhardy. When you look at it, Twitter, they just secured $100 million in venture capital.

Now I’ve known some VC people. They’re not stupid. The only way that they’re going to get their money back is either if Twitter goes public or if they get bought out by a larger group. Twitter has already rebuffed a couple of very large groups, I think, Facebook and Google. They each had a turn at them, and they turned them down.

I don’t think that Twitter has still figured out what their business model is. That Biz Stone, the founder of Twitter, he said, "You know, we don’t really need to make any money". Well, I’m not sure how that went over with his investors, but I’m sure he’s a pretty bright guy and he said they’ve still got a big chunk of their $50 million VC first round funding still in the bank. You know, that’s great, good for them.

It looks like they’re being smart on it, but I’ve got to tell you there’s some very smart people that are investing in Twitter. Now, could it be all a fad, and could it all come crashing down? Yeah, it could. I mean, we saw that in the dot-com bomb around 2001 where a lot of companies were completely overvalued.

So, is it hype? I don’t know. I don’t know enough about that stuff, but I do know it’s a tool. My clients and my targets are using it faster than ever. There’s a growing number of them. I want to be out in front of this, and I want to lead the charge.

Adam:

Great. Well, thank you, Stephen. This has been really, really useful. And I’d just like to encourage you to get in touch directly with me if there is anything that I can do in my little Twibe’s microcosm to support you or our clients as they come into Twitter as well.

Do you have any other questions or suggestions for me at this stage?

Stephen:

No, just keep up the good work. I’m sure you’ve got new stuff coming out. I’d love to be in the loop as much or as little as you feel comfortable with that. If you are looking for a beta or you’re looking for a feedback, I’d love to be a part of that.

I think it’s amazing what people are doing to customize their own experience with Twitter and with other forms of social media, but if you take a look at it from a philosophical standpoint it’s about connection and community. As a whole, Americans are so individualistic and we’re so disconnected, and I think that’s one of the reasons why you have found Twibes to taking off.

Of course, there was a book written by Seth Godin about building your tribe not Twibe, correct?

Adam:

I’ve got it sitting right here. It was part of the inspiration of Twibe, in fact.

Stephen:

I wondered if it was part of the inspiration.

Adam:

Certainly, the domain name, if nothing else.

Stephen:

Absolutely. But if you look on it at a macro level, it’s that Americans as a whole, we’re feeling so disconnected from each other. We’re very mobile. People move every three to five years whereas 20 years ago they would three times in their lifetime. Now, they’re moving 10, 20 times in their lifetime, and we don’t have those connections.

I remember one of my friends, I was out boating with him this weekend and he said, "You know, my wife and I have been married 14 years". They just celebrated their 14-year anniversary, and they were high school sweethearts and I was shocked. I, maybe, know one other couple that knew each other before college, you know, BC.

It’s just so rare for people to have those long-term relationships over decades, and I think that’s part of what social media is all about. It’s the yearning that the human spirit has for connection and a sense of community. And we’re trying to devise a technological way that we can be connected with other people around us, around certain groups or certain interests and common interests, and I think that’s where social media is coming to the forefront. It’s feeding off of this hunger in the human spirit for a sense of community, a sense of connection with a piece of the larger whole.

How do I fit in with this, and where do I belong? I know that’s, maybe, a little bit of an esoteric question, but I think it’s part of the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age, where people are hungering for that sense of community and that sense of connection. And I think that’s where social media comes in.

I loved immediately, when I saw the play on words, the Twibe. I thought of Seth Godin’s book, and then I thought I want to get in on the ground floor on this. I just think it’s a fascinating social experiment, but I also think for a small business owner it’s a tool that you can use. Make sure it’s in the right place.

I don’t think it’s the only thing that you should be doing for marketing nor do I necessarily believe that every single person needs to be on Twitter and everybody needs to have a Twibe. But I do think that it certainly has its place, and it’s probably a lot bigger than a lot of cynics give it credit for. And it’s probably a lot smaller and less of an impact than a lot of these social media gurus think it has. The truth lies somewhere in between.

I would just invite — I hope you don’t mind this – -but I would just invite the people who are, especially the lawyers and the attorneys who are listening to this, I would invite you to connect with me on Twitter. Visit my blog at therainmakerblog.com, and you can find me on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, and I’d love to be connected with every single attorney out there.

So, thank you, Adam, for the chance to talk with you, and I’m looking forward to seeing when this is posted.

Adam:

Thank you very much.

Chat with your Twibe via IM

At Twibes, our goal is to make it easy to participate in the conversations you care about. Our latest addition is the ability to post to your twibe (and receive twibe Tweets) from your Instant Messenger client. The exciting thing about this is it means you can now connect to your Twibe in real time from a desktop application, or even from your Blackberry or iPhone.
How do I use it?
To get in, add YOURTWIBENAME @twitter-sync.appspotchat.com as an IM contact. So, if your twibe is called “Photography” add “photography@twitter-sync.appspotchat.com”. Then, open a conversation with that contact and type ‘hi’. If the email address you using for IM is different than the one you have on file with Twibes, you’ll get a link to click to add that email address to your twibes account.
What Applications work with Twibes IM?
Adium
iChat
GMail (Web) http://www.google.com/talk/
Google Apps (Web)
Google Talk (Desktop and Blackberry)
Digsby
Pidgin
Trillian (iPhone)
MSN Messenger: Not supported, contact does not appear online
What are the commands?
There are a few easy to use commands that the twibes IM bot understands. Just type one of these words:
hi – the bot will respond to verify that it is ready for your messages
help – will list these messages
who – will show you who else was recently online. You can also use “who @somebody” to get more information about a person
invite – use “invite somebody@somewhere.com” to send them an email and invite them to the twibe
tweet on – send message to Twitter via Twibes
tweet off – stop sending messages to twitter (they still go to Twibes)
bye – this tells twibes to stop sending you messages. Otherwise, when you log in you may get twibe messages from when you weren’t there.
Please send log any feedback or comments you have on the Twibes feedback page, and contact adam@twibes.com if you have any problems.

At Twibes, our goal is to make it easy to participate in the conversations you care about. Our latest addition is the ability to post to your twibe (and receive twibe Tweets) from your Instant Messenger client. The exciting thing about this is that it means you can now connect to your Twibe in real time from a desktop application, or even from your Blackberry or iPhone.

How do I use it?

To get in, add YOURTWIBENAME @twitter-sync.appspotchat.com as an IM contact. So, if your twibe is called “Photography” add “photography@twitter-sync.appspotchat.com”. Then, open a conversation with that contact and type ‘hi’. If the email address you using for IM is different than the one you have on file with Twibes, you’ll get a link to click to add that email address to your twibes account.

What Applications work with Twibes IM?

Your instant messenger program must support connecting to Google Talk accounts. We’ve tested these and verified that they work:

  • Adium (Mac)
  • iChat (Mac)
  • GMail (Web)
  • Google Apps (Web)
  • Google Talk (Windows Desktop and Blackberry)
  • Digsby (Windows)
  • Pidgin (Windows)
  • Trillian (iPhone)
  • MSN Messenger: Not supported, contact does not appear online

What are the commands?

There are a few easy to use commands that the twibes IM bot understands. Just type one of these words:

  • hi – the bot will respond to verify that it is ready for your messages
  • help – will list these messages
  • who – will show you who else was recently online. You can also use “who @somebody” to get more information about a person
  • invite – use “invite somebody@somewhere.com” to send them an email and invite them to the twibe
  • tweet on – send message to Twitter via Twibes
  • tweet off – stop sending messages to twitter (they still go to Twibes)
  • bye – this tells twibes to stop sending you messages. Otherwise, when you log in you may get twibe messages from when you weren’t there.

skitched-20091122-230530

Please send log any feedback or comments you have on the Twibes feedback page, and contact adam@twibes.com if you have any problems.

Connect to your Twibe with Google Talk

Connecting to your Twibe via Google Talk (Instant Messenger)
At Twibes, our goal is to make it easy to participate in the conversations you care about.
We’ve been experimenting with the ability to post to your twibe (and receive twibe Tweets) with Google Talk. We have a basic version of this ready to test, and are looking for beta testers. To participate, you must have a Google account and access to http://www.google.com/talk/ Google Talk, either via the Web or via the desktop client.
(Advanced users can connect in an IM client that supports XMPP).
If you would like to help us beta test this new feature, please email adam@twibes.com for further instructions.
See you on Twibes!

At Twibes, our goal is to make it easy to participate in the conversations you care about. We’ve been experimenting with the ability to post to your twibe (and receive twibe Tweets) with Google Talk (that’s Google’s instant messenger).

We have basic functionality ready to test, and are looking for beta testers. To participate, you must have a Google account and access to Google Talk, either via the Web or the desktop client. Advanced users can connect in any IM client that supports XMPP.

If you would like to help us beta test this new feature, please email adam@twibes.com for further instructions.

Click here to get Google Talk

See you on Twibes!

Twitter Group Widgets

Twibes widgets let you put HTML code on your web site and display the Twibe members and tweets on your web site. To get to the widget builder, go to your twibe and type “/widgets” on the end of the URL. You can customize what you want to appear, then cut and paste the HTML code into your site.

widget-form-sample

Twibes widgets let you put HTML code on your web site to display your Twibe members and tweets. Adding a widget to your blog or Web site is a great way to recruit new twibe members and stay in touch. To get to the widget builder, go to your twibe page and click “Javascript Widget” in the bottom right corner of the page. You can customize what you want to appear, then cut and paste the HTML code into your site.

widget-link

We’ve been testing Twibes widgets for about a month, with some of our power users. Here are some examples.

We can’t wait to see what you do with these, please leave a comment below when you add a widget somewhere!

NOTE: Due to a limitation on javascript widgets, we’ve found that Twibes widgets do not work on wordpress.com blogs. They do however work if you host your own WordPress installation.

Bonus Power Tip

Twibes twitter group widgets are highly customizable via the web page, but if you know CSS you can further style your widget. Some sample code:

<style>
      #twibes_widget_container      { border: solid 1px red; }
      div.twibes_widget_title       { border: solid 1px orange; }
      div.twibes_widget_profile_pic { border: solid 1px yellow; }
      div.twibes_widget_text        { border: solid 1px green; }
      div.twibes_widget_item        { border: solid 1px purple; }
</style>

This will in fact make your widget look ugly, but you can change the styles above to make it look however you want.

Introducing Twibes Twitter Lists

What are Twibes lists?

A Twibes list is a list of people that have tagged themselves with a keyword (or have been added to the list by a friend). You can copy the list to your Twitter account as if you made it. From there, other people can follow the list. To join a particular list, click “Add Yourself” on the list page. You will be prompted to select up to 10 lists by tagging yourself with the name of a list.

Join-Twitter-List

Examples: Seattle Twitter List, Celebrity Twitter List, Social Media Twitter List

What happens when I “Make a Twitter List” from a Twibes List?

Twibes will copy the list to your Twitter account and keep it synchronized. Any one who joins the Twibes list will be added to your Twitter list automatically.

Sample-Twitter-List

How many people can be on a list?

Twitter lists have a limit of 500 members. We are working on influence rankings to make sure the 500 people on the Twibes list are relevant, high-quality tweeters.

What about my Twibe?

Twibes groups and Twibes lists are separate, but Twibes can turn your group into a Twitter list too. There is now a link on each Twibe to “Make List on Twitter”. Twibes will create a list for you and add the top 500 Twibe members to it.

make-twitter-list

Badges

Once you get ranked on a list, there will be a link from the list page or your profile to “GET BADGE”. This page will give you a snippet of javascript that you can add to your blog or Web site to show off your rank. If you earn a badge and put it on your site, let @twibes no so we can

twitter-list-badge