social networking

5 Misdemeanor Twitter Crimes

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Rep. Anthony Weiner has done his part to illustrate a major crime of Twitter. And sure, naked pictures—while not technically illegal—constitute awful, no good, very bad use of Twitter.

But there are other Twitter crimes—misdemeanors—that I see every day. Are you an offender?

1. The All-About-Me tweets.

Meaningful statistics and important milestones are good to share once in a while, but chances are they're more important to you than anyone else. Use them sparingly.

2. The Insider tweets.

Private conversations and inside jokes make a few people feel special and everyone else feel bored and annoyed. Strings of conversations are much better left on Facebook.

3. The Yawn tweets.

There's nothing worse than wading through endless miles of dull nuggets. How you feel, what you've recently eaten, commentary on the weather ... these all fall in this category.

4. The Press-Release-in-Costume tweets.

Twitter shouldn't just be used to push information out. You have to add value to the conversation ... contribute not just market. Sure, organizations and companies want (and need) to share information about themselves, but it shouldn't be the whole stream.

5. The Endless tweets.

I have a friend who tweets about twice a week and makes me laugh out loud. I look forward to his 140 characters. Quantity of tweets certainly doesn't mean quality. For real!

Build On What We Know

I came across an interesting study on the “Diffusion dynamics of games on online social networks.”

(No, this isn’t another treatise on the ubiquity of FarmVille.)

I’m not an online games person. But I am interested in how word spreads via social media and in metrics on social networking behavior.

What I found really fascinating was how much the researchers findings correlated with other, “more traditional” direct marketing and fundraising trends.

For example, in the study:
• 10% of users account for 50% of successful invitations.
• players who enter through social invitation are more likely to remain engaged.
• players who are more engaged are more likely to succeed in inviting others.

In our approach to donor development, we call those more engaged constituents “advocates.” Our research shows they’re more likely to give more and more likely to renew their support.

Another similarity. In social network gaming:
• sending more invitations can lower your success rate
• spacing invitations out is more effective than rapidly repeating the request

Target your message. Plan multiple asks. Respect your recipient. Sound familiar?

I think it’s exciting to consider the number of new ways social networking tools can help us connect and communicate with key constituencies.

And while these new tools require new approaches, I also think it’s encouraging to find that some of the best practices of our professions – communications, marketing, fundraising – will continue to be the foundations of success in these new media.