Things Change.

01.20.12

I hated twitter parties. The term still makes me cringe.

Twitter has changed. I loved celebrating 20k with y’all and I’m pretty sure you’ll see more hashtagged events from me.

I’m willing to say I was wrong.

Influence: Doing More Harm Than Good

04.17.10

Last night Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution was on TV and #FoodRevolution was an organic trend on twitter.

At the same moment, a manufactured trend occurred, it was #Lunchables.

I am embarrassed for the women would take their hard earned social capital and give it to a product that is killing our kids and our planet. If you are giving your child a steady diet of processed food you are not parenting as well as you should be. If your child is getting mounds of sugar in their meals, you are gifting them diabetes. When lunches come in disposable plastic you are ruining the planet for everyone, don’t give me the “they can be recycled” line. We all know they won’t be. Cheese is made of milk, it shouldn’t appear shiny or waxy, it is not a delicacy to be unfolded from cellophane.

Watch this and you tell me if you trust women that encourage you to feed your children Lunchables.

I am off to the market, as I am about to create a series of videos for you. I hope you find them appalling.

RSVP Here for #CVS Tonight at 7

04.1.10

CVS Drugs Twitter party

I’m really excited to share a great opportunity with y’all. I think y’all know that I end up at CVS a lot. In the middle of the night the kids get sick, and CVS is always open.

In the middle of the day you might find me there picking up a new mascara, or even making a photo book. CVS is so much more than a drugstore, and they’d really like to reach out and meet all you wonderful tweeters.

Tonight at 7 pm pacific time we’ll have a one hour twitter party with representatives from #CVS on hand. They want to hear from you, they want to talk about how CVS is a part of your life. It’s just an hour, so be on time. CVS has tons of giftcards and fun giveaways planned, but you have to RSVP to be eligible for any giveaways.

Please leave your twitter ID in the comments, and this will serve as your RSVP.

I know I’ve been critical of Twitter Parties in the past, so I’m excited to see if we can try together to do one that’s really great.

Hashtag Spam

03.5.10

Hashtag Spam and twitter parties (they are synonyms). If you are not familiar with Twitter, you might not be familiar with hashtags, surely you are familiar with Spam.

Twitter is a microblogging service. You can update your status using just 140 characters. It’s not quite a bulletin board, but it’s not a blog either. In order to maximize your very brief updates, you can add a hashtag to a word and twitter will make is searchable. A hashtag is the number sign #. When groups of people use a hashtag it makes it easier for them to find each other. Quite often at an event there will be a predetermined hashtag in use. The 140 Conference uses the hashtag #140conf take a look at how helpful an event hashtag can be. Shortly, we will all be able to see SXSW emerge as a trending topic, and, for lack of a better term, get the back channel of the conference and it’s parties (or is it the parties and the conference?).

Hashtags, like anything, can be used well, or can be the source of spam. Spam is defined by wikipedia as “the abuse of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.” Hashtags are free to create, and could be a marketing dream. Marketers appear to have forgotten that a “free hashtag” isn’t a one way street. Remember when Skittles thought that they would build a platform based on a simple feed? Walmart tried selling mom jeans just two short months later with a “twitter party” (more on twitter parties later), that ended with this (click the picture for a close up):
Walmart Porn

What’s most shocking though, is that all these months later businesses still haven’t learned. Recently Maria Bailey used the hashtag #WashThemGrow to sell Suave baby soap, but when people asked about the toxicity and the facts surrounding some of it’s ingredients, the twitter party shut down and this was posted about 24 hours later (*eyeroll* I know). I know that Corporate America moves slowly, but this chugging along is ridiculous. Learn something, learn now.

Hashtag parties are spam. Jessica Smith recently wrote that “hijacking a hashtag” is spamming people. I would disagree. The corporate creation of a hashtag is incredibly intrusive. Businesses should be thrilled and honored if they get mentioned on twitter, why on earth would they feel like they have the right to a free focus group? Further, I’d argue that if you actually look at these “parties” it’s the same group of 100 women every week. Can’t you just send them an email? It appears that they are willing to sell just about anything to each other.

Every Friday Twitter becomes unusable to me. I love the way #FollowFriday began, but (to borrow a phrase from Scoble) it has devolved into a mess. I can’t see through the lists of names to actually get to the content, and I don’t want to unfollow people for just one day. May I kindly suggest that if you use #followfriday that you limit it to just one person and also give us all a reason that we should follow them?

I’d like to suggest we all take a page from the Twitter Handbook, listen and love. It’s incredible that Jack‘s interest in the routes of New York City messengers could bring about Twitter. I know some of y’all don’t recognize the import of Twitter, but those newfangled telephones were considered pretty intrusive too. In 1876 folks just hated that darned thing. Much like twitter, they started out as a party line. I think twitter lists and DM’s have brought us closer to the Baby Bells.

Again, if you can look at the internet and see it as one gigantic party line, well, you’d see that Hashtag Parties alienate more than they embrace. They serve the same small circle of potential customers each week, and they are seen by the rest of the community as corporate sponsored spam.

The reason that people are hijacking your beloved hashtag is because it irritates them. I know that sometimes we look at our own work, and can’t see the flaws. This isn’t bad, it’s normal. Sometimes an outside observer is needed. #Journchat is never spammed, why? Because #Journchat brings immense value to the people who participate in it, and (people like me) who simply read the stream either live or later. The world doesn’t owe you anything, and Twitter is a place that recognizes and quantifies that.

Have I said it enough ways?

If you’re having a party conference, by all means let people pick a hashtag, but if your party only lives on twitter… well, congratulations, you are a spammer.

UPDATE: AdAge has an interesting and related post: Do People Tweet About Brands More Out Of Hate Than Love?