What to share and what your friends all care about ?

WordPress, Blogger, Facebook, Linkedin, Digg, Reddit, Twitter, Plurk, Foursquare, Gowalla … there are so many “networking” sites in Internet that you can access everyday from your laptop, cafe PCs and your mobile devices. Many times I ask myself why I want to share with my friends or a total stranger of what I am thinking, where I am and how to resolve some tricky problems.

I think the answer is simple, because many of us want to be a part of larger group, a good cause, or simply of something you care.

Not a frequent blogger, twitter myself but every time I want to post something on these social networks, I can’t help but to ask myself what the purpose of that blog post, tweet, news, or location is ? The information may be about Kindle, iPhone, photography, Information technology, web usability, food but the bottom line is – will my “friends” or “followers” benefit from it ? If not, then why post ?

Couple of days ago when I was reading the book Delivering Happiness : A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, a picture popped up in my mind.

That was, all these “information” I wanted to post in these networks actually intersect with each others and each of the intersections may serve a different group of my audiences. Then I drew the following picture / graph … about how I want to serve you, as my friend; with my expertise, news, views and where-abouts.

Getting freebies with Twitter

You probably know with good use of Twitter, you can fix your hotel reservation issue and even get a free dessert / appetizer. What about getting some freebies by just tweeting? You can certainly do that by:

  1. Writing a tweet about how good a company is;
  2. Writing one to complaint a company instead;
  3. Telling the world that you’re fixing a software problem, specify the company’s name in your tweet;
  4. Letting people know that you’re evaluating a website’s products / services, don’t forget the company’s name.

You know what, the companies mention in your tweets will not send you free stuff, but their competitors will as they are constantly monitoring any tweets about their rivals. For example, two hours after I tweeted about evaluating an image website …

Free credits

Customer service in 21st century, in Twitter style

So we all know Twitter can do many things – other than telling your followers what you’re eating, you can also use Twitter to express your views, to collect other people’s views, and to spread your friends’ views (by re-tweeting). And of course, we’ve heard many stories about using Twitter to find missing teens or getting better customer services.

I for one is a believer that Twitter can help improving customer services but then believing is one thing, can experience one is another. That was an incident last week related to a trip to Mumbai, India in February and I needed to get a room and airport transportation services from Hyatt Mumbai.

Looked like a simple task, I know. But somehow somewhere the reservation record was not right, I had email exchanged with the “e-concierge”, the “Catering Sales manager” (yes, strange I know) and “General Manager” (yes, right), but still could not sort the things out. So I decided … to air my frustration through Twitter.

And then within two hours, Hyatt customer services / Twitter team found my tweet and replied with another tweet.

I then direct-messaged the reservation confirmation number to them. In an hours or two, I was told the reservation was done exactly the same as my request, and then a follow-up email from Hyatt Germany service team (!!) wrapped up the case.

Wow, I love Hyatt’s service and obviously the capability of Twitter. The big question to me is how can one corporation compete without providing the same level of services in today’s world ?

What’s your Twitter customer service stories ?

Brand yourself – Twitter background- Part 2

Months ago I blogged about the importance of branding yourself in popular social networks, as well as the need of creating a unique Twitter background for your Twitter profile. After months of testing, I found that the design of the Twitter background needs to address two “display modes”:

  • The mode when your followers visit your profile / tweets;
  • The mode when only one tweet is displayed

I therefore redesigned the profile background – first find a good background image from Stock.xchng; then design your left hand side information panel; lastly, create some images (in my case, from my gallery) / graphics to cover the right hand side and lower half of the image.

Here is the new background image and check it out.

Twitter background

The background in “profile display mode”:

Twitter background - profile display mode

Twitter background in single tweet mode:

Twitter background - single tweet mode

Twitter Mania

So there is a rumor that Google is in negotiation to acquire Twitter. I think it is a great news, as the service will soon be more stable and the search will be more powerful. But to Google, why do they want to buy Twitter ? I don’t think Google really care what I am doing, thinking … as an individual, but I do think there are lots of companies want to know what the Internet users are doing and thinking … collectively. And they want to know these information in real time, they don’t want to wait. And that is why the Twitter platform and its search are so powerful. If I were Google, I would acquire Twitter, just for that.

Here are four examples I recently encountered, all because of my twits:

  1. I twitted that I was evaluating three websites A.com, B.com and C.com the other day … a few days later, both A.com and B.com followed me (I assume they want to know my opinion). And of course, I told myself that C.com was not doing good enough in collecting customer feedbacks.
  2. I modified a small program for WordPress and then I twitted about it … a few days later, the program developer followed me and asked what had I done – such that he could put in the change in next version. And he did !!
  3. Shortly I mentioned some technical keywords in my twits, a few recruitment firms followed me and asked me to follow them to get the latest job information.
  4. Last night, I twitted and asked for comments of a web site service … within an hour, I received a direct message from that web site and had a follower from that website’s competitor. Amazing, isn’t it ?

So, don’t use Twitter just to twit “What are you doing?”, but also use it as a tool to express your views, to collect other people’s views, and to spread your friends’ views (by re-twit) … all in real time.

Have you twit lately ?