Twitter doubles down on UGC with Moments

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One of the conundrums of content development is that social networks don’t own them. Content is mostly user generated and passed around like herpes for what it is worth and when Twitter launched Moments in the USA, it has got to be some mistake.

I have avoided writing about Moments from Twitter for the longest time as I watched the announcement live on Periscope some time back. All I wanted to know is why now?

Twitter is for conversations. It has no content to offer except maybe a link to the content site.

Social conversations that are limited to just 140 characters is probably more Neanderthal than social. What Twitter does well is to give us a voice to reach out to those who have one. We don’t have a voice being a nobody but somebody with fame and influence could be of help.

This is why Moments just doesn’t make sense.

I know how Periscope fits into the whole scheme of things for Twitter and how Vine is half assing its usefulness with those short clips but the point is still Moments is pretty odd. It’s like going to a Mexican restaurant to order Chinese food. People have used social networks like Facebook and G+ for content distribution but when Twitter gets into the act….you sort of question the wisdom behind it.

What Moments is All About

In short, it is trending content on the news. Say that there is a big fire on the East coast of America, and people want to know more about it, that’s probably the one that fits the bill but to curate content for users to have a conversation is really out of place.

Twitter wants to provide the goto content you want to hear about with Moments. It wants your eyeballs and your voice. They want you to retweet about it. It wants you to discuss content in the news, and to that effect curate meaningful content that affects you.

For a start, Moments will have two centers for curation. One each on the East and West coast of America. It is not global as yet and as much as people want that to happen, Twitter prefers not to hire more heads but to focus on getting a UGC algorithm in place so that they don’t have to use a team of people all over the world. Right now, that algorithm isn’t yet working….but the idea behind project lighting is.

So if the news and users are trending a subject, say Elon Musk jumping off the San Francisco bridge to highlight his ailing Tesla car business, the underpinning interest would be decided by the content curators who feel that you should know about this and for some reason talk about it online. Once you do, then they have secured the eyeballs necessary to serve you some ads.

That’s the whole point of it. Moments is integrated right into the Twitter app so there is no need to have a secondary app installed to receive the curated content.

Will Moments work for You?

To be more precise, Moments aims to scrap treading content from news networks and if you are just running a blog, chances are you won’t be featured.

There is no reason to feature some Joe Blow who writes a rant on his blog on a product review. Such content has no merits.

But if you care to troll the news, you would realize that there is a lot of noise and unsubstantiated content coming from the likes of CNN, Washington Post and even the New York Times. So what constitute as credible news these days is pretty subjective.

Then you have breaking news where big name media companies do not have a correspondent in place to tackle the news and what you get are repeats from off media sources mentioned everywhere else.

Twitter can be used successfully to maintain contact with your customers and to get feedback on how you are doing. Some use it to start a war of words with detractors while others just talk about how bad Nicki Minaj was at the awards show.

For me, running an active Twitter feed is a lot of work. Stats for readership are pretty low for each post if you’re not famous or intelligible with 140 characters.

So don’t put any hope into Moments for it to change how do business online or in real time.

The truth of the matter is that Twitter is running out of ideas for innovation and since it’s platform is conversational, they are hoping you would put in your two tweets worth for all the curated news you read on Twitter Moments. Maybe someone will read them, respond to it and that would get those eyeballs Twitter wants to show ads to?

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Twitter wants to sell you stuff thru Twitter Ad Pages

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So content marketing doesn’t matter anymore now that Twitter has dedicated itself to serving you ads.

The new service is aimed at grouping all the tweets and retweets into a cohesive page for everyone to see and click the buy button in the process. In other words, all the details of the product is there within Twitter and there is no need for hot linking that to a separate entity like a Facebook page or microsite.

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Retail Fatigue Personified

It is relatively easy to build this up but what I must warn you of these days is retail fatigue and User Experience (UX) issue. For me at least, Facebook adverts are getting more intrusive but for others, they can tolerate it. Tumblr has transitioned to this mode as well and so did Instagram. Paid advertising is the way to go when you got the eyeballs.

So what is your content worth these days?

Online retail fatigue is when you get tired of these adverts popping up on your newsfeed and with it, you get tired and give up on it altogether.

True. There are two groups of people, those who are out shopping and those who do not know what they want but are willing to buy something. But that generalization can’t be applied to everyone who surfs the Internet can you?

Where is the old fashion community building tools? Is that dead too now that Twitter has advertising pages which you can land on?

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Twitter Users can react in the most Unkind Way

Here is something brand PR has to prepare for. Your preferred hashtag can be hijacked just like what happened to NY Police Department.

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There are so many Twitter fail campaigns when it comes to using hashtags. Users will retweet and tweet your preferred hashtag and along with it comes the political and environmental messages. The same can be said for someone out to hijack ot sully your brand by associating it with fictional claims. Would you have time to fight the fire when it starts?

Makes me wonder if the PR agencies of the world are willing to vet the hashtag streams 24/7. I am sure they will….for a price.

So before you write that cheque for a Twitter only campaign, which promises to convert your tweets to direct sales, remember that your competitors can send out their own team to haunt you. In the book of dirty tactics, there is no such thing as fair play.

Any sort of direct promotional effort on Twitter will be out of your control when the negative viral impact becomes apparent.

How Twitter is following in the footsteps of Weibo

To avert any further disasters on its stock price, Twitter is following China’s Weibo to get ahead in the social network business.

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Weibo’s micropages has been hijacked by Twitter for adverts and buy conversions while rich media, from GIFs, short videos and live streaming are already in place to the next wave of content sharing. Copying these innovations is hardly new, after all, if the Chinese can steal design concepts from Apple, why can’t Twitter steal content concepts from Weibo?

Twitter has much to fear from its Chinese rivals if it doesn’t evolve. Stock price aside, Twitter has to garner much more active users who seem to be flock to other social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. In terms of real user growth, the rest of the world isn’t entirely sold on Twitter alone.

For me, the biggest let down is really the Twitter Mobile App.

The landing page when you land on is your newsfeed. I just want to see my profile page to know that I have landed in the right page but you don’t get that.. If Twitter copied the user interface for FB, it makes a whole better sense.

Twitter is more of a mobile platform than one that works on desktop PCs.

All they have to do is to make package the UX of the desktop web version into a mobile app. For example, trending stories don’t show up on your mobile newsfeed page unless you use the desktop browser version. Why can’t they have a left to right or right to left swiping gesture to implement these content feeds? Like swipe left to retweet…?

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The user experience matters and it’s not about having more promoted tweets or ads because as long as people are not actively tweeting on this network, they are definitely spending time post to some other social platform.

Twitter and Google in unholy Alliance?

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What unholy mother of god is this? Why is Google taking in Twitter feeds as part of its Search result?

The announcement made by Twitter was a rude shock to some and to many others, a serious flaw in Google strategy. Or is it? Let me explain the witchcraft behind all this.

Google previously paid to have access to Twitter’s firehose of post. Then the partnership broke down and never was heard from again. This time round, it’s on again with real time feeds being optimized to appear on Google SERPs. Google has a plan but what is it?

Does this mean I need to have Twitter to get a better Search Ranking?

This depends on several factors but you won’t get penalized for not having Twitter. Google is all about finding content and if you don’t have any, no point griping about it.

Is there a reason for having to support a Twitter channel for all my content marketing campaigns?

Having your Twitter Nick isn’t going to help you get a better ranking as the search engine is focused on real time tweets, this means news, events that makes the grade. Having a twitter feed just so you have a better SERP mileage won’t translate well until you know how to place you hashtags where it matters most.

What do you mean by hashtags for SERPs?

Remember trending stories that Twitter often suggest to you? That’s what Google is interested in and not your million of followers or for that matter, your URL post on marketing your wares. Hashtags help to identify trending stories and if you don’t have them. You are pretty much wasted.

So how do I make a difference with Twitter on Google SERPs?

Now you asked the golden question. You can make a difference on two points, first being relevant to the trending events, so hashtags could find your post listed on a Google search. The second is really….you guessed it, video content!

How Live Video is boosting Twitter Content

When Twitter bought out Vine, it gained a small footprint for video content. Sure the 6 seconds of fame isn’t going to last you and since it loops. It’s more about capturing the essence of the moment. Hell, it’s a video loop. What value is that? Probably not much but judging from the latest developments, it’s more a parlay of Periscope and a Meerkat.

Two mobile platforms, Meerkat and Periscope, are LIVE streaming apps which at this moment is unsupported in social media except Twitter. Google has a hangout feature to broadcast live but these are often used in teleconferencing and online seminars. It is also very unproductive to live stream events when no one is watching. Content has to be found and what better way to do this than on Twitter.

Content has to be trending issues and this is where you use hashtags. Indexing content using hashtags is nothing new, however if you have a hashtag that is hot…at that very moment it is happening…. guess what? Google has no access to that!

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Live streaming from mobile has existed for many years, but it’s integration in social media is kinda fluffy, There are sites like younow, which streams people’s lives to the world. It has been a bit of a hit in Europe and the US but has yet to catch up in the rest of the globe. However with the Meerkat and Periscope platforms on mobile, content can now be streamed via a social platform—which is great for discovering the latest happenings.

With Meerkat and Periscope, you can virtually capture a live feed as it happens on Twitter. The recent bout between the Pacman and Mayweather is a good example on how to skirt moves to block the live fight over the internet. People only had to use this to get a video feed as it happens on TV or at the scene. Great!

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So what Google has sneakily done is to add more content to SERPs without any real benefit to someone who has a Twitter account listed on a website. So unless you provide a running video feed of some kind or contribute to a trending hashtag would Google be interested in what you are showing.

In the end, it’s all about the content.

So don’t loose sleep over this integration. Google has to benefit substantially from this partnership more than Twitter. You on the other hand need only know that your live porn post of yourself skinny dipping in a mud pool can only be found if you used a trending hashtag. It might sound awesome but seriously folks. It’s all about the moment and how we are engrossed in it.