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Twitter Rules – Keep It Real


Although Twitter was launched in 2006, one can notice a shift during 2009 and 2010 towards “business tweeting” by all sizes of brands, corporations and businesses aiming to connect with their customers and position themselves as modern, interactive, fast reacting and resourceful. As of today, despite still some strong resistance among Internet bloggers to accept the use of Twitter as a form of business/brand communication & messaging, many companies and organizations utilize Twitter as their primary or key word-of-mouth channel to spread announcements and information. Interaria’s web host MediaTemple announced recently that it has stopped sending email alerts about service down times and rather for now on would announce them in the company’s Twitter page. Another side for an example: The University of Texas in Austin was able to spread the world fast to its thousands of students when a disturbed gunman terrorized the campus area.

At first glance it feels that Twitter is all about the numbers. The higher the number of followers, the higher the popularity. Companies, brands and organizations that have a high number of users, members or subscribers have no trouble getting followers. For smaller specialized businesses – that deal with a small but special customer base – connecting with a large follower base is not an easy task. For instance, our company Interaria, runs at max. about 10 – 20 projects a year. In quantitative numbers that is less than the number of people entering to a brand store, say Whole Foods in Plano, within 30 minutes.

Interaria recently launched its Twitter page. Interaria’s Twitter account’s TFF Ratio (Twitter Follower-Friend Ratio) is clearly less than 1.0 of which many Internet bloggers out there classify as “not getting much Twitter Love in return”. As a company we advise to approach these type of classifications calmly, and not to take the personalized and often narcissistic nature and genre of social media too personally. Just like with exercising, rather set your own goals and objectives as a business in tiers, rather measuring your own progress than comparing yourself to others.

One of the biggest targets of critique by social media bloggers are (of course) other social media bloggers who have self-claimed their position as social media gurus* and from this position of expertise and popularity give advise and instructions on the proper use and best strategies on Twitter. Interaria is new to Twitter but we suggest that your company does some independent research. Start simply from the Twitter’s user rules page (http://support.twitter.com/articles/18311-the-twitter-rules) that clearly state the policies for the proper use of Twitter. The closer you follow the policies, the better longevity.

In its rules page Twitter clearly sets the rules against spamming and excessive self-promotion, outlining a policy for balanced “organic” use of Twitter. For instance, Twitter rules outline not to grow the number for accounts “followed” much higher than number of “followers”. This can be hard at first and we also had our first stumbles – and we still do.

As we’ve grown to use Twitter, our own experience has been shifting away from the numbers game to use tweeting (and blogging and other social media activity) as an input for inspiration to do more research, grow as a company, and develop our service offerings. We at Interaria think that providing real quality resources and help is the way to go. In the end, if that value cannot be measured in a clear cut number on a public page then so be it. You will get as much back, if not more, as you give, and just like in life there’s no guarantee of endless love, and heck, we never asked for it.

* Self-promotion aside, Interaria regards that web design / development companies need to have some kind of responsiveness to this topic. As a web design / development company we need to be ready to give proper answers and advise to our customers, and be sure to inform them about their choices. As popular as social media is, many of our customers are new to this topic.

© 2010. Interaria. By Meri Kuusi-Shields. All rights reserved.

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Below are the main points from the Twitter rule book (unedited, without a spin). We sincerely ask our clients to read these rules thoroughly:
Direct Source: http://support.twitter.com/articles/18311-the-twitter-rules

Username Squatting:

You may not engage in username squatting. Accounts that are inactive for more than 6 months may also be removed without further notice. Some of the factors that we take into account when determining what conduct is considered to be username squatting are:

  • the number of accounts created
  • creating accounts for the purpose of preventing others from using those account names (…)

Spam:

  • You may not use the Twitter service for the purpose of spamming anyone.
  • What constitutes “spamming” will evolve as we respond to new tricks and tactics by spammers.
  • Some of the factors that we take into account when determining what conduct is considered to be spamming are:
  • If you have followed a large amount of users in a short amount of time;
  • If you have followed and unfollowed people in a short time period, particularly by automated means (aggressive follower churn);
  • If you repeatedly follow and unfollow people, whether to build followers or to garner more attention for your profile;
  • If you have a small number of followers compared to the amount of people you are following;
  • If your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates;
  • If you post misleading links;
  • If a large number of people are blocking you;
  • The number of spam complaints that have been filed against you;
  • If you post duplicate content over multiple accounts or multiple duplicate updates on one account;
  • If you post multiple unrelated updates to a topic using #;
  • If you post multiple unrelated updates to a trending or popular topic;
  • If you send large numbers of duplicate @replies;
  • If you send large numbers of unsolicited @replies in an attempt to spam a service or link;
  • If you add a large number of unrelated users to lists in an attempt to spam a service or link;
  • If you repeatedly post other users’ Tweets as your own;
  • If you have attempted to “sell” followers, particularly through tactics considered aggressive following or follower churn;
  • Creating or purchasing accounts in order to gain followers;
  • Using or promoting third-party sites that claim to get you more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising “more followers fast,” or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to your account);
  • If you create false or misleading Points of Interest;
  • If you create Points of Interest to namesquat or spam.

Apple Approves: HTML5 is Here!


HTML5 doesn’t perhaps sound all that fancy but it is a new developing programming language that is the next major revision of the HTML standard. HTML5 incorporates new features such as a video playback and a drag-and-drop technology that have been previously dependent on third-party browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight. HTML5 video player especially will be useful for incorporating video to Apple iPhone and iPad that currently do not support Adobe Flash Player. Apple describes HTML5 as “open, reliable, highly secure, and efficient”. This Apple’s endorsement doesn’t sound so sweet for Adobe, the maker of the Flash Player at the moment.

Interaria is efficient in HTML5 code language, and follows the developments closely. Please contact Interaria at 214-909-3900 (Dallas) or 512-300-9286 (Austin) for discussing web technologies further and what they mean to your business.

Interaria Social Media Optimization Kit


Social media sites and applications provide a powerful platform to connect and engage with customers / consumers / clients / piers. In the beginning things are new and exciting: new followers are showing up in Twitter; Facebook friends feel very supportive; blog posts are fun to write; new applications and integrations such as Digg, StumbleUpon, SlideShare are exciting to discover; Google Caffeine picks up posted social media content fast.

At some point – most likely – just like with exercising, the first excitement fades: new ideas turn harder to come up with, and other “more important” or “more intellectual” work starts eating time and questioning the overall motivation – perhaps categorizing social media participation as gullible, unimportant or just pure entertainment. The mind has its tricks, it turns around coins, and plays for our immediate comfort.

To counter attack and in order to stay in the path of active social media participation it is important to create a routine, hold yourself accountable and track results. Interaria’s Social Media Optimization Kit is designed to approach social media participation from a practical standpoint, and strengthen the lines for commitment and goal setting.

As web developers we can optimize client’s social media applications and interfaces from a technical point of view but our client – or the person or marketing department in charge of the client’s social media content – has to be fully integrated into the process. What eventually sets the company apart from others is the active systematic participation itself; blogging every Tuesday and Friday, tweeting every day, following and commenting interesting web content, showing expertise and commitment. It is our commitment, as social media optimizers, to make sure that our clients are not only informed and educated about their choices but that they also have the tools and set goals to make their social media participation a pleasant task (and yes, a routine) that can lead to successful results.

Our “kit” is a client’s workbook to break social media into smaller, more manageable pieces: it documents motivation, goals, participation activity, and newly created content and links. We meet with our client on a regular basis to go through the progress documented in the workbook, discuss new ideas, and implement any technical changes. In 2 – 3 months of time, we’ll have a good source for tracking the client’s social media participation activity that can be analyzed not only in the context of set marketing goals, but also in the context of the client’s search engine ranking results and client’s site’s traffic. Just like with exercising, some strategies and plans will work better than others. A systematic approach brings clarity to the chosen paths, enforcing goal setting and clarifying direction.

© 2010. Interaria. All rights reserved.

Please contact Interaria at 214-909-3900 (in Dallas) or 512-300-9286 (in Austin) to discuss your company’s social media optimization needs. A draft SOM plan is available upon request.

Interaria’s Five Premises for Web Development

Interaria naturally endorses public transportation and ecological living. Since buses are yet to have a strong design image, we opted to use this glossy vintage car illustration to demonstrate our cluster of services. A consumer buying a car perhaps originally and initially gets intrigued by its style and design. Despite the first emotional connection and attraction, any sensible consumer wants to find out how the engine functions, what type of special features are included, how fast can the car go, how long will the engine last, how solidly and to what detail was the car manufactured, and so on.

Similar demand and desire for information should apply when signing up to develop a web site. The bottom line: if you are investing on a web site, and intend to use it for several years to come, make sure you are not basing you decision making only to what you see outside. Ask questions and look inside the hood, to make sure you will get a powerful and functional engine and code base that serves your company’s needs and growth goals.

Interaria bases its web site and online media development on five premises to deliver a full package:

1) Aesthetic & Functional Identity & Architecture

+ Cohesive Brand / Web Identity
+ Organized Web architecture based on optimal user experience

2) Data Driven Code Engine

+ Top of the line code base
+ Advanced database functions for customized user experience
+ Robust Content Management Solutions

3) Accessible on the Go

+ Mobile / iPhone versions for online content
+ Mobile optimized content

4) Highly Ranked & Positioned

+ Optimized meta tags, keywords, links and content structure for search engines

5) Optimized Social Media Life

+ Active in Social Media
+ Easy to track, reach & talk to
+ Strong player in creating content to improve positions in many areas

© 2010. Interaria. All rights reserved.

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Contact Interaria at 214-909-3900 or fill our contact form.

Follow Interaria on Twitter.

Social Media Optimization (SMO)

Interaria can set your company to a modern, interactive social media environment and ecosystem with the following services:

  • Incorporating (embedding) blog to your company’s website. Visitor doesn’t have to leave your site to read/subscribe to the blog
  • Setting up and linking to an external blog; there are tons of layouts to choose from, and designs can be customized
  • Social media icon links to Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / Digg and other social media forums
  • Twitter tweets embedded to the site
  • “Share” content / article: Twitter, Facebook, Digg / RSS feeds, other social media
  • Custom strategies (and technical and design help) for brand communication, consistency, dialog and call to action in social media forums

© 2010. Interaria. All rights reserved.

Contact Interaria at 214-909-3900, not only for your company’s SEO needs but also for SMO. A well planned active SMO can also support your company’s search engine ranking goals.

Changing Flash Media

Interaria’s Web Designer Meri Kuusi-Shields, in her blog Web Beats, is outlining development patterns for the shifting role and symbolism of Flash media. Click here to read the blog entry.

Does Your Company Need a Blog?

Interaria can set up any blog type – WordPress, Moveable Type, TypePad, Blogger, ExpressionEngine, Serendipity – for your company and customize it according to your company’s preferences and brand identity / messaging. You don’t need to settle on a basic template. Blogs can be fully designed, customized and personalized, just like regular web sites. We also provide solutions that update your company’s Twitter page automatically, each time a new entry has been added to your blog. Give us a call at 214-909-3900 or fill out our contact form.

Laid-Back Sites

Interaria website takes a step away from metaphors and meanings, aiming simply to please the visual eye. We thought, what if this time a lighthouse would be just a lighthouse, and not a symbol for vision, and water just water, a pure and simple element without a double twist. The concept was influenced by the idea of mesmerizing screen savers and travels around the world. Our site is a tribute to the organic world, even when things get stressful. This type of honesty can always be attacked as naivety but we feel pretty laid-back with our decisions.

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