Twitter just launched a fresh new interface. I'm still getting used to it, but my initial reaction is that it's a strong improvement for users of the Twitter.com interface (which is about 70% of the users currently).
The first thing you'll notice is that there is now a header bar that contains a streamlined dashboard: a search box, a link Home, a link to your Profile, and Messages (DMs). This is already different, in that messages have been separated from @ replies.
Then, the "what's happening" (not "what are you doing?") section is footed with tabbed browsing options: Tweets, @Mentions (not Replies), Retweets, Searches and Lists. Note that the last three have dropdown menus that give the user options.
For Retweets, it's Retweets by others, Retweets by you, and Your Tweets, retweeted. This is a handy way of discerning these various levels of retweets, making it easier to find what's meaningful.
The Searches that used to inhabit the sidebar are now available in the dropdown.
Similarly, Lists offer you a chance to see the aggregated lists you've created. My complaint is that it only allows you to see about 8 or 9 lists; for power users like me that have 20 lists, you have to click through to the list page, which is in the old interface.
Probably the coolest part though, is the ability to preview content directly from the link, without having to leave your page. You can view photos, videos and more by clicking on the little arrow in the tweet box:
In addition, you can see mini-previews of profiles - number of followers, tweets, bio, etc. - directly from this page by hovering over any user.
The full details are available directly from Twitter. Overall, this is vast improvement that puts Twitter.com on a more level playing field with some of the more sophisticated desktop and mobile apps.
The actual article stated that overall, teens text five times more than adults according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Again, not all that surprising, but at least we're getting somewhere. It seems that most adults text between 1-10 times a day, both groups are pretty similar in the 11-20 times a day and 21-50 times a day categories. But teens are twice as likely to text 51-100 times a day and more than three times as likely to text over 100 times a day.
Check out the graph of the number of texts per day, adults vs. teens:
One other bit of information about texting: 57% noted that they received unwanted or spammy text messages.
What conclusions can marketers draw from this for the future?
First, this is the next generation of consumers, so we need to be prepared for them. While email may become more important to them in the workforce, they're still going to be tied to texting. The challenge is that texting is necessarily a one-to-one (or in some cases one-to-few) experience. There's very little room for interruptive ads.
Second, as you can see from that 57% figure, opting in is going to be extremely important; but even so, I believe that if we're taking up their valuable texting time by shooting them an SMS message, then it should be something that is worth their attention. Some categories or ideas to consider:
Breaking news about your brand or company
Discounts or coupons
Contest or sweeps
For local businesses: a digital version of "leave your business card"
Get them off mobile-only interaction - cross-pollinate to your other properties
Probably one of my most favorite examples of this last category is the Facebook Sign Maker (and its Twitter counterpart) from the good folks at Blue Sky Factory. Text a simple phrase to a number and - voila! - you're a fan of a Facebook page.
They've brought users from text messaging to Facebook fans via an outdoor/experiential sign. Remarkably effective and stunningly simple. Companies that begin to adopt this thinking understand how different marketing practices can leverage each other and that this is how life works - it's not about how we interact with the world around us, not how we simply focus on a single channel.
Here's one final nugget found in the Pew report: breaking some long-held stereotypes, men actually use the phone slightly more than women. Of the women surveyed, 53% make or receive five or fewer calls a day, while only 43% of men could say the same.
Maybe there are still a few surprises around after all.
At Ford, Scott heads up the social media function and holds the title Global Digital &
Multimedia Communications Manager. He is a strategic advisor on all social media activities across the company, from blogger
relations to marketing support, customer service to internal communications and more, as social media is being integrated into many
facets of Ford business.
Prior to joining Ford, Scott served as Consigliere for crayon
and spent a number of years with PJA Advertising + Marketing, a
boutique BtoB agency specializing in health sciences & high tech.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Scott is an active blogger and podcaster. He writes about the intersection of
advertising, marketing and PR at The Social Media Marketing Blog and
also writes The Baker Street Blog and cohosts I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, two literary undertakings. Scott
has been featured in hundreds of news and business publications in print and on the web, in nearly dozens of books, and on a variety of
mainstream media, including NBC, NPR, CNN and The Wall Street Journal. Scott is a recognized thought leader in the social media industry and
frequently speaks at industry events.
Scott received his Master's in Medical Science from Boston University's School of Medicine concurrently with his MBA from BU's
Graduate School of Management. He lives in the greater Detroit area with his wife and two young sons, golfs all too infrequently, and
has a hidden talent for voice over work.
Scott speaks on social media at events, seminars and conferences around the world. His topic generally focuses on corporate use of social media, becoming an online spokesperson, and specifically on the progress that Ford has made in the recent past. If you're interested in booking Scott to speak at your event, please click here to submit a speaking request for Ford-related purposes or email me at speaking [AT] this site's URL (if you know what I mean) to send a general email request.. Scott's bio and headshot can be found in the "About Scott" tab above.
I'm Scott. I'm the global head of social media for Ford Motor Company. This is my personal blog, where I share my perspectives on social media - the convergence of marketing, advertising and PR on the Web - for marketers, agencies, the enterprise and the individual. This blog contains my personal views. My bio is available here and my headshots can be found here.