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Travel resources on Twitter and more: Updated

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With Memorial Day approaching this weekend, summer travel is on the minds of many, and the resources to plan and execute the best trips for business or for pleasure lie within the social sites you know and love. Last year we looked at the Top travel resources on Twitter: Accounts to follow and chats to attend as well as the 10 best travel resources on social media and beyond. So what does the travel landscape look like on social in 2014?

On Twitter

All of the travel advice and perspective accounts from our Twitter travel resources post are still active and providing information on everything from amateur and budget travel to high-end luxury accommodations; skim the list to find and follow the users that fit your needs.

As for the travel chats, read over the transcripts to get an idea of which ones would be worth joining in on before you plan your next trip:

  • #MexMonday (all day Mondays): Check this one out if you’re planning a trip to Mexico 
  • #TravelTuesday (all day Tuesdays): Chat about all things travel-related
  • #CruiseChat (2pm EST Tuesdays): Whether you’re a veteran cruiser or new to boat-bound travel, find out all you need to know in this chat
  • #NUTS (Not-so-usual-therapy-session, aka travel and specifically roadtrips) seems to be used more as a generic hashtag than a travel related chat, but you can still check out the session recaps on their site.
  • #TTOT (5:30 am/pm EST Tuesdays): standing for Travel Talk on Tuesdays, you can check out the topic ahead of time on their Facebook page.
  • #LuxChat (2:30pm PST every 3rd Wednesday): While #LuxChat doesn’t always cover travel, keep an eye on the month’s chosen topic if treating yourself while you travel is your goal. You can find recaps of their chats on their Tumblr.
  • #TourismChat (2:00pm CST bi-weekly on Thursdays): Check the @tourismchat account for topics and transcripts.
  • #FriFotos (all day Fridays): You can find out each week’s theme from @EpsteinTravels

Other chats to check out:

Aren’t sure how to participate in a Twitter chat, or want to host your own? Check out our posts about how to get the most out of a chat as a participant or as a host.

Other social media travel resources

All of our holiday travel tips from last year still hold true, and if you’re looking at how to get the most out of travel blogging on Tumblr we’ve covered that too. (You can see all of our travel-related Tumblr posts here.)

We still recommend Pinterest for planning what you’re going to pack, what sites you want to see at your destination, and more. Instagram is an amazing way to catalog your travels that lets everyone at home follow along with you and avoids overwhelming them with an album of 200 new photos to parse when you get home.

But what about using Instagram for inspiring and planning your next trip? Stay tuned. We’ll have that for you soon!

If you’ve got any social media travel resources we missed, leave them in the comments, or let us know on Twitter.

Photo courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery. 

Written by Sarah

May 21st, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Find health support just a click away

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The state of our health isn’t deemed polite conversation by most of society. Navigating the line between getting support from friends and family when you’re going through a hard time and not being the weird uncle who always talks about their colon at Christmas dinner can take some adept balancing.

Fortunately, just as social platforms can serve as support networks for those making physical changes aimed at fitness, they can also serve as support networks for those living with health issues from the temporary (How do I work out with a broken leg?) to those living with chronic illness (How do I restructure my life with this?).

Reaching out on Twitter

Building a supportive community on Twitter is one of the things that makes the platform the most worthwhile, and it can make a huge difference when a recently diagnosed person is able to surround themselves with supportive people dealing with similar health issues a few tweets away. Reaching out can start with browsing this master list of tweet chats and joining in whichever feel most comfortable; general health chats might point to more specific ones, and it’s hard not to find someone to connect with in most tweet chats. Doctors and other medical professionals sometimes host tweet chats in order to help answer questions from the general public. Building twitter lists of who participates in which chats, or is the most helpful in pointing out resources can help sort a barrage of new information.

There are also specific accounts dedicated to any number of health issues; Invisible Illness Wk, for example, connects those living with invisible illnesses in addition to raising awareness of the issues those will invisible, chronic illnesses face to those who are unfamiliar.

On other platforms

Sometimes there’s nothing more helpful than reading about someone else’s experience dealing with what you’re currently going through. Tumblr offers the same capabilities as a blog, but socially enhanced with reblogging and private messaging options, allowing one blog to draw from and connect with another easily, building up a support network without ever leaving the site.

For particular chronic illnesses, medical professionals will often point those newly diagnosed to message boards specific to a certain condition or related conditions. Inspire.com has a range of different communities that offer support, for example.

YouTube is also a popular platform for sharing experiences and getting feedback. Popular YouTuber Hank Green has shared his experience of living with a chronic illness, and the comments show many viewers grateful to see their own experiences mirrored in his video, especially from someone well-regarded and popular.

The bottom line

Ultimately social media helps connect those whose health might keep them from being able to attend a physical support group, and to supplement and organize the information and support they might receive from other sources.

Written by Sarah

February 12th, 2014 at 9:26 am

Pump your fitness up with social media support

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Social networks evolved out of a desire to connect and share in a new way with people already in our lives, then further evolved as a way to reach out to new people we want to add to our lives, sometimes both online and off. Using these networks to seek out those with similar goals and struggles for both accountability and support is a natural extension of this; finding advice, commiseration, or just about anything else having to do with health and fitness is now just a couple of clicks away.

Every social network is what you make of it, and we wanted to take a look at how people are using them for support networks.

Using Twitter to support fitness endeavors 

January is the month we all promise ourselves we’re going to get back into shape after an extensive treat-yourself-holiday-season, but most of us don’t follow through even though support is just a tweet or post away. In fact, one study showed that Twitter helped participants lose more weight. Fitness bloggers create Twitter lists of other fitness-centric accounts to follow, and join in fitness tweet chats like #FitBlog and #FitStudio.

And what about other social media?

Communities of fitness enthusiasts exist on every platform. On Tumblr and Instagram you can find like-minded fitness folks to follow, particularly through exploring hashtags related to fitness. Fitness-focused Pinterest boards cover everything from suggested workouts of the day to healthy meal recipes, desired fitness equipment, and more.

One of the most popular fitness-related tags on any site is #fitspo, meaning fitness inspiration. A quick search on Instagram alone shows over 6 million #fitspo-tagged photos, and we’ve looked at the size of the Tumblr fitness community- or “fitblr”- before as well. While the basic premise behind fitspo is to stay motivated by sharing inspiring photos of fit models, athletes, or regular people (along with meals, progress, inspirational/motivational phrases, and more), the practice has come under fire for focusing more on the aesthetics of the bodies being shown rather than the physical work and accomplishments of the people to whom the bodies belong.

A social media counter-culture has arisen to combat this, however. For example, Tumblr user The Exercist works to combat problematic fitspo by using a tag the blog invented- #reclaimingfitspo- and encouraging other Tumblr users to post photos that show athletes or other people in action and relating their accomplishments below. The Exercist also writes posts to combat harmful or dangerous fitness myths, shares sources so readers can find more information, and points out when popular fitspo images have been Photoshopped.

On Instagram, many fitspo posters will share photos with those who belong to the same gym or running group as them with the tag #fitfam, meaning “fitness family”. This brings real world support in the form of workout buddies to social media; your fitfam might now include people who are several states or even countries away, offering an extra dose of support. Other tags often used for fitness include: #MondayMotivation, #TuesdayTransformation, #WednesdayWorkout, #Fitness, and #FitnessAddict.

As for social platforms that solely focus on fitness, there are options like Fitocracy (which has both a site and an app), MyFitnessPal, or the new Instagram-compatible app FitSnap that adds workout stats to your photos you can then share on Instagram or elsewhere. Wearables with social aspects are also hitting the market: Fitbit, Nike+ FuelBand, Jawbone Up, and a host of others. You can even put your money where your mouth is with GymPact and earn cash for your workouts– or pay out when you don’t.  CNN covered a whole range of fitness devices and apps in an article last summer, along with discussing the psychological motivation that comes from social fitness shares.

If it’s accountability you’re looking for in your fitness journey, you no longer have to look much further than the device screen nearest you.

Written by Sarah

January 23rd, 2014 at 8:40 am

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A brief history of social commerce

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With the holiday season just behind us, it’s easy to forget that what is commonplace behavior now- bookmarking wanted items onto wishlists to share with friends and family, or using Twitter to give and receive product recommendations both spontaneous and prompted- were only just beginning to blossom five years ago.

The new year is the time most businesses write up their reviews of the past year and put together their predictions for what’s coming next. These reflections and predictions don’t have much weight without context, however, and that’s what we aim to provide here: A brief history of social commerce that can hopefully shed more light on why everything that worked in 2013 did so, and give us a better foundation for looking ahead to 2014. As social platforms become more integrated into our lives, social commerce becomes something every company must address, if only from a support perspective.

Social Commerce in 2008

The term “social commerce” was actually first introduced on Yahoo in 2005, but it wasn’t until three years later, in 2008, that it really began to build the foundations of what we recognize now as modern social commerce. 2008 was the year that expectations and suggestions around social media and e-commerce started to actually become business practices. However, the thinking was that social platforms were only good for increasing brand awareness and general marketing; the potential for revenue remained unrealized. Most companies thought of social ventures as a bonus activity, and not a requirement for success. (x)

2009

In 2009 as new technologies become ubiquitous- Twitter, smartphones- online and offline shopping begin to blend together more. Companies take notice of their customer’s changing behavior and build communities for them to interact and share information in. (x)

An argument grows about what exactly social commerce is: A revolution from e-commerce, or an evolution of it? Others argue that social commerce is something that shoppers do together (social shopping) while e-commerce is businesses being in a social space together. (x) This debate will continue to evolve over the next several years, without a final clear answer (though currently e-commerce and social commerce seem to be used pretty interchangeably with the term social shopping being differentiated).

2010

2010 found social commerce really beginning to pick up steam around the world– however marked cultural differences become clear between those who turn to social outlets for shopping in order to save money, and those who come primarily for the fun, social aspect of it (x). An all-encompassing global strategy therefore isn’t going to cut it; brands wanting to engage in social commerce will have to develop targeted, regional approaches.

Group buying endeavors like the aptly named Groupon hit their heyday in 2010, and Facebook begins to turn a real profit, getting skeptics seriously excited about the future possibilities with social commerce. Twitter users follow brands for deals and are often motivated to click through to a site where they can make a purchase, but a click-through doesn’t guarantee a purchase and shopping cart abandonment is an issue. Consequently, this is also the year that stores work harder via social to retain customers and keep them coming back to the physical store to shop (x).

2011

Pinterest, launched in 2010, sees explosive growth in 2011. Its image-based design with easy click-throughs to sources makes it perfect for showcasing products.  Facebook gets its own term for social commerce on the platform: F-Commerce. Options range from built-in storefronts that lead off-site to make purchases, but that include varying levels of social engagement (“ask a friend” about a product, for example) to complete in-Facebook purchasing with companies like 1-800-Flowers. The future of F-commerce is uncertain, but seems promising if some kinks- like having to go off-site to complete purchases- can be ironed out.

Since 2011

A lot shifts as e-commerce picks up steam in conjunction with social platforms, from 2011 onward. F-commerce sees decline from clumsy design; big stores like Gap, Nordstrom and J.C. Penney close their Facebook shops. A few tweaks could revitalize F-commerce, however, since Facebook’s core user group remains loyal and users still consult their social networks when shopping.

Pinterest continues to gain market share (possibly in part due to its long tail sales cycle), but may have a solid challenger in relative newcomer Polyvore, a social commerce site that allows users to build “sets” to express their style, then buy.  Other platforms- like photo sharing site Instagram and blogging site Tumblr- begin to experiment with advertising, which may eventually lead to e-commerce efforts. Google+ has potential too, from the sheer size of the user base and potential SEO benefits.

With the “Internet of Things” fast approaching on the horizon, 2014 looks to be the debut of things such as t-commerce, or buying H&M underwear via your smart TV during the Super Bowl. What about Twitter commerce; shouldn’t that be t-commerce? In 2013, Twitter hires its first Head of Commerce to help enable shopping directly via its 140-character posts.

Overall, online retail is only expected to grow, with Forrester predicting sales of $370 billion by 2017. Increasing portions of the population use the mobile and tablet devices they use for social platforms to shop as well, which reinforces the idea of growing social commerce. It will be interesting to see how quickly being able to buy something directly from whatever platform- or object- you happen to be using becomes ubiquitous, and whether one platform or object will be able to rule the lion’s share of the social commerce field.

So, with all of that, what are your predictions?

 

Note: The Evolution of Social Commerce: The People, Management, Technology, and Information Dimensions by Chingning Wang & Ping Zhang (pre-publication version)- was a tremendous help in forming the basis of this research, especially in the summaries of the years before 2010. Paragraphs and sentences built from its ideas have been marked and linked (x).

Written by Sarah

January 16th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

The Golden Globes are Sunday!

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It’s that time of year again – awards season! The 71st Golden Globe Awards are this Sunday, and as usual, we’ll be there to track the social media conversation around the event and help out on the #redcarpet.

So, we were wondering… In the days leading up to the first major awards show in Hollywood this season, which movies, TV shows and actors are Twitter and Tumblr buzzing about?

Well, Tumblr can’t get enough of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who are coming back for a second year as hosts of the show. Most of the top posts about the Golden Globes right now are GIFs of the comedic duo, taken mostly from the commercials for the upcoming broadcast (like this one from gillianjacobs).

After Tina and Amy, Twitter and Tumblr are both excited about Tatiana Maslany from BBC America’s Orphan Black and Jennifer Lawrence - or JLaw, if you prefer, which we do – from American Hustle. And there’s a lot of talk about Jared Leto from Dallas Buyers Club, Leonardo DiCaprio from The Wolf of Wall Street, and Bradley Cooper from American Hustle.

As far as movies and shows go, Tumblr’s favorite films right now are American Hustle12 Years a Slave, and Dallas Buyers Club. Twitter also loves Catching Fire, partly because Taylor Swift’s song from the film was nominated. And Orphan Black is wildly popular on both networks. Breaking Bad and Scandal are getting some attention on Twitter, while American Horror Story is popular on Tumblr.

Want to follow along with the conversation this week? Find @GoldenGlobes on Twitter and on Instagram, and participate in the conversation with the #GoldenGlobes tag. And stay tuned here, as we’ll update with more social data about the show next week!

Written by Jenn D

January 7th, 2014 at 11:31 am

TweetReach’s Top 10 Posts in 2013

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Written by Sarah

December 31st, 2013 at 10:24 am

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What Black Friday sales is Twitter most excited about this year?

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As we like to do every year around this time, we’re checking into what Twitter is saying about holiday shopping, particularly around Black Friday. This past weekend- a full week before Black Friday officially starts- things were starting to really accelerate on Twitter, with an average of about 5,000 tweets an hour posted about Black Friday over the past two days. And so far this month, 780k people have posted 1.3 million tweets about the biggest shopping weekend of the year.Black Friday on Twitter

Which upcoming Black Friday sales was Twitter most excited about over the weekend? Amazon was the most talked about sale, with Walmart a close second. And so far, the product topping everyone’s wish list is the Xbox One.

We’re tracking all Black Friday tweets this week, so we’ll keep you posted!

Written by Jenn D

November 25th, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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FX’s ‘Archer’ nails it with social media

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Archer’s 4th season premieres on FX on January 17th, but fans going through withdrawal have had something special to keep them occupied while waiting for the new episodes – FX set up some very entertaining social media accounts for three of the show’s main characters. In honor of the upcoming new season, we thought we’d take a closer look at this fantastic social campaign.

ISIS Head of HR Pam Poovey graces both Twitter and Facebook with her presence; Secret Agent Sterling Archer, whose Facebook page is the main page for the show, also has his own Twitter account; and the world’s most unsettling Head of Applied Research, Dr. Algernop Krieger is on Facebook and Twitter.

What’s notable about Archer’s social media is the amount of work put into these accounts. They all interact with each other in the voices of the characters. Some updates include new creative content that has been created explicitly for Twitter and Facebook; others include stills from past episodes of the show.

It’s not just snippets of text; it’s Pam taking a selfie in a Three Wolf Moon-inspired shirt.

The best part? This isn’t a social media campaign run by a faceless agency. Pam Poovey’s Twitter account is run by none other than the actress who voices her, Amber Nash, and voice talent Lucky Yates runs Krieger’s accounts. This makes the banter between those accounts so much more enjoyable; the actors get to have fun inhabiting their characters and taking them out for verbal runs at each other between episodes.

Tweets are often also automatically posted to Facebook. At least one fan seems to prefer to see different content on the separate platforms (danger zone!).



Sometimes posts will show up on Twitter that aren’t on Facebook, however:

This is probably related to the specific nature of the content. According to the Archer Live! Tour, the actors have been asked to tone it down a little to better fit within the norms of the social platforms.

The accounts post similar content to both Twitter and Facebook, but now try to fit the content to the appropriate channel. For example, the Archer Facebook page and the Archer Twitter account both responded to a tweet from Lucky Yates as Krieger, but the content was formatted differently for each site. On Twitter: 

And the Facebook version:


This is an improved use of both platforms, since early tweets from Pam that also went to Facebook would simply cut off on a longer message, with a link to her profile to read the rest. Adapting the content to fit each specific platform is a smarter way to manage a transmedia campaign across multiple channels. Fans don’t necessarily want to switch from one network to another to read the full conversation.

While the accounts don’t respond to fans who reply to them, that hasn’t hurt the engagement at all. Fans use the #ArcherFX hashtag along with the characters and the channel’s official Twitter account, and more than a million people were reached through thousands of tweets during first two weeks of January leading up to the season premiere. Activity spiked on Saturday, January 12th, the night of the last Archer Live! Tour date. This final show of the four-city tour took place at Irving Plaza in New York City, and you can read a great recap of it on Uproxx, if you’re interested.

This sort of integrated social TV campaign is a great example of what many shows have started to do both between and during seasons. It’s an effective way to engage and reward loyal fans of the show by sharing behind-the-scenes content, while simultaneously drawing in new fans who might be intrigued by what they see and want to tune in to the new season.

Giving the voice actors the freedom to run social accounts for the characters they’ve been portraying for years is also ingenious. It feels more authentic for fans, who can tell when something is written in Pam or Krieger’s voice, which leads to higher engagement rates and increased enthusiasm for the upcoming season.

FX knows their audience well, and is doing great work in social media by participating in the conversation about their show – in the characters’ voices – where their fans are having that conversation. And it’s completely awesome. Definitely not babytown frolics.

Written by Sarah

January 16th, 2013 at 11:28 am

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Checking in on the 2013 Golden Globes on Twitter and Tumblr: What did fans think?

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Awards season is upon us, and this year it kicked off with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler taking over hosting duties at the 70th Golden Globe Awards. We love the Golden Globes; this is the third year we’ve monitored tweets about the event (see our 2012 and 2011 coverage). This year, we’ve been tracking all the social media buzz before, during and after the awards show that aired on Sunday, January 13, 2013, again in conjunction with mhCarter Consulting and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. And we didn’t just stick to Twitter either; for the first time, we also took a look at the night’s Tumblr data!

What were the big numbers on Twitter? 

First, let’s talk Twitter… How did the Golden Globes do on Twitter? Tweets spiked several times the night of the show, showing us when the audience at home was the most excited about events onscreen. The first spike was in the initial minute of the show, which saw 7,700 tweets. Things got chattier after that; when Adele won the award for Best Original Song (Skyfall for the Bond film of the same name) Twitter activity spiked to 13.4k tweets per minute (tpm). Adele was later beat out by the appearance of former President Bill Clinton taking the stage to introduce Lincoln;  tweets further spiked up to 18.5k tweets per minute, claiming the highest tpm spike of the evening.

Ellen highest RT Exposure

@TheEllenShow’s tweet about the hosts saw was the most popular tweet of the night, accumulating the highest exposure and most RTs during the show, with nearly 22 million impressions and 7,991 RTs.

Overall, more than 108 million unique  Twitter accounts were reached by tweets about the Golden Globes - and that’s just on the day of the show. This is up over 14.4 million from 2012, and over three times the reach of Golden Globes Twitter chatter from 2011. Contributors more than doubled this year – from 296K people talking about the Globes in 2012 to 599K in 2013 – and the total number of tweets increased by more than 50% from 2012s (from 822K to 1.3 million).

Looking at all of the data since the nominees were announced on December 13th, 2012, total reach was over 160 million unique accounts, and more than 756K different Twitter users contributed more than 2.1 million tweets.

What were some of the specific things people were talking about on Twitter? 

As part of the excitement approaching the 70th Annual Golden Globes, @GoldenGlobes asked fans to tweet their questions for the nominees with the hashtag #askGlobes; the questions would then be asked of the winners backstage.

One of the top contributors to the hashtag was a fan account for Meryl Streep (@MerylStreepSite), asking and retweeting other Meryl fans’ requests to ask the actress what she thought of her dedicated fans, or “Streepers”.

Streepers

Unfortunately, Meryl didn’t win so the Streepers never got their question answered. Jennifer Lawrence took the trophy for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical, for Silver Linings Playbook– and breathlessly joked about beating Meryl when she took the stage to accept.

The @GoldenGlobes confirmed backstage that “JLaw” has been her nickname for years.

The #askGlobes hashtag for the Golden Globes account was one of their top 5 hashtags for the night of the show; producing a total of 2,016 tweets with a peak activity time of 6pm PT, when the hashtag saw over 4.7 million impressions. The @GoldenGlobes retweeted the questions asked of the winners, with the answers, and kept promoting the hashtag:

What were people talking about on Tumblr? 

Tumblr saw 47.6k posts about the Golden Globes the night of the show. Flouting convention, the majority of the posts were text posts rather than photos: 31K text posts and 18K photo posts. However, the photo posts saw much higher engagement rates. For the total 1.8 million notes, nearly 1.5 million of those notes were on photo posts (814.7K reblogs and 668.2K likes) compared to the smaller 231K notes for text posts.

The most popular post was a GIF of Anne Hathaway accepting her award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, for Les Miserables: 

Anne Hathaway Acceptance

This post from Beaver Paralyzer earned 66.6K notes in just a few hours, which includes 153 direct reblogs, 36.9K amplified reblogs, and 29.5K likes. The reblog tree for this post was impressively extensive, showing the majority of reblogs occurred out past the 9th degree, suggesting a very diverse pool of curators:

Tumblr top post reblog tree

Indeed, the entire tree doesn’t easily fit on a screen; that’s a little more than half of it there.

The second and third most popular Tumblr posts were also GIFs, in this case two GIF-sets of the hosts making jokes between awards. They’ve already garnered 41.8k and 37.2k notes, respectively.

What does this tell us about watching TV and simultaneously using social platforms? 

While many think of Twitter as the main social channel to talk television – Twitter has their own dedicated @TwitterTV account, after all – more and more people are flocking to Tumblr as well, for its expanded ability to “liveblog” a TV event beyond the relatively text-limited Twitter platform. The ever-popular GIF just doesn’t work as well on Twitter as it does on Tumblr.

Comparing the overall number of tweets made to number of Tumblr posts between December 13 and January 13, there were twice as many tweets about the Golden Globes: 2.1 million tweets vs. 1.0 million Tumblr posts and reblogs.

Looking at unique participants paints a similar picture: 756K users posted tweets on Twitter, and 20K posted on Tumblr, but that Twitter number includes RTs. If you count rebloggers on Tumblr, that’s another 303K (not to mention another 255K likers). The Twitter numbers don’t include favorites, which would be similar to Tumblr likes, but these numbers are still closing the Twitter/Tumblr output gap: 322K posters and rebloggers on Tumblr to Twitter’s 756K tweeters.

Tumblr GG Community

We can wager a guess that those Tumblr numbers will continue to catch up to Twitter numbers as Tumblr gains popularity as a place to discuss a live television event together. This is especially likely considering Tumblr’s reputation as a place for TV show and movie franchise fandoms to set up shop and blog (and reblog) about the characters and worlds they love. Why not start doing it live as well as between seasons of the BBC’s Sherlock?

In the future, we expect to see more fans switching back and forth between Tumblr and Twitter during an awards show or their favorite series, on their phones or laptops, using both sites to their respective strengths. Social TV watching has really only just begun.

That was neat! I want more! 

We’re glad to hear it. If you liked this look at Twitter and Tumblr activity for the 2013 Golden Globes, stay tuned for our more in-depth case study on the event. We’re going to take a deeper look at the various social initiatives the HFPA put together around the show, including the #GlobesParty Instagram promotion the Globes ran to get fans involved at home, and more. Check back soon!

Written by Sarah

January 14th, 2013 at 4:16 pm

The AP sells sponsored tweets to Samsung during CES

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And we took a look at one of them. This week, the Associated Press decided to sell sponsored tweets during the annual CES tech trade show on its @AP Twitter account. A lot of blogs and news outlets discussed the ads, but actual engagement with the sponsored tweets was quite low. Here’s one of the tweets in question:

This sponsored tweet from Samsung got a total of – wait for it – 15 retweets. The activity leveled off rather quickly; 12 of the 15 retweets happened immediately, followed by two in the next hour, and the final straggler the following morning. Then nothing else. There wasn’t very much lasting traction to this tweet, as seen below:

The tweet did generate a total reach of 1,584,824 unique Twitter accounts, but that’s really not much more than the 1,538,203 followers the @AP account itself had at the time of the tweet. A quick look at the top contributors might account for the reason: @AP was the top contributor, followed by @HuffPostMedia and a Japanese Global Media Studies Professor. It would make sense for multiple accounts to follow most or all three of these contributors, as they’re all journalism-related accounts, but it didn’t result in much additional spread of the original ad.

The reach for everyone talking about AP’s sponsored tweets was much higher, with nearly 550 tweets from more than 500 contributors in the past few days, reaching 4.3 million different Twitter accounts. The activity, however, still dropped off rather quickly:


Everyone is talking about the AP selling their tweets (or they were), but the interaction with the sponsored tweets themselves remained low. The three sponsored tweets were only retweeted 21, 15 and 14 times respectively. There were far tweets with more opinions on the subject than actual RTs: opinions tacked onto RTs of articles about it, occasionally added in front of an AP retweet, or sent out and tagged with the AP’s handle. Some, however, went for a more direct route.

Replies to AP about their sponsored tweets were not terribly positive:

They were about as snarky as some of the news and blog coverage was. But why?


Perhaps because people think that as a news source, the AP should remain neutral, and maybe particularly on Twitter, a platform that is poised to become the go-to place for breaking news even more than it already is for its heavy users.

Looking at the data on the entire discussion around AP sponsored tweets seems to back up that idea. Here are a few examples:



The opinion that a major, historically trusted news source should remain neutral might explain why people are upset over the AP selling sponsored tweets, but haven’t been in the past when celebrities have done the same thing (there’s even a company set up exclusively for celebrities or other popular Twitter personalities that want to endorse products on Twitter). Celebrities are expected to supplement their income with product endorsements, and are not followed or revered for their journalistic integrity.

Sponsored tweets aren’t anything new – Mashable wrote an article saying just that back in 2009 – so the amount of attention and news being generated by the AP selling tweets has been puzzling to some. Others, whether or not they’ve paid much attention to it before, simply see it as an expected form of native advertising. Different from the Promoted Tweets that Twitter launched in April of 2010, sponsored tweets are a deal between a vendor and a celebrity or other well-known figure with a large Twitter following, with Twitter getting nothing out of the deal, except perhaps to say that advertising works on its platform.

Former member of The Pussycat Dolls Nicole Scherzinger and a sponsored tweet for Herbal Essences… A little different than the AP and Samsung, or so response would seem to indicate.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Written by Sarah

January 10th, 2013 at 11:04 am