Tag Archive - twitter

Writing under the influence of twitter

I’m currently working on a project looking at the measurement of online influence. Or is it influence online? Or is that influence of online measurement? The whole concept is hard to grasp. What value do these values and lists have?

First question, what do you measure and what does it mean or imply?

'how to win friends and influence people'
Image by bubbo-tubbo via Flickr

For example, do I have “influence” because I have almost 8700 followers as @thirstforwine on twitter, or do I have 8700 followers because I have influence?

In fact, I only have followers because a few people thought I was interesting and friendly enough that they kindly recommended me to their friends, and then these people did the same. In that case THEY have influence. I now have *some* by extension.

Some influence measurement sites/scores

If you want to look into this area, here are some sites to check out and sign up to, including my current ratings for reference and to demonstrate the variability of scores and their scales:

  • PeerIndex: I have a PeerIndex score of 55 (and an ‘Authority’ score of 45)
  • Klout: My Klout score is 66 and I’m a “Thought Leader”
  • Twitalyzer: I have an impact score of 4.3% (which puts me in the 88.8th percentile) and I’m a “Reporter”
  • PostRank: Not even sure what figures to quote, but I have 411 “Engagement Points” so far for January. Good?

What does influence mean?

I think I can encourage a certain number of people to follow links, but who are they and what are they doing? Is it just robots? Are they curious? Or am I really answering questions they have, and therefore delivering some value?

In the case of wine, should it only be measured by an ability to get bottles into consumers hands?

Influence ought to mean “creates action or change”, but how can we measure that, even just online? What many tools really look at are just a proxy for that – followers, retweets, mentions, etc.

Worst of all, are these ‘influential’ lists just self-referential? For example, the lists of ‘top blogs’ add weightings to links from other ‘top blogs’ that mean that once you are ‘in the club’ you are more likely to stay there until you make the mistake of linking to newer blogs and giving them a boost up the ladder (note; this is intended to be ironic – seems we need to be sure to qualify things these days). Once you are listed as influential, it is more likely you will be followed, retweeted, quoted, measured and interviewed and so you become more influential.

What use is it?

Once I’ve had a look at the actual rankings I will also post some thoughts on how, if at all, these measurements might be useful for anything other than stroking a few egos.

The Plan

I will be working with one of the services listed above to put together a view of Wine Influencers on Twitter, providing them with a reasonably comprehensive list of wine twitterers to review. It should be fun to plug in some names to the algorithms and see what list/order emerges and then get your feedback.

Who would you say is “most influential” in wine (online, on twitter)? How do you even define it? Leave me a note to link me to you favourite list of wine twitterers and I will do my best to get them included.

UPDATE 25 January: In writing this post I realised I had not properly signed up for PostRank analysis. I have now done so and update the line above. Firstly, it is VERY confusing. I have no idea what stats mean, what is public, what is about me, versus the blog, and how it is calculated. However, it SEEMS to be extremely powerful and FREE, so I will keep looking into it. Any recommendations or help? Do you use it?

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Twitter, how do I use thee? Let me list away

Menu and Wine List - Enoteca Vino Bar
Image by avlxyz via Flickr

No, this time it isn’t THAT kind of wine list.

This is about the the Twitter List facility. This particular social media tool is somewhat flawed in my opinion, however, if you want to provide value to others then you should consider using them.

Lists are a means of keeping up with a particular group of twitterers. It isn’t just about the group of people that are included, it is a way of seeing all their tweets in one … list*.

If you are in the wine business, you should consider using them to provide value to yourself and others. Many users simply create generic categories such as “wine” or “friends” with 100+ members. If they follow thousands and need a way to separate this group, that’s fine, but the value to anyone else is very limited.

Instead, you might consider putting together something specific to your area of interest, relating to your own brand values & story. Your knowledge (and time) could be worth lots to someone else, a value they may repay in other ways.

For example, I don’t have a generic ‘wine’ list (apart from anything, I follow almost 3000 and lists are limited to 500 people). Instead, I have created 4 lists of reasonable value, I hope, to different people but which would have been difficult for them to put together themselves:

Masters of Wine on Twitter (Members: 30 – Followers: 93)
UK Wine Merchants on Twitter (Members: 72 – Followers: 43)
UK Wineries on Twitter (Members: 12 – Followers: 6)
Bordeaux 2009 En Primeur Campaign (Members: 56 – Followers: 40)

Some have ongoing value (such as the MWs list), some are more temporary.

The last list is what prompted me to write this post. I wasn’t greatly involved in the En Primeur campaign, but others asked me my views on twitter. Rather than retweeting lots of individuals’ thoughts, I created an easy way to track comments about the campaign from those who were actually there. An amazing development compared to past campaigns.

Now anyone could easily see hundreds of tweets each day about the Bordeaux 2009 primeur tastings from some of the top names in wine writing and retailing. Reading all their columns and reviews could cost you hundreds of dollars/pounds/euros in subscription charges (not to mention the cost of the wines). This was free and immediate.

I’m not sure the Bordeaux list has ongoing value (little binds this group of 56 individuals other than their shared interest in wine), but for a moment it was a valuable service.

What lists could you create? Wineries in your region? Tourist resources in your town? Wine merchants selling your wines around the world? Wine bloggers you have met?

* Note; one thing often forgotten about Lists is that they do not include @ replies (messages to another person directly) UNLESS that other person is also on the same list. Confusing!? Thought so. In any case, this is not the entire output of the listed members, but should represent their most ‘public’ messages.

If you’ve got a list that is particularly popular, or should be, let me know. I might create a list of wine-related Lists on the blog

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Value of social media tools: a wine label example

Do you doubt the ability of Twitter to offer valuable and tangible business benefits? Then check out this little example.

I was at the Wines from Spain tasting today and I met Sarah. In fact we were already “friends” on twitter in our various alter-egos as @thirstforwine and @bottlegreenltd but had not really met in person. In any case, this twitter-enabled chat encouraged us to taste some of each others’ wines, and in the process I was asked what I thought of this label:

Knowing that such things are subjective, I thought I’d ask for wider input, so I shared the photo with twitter. Within 20 minutes, I had 15-20 responses to be able to gauge a more general view. In this case, unlike my own personal luke-warm stance, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Check out some of the reactions below (some are not included as the messages are private):

  1. JohnG
    quaffability @thirstforwine I do like. Very nicely executed. But my first reaction is that it’s vermouth, and I think that is a problem.
  2. ryanopaz
  3. Duarte Da Silva
    wineboffin I like it. RT @thirstforwine: http://twitpic.com/17xb65 – A new ‘retro’ Rioja label. What do you think? Like?
  4. Justin Liddle
  5. Fields Morris Verdin
  6. Champagne Warehouse
  7. Somewhere is Jeannie
  8. Joanna Harris
    joanna_h85 Love them!! RT @elliott_people: @thirstforwine – Bottlegreen are a great company, fab people and product!
  9. Golly Gumdrops
    GollyGD @thirstforwine It’s attractive, but at first glance I’d think – ooo is that Cafe Rouge’s new house wine label?
  10. Seven Springs Wine
    7SpringsWine @thirstforwine Yes I like it, different, standoutish on the shelves, looks a bit ‘devilish’. Tim
  11. Emma Blackmore
  12. Laura Lindsay
  13. Int'l Wine Challenge
  14. Àlex Duran
    AlexDuran_ Fine! RT: @thirstforwine: http://twitpic.com/17xb65 – A new ‘retro’ Rioja label. What do you think? Like?
  15. Richie Roberts
    RichieWine Great label… RT @thirstforwine: http://twitpic.com/17xb65 – A new ‘retro’ Rioja label. What do you think? Like? (via @wineboffin)
  16. Nayan Gowda
    vinosity @WineChallenge @thirstforwine I would say more Nouveau than Deco, but I also like it a lot.
  17. Chris Carter
    ccarter126 Classy RT @thirstforwine: http://twitpic.com/17xb65 – A new ‘retro’ Rioja label. What do you think? Like?

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How about that for value for business? With a properly planned out strategy for getting input and feedback from fans, friends and consumers in general, twitter and other social media tools can be very useful without being complicated or time-consuming. And they can be fun too!

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Divide and Conquer

Demoiselle Vranken
Image by thirstforwine via Flickr

Apologies for another in a line of short hiatus on this blog. Once again work and family take priority over my online musings, and the good news is that there are lots of interesting projects underway – I just can’t find the time (except just before midnight) to share much about them.

Other than the 2010 EWBC (have you signed up yet?), my priority at the moment is to do something a little contrary. I am considering splitting off some of my content from this site to a separate ‘home’ on Posterous, so that I can then re-integrate it here, but as a separate area. As someone who (tries to) blog about marketing and wine in the UK, I also get invited out to wine tastings, dinner and trips and I want to find a way to allow readers to select those parts of most interest to them. I also want to find the easiest ways to make sure I get you the fun stuff faster and more effectively, hence using posterous (if you have not checked it out, do!).

After that, I will try to properly integrate other content streams so that this site, or something like it, can bring more of my ramblings together in one place.

So, this place may seem a little quiet for a bit, but if you really miss me, you can check me out at any of the following places:

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Live wine tasting – postponed [updated]

De Long's Wine Tasting Notebook
Image by RobWinton via Flickr

If you were trying to find out what happened to today’s planned fun “blind tasting” that I had promised, I’m afraid it has had to be postponed.

Twitter is currently down, apparently knocked to the canvas by a denial of service attack, but I’m confident normal service will be resumed later.

Unfortunately I have to leave the office soon, so maybe we can reschedule for another day soon – I had a cracking wine to taste too!

[UPDATE 07 August 2009: It happened! If you missed it, check out the archived video of the second live wine tasting]

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