Twitter is doing it right!

Recently, Twitter has been undertaking quite a lot of changes in the quest of becoming more of a mainstream social media platform and increase its user base. The last two weeks have seen three very important developments which, in my opinion, will help push Twitter to the next level. Automatic link shortening, a new photo sharing service, and an exciting integration with Apple’s mobile operating system iOS 5 are very strong statements about the company’s ambition.

Link shortening made easy


There have been plenty of services that offered link shortening, but unless you were using a third-party application like TweetDeck (which is already owned by Twitter), the process has not been as smooth as with this new update. With it Twitter now offers its customers the ability to share more content faster without worrying too much about the character limitation.

(Read more about the new link-shortener here)

Photo sharing

In a partnership with the photo sharing website Photobucket, Twitter now offers it’s own service that will probably make tools like “yfrog” and “twitpic” obsolete. With a click of a button you can easily add your photo and a description with it. No need to go to an external website. And the photos will now be displayed in the sidebar, next to the stream.

(Get a hands-on view of the new photo sharing tool here)

iOS 5 integration


This is a development that I find the most exciting of all. It is also a great strategic move that will ensure higher adoption rate of Twitter. Especially among Apple customers. In the next version of the mobile operating system Twitter is very deeply integrated and will allow users to share their activity online from pretty much everywhere with just a single tap. Moreover, you will also be able to share your location with your followers. Mobile usage of Twitter is higher than usage on desktop PC’s or laptops, therefore it is a logical move to add the service to one of the most popular OS currently on the market.

(Take a look at what’s in store for the iOS users here)

These are exciting times for Twitter and may I say its users. The desire to improve and reach new levels will bring a lot of benefits to everyone using the service. Furthermore, such developments will result in the acquisition of new customers. Another important benefactor from these improvements will be brands and marketeers who will quickly adopt these technologies in their quest to retaining and obtaining new customers.

I have a feeling that Twitter will continue its growth. So far, it seems that Jack Dorsey and co are on the right track and know pretty well what they are doing. I am really curious what the next few months will bring us in terms of development of the service.

What are your predictions? And do you think this is a good move for Twitter?

Taking part in the conversation with the “right” #hashtag

This is a guest post I wrote last month for The Lift Blog of Euro RSCG 4D Bulgaria. Euro RSCG 4D Bulgaria is an online marketing communications agency, part of the digital network of HAVAS-owned Euro RSCG Worldwide. I highly recommend you follow them on Twitter @4D_Bulgaria.

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Twitter has been growing quite significantly since its inception in 2006. Last month, the company presented some really impressive statistics about this. Currently, Twitter boasts more than 180 million unique visitors each month and it has over 105 million registered users. And this remarkable and growing environment is producing 140 million updates on average per day. Everyone can share posts without any restrictions as long as they fit within the 140 character limit.

But with such a big growth of new users joining and messages being posted, there is a great chance that your own updates will quickly disappear in the stream and your voice might not be heard. One can try to update more frequently, but this may be a time consuming and costly activity which might fail. So, what can you do to ensure that your message will reach its intended audience? Enter the #hashtag!

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is basically a keyword. It can be used to easily categorize your messages and put them under a topic, together with updates from everyone else using the same keyword. Clicking on the hashtag or searching for it will take you to a corresponding topic.

Benefits of using hashtags

Using hashtags presents great opportunities for people to start or join relevant conversations about current events or common interests. Following a hashtag can help you find more information and expand your knowledge on a specific topic.

Furthermore, it is a great way of expanding one’s personal and professional network. Adding a hashtag to your message puts your update under a specific category where others can easily find it, like what you are saying, check your profile and decide to connect with you.

Another benefit of using hashtags is the ability to monitor the Twitter stream for conversations relevant to you. Either with the help of Twitter search or a third party application, you can browse thorough the noise and select only the posts that matter. This can be very helpful for brands who want to engage and maintain a conversation with their customers (prospective, current and past) online.

The “right” hashtag

There is another challenge facing users who are using hashtags. With more than 100 million people tweeting, a significant part of them posting more than once a day on various topics, we must accept that there will be many variations of hashtags for different topics. So, once again we can ask ourselves how to break through the noise and make sure we use the “right” hashtag to join the conversation?

Well, first of all, there is no right or wrong hashtag. They have been adopted by users organically and everyone can use and post with whatever tag he or she prefers. One way of ensuring that it will serve its purpose is to stick with the same hashtag over a long period of time so your audience can see it, begin to recognize it and adopt it.

You can also have a look at which hashtags the people you are following are using and take the same approach. Look at those users in your network who are well-connected, very influential and highly-recognized within their field of expertise. They usually have very broad audiences. And there’s no better way to reach out to these audiences by using the same hashtag.

It is up to YOU!

The use of Twitter and hashtags is different for everyone. Regular users and brands have their own unique motivation and purpose for using Twitter – for example, staying informed on current events. Others might want to expand or share their knowledge. Some will want to gain exposure for a new product or service they are launching. For all of these uses and many more there will be thousands, if not millions, of hashtags posted with new updates. So, it is up to you to decide what your goal is, do your research, and join the conversation with the “right” hashtag.