Study Shows Twitter Used Mostly By Urban Adults, And We’re Surprised at This?

Eweek reports that a study conducted by the Pew research center has found that Twitter is used mostly by people who :

1. USE the internet
2. Live in cities
3. Are YOUNG

Uh… why is this “news”? Obviously you need the internet to use Twitter. Obviously urban people use it the most.

Why?

Because they have social lives.

 

Just kidding. No, but seriously. Why would anyone care what someone living in the middle of a farm in Kansas is doing on Twitter? Suburban life seems like it would get boring real fast and pointless to announce to your street who’s house you’re going over after school or what cow you’re going to milk.

 

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A Way to Use “Check-in” Sites

One social networking dilemma has been how to reap benefits from mobile “check-in” sites, like foursquare. Well, retailers and sites may have found a way to do it, largely thanks to Black Friday.

Coke is using SCVNGR to get people to participate in a hunt that will “unlock secrets of the mall,” which, while the concept sounds fun and exciting—the slogan is really lame. Really? MALL secrets?

Yelp is also joining in on the madness by giving business owners a “check-in offers” option to promote foursquare.

With Yelp Check-in Offers, business owners can incentivize repeat checkins and reward patrons with three different offer types: percent off, free or fixed price offers.

This definitely seems like the coming of a new age of subliminal messaging and, as mashable puts it, ways to influence peoples’ behaviors.

Kind of creepy, kind of cool.

Twitter Trailblazer for New Ad Revenue? (And my extreme distaste for Dick Costolo’s overuse of the word “organic”)

Twitter Introduces New Types of Ads

Apparently, for a long time Twitter refused to talk about money, but now the company has revealed two strategies that, according to Twitter’s chief operating officer, Dick Costolo, advocate “a new kind of advertising—advertising that starts out as organic content.

Whoa, whoa. Let’s stop and analyze this for a sec.

Starts out as ORGANIC content?

What does ORGANIC content mean? Let’s take a gander at the organic advertisements on the market these days: organic milk. All natural Ben & Jerry’sOrganic cosmetics. Organic organic organic. It’s funny how most of those products have had to slash the “o” word from their titles, rendering it a meaningless adjective used to bloat up a product’s sellability.

So. With this premise in mind, what exactly are Twitter’s strategies?

1. Advertisers must pay to promote their accounts
2. Twitter advertising will eventually include small businesses who can use a self server to place ads

Advertisers pay when a user clicks on their post or trend topic, and also if a user retweets their message. Twitter will give priority spots for “suggested” promoted accounts that have been paid for. So it’s basically a competition for advertisers who use their free accounts to be suggested…

I’m wondering what the initial “promote me” price is, though. Because if Twitter allows any sum of money, companies with the biggest cache will come out on top while the smaller businesses suffer. However, if it all companies pay a flat promotion fee, then their popularity and suggestion status is determined by the Twitterverse. That totally seems more organic to me.

This model is pretty similar to the paid ads we see on websites everyday, but what I like about this—and what I think will make it more successful—is that the revenue will be completely user-generated. People will see ads not because the company reserved a specific spot, but because other users forwarded it through their own tweets. This, in turn, makes the ad more credible is people see that others promote it of their own volition.

There’s also a portion of small businesses that will use Twitter and are happy with organic followers and will build organically, and that’s fine with us,” Costolo also said.

Ohhhhh, so an “organic” twitterer is someone who gets his followers using his own charisma and tweeting skills *slaps forehead*.

A Blog Perspective

This article from the SFweekly confirms that old-as-time complaint that the media only publishes bad news.

Kind of.

That is only half of the double-edged sword that becoming duller as the internet emerges as the number one news source for many people.

A Pew Research study showed that when it comes to tech & gadgets, traditional news media like newspapers and tv focus more on the companies behind them and the lasting effect those things will have on us.

In contrast, social media focuses on the immediacy of such products and are generally more positive about advancing technology.

It seems that traditional and new media are on opposite ends of the spectrum here, and it makes sense. The foundation of new media IS new technology—twitter, mobile apps, facebook likes—all of these advances that promote speed and personal interaction make it inevitable for focus to shift to the bourgeoning field. Is it any wonder that bloggers and users of social media, whose existences (and payrolls, in some cases) are vested in the advance of this type of media, choose to focus on the obstacles of technological progress rather than the big bad companies behind them?

And here stands also another dilemma, the eternal quest to weed out real news from the impostors. New technology brings with it the quandary of how news consumers can disseminate fact from opinion. Of course, this also means that the tools for fact-checking are much better and easier to obtain, but how many people actually go the extra step to do so? Does new technology foster skeptical laziness?

Yesterday I watched the pilot episode of Boardwalk Empire, and there’s a scene in which Angela Darmody says to her husband, “They couldn’t write it if it wasn’t true,” talking about the newspaper he was reading. This represents the idea that traditional media journalists and reporters actually get out and do the research, and this is what makes the platform trustworthy and reliable. It makes sense that newspapers and television would focus on company sponsoring when, for obvious reasons, new media is killing it.

There’s this conception that newspapers have remained the number one source of information through the invention of radio and tv, and will therefore remain the last standing beacon of truth for news consumers wading through the murky waters of unreliability and uncertainty. However, this stoicism seems passe now with advertising thrown into the field.

And yet, the news consumer needs to know about potential lasting effects of new tech, or as it would seem, the “negativity” of advancement. So how can a balance between the two be created on social media sites, when anyone can publish anything? New technology has opened the pandora box of unanswered questions and problems.

I agree that tech bloggers don’t give as much attention to the forces behind the product as they should, but I also don’t think print can hold onto its spot in the information speed race.

Communal Consumerism

Being a broke college student warrants a few monetary conservations. I’ve always found dumpster diving to be really intriguing, especially after an acquaintance of mine and his girlfriend moved to Syracuse and started a (now defunct) blog about their dumpster-diving expeditions.

I don’t know that I’m ready to go to such extreme measures. Yet.

But I am subscribed to feeds like the skint, which sends out a daily email of freebies and deals in NY. That’s how I found out about Groupon. Groupon sends out an email with a new deal every day, many of them with ear perkers like:

“$25 All-Day Bike Rental from Central Park Bike Tours ($65 Value)!”
“$99 for Six Laser Hair-Removal Treatments at Laser Cosmetica (Up to $1,745 Value)”

Whipped your plastic out yet?

SocialBeat posted this article about Groupon’s growing success despite using an archaic method of communication—email.

By offering an email newsletter, Groupon had ‘a lot of latitude to screw up,’ in that the company only had to have enough good deals to keep users from unsubscribing. It didn’t need to attract users to the site with a super-compelling deal every single day.

So alright, groupon, you’ve got me hooked after reading that deliciously tempting half-off deal on a juicy burger. Now what?

Like the name implies, groupon relies on the groups. Deals are only finalized if a certain number of people pledge to buy the deal, which expires after a certain number of hours. If not enough people want the deal before the sand runs out, then it is cancelled and no one gets anything. It’s a strategy that resembles the likes of kickstarter, the point and spot.us—all of which are sites that appeal directly to the people in order to fund projects, and journalistic stories.

It’s interesting to see what kind of marketing tactics sites like these employ in order to get the reader’s attention (and money). Groupon is also working on hyperlocality (as seems to be all the rage these days) and offering specific deals based on location, but I have to say I was kind of disappointed when I found out I had to depend on other people in order to get my deal or not. I’m wary about giving my credit information out anywhere, but apparently I’m in the minority in this case, because groupon’s popularity is bumpin’—it has a waiting list of over 35,000 businesses.

I did take a few things from this article, though. YES! CREATIVITY IS KEY! We don’t necessarily need to focus on a barrage of instant communication and on-the-verge-of-being invented technology; why? Because email still rears its Mesozoic head!

Literary savvyness combined with localization, could it be the proverbial “algorithm” for informational success?

Incidentally, Groupon is hiring in our area, too.

BRB gotta get back to my real life—online

Oh, the days of MySpace. Thinking back on it now, I wouldn’t so much term it “like ghetto or whatever,” but rather a meeting place for middle school kids pretending to be much older than they are, scantily clad girls lookin’ for love (who are also more than likely jailbait), and bands hoping to ride out on the free music player—because really, tell me your opinion of a band isn’t knocked down a few notched when their only contact is through MySpace. I remember when MySpace was a breeding ground for scenesters: dyed jet black, two-tone, ironed flat hair, studded belts, skinny jeans, dinosaurs, pink bows and smoky cat eyes. I’m talking about the male population, too.

The Economist points out in a study that the lives we lead on the internet are more similar to the way we act in real life than were expected.

A generation of digital activists had hoped that the web would connect groups separated in the real world. The internet was supposed to transcend colour, social identity and national borders. But research suggests that the internet is not so radical. People are online what they are offline: divided, and slow to build bridges.

And to this I retort: Is it really that surprising? We already know that niche magazines statistically do better than their rapidly dying cousins, so it’s only natural to expect that though a milieu of information is available at our fingertips—that we, as humans, will naturally gravitate towards what is familiar and comfortable. Because let’s face it, actually exposing yourself to the unfamiliar requires work: the energy to want to look for something new as well as the energy required to retain that information.

While Facebook’s surge in immigrant population (the article uses Orkut as an example, a popular Brazilian social networking site) would seem to warrant social acceptance, the article looks at the site’s various methods of customization as a deterring factor.

Facebook and Twitter have been making attempts at bringing people from different ethnic backgrounds together under the tag of “decrease world conflict” “and triumph of humanity,” or whatever. That’s great, but like I said, what really matters is that is requires the expenditure or energy to make friends. I’m on Facebook and I’ve never even seen this “Peace on Facebook” app. And even if it is successful… will it really mitigate the problems that need to be solved right now? Perhaps these invisible friendships may influence world relations decades from now, but then again who is to say that people really take them seriously?

A big issue with MySpace was the contest to accrue as many “friends” as possible. Being on the Top 8 was a coveted position, especially on the page of someone with particular fame, like Raquel Reed or Audrey Kitching (who both used MySpace as a tool to advance their internet celebrity). On a friend count of 2,000, how many of them could the average person know, realistically? Probably 200, if that. Facebook paved the way by offering selectiveness and privacy, and the phrase, “I only add people I know” became the crusading motto for a good period of time. Whether an elitist view, or simply a desire to feel needed and special, both contributed to the death of MySpace, as the masses relinquished their busy layouts for the simplicity and privacy of Facebook. People don’t want to feel like they’re being collected to boost someone else’s internet popularity.

So I wonder if the attempts to bring people closer together by friending someone on the opposite side of the world will be successful. Perhaps touting friendship under the banner of world peace is what MySpace missed. Or maybe, we’re just closer conducting our lives entirely via the web.

Further reading:
Black People Internet and White People Internet Class Snobbery
Shai lays down the science on the Black People on Twitter Theory (“Its the nature of how we craft these environments to suit our core comforts and fine tune our twitter experiences.”)
The latest research on race and microblogging