Category Archives: twitter

Twitter animated GIF button is now live

A few days ago I noticed a new GIF button on my Android Twitter app. I thought nothing of it until I started using it. In sort: It’s amazing! It allows users to add animated GIFs (from Twitter’s GIF library) too any tweet (and DM). This will help regular users “spice” up their tweets and increase engagement. It will be interesting to see how brands hop on this new functionality.

twitter animate gif


The above shows where you can see the animated GIF button. Below you’ll see a tweet from earlier today using this new feature.

Twitter hopes to dominate #WorldCup second screen action with World Cup hub

As The Verge (and others) reported earlier this month, Facebook and Twitter will be battling it out during Brazil’s World Cup in the hopes of dominating second screen World Cup social media participation. (Man, that was a mouthful!)

I am a huge user and evangelist of Twitter so I was surprised I hadn’t seen anything. Until now. (I’m also a huge user of HootSuite)

Here’s a screenshot tour of the World Cup Twitter experience:

World Cup 2014 - Twitter

When you login to Twitter and click on the home tab on the top left you will be directed to your timeline. On the left you will notice the right navigation is World Cup themed.

World Cup Brazil - Twitter

This is what it looks like. The upcoming games are shown as is the ability to actually customize your Twitter World Cup experience based on your favourite team.

Brazil World Cup - Twitter

By clicking on the first game we get a Brazil vs Croatia themed Twitter page. Everything from scoreboard, photos, videos, tweets and even team players’ accounts are displayed.

Brazil World Cup - Twitter

What is you actually want to choose your side and get more personalization? Click on through to the other side! (The Doors would have loved Twitter, eh?)

Brazil World Cup - Twitter

Click a flag to choose your team! Who are you supporting?

Brazil World Cup - Twitter

How to block Promoted Tweets in your Hootsuite Twitter Home Feed

hootsuite, social media strategy


Almost everyone I know uses Twitter. What many of us disagree with is the change in user experience when it comes to seeing Promoted Tweets in your feed.

What is a Promoted Tweet? Well, according to the screen shot of a Google Search result, a promoted tweet is a feature that businesses pay in order to be promoted at the top of search results on Twitter.

Promoted Tweet
Promoted Tweet

Here is what a Promoted Tweet actually looks like:

Sample of a Promoted Tweet
Sample of a Promoted Tweet

I don’t mind that Twitter is using Promoted Tweets as a way of monetizing their product. Why? Well, it doesn’t impact the experience for me because it’s a native ad. Secondly, it helps to pay for a service that I enjoy using for free. Those that have a problem with Promoted Tweets are few and far between.

So, if you don’t like Promoted Tweets and you use Hootsuite (my preferred method of using Twitter on my desktop/laptop) here is what you can do to remove it:

Within the Promoted Tweet on Hootsuite you will see an “X”. When you hover your mouse over the “X” you will see the prompt “Promoted Tweets…” Click on the “X”. You will then have the following screen pop open:



Click on the “Hide Promoted Tweets” box as shown below. Save your preferences and refresh your screen. Viola! No more Promoted Tweets in you Home Feed.


Now you may enjoy your weekend.


Twitter Marketing: Social Media Marketing Certificate

Twitter Marketing
Twitter Marketing

Later this month (next week in fact) I will be leading a class at George Brown as part of their Continuing Education program. As part of the Social Media Marketing Certificate I will be teaching the Twitter Marketing course.

To say that I am excited would be an understatement. I’m pumped. And not so much about having the opportunity to teach. But the opportunity to share and learn.

Social media continues to change. Both from a tools/platform perspective and a best practises perspective. This will give me and my students the opportunity to learn the latest trends and practises around using Twitter for marketing.

The best part of the course will be our guest speakers. Being situated here in Toronto gives us the opportunity to learn from some interesting people working at cutting edge brands. Twitter Canada also has their offices here (yes, I’m trying to get someone from there to come speak to the class).

Here is who is booked so far:

Trevor Dean from Level 9 Digital Strategies Inc.; Ira Kates from Catalyst; W. Ryan Dodge from Royal Ontario Museum; and Jaime Stein from ING Direct Canada. I’m also hoping to bring in two additional speakers.

So, if you’re interested in earning your Social Media Marketing Certificate and/or want to make sure you’re utilizing the latest Twitter marketing techniques, then this is the class for you:

Acquire the strategic approaches and practical skills needed to engage with a target demographic using Twitter. Evaluate Twitter’s effectiveness as a marketing tool using case studies and assigned readings. Learn to plan, develop and maintain a Twitter presence for your brand, organization or business that delivers real business value.

See you next week!

Book Review: Hatching Twitter

Back in 2010 in the initial iteration of this blog I did a short book review of Accidental Billionaires which was the book that inspired the movie, Social Network which were both inspired by Facebook.

hatching twitter
hatching twitter

Hatching Twitter is the story about how 4 friends came up with the idea for the 140-character “status” updater/social networking site/global phenomenon, who then became co-founders and then became sworn enemies.

Ev told Jack he had to “chill out” with the deluge of media he was doing. “It’s bad for the company,” Ev said. “It’s sending the wrong message.” Biz sat between them, watching like a spectator at a tennis match.
“But I invented Twitter,” Jack said.
“No, you didn’t invent Twitter,” Ev replied. “I didn’t invent Twitter either. Neither did Biz. People don’t invent things on the Internet. They simply expand on an idea that already exists.”

Like Accidental Billionaires (which is a better book than movie) Hatching Twitter (which has just been optioned as a TV series) is about friendship, betrayal, success, business, love, hatred, loyalty, and almost any other emotion you can think of.

Although media and recent history tells a different story, I would like to thank Ev, Jack, Biz and Noah for creating a tool that has changed and continues to change the way people communicate and brands market.

Twitter has become the place where everyone from private citizens, brands and celebrities continue to compete for the attention and adoration of their friends, family members, consumers and marketers. Reading about how this successful company was hatched is a must for everyone. Especially if you’re an avid fan and user like myself.

Book Review: The funniest and most honest book ever was written by Rob Delaney

I was given Rob Delaney’s book by good friends of mine for my last birthday. I was putting it off as I tried to finish the book I was then reading. don’t ask me what it was.

Delaney has been described as the funniest man on Twitter. He just might be that if you are to believe what “they” say. However, he is undoubtedly one of the funniest writers as well. Delaney has written a book that is honest, funny, sad, reflective, challenging and thought provoking. Most of the time, I felt multiple emotions in one chapter.

This is one of those books that leaves you begging for more when you’re done. It is a quick read. not because of the length but because it’s a book you will never want to put down.

It is also a book that will make you reflect on what you’re doing in life. You may not change careers or start to believe in a God. But you may start to live a little out on the edge.

Pick this up as a gift. for yourself. you deserve it.

rob delaney
rob delaney

Twitter and Starbucks team up for @TweetACoffee

As Twitter continues to prepare for their upcoming IPO we should expect announcements and program such as this one.

Starbucks has teamed up with Twitter for an initiative called @TweetACoffee. This program allows an individual to send a virtual Starbucks $5 eGift to anyone they want to. All the recipient has to do is print off the coupon or add the $5 to their Starbucks mobile card. Pretty simple and easy.

Tweet A Coffee
Tweet A Coffee

It will be interesting to watch how other retailers use Twitter to increase brand awareness, affinity and e-commerce sales.

As for Twitter, I’m sure more partnerships like this and even the earlier Comcast and NBCUniversal announcement will be forthcoming.


#SurrenderYourSay is a winner

Last Wednesday I saw a post from Gregg Tilston letting his Twitter followers know that they may be seeing some apologizing for some of the tweets that would be coming from his account that day. Gregg happens to be the Social Media Global Lead for Flight Centre. He is one of a select number of professionals who I closely follow to keep up to date on what is happening in the world of SEO and social media. He caught my curiosity and I started to investigate.

It seemed that the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada (with guidance from agency Saatchi & Saatchi Canada) was asking people to give up control of their tweets for 24 hours in an attempt to have people understand how Tourette Syndrome works.

For those who don’t know, people who have Tourette Syndrome suffer from involuntary vocal and physical outbursts known as tics, that cause them to lose control of the things they say and do.

What better way to illustrate the symptoms of Tourette then giving up control of our tweets. No editing. No giving approval before “pressing send.” Just like those who suffer from Tourette.

Here’s an example of a tweet from Gregg:

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 12.05.32 AM

And one from me:

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 12.07.07 AM

These were totally random tweets that Gregg, myself and thousands of people had populate their feed throughout the day.

I have seen many brands (mostly corporate for-profit companies) execute social media campaigns. However, none have been so true to their message and brand than this one run by Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada. Those who took part were not insulting their followers. In fact, it raised awareness in a humourous yet effective manner. For example, Gregg (because I know him personally) takes what he says publicly seriously. He’s one of those people who thinks twice before pressing enter on his keyboard. So when people saw his tweets that day they probably stopped and read his tweets twice. And because there was a link and the #SurrenderYourSay hashtag, they most likely checked out what the heck Gregg was tweeting about.

Personally, no one responded to me in a negative way. No one sent me a DM saying that what I was tweeting was insulting to them and was harming my “personal” brand. In fact, I received many retweets and a few favourites too.

According to an official post, over 3 million people were reached in the first 24 hours of this campaign. As I write this on Sunday night, over 1.5 million people have participated in the #SurrenderYourSay campaign.

Congrats to the Foundation on their great work, this campaign and everyone who participated.

#FollowFriday: Mark Farmer

Every Friday I am going to highlight someone who I think is worthy of “following”. In the spirit of social media and specifically Twitter, I’m dubbing this #FollowFriday.

My inaugural “guest” is none other than Social Media Cafe TO co-founder and digital strategist Mark Farmer. I met Mark a few years ago when he was helping the Royal Ontario Museum navigate the social media waters. Today he is doing the same for my alma mater, York University.

In my opinion, Mark is one of Canada’s brightest minds in digital. He is also very humble: If there is a problem he’s having he’s not afraid to go onto Facebook and ask for guidance.

Here’s a conversation Mark and I had recently. I hope you enjoy it.