Category Archives: twitter

Beware of Bullshit from Conferences

I’m not usually one to post such a negative title. But I want to make sure that you’re all aware of what is happening out there.

I attend many conferences.  I find value in the education and in the networking. More often than not I will meet someone or a group of people that will end up becoming valuable associates, good friends or even clients (although this rarely happens – but one never knows). And I will always attend and promote conferences.

However, something has been happening recently that I need to direct your attention to it.

In the social media and communications world – which I live and work in – there are many so called facts that people use to promote the value of social media or even why (expensive) tools or services should be purchased and used.  What’s the big deal with this? Nothing. If it’s true. But a whole lot is wrong if false examples are used to illustrate the point.

This first came to my attention on a panel I sat on discussing social media. It was hosted by a young professional network. The lie: United Airlines lost market share, market value and revenues as a result of United Breaks Guitar. Many articles have been written assuming that United lost money. The facts are far from clear but I stand to be corrected.

The latest was from a conference I attended last week hosted by a company which was recently purchased by SalesForce. The lie? That in recent history the team that has won the World Series in baseball has had more singles (than any other type of hit) than everyone else. The point was to tell people to be satisfied with hitting singles in life rather than swinging for the fences (dream small versus dreaming big).  Fair enough. But the fact of the matter is that the story used to illustrate the point is 100% incorrect.

According to my numbers (I had someone who works in stats on a daily basis help me out – the “fact” sounded fishy to me), since 2000, only 2 teams with most singles overall have won the World Series: The 2012 Giants and 10 years earlier, the 2002 Angels.

Sigh. I don’t know how many Tweets and ReTweets the original statement received. I do know it filled my timeline.

My suggestion: Before taking any action on what you hear at conferences, do your own research. And don’t be afraid to call the bullshitters out.

End of rant.

11 tools to help you get the most out of Twitter

Personally, Twitter has become my favourite social media tool. Although users are limited to 140 characters, we have come up with many ways to use this simple tool: whether it is using hashtags, embedding links to articles, photos or videos, or using the Direct Message feature.

Since it’s inception, many tools have been created to help people and social media agencies get the most out of Twitter. Here are just a few of them and what they do. If you know of others, please feel free to share them in the comments section.

In no particular order:

ReTweetLab – powered by HubSpot this tool is one of the most powerful I’ve come across to date. ReTweetLab takes a look at your last 1000+ tweets and analyzes them from everything to length, RTs, Day of Week, Time of Day and more.

Qlouds – the premier Twitter storage facility not owned by Twitter.

TweetReach – Want to know how viral that last tweet about Kim Kardashian you tweeted was? TweetReach is the tool for you.

HootSuite – I use this tool everyday to do everything from tweeting, RTing, searching for conversations and people on Twitter, and even to schedule tweets. They also provide social media analytics and a robust social media team workflow solution.

Buffer – An interesting tool that (via its free version) allows the user to schedule 4 tweets during the day at optimum times. The data they report back on helps you to understand which content is resonating with your followers.

TwitterCounter – the free version of TwitterCounter can help you track how many followers you’re gaining on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. And  you can also use this tool to compare yourself to Barak Obama or your next door neighbour.

TweetPing – Probably the “coolest” Twitter tool out there. Shows you a real life word wide view of who’s tweeting in real time. Kind of like looking at Twitter from Commander Hadfield’s view from the space station.

TweepsMap – Want to know where your followers are? This tool will report to you the city and country of where your followers reside.

TweetBig – Another Twitter tool that helps you manage your community.

Twitonomy – Twitter analytics tool currently in beta.

Metricly – Dashboard to track and analyze your social media data.

thirdoceanTV: Gail Gabrielle Ordogh from RealSports

As a partner with a Toronto-based social media agency I have the opportunity to interview the various personalities in the industry on a regular basis. The following interview first appeared on our agency blog last week. I hope you enjoy the conversation.


Our guest today is Gail Gabrielle Ordogh who is the community manager and host for RealSports.

In our conversation we talk about:

  • Social media and e-commerce initiatives at RealSports
  • How RealSports adapts to work stoppages and impacts experiences at e11even, a casual fine dining restaurant at Maple Leaf Square.


Show notes:

  • 0:19 – Karim introduces Gail
  • 1:18 – Gail shares how she got into social media and what she’s learnt through her experiences
  • 5:15 – Social media users’ expectations online and how it influences the relationship between the customer and the company
  • 8:07 – Social media management through Gail’s personal Twitter account and it’s influence on the brand’s overall reputation
  • 10:33 – The impact of work stoppages (hockey strike, NBA lockout, etc.) and how it was handled on social media on RealSports
  • 14:30 – How to cater to different needs under one collective brand
  • 15:40 – Using Twitter as a conversion tool to increase foot traffic and purchases
  • 18:49 – What type of content resonates with RealSports fans
  • 23:49 – How RealSports e-commerce platform impacts social media initiatives
  • 25:33 – Working with a consumer popular brand and if it has made Gail’s social media efforts easier than it would for an unknown startup brand
  • 27:16 – How has e-commerce at RealSports impact experiences at e11even, and how such experiences will come to the social media savvy crowds at RealSports. Gail also shares the pilot project for RealSports apparel that started last year – a thirdocean exclusive!
  • 29:27 – Karim wraps up. Vine is making the case for business use

As many of you know, I am  a partner with a social media agency in Toronto. I am also a regular contributor on social media with The following article was first published last week. I hope you enjoy.


Earlier this year Twitter released the mobile video-sharing app, Vine. I also shared my early thoughts about Vine on my agency blog here.

As soon as it came out two very distinct camps started to form. The first camp argued that nothing of real value could be created in just six seconds (or less). These were probably the same people who argued that 140 characters was not long enough to tell any sort of meaningful story.

The second camp was mostly filled with creative types. These people didn’t see a 6 second limitation. Rather, they believed that Vine was just another platform where art could be created. They focused on the medium rather than the message.

And if you have spent any amount of time on Vine or even Vine aggregators such as Vinepeek then you now know that people’s creativity knows no bounds. One of the most popular personalities (and my personal favourite) on Vine is Adam Goldberg: six seconds of pure entertainment.

However, in my circle, most people are interested in whether or not there are any business uses for Vine. Of course there is. Two examples pop into my head.

The first is Wired Magazine. On a regular basis Wired Magazine publishes six second videos of visitors and promotions of upcoming stories and features they are working on.

The second is the Humane Society of New York. In February, the Humane Society placed a cat in an adopted home courtesy of a Vine video that was posted earlier in the month.

It is still early to properly quantify the business value of Vine but here are some tangible points:

  1. If you’re hiring, Vine is a great tool to showcase the type of culture your brand lives and breathes.
  2. For those in the publishing industry (books, magazines, digital, etc), Vine is a great way to offer a preview of what’s to come.
  3. Leave a call to action (visit our website or call our number) in your Vine. It can be in the comments or tag section. Or the call to action can be part of the video.
  4. Like all types of content, content best practices still applies with Vine: Publish on a regular basis, produce interesting and shareable content, and listen to your community as you continue to publish Vine videos.

There are plenty of examples of companies already using Vine. If you’ve come across a brand using Vine in an interesting and compelling way, please share with the rest of the community in the comments section.

HootSuite vs Buffer

Earlier this month I conducted a non-scientific analysis comparing two social media publication tools: HootSuite and Buffer. To set the stage here are some facts:

  • The social media agency that I am a partner of is a paying HootSuite client.
  • I use HootSuite (not just for business) to publish to a variety of platforms including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • I use HootSuite to publish in real time as well as push out scheduled messages.
  • I have used the free version of Buffer (sparingly) to send out scheduled tweets.

I scheduled 10 identical tweets on both platforms between the dates of Monday, March 4 2013 – Wednesday, March 6 2013.

HootSuite’s schedule engine heavily loaded the tweets on Monday. Buffer scheduled 4 on Monday, 4 on Tuesday and 2 on Wednesday. Here are the results:

  • 4 tweets from HootSuite had no clicks.
  • HootSuite’s analytics (unless I’m missing something) didn’t share how many RTs or mentions the tweets received.
  • The 10 tweets sent through HootSuite’s scheduled feature received a total of 33 clicks; the highest tweet received 14 clicks and was about Toronto’s Community Managers.
  • Every tweet sent through Buffer received at least 1 click.
  • The average tweet sent through Buffer received 6.5 clicks.
  • The most popular tweets each received 12 clicks (Toronto’s Community Managers, Co-working Spaces in Toronto, and an interview with Gregg Tilston of Flight Centre).
  • The Co-working tweet also received 1 RT and 1 mention.
  • In total, the tweets sent through Buffer received 2 RTs, 1 mention and 65 clicks


Use Buffer to send out more than 4 scheduled tweets at once. The platform will ensure they are spread out evenly. What will I do? I will continue to use HootSuite. Scheduling has benefits (as seen above) but I also place a high level of importance on engagement, monitoring, moderating and searching for conversations and topics. These are things that provide me with personal and business value.

itbusiness – Is credit card alliance Foursquare’s saving grace?

The following post was originally posted on last week.

By now you’ve probably heard that Foursquare had initiated a retail program that allows users to check in to locations and save money with their Visa or MasterCard. In fact, it’s been almost two years since Foursquare created this initiative with American Express.

The most recent announcement is quite interesting as Forbes opined at the beginning of the year that Foursquare was doomed for failure in 2013. Which leads me to ask this question: Will this latest initiative with Visa and MasterCard help Foursquare become relevant, profitable and an important ally of retailers?

Time will tell but I think it is not too early to say yes.

  1. Immediate ROI. Retailers (and all businesses for that matter) have been concerned about the value of social media ever since it was determined that one could actually measure social media. Participating retailers will find ROI from this program just by plugging in. However, they will still need to actively engage and communicate with their community and potential audience members. Now that this opportunity has been handed to them how innovative will retailers become to attract people via social media in general and Foursquare specifically? And what active role will Foursquare play in this? Will we see sales offices open up similar to their social media cousins such as Facebook and LinkedIn?
  2. Huge big data opportunity. Big Data is going to continue to be huge in 2013 and this is just one example of why. Foursquare and the credit card companies are the biggest winners here. For years, credit card companies have been harvesting data on the purchasing habits of customers. Foursquare has been compiling data (although not as rich) for a few years now. This marriage of sorts will – for the first time – now combine consumer behaviour and social media. In fact, I believe that American Express’ recent partnership with retailers and Twitter is a direct result of lessons learned (and data obtained) from their Foursquare initiative of two years ago. Look for Visa, MasterCard and American Express to use this data to offer special services, insights and even products to their corporate and consumer clients in the very near future. Also look for Foursquare to continue working with retailers and credit cards companies to be their social media partner.
  3. The importance of the check-in. Many retailers still rely heavily on their store fronts for the majority of their revenues. This partnership with Foursquare shows the importance that bricks and mortar still plays in today’s digital economy. However, I believe that Foursquare will now start to develop a GetGlue-type solution by offering consumers the ability to virtually check in. Why? in 2010, e-commerce accounted for $15.3 billion in sales in Canada. And it’s growing.

For Canada the question is when will we see this initiative north of the 49th? Don’t hold your breath. The Amex initiative is still not available in Canada after two years. So the chances of Foursquare opening up this program anytime soon in Canada is unlikely.

thirdoceanTV | in conversation with Gregg Tilston of Flight Centre

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to my good friend Gregg. For those who don’t know, Gregg Tilston is the Global Social Media Leader at Flight Centre. Besides being a good friend, he’s a very smart guy when it comes to web marketing and social media.

In this episode, Gregg and host, Karim Kanji, discuss:
– The social media strategy and tactics he helps lead and promote at Flight Centre
– Earned media vs paid media on Facebook
– The importance of understanding engagement, measurement and metrics
– What Flight Centre is learning from social media security
– The value (or lack thereof) of social media influence rating tools such as Klout and Kred


Follow Gregg @greggtilston
Follow Karim @karimkanji
Follow thirdocean @wearethirdocean
Subscribe to our YouTube channel today.

This post was first published on

itbusiness – The ever-changing social media landscape

Social media is all over the news these days. Whether we’re talking about startups and tools, brands, issues such as privacy and security or how big brands and events are using social media, we can expect to hear something new or interesting every day. Just consider some of these examples:


Last month we were introduced to Vine. Twitter purchased Vine last year which is a six-second looping video creation tool and consumption platform. It’s all the rage right now. But what will be the shiny new object we all flock to next week?


One of the most popular international brands using social media (and integrated media) these days is Red Bull. Its culture of “pushing the limits of human endeavour and experience” makes for great content on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram.

Privacy and security

Privacy has taken a back seat in the social media discourse these days. That’s only because the hacking and unauthorized use of Twitter accounts of Jeep, Burger King, HMV and the City of Vaughan, Ont. has brought the issue of security to the forefront.


Recent events such as the 2013 U.S. Presidential Inauguration, the 2013 Super Bowl and Beyonce half time show, the Grammys, and Oscars have all heavily used social media tools and tactics to amplify the conversation and experience.

Over the coming weeks and months I will be highlighting specific social media trends and case studies. I encourage you to participate in this column by reaching out to me on Twitter @karimkanji and also by including the hashtag #ITBSocial.

The preceding article was first published on the new website.

Does Vine have it’s first Vine-Superstar?

I say yes. And his name is Adam Goldberg.

Many of you might know Adam from movies such as Saving Private Ryan and A Beautiful Mind.  Adam also happens to be an accomplished musician, designer and director.

And now, he’s using Vine as a creative outlet and to showcase his creative talents. (If you’re curious about Vine check out the blog post I wrote on my company website.)

Which is a good thing. He’s not making videos of cookies being eaten or cats playing with dogs. Not that I have anything against dogs. It’s those darn cats I can’t stand…

And Adam will not be alone for much longer. The Vine platform and format is simple to use. For anyone.

All you need is 6 seconds. A 6 second movie. About anything you want. Think about it. How many people wish they could create a viral video on YouTube? Many. But it’s not really the viral video people are interested in making unless they use the platform for business – “Hey Karim, can you make me a viral video?”

People are interested in the creativity of these videos. However, the masses have been stopped as a result of a continuous raising of the bar. With Vine, the barrier to entry is fixed. And it’s low. Only 6 seconds. Imagine what you can come up with in 6 seconds. Now all you have to do is grab your smartphone* and away you go.

What will you create in 6 seconds?

* = currently Vine is only on the iOS platform. 

Vine – the newest social network

Vine seems to be all the rage these days – It is the video equivalent of sharing your life 140 characters at a time. And yes, it’s owned by Twitter.

I consider myself an early adopter so I looked forward to downloading and testing this much-talked about app this past week.  At the moment, Vine is available on the iOS (Apple products) OS.

I’ve also had the opportunity to play with the app previously with Andrew Jenkins.  Andrew was recently a guest of mine on thirdoceanTV.

In short, Vine enables the user to “create and share beautiful, short looping 6 second videos.”

Here are some early thoughts:

From a consumer standpoint, Vine has the characteristics to be sticky like Instagram:
– its easy as pie to use.
– connecting with larger social networks like Facebook and Twitter is seamless. This allows Vine content to be shared even with those who are not on the new platform.
– Vine is not just a video creation and sharing app; It’s a social network. When you create a video it automatically becomes part of all the other Vine videos. And the user can also consume these videos on the Vine platform.

To see some examples, check out some interesting user-generated videos on VineRoulette.

As a partner with thirdocean, I’m also interested in the implications of this new platform on how brands and agencies communicate and create new and interesting content. Geoffrey Colon wrote an interesting piece earlier this morning on Vine and why brands should be testing Vine. Here are his 5 reasons (in short and in my words):

1.) Test and Learn.
2.) We know visuals are more compelling than just text.
3.) Tell stories in 6 second snippets.
4.) Showcase your company and product.
5.) Tell stories of the people and the company they work for.

Obviously these are still early days. I’m sure there will be many case studies coming out over the next few weeks and months on the application of Vine both from a consumer and brand points of view.

A version of this article showed up yesterday on the thirdocean blog.