10,000 Character Tweets?

That’s the rumor, as reported on Re/code and other sites. And it’s a desperate attempt to reinvent the social media site and cement its relevance. I also don’t think it will work.

UnknownI think this because most of the other tweaks to the site have not yielded positive results: bigger characters, gee-whiz graphics, photos, that annoying “Moments” section and the even more annoying “While you were away” tweets.

The real problem, it seems to me, is that Jack Dorsey and the “thought leaders” at Twitter seem to be more worried about how competitive Twitter is with Facebook and less worried about what their users want or expect from the microblogging platform.

The user experience — or user expectation — is the real key here. People are leaving Twitter not because there are not enough features but perhaps because there are just too many. When you are using Twitter on your phone, which most people do, the last thing you want are six million options. Trying to remember and figure out what you want to do decreases the value of the service to the user, thereby decreasing the likelihood that the user will continue using.

I’ve been completely frustrated by the 140-character limit at times, but that’s the essential element. Think about it. If I wanted to read a 10,000 character dissertation, why would I want to read it on Twitter?

The beauty of Twitter is its simplicity. Don’t keep mucking about and trying to make it into something it’s not. If you’re not careful, brand extension can kill you. Just be who you are, Twitter, not what you think someone else wants you to be.

Follow me before it all goes away!

I Know What You Read Last Year

Here’s what you were reading on this site last year. Just the Top 5.


Image: Richard Peter|Deutsche Fotothek/Wikimedia Commons

5. To Better Position Your College, Remove Word ‘College’ from Name?
Yet another spectacular fail from the world of highly paid branding and marketing consultants. This one is just beyond stupid — and the fact that an institution of higher education bought into it, well, it’s just beyond the pale.

4. He’s Baaack. The Ever-Buoyant Jonah Lehrer Bobs Up to the Surface Again
Lord, who knew Jonah Lehrer was going to be my own personal ‘bad penny?’ I was all set to do a sit-down interview with Lehrer as a bit of a puff piece for my then-employer when his “self-plagiarizing” scandal broke in 2012 and I got sucked into the drama. I’ve followed him since, just cause. Some topics never disappoint!

3. Branding is Killing Your Website
A cut from and a link to “New Thinking,” a regular e-thinkpiece from web guru Gerry McGovern. There’s no one who writes better and with more clarity and common sense on web topics than McGovern. No one.

2. About Mark Blackmon
Thanks for caring. By the way, a ranking at this level is either a good thing — “I want to know because this guy is interesting.” — or a bad thing — “Who in the hell is this clown?”

1. How Closing San Diego Opera Makes Your Life Worse
A private e-mail howler that one of the recipients asked me to put somewhere so that they could link to it. I did, and then provided a bit of context to the whole thing. And what do you know? It went viral in a very specific sector of the web almost immediately. The funny thing about it was that the original e-mailer that I replied to said that they received forwards of this thing by the hundreds because no one knew that I was replying to them in the first place! Or that we even knew each other, let alone that we’d been fast friends for decades. You can be anonymous on the web. You just have to be crafty!

Thanks for reading and writing and sharing. It’s a delight to interact with you. Happy New Year!

My Top Ten List from One Last Word

Twitter’s Losing Sight of What Makes It So Great

Twitter’s Losing Sight of What Makes It So Great.

UnknownA good piece on Mashable today. I agree. Twitter was very off-putting to me at the outset. I just couldn’t grasp WHY one would elect to constrain themselves so tightly.

Now, I’m a Twitter fan. I love the quick interaction and quirky way it works. It is sui generis in the world of social media, and that’s exactly what it set out to be.

BUT…. all of these new changes? It wants to be more and more like Facebook. And that’s a HUGE mistake. Instead of seeing a leveling off of user exodus or even an increase in users, I think this may force Twitter users to abandon it like lemmings over a cliff.

I mean, really: you want ANOTHER Facebook?

Not me.

Twitter is a wonderful marketing tool if used correctly. Let’s hope they right this ship before it’s too late.

International Studies Association proposes to bar editors from blogging | Inside Higher Ed

International Studies Association proposes to bar editors from blogging | Inside Higher Ed.

Oh, this is hilarious! And absolutely typical of higher education.

I get in trouble when I stand up in front of higher education administrators and college presidents and tell them that their entire industry is out of step with the world. They take great umbrage. I am an infidel!

And I’m bloody right.

The simple fact is that colleges and universities are run by people who contemplate for a living. And, as such, they are always running behind. They are having this revelation today, but in reality, this question has been asked and answered a dozen years ago. But, because they have been busy contemplating, they do not realize this.

It is also why many institutions of higher learning should be run by management professionals instead of, you know, religion professors. It doesn’t make me too popular, some days, but I AM right!

H/T – Bill Tyson

How LinkedIn Is Thwarting Your Job Search

How LinkedIn Is Thwarting Your Job Search | Next Avenue.

This is an important article, especially for those who are using LinkedIn as a part of their job search.

It’s also a very important lesson in how too much is really too much, sometimes. It’s also a lesson in how people don’t think through their actions, even when those people are ones that you would think should know better.

It’s called strategic planning and, frankly, not a lot of people are any good at it.

And that, constant reader, is what keeps me in business!

(Listen to Ms. Sapolin — if you’re looking for work, turn those damn annoying notifications off!)

Big Gay Social — Media, That Is

This Scoop Shop’s Secret Sauce? Social Marketing.


Founders Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff outside of one of the locations of Big Gay Ice Cream, the quirky East Village ice cream shop. |Image: biggayicecream.com.

Great story on Mashable – with video – about Big Gay Ice Cream, the Manhattan-based ice cream truck and bricks and mortar stores of the same name and how they’ve used social media to fuel their brand.

They have found that their quirky take on tweets and Facebook posts have won over fans.

Social media is a tool. Just one arrow in your marketing quiver. I can only say this a million times before someone is bound to key into it. These guys understand it’s about raising your profile, not necessarily equating numbers of tweets with numbers of widgets sold.

Next time you happen by, try a Salty Pimp. Or a Bea Arthur. You’ll be glad you did.


20% of Americans Can’t Access Facebook at Work

American employers who block websites in an attempt to boost productivity at work are most likely to start with Facebook. One in five Americans can’t access the social media site while at work.

Twitter is a close second, with 15.1% reportedly blocking the site.

via 20% of Americans Can’t Access Facebook at Work.|Mashable

I guess I should be shocked by this. I certainly see how management (other unenlightened managers, thus excluding myself!) could see all social media as a giant time suck, but, for me, and for others that must react to news and perceptions during the day, it’s simply essential that we’re plugged in all the time. #getwiththeprogram