Category Archives: Twitter


Are you 21 or older? Some Twitter accounts now have age restrictions.

In March there was considerable coverage of Vitrue’s announcement that using their social platform, they planned to bring age verification to some Twitter accounts. The idea is that liquor companies wanted to be on Twitter, but they were concerned about having under-age followers.

Now we are starting to see age verification in action.

I recorded a short video of the process as it relates to the Woodford Reserve Twitter account.

I have an email and call out to Vitrue to confirm that this is their software in action. There is no Vitrue branding on the verification on the page, so it could certainly be done by someone else.

The system isn’t 100% perfect. In Woodford Reserve’s case their account is public and anyone can view their tweets by going to their profile page.

If a liquor company’s account was private, this would be a pretty ideal solutions at least in terms of meeting a high standard for age restriction. Since Woodford’s account is public, anyone can retweet one of their tweets and those tweets can be seen by anyone in their stream.

The industries solution seems to be to add a disclosure in their tweets. Since we are dealing in 140 characters, the disclosure are likely only readable by those familiar with SMS style abbreviations (ironically those people are often young).

Based on seeing other tweets in the industry, “Msg421+” likely means that the message is intended for those 21 years of age or older.

“BrbnWskyWRDist” likely means Bourbon Whiskey, Woodford Reserve Distillery.

It feels a bit like figuring out what a custom license plate is trying to say. The disclosure comes at the end, so the “damage” is already done.

I don’t fault Woodford Reserve at all for their approach. Dealing in 140 characters is difficult, and many alcohol producers are on Twitter with only a “21+” disclosure in their bio.

Alcohol marketing on social networks is a real issue. @free had to turn down an excited sponsor because their brand was a winery. It would have been a great sponsorship, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing it with the @free audience that tends to skew young.

It will be interesting to see if more liquor brands begin to adopt an external age verification system.

Thanks to Bryan @CentroCigars to mentioning his experience which led to this post.

This is an evolving issue, and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


Note that the call to action is to visit Twitter.

Twitter finally using Summify software, and it looks great.

I am a big fan of Summify. I first wrote about Summify last year when I talked about it being a great option to get an overview of what the people shared while I was on vacation and not on Twitter. Since then I continue to look at the summary email every night. Summify does a good job of finding some of the more interesting and notable links shared each day.

On January 19th, Twitter bought Summify. I was concerned that Twitter would shut down Summify, and in fact there was some indication from Twitter that they would do that. Despite that indication, I continue to get Summify emails each day.

Today, I finally got a chance to see what Twitter plans to do with Summify. The image below shows a new email summary from Twitter (on the left) that looks so close to a Summify email (on the right), that I have to think it is a use of the technology.

New Twitter summary email is useful and may bring users back.

Note that the call to action is to visit Twitter.

The new Twitter email goes beyond just a summary of popular links shared by those you follow. It also includes five tweets that were popular in the last day, but that don’t have links in them.

The new Twitter email is very clean, and I think it will solve several issues that Twitter has. First, it keeps Twitter interesting and relevent for people who don’t check the service frequently. Secone, it is likely to get people  who previously signed up for Twitter, but who don’t use it, to try it again.

I looked at the notification pages for a few Twitter accounts I use, and I didn’t see a check box to sign-up for a summary email. It could be that Twitter will use previous opt-in permission to send this email, but the email is so useful I have to think that they will allow users to specifically signup for it in the future.


Miracle Whip Oscar Tweets

Miracle Whip gets edgy; trolls Twitter on Oscar night.

Miracle Whip has a history of non traditional advertising. They paid Lady Gaga to include their product in the music video for “Telephone” in 2010, and frequently places ads and sponsored content in video games like Skate 3. But all of that is fairly tame, compared to the tweets coming from the Miracle Whip official Twitter account on Oscar Night. Their  plan seemed to be to address some of the snarky tweets that are often made about celebrities, and their choice of targets was certainly not tame.

Not surprisingly if you engage with NSFW comedians you can expect some cutting responses to schoolmarmish tweets.


Miracle Whip’s tweets were not random, but rather tied to a new campaign highlighted by an Oscar commercial called “Keep an Open Mouth”. With that tagline and free flowing nature of the Twitter, you could see how things could go a number of less than PG ways quickly.

Here is an early release of the commercial:

For a major consumer brand (we are taking Kraft here), this trollish engagement approach is unique. They didn’t wait for consumers to engage with them, but rather actively tweeted their own “you should be nicer comments to people who had no expectations that they would get challenged on their tweets. The upside of this approach is fairly limited, but the risk are quite high given an established brand like Miracle Whip.

Any thoughts on this approach?  Is it better than the normal corporate PR we see from brands?

Twitter Free Advertising From American Express

Does your Twitter account qualify for a free $100 advertising credit?

American Express is offering 10,000 small and mid-sized business a free $100 credit to start using Twitter’s new self-service ad platform. The news was announced two weeks ago, and I wanted to explore the details and process.

In order to qualify for free Twitter advertising you must:

  • Be a U.S. business with a U.S. billing address.
  • Be an American Express Cardholder or have an American Express merchant account.
  • Have a Twitter account that tweets business news and updates.
  • Follow @AmericanExpress on Twitter.
  • Have followers who actively engage and respond to users through @ mentions, retweets and replies. It is unclear how they will evaluate this or if it figure into actual selection.
  • Be a small or mid-sized business. No definition is provided as to what businesses meet this qualification.
  • Register your Twitter account at:

If you are selected what you should know:

  • American Express will start contacting selected business in March via a direct message to your Twitter account from @AmericanExpress.
  • It is likely you will be given a link to then provide more details and verification that you meet the American Express qualifications.
  • The $100 Twitter advertising credit can be used to “gain more followers for your Twitter account and to extend the reach of your Tweets to find and engage new customers”. You can use the credit to bid for promoted account placement on a per-follower basis or promote tweets on a cost-per-engagement basis.
  • The cost to acquire a new follower in the Twitter system generally runs between $2.50 and $4.50.
  • You can’t use the credit for Promoted Trends. Since Promoted Trends start at $125,000, this shouldn’t be an issue. 😐
  • If you spend more than the $100 credit you will be charged via the credit card you register at sign-up.

Questions about the process:

When I signed-up, I wasn’t asked for my American Express credit card number, so it is unclear how and at what point American Express will do verification of eligibility.

While some reports say the first 10,000 eligible registrations will get the credit. The qualifications on the sign-up page indicate there may be some discretion on American Express’ part in terms of what accounts are eligible.

I emailed American Express to try to get additional information on the process and some idea of how many spots are left. I will update this post if I get a response.

If you have signed up for the process, have questions or know additional details, feel free to leave a comment.


What Twitter can learn from Pinterest

I am not one of those people who is always calling for the addition of new features to Twitter. I like how it is now. I like that you only get 140 characters. I like the follow/unfollow model. That said, the more I use Pinterest, the more I think about how Twitter could make small changes to improve the experience without ruining the wonder of short updates.

The life of tweets could be extended by allowing for classification and collecting.  Yes, we have hashtags, but I personally don’t find them that elegent. And if I tweet using a hashtag regularly, I still don’t have an easy way to find all the tweets I made using those hashtags.  If I am not going to find my own group of hashtagged tweets, no one else is going to bother to try to find all the tweets I made on one topic.  Twylah has attempted to do this to some degree, but they are using strictly automation. Twitter could avoid buying Twylah (I will miss you Summify), and actually make a better product in the process.

My suggestion to Twitter is give people the option to put Tweets into user created categories (like Pinterest boards).  You could even bury the option so as not to confuse new users, but at least make it an option. Bookmarking sites have shown the popularity of services like this, and with just one selection from a drop down menu, it would create a lot of value for Twitter and users by allowing Twitter to be a destination to find curated “boards” that revolve around specific subject areas.

I mentioned how I like the strict follow/unfollow system Twitter uses, but over time, a small move like this, would position them to better be able to adapt and compete with the Google Plus model of circles. Letting the users decide what to follow on Twitter, makes more sense then having the creator, create circles to share with from existing followers.  Twitter has set itself up as a fairly open networks, and Pinterest’s model of following specific interests would be a nice addition without changing the core Twitter experience.