Category Archives: Twitter


A personal year in review: Success, failure & help from my friends.

Inspired by Gareth M. Skarka, I am doing a quick year in review of my own personal social media and web projects. I hope you can indulge my self focus. Many of the projects never went anywhere, but I learned so much from small tests, little steps, and the generosity of others who shared their knowledge.


Started a social media podcast series. I had one interview that went well, but a lack of people to interview and audience development caused me to shift the format to news updates. After two months of doing that, I let the podcast series end in March. One of the great things about this project was that I got to work with Philsquare who I hope to do business with again in 2012.  They do great work.

Started blogging on LLSocial more frequently. And by frequently I mean at best once a month.

Started a GroupMe SMS account as a backup communication system for Lawrence if Twitter and/or the Internet went down. Seven invited people signed up, but thankfully it hasn’t been needed yet. I admit this is another project I started with enthusiasm, but have not worked on since.


Blogged about my frustration with a lack of investment opportunities in social media and advised investing in one’s self whether with personal accounts or business projects.


Started attending a weekly Sunday morning breakfast organized by Ray Munoz. A number of people joined over the year, and it keeps going strong. You can join us 9:30 AM at Genovese in Lawrence almost every Sunday.

Started researching Twitter names I thought would be good to base a large account around. In the process I secured @free on Twitter.


On April 1st, I first posted to @free with a Google April Fool’s offer of “finger warmers” for typing. Google actually delivered them in the mail.

In mid April, I decided to shift @free follower development from a follow-back model and try promoting it with MyLikes.

On April 22nd started the Twitter account @Lblogs to automatically tweet most of the blog posts in Lawrence.

In late April I decided that an SMS text system for @free might make sense.

My one year anniversary working with ITFO Communications. Working on a variety of thought leadership, marketing and social media projects has helped improve my skill sets in a number of meaningful ways.


Launched a completely custom SMS text service for @free. While I learned so much from the developement, if I had to do it over again, I would have started smaller and used existing technology.  As it is, this was an expensive project that might be more than I need in terms of local targeting.


The one year anniversary of the formation of Social Media Club of Lawrence. I attended most meetings over the previous year and learn so much from everyone who attended and participated.  If I had to point to just one thing that helped me over the past year, it would be the knowledge this group shares every week.

In mid June I started more aggressive development of the @free audience including the use of sponsorships. For more details on this, I am doing a talk about it on Janurary 18th. You can find more details on the Facebook events page.

Predicted that Twitter would need to start doing @ message ads based on keywords users used. While Twitter has yet to attempt to put ads in users @ message sections, they are placing ads in timelines based on keyword usage.


Wrote about my early attempts at using Google+ for audience segmentation. While I am no longer particuarlly excited about Google+ due to a lack of users, I used those same principles to launch new Twitter accounts focusing on students as well as iPhone and Android owners.

In late July I considered creating stickers or key fobs for @free users that could help with branding and/or be the basis for contest entries. I abandoned the idea due to cost and more importantly, the realization that the time it would take to do fullfillment wasn’t reasonable or the best use of my time given the early nature of my startup.

In late July we launch the @free website.


Begin to explore monetization ideas for @free. At the end of August I ask @free readers what they thought.

Create a Facebook app page with Shortstack apps to promote the @free Facebook page.


Suggested a book author topic meeting for Social Media Club of Lawrence. On October 12th we had the meeting.

Put the call out for contributer for new @free accounts. In the process I found my sales lead, Matt, and student lead, Haley.


Launched @universifree, @atFreeiPhone and @atFreeAndroid.

Attended a KU Small Business Development Center introductory class on starting a business. I had created several businesses before, but still found the class very helpful. I followed it up with a meeting to brainstorm ideas for @free as well as doing a monetization plan.

Attended a Social IRL conference where I got some good advice from Ben A. Smith.

Decided to list Documentary Films .Net for sale, and wrote up copy for it.


Attended, and @free sponsored, a SocialIRL event in St. Louis.

Put a blog post on Documentary Films. Net saying it was for sale.

@free got its first five business sponsors.

Created my first YouTube video to go along with a blog post about Follower Wonk. The video has less than 30 views, but I learn a considerable amount in the process. I am thankful for all the advice I got from Patrick Conroy about video over this past year.


Sold Documentary Films .Net to a Danish entertainment content company focusing on films.

Update my LinkedIn profile to reflect some of the changes over the last year.

Tried out a new service, Clarify.FM and as a result got to have a phone call with Dan Martell, one of the Internet marketers I respect most.

Changed my personal Twitter username to @JoshD from @lawrencekslive.

Joined Pinterest and found my collecting impulse reignited.

I know many people limit themselves to one resolution or focus for 2012, but if 2011 has taught me anything, is that I will keep taking next step on current projects, try lots of little experiments and then put the focus on what works and keep building on little wins. 2011 had so many failures (I use that in a good way), but out of those, I am really happy with many small wins that built on themselves.

I used Evernote and PostPost to help with my memory of when and what happen this past year.  I highly recommend both free services.



Klout score goes from 0 to 72 in a month, but system is broken.

The new Klout score is really broken.  The numbers are no longer clear or useful, just like the image to right.

I say this as someone who saw Klout scores go up for most of the accounts I manage or consult for. A couple client accounts had small  to medium drops and my own personal account dropped 5 points. So my opinion is far from sour grapes.

The Problem With “True Reach”

And as best I can tell, one big problem (there are many) is True Reach numbers. If an account you run gets mentioned even once by a high follower Twitter account, your score will go up like crazy (and I don’t use the word “crazy” lightly). I don’t consider a one-off mention by a popular account to be particularly meaningful. Yes it can lead to new followers (or in many cases not), but a mention is not influencing other people’s followers in most cases.

If you thought Klout had a problem when Kenneth Cole’s Klout score went up after a poor choice in taste and hashtag usage, that “controversy bump” would be compounded under the new system.

I manage one account, @universifree, that is less than one month old. It has Klout score of 72. Jay Baer (@jaybaer) is a leading social media practitioner and thought leader. He has been working in marketing for 20 years, he is a leading user of social media tools, he seems to speak four times a week and has contacts and connections in almost every industry. His score is now 68 (down from mid 80s). Look at his @mentions. He regularly gets a mention a minute. There are actually many examples of this. Leading venture capitalists, who are active in social media and hold the purse strings to millions of dollars, saw there scores drop 20 or more points. And yet my one new account, less than a month old, has a score of 72.

Here is why:

  • The account was seeded with followers from a my mildly popular @free account that has similar demographic.
  • The account ran a sweepstakes that required a retweet and follow to enter. (It got a lot of retweets.)
  • The account has gotten mentioned by a couple popular accounts due to good editorial but also long standing relationships.

I would love to say our Klout score is because we offers amazing engagement, which we do (@haleygate has done a good job running it). For the 60 tweets we have made, yes 60, I think we did a good job. Even if I believe that a year from now, we have an opportunity to be mentioned among some of the best student/education accounts in social media, we aren’t there yet (and it may takes years to get there), but our Klout score would make it appear like we have arrived.

The nuances of the new system are I am sure many, but with this new account, we haven’t even got to explore them. We are just a Twitter account (granted with a good start on followers) getting going and figuring out what we can best share and accomplish. So Facebook, Tumbler, et al, doesn’t figure in.

“Quit worrying about Klout.” — The Internet

Many are going to say, “Quit worrying about Klout scores; they were never meaningful anyway.” To that point I have to disagree. While I wouldn’t say Klout scores were a true measure of influence, I did use them as a valuable metric, particularly for Twitter engagement as well as general Twitter influence. I could look at almost any Twitter account, and using bio, follower/following numbers, Klout score and their last 10 or twenty tweets, get a good feel for how this account fit into its own ecosphere as well as the Twitter world at large. I can’t do that anymore.

I have looked at multiple Twitter accounts in various verticals I follow, in my own community of Lawrence, Kansas, as well as at national brands, and pretty much the only scores that reflect true influence are those in the 90+ range. Before the Klout switch, I could get a general impression of activity and influence by a score in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Now many of those accounts have all been squeezed into a range between 40 and 60, and I don’t find the Klout numbers meaningful even when amplifying the value of each point difference.

I acknowledge that this part of my critique may come from my heavy focus on Twitter. Perhaps the 60-80 range needed to be cleared out to allow for YouTube video creators and Facebook subscriptions. I  hope that this is the case. And as I finish this mini rant (but hopefully informative), I can only say that unlike many, I thought Klout numbers actually had some value. That is why it is more difficult for me to see them become almost useless. If this is Klout’s Netflix moment, I say end Qwikster or give us something new and meaningful fast.

Since you read a whole blog post about Klout (thanks by the way), I would be interested to hear your impressions of the new score or any other thoughts.



If you put a lot of time into Twitter, how to get more out of it.

By its very nature, Twitter is an immediate and fleeting medium.  The immediacy is a large part of the appeal, but all those moments you put into using it add up.

If you are like me and you have put thousands of hours into reading tweets and tweeting yourself, then it just makes sense to take advantage of all the time you have put in.

The tool I am writing about today helps you access all of the content you have created and read on Twitter.  It is a search tool called Post Post.

Personalized Twitter Search

Many heavy Twitter users, including myself, have long tried to find a search engine that is better able to find tweets we saw or posted.

Twitter search has never been helpful in this regard. Like the service itself, Twitter search is about showing you what is happening now. If you have ever wanted to find a tweet you posted from a month back, you know it can take what seems like forever scrolling through your tweets, looking for that little nugget of information.  And if someone else tweeted it, you are unlikely to ever find it.

Google has actually been one of the best ways to find tweets, provided you know who the author was and at least a couple keywords from the post.  It wasn’t intuitive, but if you put in the time this was the best option.

What I like about Post Post is that it is not a small step in the right direction, it is a fully formed web application that lets you truly take advantage of your history on Twitter and the history of those you are connected to.

In order to use Post Post all you have to do is approve access to their application from your Twitter account.  Depending on how long you have been on Twitter, it can take several hours for all your tweets to show up in their system, but once they are in, you now have a fully searchable history of your tweets and all the tweets in your timeline.

The one caveat is that posts from private accounts are not included.

How to use it.

You do a search using keywords.  The most recent results come up.  You then can choose whose tweets you want to look at based on a list in the left column.  For a broad query the username function is essential.

My search for tweets I made about my dog, Abby.

Uses I have found:

Find all the posts you made about any subject. This provides a great basis for then developing those tweets into a blog post or just seeing your thoughts on a subject.

Find all the posts where you interacted with a person.

Find a service or product that you or a friend shared.  A couple of people I follow had talked about Warby Parker glasses. I had no idea what the name of the company was. But by searching for “new glasses” and then remembering who had tweeted about them, I was quickly able to find the company name.

Find older pictures that have been shared.  I wanted to find all the pictures of my dog Abby for a collage I was putting together.  One quick search for “Abby” and then selecting my own tweets returned all mentions I had made.

I am sure you can think of your own uses for Post Post.  It is the type of service where it makes sense to set it up now, so you will have it available when you need it.

I hope you find it useful.


A free social media tool I really like: Crowdbooster.

This week my local Social Media Club in Lawrence, Kansas is discussing free social media tools, so I wanted to write about one of my favorites: Crowdbooster.  It is hard to describe exactly what Crowdbooster is, but I guess the right phrase would be a “social media analytics dashboard”.   If that sounds cold and boring, don’t let my phrasing turn you off, it is a cool free tool. My experience in using their service has been entirely with Twitter, but they do offer Facebook coverage as well.

What I love:

Tracks retweets and @ replies for every one of your posts.

The dashboard is very intuitive.  It shows you all your tweets and uses retweets and potential impressions to lay them out on a grid.  It also tracks replies by showing bigger circles for tweets that resulted in @ messages.

They not only count Twitter style retweets, but also manual “RT” and “via” retweets.  I don’t expect this will ever be an issue with my own personal accounts, but it does track retweets well above Twitters 100 display limit. I have confirmed this with a couple of @free contest tweets that have been retweeted over 300 times.  It seems to track them all, and tells you every single account that retweeted them.

Recommendations on when to post a tweet.

I am not big on scheduling tweets.  This is in part because breaking news can happen at any time.  Your tweet can be buried when a breaking news story happens, but also you want to reflect the tone of your audience.  If there is a disaster somewhere, it is likely not the best time to be tweeting something promotional.

With all of that said, Crowdbooster offers recommendations on when to tweet and they back it up with a graph that plots the best times based on hour and day.  They allow you to schedule a tweet using their dashboard, but you can also just take this information as a recommendation, and tweet near the time they recommend.


Unlikely some tweet timing services, Crowdbooster doesn’t just look at when past tweets have been successful, but also when your followers are tweeting.  This second part gives Crowdbooster a leg up on services like

What I like:

The other features are more basic, but still useful.

Crowdboosters shows your follower numbers as a graph with individual increases and decrease by the day. It also shows who retweets you the most.

The influential follower section isn’t that useful as it only shows your followers who themselves have the most followers. It doesn’t take into account how many they are following or how truly engaged or influential they are.

Crowdbooster is still in beta.

While they plan to make the information in the dashboard real-time eventually, there is currently a delay from when you tweet until the results get added. Sometimes the delay is a couple hours, sometimes it can be over a day.  Even if this aspect never improves (I am assured by Ricky at Crowdbooster that it will), Crowdbooster is still extremely useful. In a world where people love visualizations, why not get a quick visual impression of how your tweets are doing, and then be able to look at any one tweet in significant detail.

Crowdbooster is invite only, but you can get right in via this link: