Posts Tagged ‘influence’

Twitter Influence: Another Case Study

May 4, 2010

I wrote a Twitter Influence case study in a previous blog comparing the different approaches that @TweetSmarter and @tonystevens4 took towards building a strong Twitter Influence, concluding with the lessons I have learned by following them.

Guy Kawasaki, co-founder of Alltop

Guy Kawasaki, co-founder of Alltop. Courtesy:

The following case study takes the same approach towards analyzing the Twitter Influence of another prominent, highly followed, highly listed and highly influential user, with two usernames: @GuyKawasaki / @Alltop. Guy Kawasaki, co-founder of Alltop, tweets from both accounts, and each account serves a slightly different purpose. I will, like before, present my findings from what I learned by following Guy’s accounts and the example tweets that back up my findings.

@GuyKawasaki / @Alltop

Like @TweetSmarter, I would describe @GuyKawasaki and @Alltop as a reliable source of information. In Guy’s words, his website, Alltop, is “an online magazine rack”. Indeed, when browsing the subject headings on Alltop, you will find about as many topics as you would find at the magazine section of Barnes and Noble or Borders.

What he does

Guy sets a schedule for tweets on his namesake’s username, @GuyKawasaki, so that people in different time zones around the world can read the articles referenced in his tweets. If you are on your computer all day, you will see up to three tweets about the same topic from this username. Interestingly, when Guy follows you back, you will receive a direct message (DM) from him encouraging you to add his other username, @Alltop. He promises that the tweets from @Alltop are unique and non-repeating, even though they originate from the same place as the tweets from @GuyKawasaki.

What does Guy tweet about? A lot of subjects, to say the least. All of Guy’s tweets from both accounts link to the Alltop website, particularly the section called, Holy Kaw! All the topics that interest us. In other words, since the articles featured in this section are, in their opinion, the most interesting or intriguing, his followers are very likely to retweet them. Meanwhile, visitors to the Alltop website can find an archive of articles that Guy has tweeted about previously as well as links to “stories [from] the top news websites and blogs from any given topic”, which include the following:

In addition, a handful of ghost writers and “ghost Twitterers” help Guy write the “starting point” introductions that entice his followers enough to click through to the article source.

Why this is significant

Guy and his company, Alltop, have become a reliable source of information that his followers trust, relying on “results of Google searches, review of the sites’ and blogs’ content, researchers, and [their] ‘gut’ plus the recommendations of the Twitter community, owners of the sites and blogs, and people who care enough to write to [them]“. The Twitter community, therefore, has served as nothing short of a content filter, and Alltop displaying just the filtered content. Aware that the content may have worldwide appeal, he schedules tweets on the @GuyKawasaki account to appear three or four times per day to make sure that people in different countries and time zones can read his tweets while they are awake. In order to avoid repeat tweets that some people consider spam, he sends unique, non-repeating tweets from the @Alltop account. When people visit the Alltop website, they find themselves at a website with well-organized topics and high-value content that may very well become their default news portal. When you schedule tweets on a daily basis and have tens of thousands of tweets under your belt under both usernames each, you may need a hand at sending extra tweets or writing article introductions.

Here is a sample of the tweets he posts:

By the way, I must note one caveat. Recently, Twitter updated their policy that banned recurring tweets. Strictly speaking, no two tweets can be sent that is a character-for-character copy of each other. While some high-volume users have stopped long-term scheduled tweets (e.g. verbatim tweets posted at regular intervals), others, such as Guy, have pressed the services of multiple URL shortcuts that use 301 redirect, as seen below. Twitter sees the character string of each tweet as unique even though all three links lead to the same article in Alltop:

While @TweetSmarter and @tonystevens4 exert their Twitter Influence on the Twitter medium almost exclusively, Guy Kawasaki exerts a Twitter Influence beyond the Twitter realm thanks to the Alltop website. In fact, Guy could conceivably have a following from people who read the news regularly yet not be a part of Twitter or Facebook at all. I can conclude with certainty that Guy is a reliable, retweetable source of information through his Twitter usernames, @GuyKawasaki and @Alltop, and the Alltop website.

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Francis M. Unson

Twitter Influence: a Case Study

April 14, 2010

Please retweetWhat does it take to generate a strong Twitter influence? I could create a list of things that would amount to what it takes to become successful in Twitter and, as a whole, social media. A general list would contain items such as adding followers, following them back, engaging them in conversation without selling to them, and so forth. I have come across many of these social media “primers” and most of them are a summary of each others’ articles with slightly different perspectives. Overall, the primers summarize what has worked on Twitter and social media.

My case study on Twitter Influence takes a different approach. I will discuss two prominent, highly followed, highly listed and highly influential users on Twitter: @TweetSmarter and @tonystevens4. While each of them applies the basic principles of social media and social networking, they have distinct ways of doing so. I will present my findings from what I have learned by following them for quite some time as well as example tweets that justify my findings.


I would describe TweetSmarter as a reliable source of information for topics ranging from Twitter, social media, and tech news, among other topics. The manner in which they are a source of information is intriguing, to say the least, but also painstaking and selective, thereby contributing to their trustworthiness. They are also responsive to people who have questions and concerns about Twitter.

What they do

  • They scour social media and tech websites as well as tweets linking to noteworthy articles.
  • If they find an article from a website, they produce a shortcut link through, which is run by, and tweet the article to their followers.
  • If they find an article from a tweet, they click through the original shortcut link for it, produce a shortcut link for the original URL of the article via, and retweet the article to their followers. Almost all of the time, they remove the user or users of the original (re)tweet so that the headline and link stand out. This move also helps them retain their position as an information source despite the authorship of the articles.

On an aside, creating their own shortcut links for all of their tweets allows them to track them all. Data is king, especially for Twitter analytics.

Why this is significant

TweetSmarter does not tweet links haphazardly. They make sure that each article is reflective of the type and quality of information they set out to provide their followers. In a sense, they do retweet articles, but gradually and selectively. Following TweetSmarter would create much added value to your knowledge about Twitter and social media.

Here is a sample of the tweets they post:

As you can see, their tweets use the shortcut link,, and are geared especially towards social media, but not exclusively. They post occasional tweets about other topics, and the following tweet illustrates two exceptions at once: the subject matter is decidedly not about social media (but it is a worthy cause), and they retain @zaibatsu, the source of the tweet:

Hundreds of thousands of their followers, including myself, are fully aware of the added value that TweetSmarter provides to our knowledge about social media and are quick to retweet their tweets, seemingly as soon as they send it out. Users like TweetSmarter that do not have to beg their followers to retweet a tweet (e.g. PLS RT) exert a very strong Twitter Influence.


I would describe Tony as a Twitter Power User. He makes it abundantly clear in his bio his purpose for being on Twitter and the subject matters that his Tweets will likely cover. I find Tony to be a rare gem because of this. Other users may have similar content in their bio, but if you go through their tweets, they probably do not discuss anything close to their own bio. Moreover, the bios of these people may reflect what they do in real life but isn’t a topic they readily discuss. In any event, Tony’s tweets are wide-ranging and reflect his interests: Twitter; social media, tech news, photography, and (properly cited) quotes, among others.

What he does

Tony takes a very social approach towards exerting a widespread Twitter Influence. He tweets and retweets content based on his interests, but is very particular about how he does it. For starters, he refuses to use the Retweet link on the Twitter website. However, he is also conscious of the information conveyed in his retweets and makes sure that the tweet takes its original form by moving the retweeting users to the end of the tweet. More importantly, he regularly acknowledges the people who have retweeted before him and turns a cluttered tweet like this:

RT @Flipbooks: RT @paul_steele: RT @IamPramit65: Gorgeous Panoramic Photographs – #Photography

into this:

65 Gorgeous Panoramic Photographs – #Photography rt @Flipbooks @paul_steele @IamPramit

Speaking of acknowledgment, Tony also recognizes his followers who retweet his tweets. I have retweeted many of the things he posted not to be on his good graces (although I am) but because his tweets add value to my Twitter and social media experience. Most of the Twitter and social media-related tweets in my bookmarks have come from Tony as well as TweetSmarter.

Tony has taken it upon himself to educate his followers about Twitter and, until recent changes to Twitter’s policy that banned recurring tweets, devoted Thursdays to posting “Twitter Tips”, a series of tweets that explain how to conduct yourself on Twitter as well as how to make the most of your Twitter experience. While he can no longer schedule tweets as before, Tony does promise to post his “Twitter Tips” throughout the week.

Why this is significant

While meeting other people on Twitter and engaging them in conversation, a daily activity for Tony, is the most overt way of making the most of social networking, Tony takes it a step further. He adjusts a retweet so that the multiple users who passed it around are duly and conveniently recognized. After all, one of those users was the first to send out the tweet. At the same time, he recognizes the people who retweet his tweets. Tony serves as a model for successful social networking engagement.

Here is a sample of the tweets he sends out. Notice the format of the first three tweets are as follows: ( title | link | rt (previous retweeters) ):

What lessons have I learned about creating a strong Twitter Influence by following TweetSmarter and tonystevens4?

  • Be a source of information.
  • Retweet sources of information.
  • Make the topics or subject matters you will likely tweet about very clear, and tweet consistently about them.
  • Engage your followers, and they will return the favor.
  • Recognize the followers who retweet your tweets.

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Francis M. Unson