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Home Depot on Twitter

A retailer with a very active presence on Twitter is Home Depot. Some activity is by choice, but most of it is coming from updates in the twitterverse.

The choice part is lead by Sarah Molinari, a corporate communications manager who describes her role as:

A spokesperson for your favorite home improvement retailer. I moonlight on Twitter to help our customers.

Sarah is an active twitterer with dozens of updates per day.  Some are answers to questions:

Yes, we order a set amount of most Holiday and Christmas decor, so plan ahead and visit your store early.

While other posts are proactive engagement with followers:

Pop Quiz: How many strings of lights (Christmas, Halloween, etc..) do you use on your home each year?

Now that it’s dark so early: Turn on lights in your home and walk around the outside. See light where you shouldn’t? Caulk, baby Caulk.

Sarah’s policy is not to DM, choosing instead to answer all questions with @ replies:

yes I have a lot of followers to catch up with, thanks for reminding me! There’s little I’d say by DM that I wouldn’t by @ reply

The effort is paying dividends with positive comments on the web:

Home Depot does monitor Twitter (and the web) and I received an email from Sara Molinari (Corporate Communications at HD in Atlanta) less than 3 hours after the my post.

I had the incredible opportunity of catching up with the fabulous Sarah Molinari, a spokesperson for The Home Depot, on her thoughts on Women and Home Improvement.

The other part of Home Depot’s presence on twitter comes in nearly a constant stream from twitter users.  It seems that everyone is either coming, going or thinking about a trip to Home Depot.

At Home Depot picking out flooring to replace the damaged wood flooring.

On my first twitter day.. I’m going to get my hair cut.. get new glasses & visit Home Depot

Went to Home DEPOT!!! Yeah boy!

Monitoring the twitter stream enables Sarah and her team to help answer questions that are posed to the crowd:

Okay brilliant Twitter I have a question. Does one need a locksmith to put in new door locks or can you go to Home Depot, buy them and DIY?

And hopefully pick up on feedback that may not make it into the normal customer listening channels:

Getting frustrated with Home Depot‘s customer service.

I like home depot fuel rewards. Just filled up for $1.32 per gallon with my rewards .

Just got back from Home Depot. Late at night is the best time to go! Practically had the whole place to myself!

The takeaways from the Home Depot effort are:

  • Establish a presence on Twitter
  • Answer questions to the crowd while also being proactive
  • Monitor the feed to find “lost sheep”, identify problems early and build on the positive feedback coming from consumers

Posted in Customer Service. Tagged with .

Company Buzz – Twitter on LinkedIn

I added the Company Buzz application to LinkedIn yesterday and have been underwhelmed by the results.  Company Buzz is the in-house utility that captures twitter traffic about your current and former employers.

The LinkedIn folks made a good effort to try and add some value to the twitter feed.  For example, they include a list of the top 5 buzz words with a link that will filter the appropriate updates.

To test this feature, I pulled up the company buzz for my former employer P&G and noticed that the number one buzz word is innovation (and well ahead of culture and toothpaste!).  Clicking on innovation filtered the tweets to these 5:

P&G + Innovation

P&G + Innovation

Another feature is the trends graph which gives you a visual picture of how many mentions your company is getting each day.  I tried this with another former employer, the Navy, and got these results:

Navy

LinkedIn also gives you the ability to add additional topics and edit the key words for your list of companies.

My frustration was with the latency of the updates.  When I logged in tonight, the most recent tweet for P&G was 3 days ago according to LinkedIn.  However, when I go to twitter search and check on P&G, I’m finding a dozen tweets in just the past couple of hours.

LinkedIn's Most Recent

LinkedIn

search.twitter

search.twitter

If you are looking for trends over days or weeks, latency isn’t really an issue.  However, to be a true twitter application, LinkedIn needs to fix the feed timing.

Posted in Productivity.

Twitter Moms

TwitterMoms describes itself as an online version of the three martini playdate. “Chat about the adventures of being a mom. It’s always happy hour here!” is the site’s tagline.

Twitter plays an important role for the community of moms who are looking for answers, to share and to connect, but is only one tool of many.

TwitterMoms has already expanded in enough directions to make it hard to describe.  Maybe start with Silicon Valley Moms meets Facebook meets Wine Library meets Blogspot meets Dr. Phil & Oprah.

Actually, according to a recent tweet by founder Megan Calhoun, Oprah calls the website “ridiculously addictive”.

The website is a showcase for social community platform Ning and continues to expand the envelope by testing new tools like chat.  Moms connect through blogging, commenting, profile pages, comment walls and forums.  How much does the tooth fairy leave your children? recently garnered 66 replies.

TwitterMoms also features groups  – Domestically Challenged Moms has 225 members – and produces community events such as Pip Squeak A Go-Go (a dance party for the kids) and a virtual wine tasting where moms crack open the same bottle of wine at a prearranged time and compare notes via twitter at #TMWC.

We like TwitterMoms as an example of how to integrate Twitter with other elements of social media to build a strong community and we look forward to following their progress.

Posted in Community.

Your Boss is on Twitter – Now What?

One of the dilemmas of social marketing tools is how to deal with the loss of space and privacy when your boss joins the party.

Will you really be free to twitter your after-work plans when you are already 2 hours behind on a deadline?  Will asking your followers for help or ideas raise questions about your expertise or capabilties?

We’d like to hear about your experience with a boss or team member sharing a social media space or if you think it is a good or bad idea.

In the mean time, here are some senior-junior coworkers (based on LinkedIn titles) who seem to be getting along just fine on twitter:

IBM

Gina Poole – VP, Social Software Programs

Delphine Remy-BoutangWW Social Media Marketing Manager, IBM Software Group

State of Utah

David Fletcher – CTO

Bob WoolleyChief Technical Architect, Dept. of Technical Services

Newell Rubbermaid

Bert DuMars – Vice President E-Business & Interactive Marketing

Jim Deitzel – Senior eMarketing Manager

Cisco

Padmasree Warrior, CTO

Lasandra Brill Manager, Web & Social Media Marketing

Boss Bashing on Twitter

On the other hand, there are a lot of people who are probably lucky that their boss is not on twitter…just type “boss” into twitter search to see what people are thinking and sharing about their manager:

“I really should let my boss know i’m quitting at some point.”

“Boss noticed nervous tics. Can’t bode well.”

“I stole my boss‘ power cord until he approves some work!”

“The New Boss is in another building at the moment. I can twitter until my little heart’s content.”

“Amazing how a 2-hour lunch w/my boss leaves me w/a headache.”

“But that doesn’t change the fact that my boss is a flippin idiot who shouldn’t work on our clients computer systems.”

“Oh thank goodness! My boss is micro-managing today! I couldn’t be happier! (heavy sarcasm)”

Posted in Twitter 101. Tagged with , , , .

Tweet What You Eat

A good use of Twitter from a productivity stand point is as an easy diary entry tool.

One application that builds on the diary concept is Tweet What You Eat (TWYE).  Send a direct message to TWYE with details on your latest meal or snack and TWYE will save it to a personal food diary.

Not sure how many calories were in that burger?  No problem, TWYE has a crowdsourcing food calorie database that will automatically estimate the calories for you.

Once you get back to your computer, you can login to your personal diary and see a summary for the day.  From here, you can make edits to prior entries, add things you forgot to tweet and then print or export the report.

TWYE also enables you to keep track of your weight using the same approach.

See the TWYE home page to see what other people are eating and for instructions on how to get started.

Posted in Productivity.

Twitter Wii Quest

Holiday shopping season is approaching and an important aspect of being productive is not to waste time chasing the same gift that everyone else seems to be trying to find.

Case in point – the Nintendo Wii.

This popular but elusive gaming system is on every kid’s list (big and little) and trying to find one towards the end of the year can be a maddening experience – we’ve personally experienced the pain.

The good news is that Twitter can do the work for you.

1. Amazon Games

If you are a dedicated Amazon shopper, then follow Amazon Games which will send you updates on when the Wii becomes available and goes out of stock.  Be quick with your mouse and credit card as often times the window of opportunity is short.  As an added bonus, you’ll get updates on deals on other games and game systems.

success!
success!

2. Now In Stock

An alternative Twitter tool for Wii tracking is Now In Stock.  This tool tracks Wii availability at multiple stores including Amazon.  The same team has also produced a tool that tracks down one of the most popular and hard to find games Wii Fit.  Tracking for other very popular gifts is available at Now In Stock’s website.

Interestingly, the author of the Now In Stock tool took the time to explain why they chose Twitter as a notification tool:

Why Twitter?

I am using Twitter for two reasons. One, they have the capacity and infrastructure to push mobile and instant message alerts to many people at once. Secondly, it gives users unprecedented control of the alerts. It is a third-party application that allows users the ability to unsubscribe from my notifications with the click of a button. Hence, the subscriptions are basically managed via Twitter’s system, not mine. This puts you the user in control.

3. WiiMe

A pioneer in the Twitter Wii tracking space, WiiMe seems to have operational issues as of late.  The tool sent out dozens of messages on October 1 and has been quiet since.  We’ll take another look once WiiMe gets back on track.

Posted in Productivity. Tagged with .

State Government on Twitter

How can state and local government use twitter to better accomplish their missions?

Several states have a presence on Twitter.  Although they are all trying to figure out a strategy, some are more advanced than others.

Here’s a quick run-down:


1. Utah

Recently voted as the “most-connected” state, Utah has several twitter feeds including UtahGov, which tweets on state government news and provides some re-tweets of important announcements.  Also tweeting for the state are David Fletcher, Utah’s CTO as well as Bob Woolley, Chief Technical Architect for the state’s Department of Technical Services.

Fletcher is one of the leaders behind the initiative to wire the state which has already moved so many services online that they shut their offices down on Fridays to let state employees work from home.

Other state of Utah tweeters include the Utah State Senate, Utah State Parks, as well as statewide groups such as Utah Technical Council, libararians Utah Hive and enterprise conference Global Entrepreneurship Week Utah.


2. Washington State

Get traffic updates from Washington’s State Department of Transportation and voting tips from the Secretary of State.



3. California and Michigan

Two states with tweeting governors are California (find out what it’s like to have lunch with Warren Buffett) and Michigan (mostly retweeting of blog post with some personal tweets:

Congratulations to our world champion Detroit Shock


4. New Hampshire

The travel and tourism department for New Hampshire puts a personal touch on their tweets:

Twitter class, eh? I’d be interested to know what they teach in that class! Do graduates get a twiploma?

as well as well-timed pointers on seasonal events:

Take a haunted chairlift ride to the Ghoullog at Cranmore Mountain this weekend. Check visitnh.gov for other spooky happenings this week!


5. Other States

Other states have a Twitter presence, but are just tweeting blog feeds for now.  Blog tweeting states include:

South Carolina

Kentucky

Massachusets

Delaware

Michigan

Rhode Island

Georgia

Posted in PR. Tagged with .

Twitter with Jott

I love Jott.  At least I really like to try to use Jott because it’s such a great idea – just press the speed dial on my Blackberry, record a message and an email is waiting for me when I get to my destination.

I say “try to use” because, unfortunately, my midwestern accent seems to be impossible for Jott to understand.  But that didn’t stop me from trying the Twitter update capability that Jott has added.

Setting up Jott to work with Twitter is pretty easy.  Log-in to your Jott account, click on add a link and a menu will pop-up that includes Twitter.  Click on the icon, enter your information and you are ready to go.

Call Jott (J on my speed-dial) and when you get the prompt “Who do you want to Jott?”, say “Twitter”.  Record your message, wait a couple of seconds and then Jott promptly translates your dictation and posts to Twitter.

I didn’t corner test this, so I’m not sure what happens if you go over 100 characters.  Also, Jott adds a link to the end of your Twitter update that reduces the potential size of your message and takes followers to your Jott page.  There they can see the Jott message and also listen to it.  This has some Jott-Twitter users concerned, so just be aware that your voice will become public.

By the way, when I tested Jott to Twitter, the translation was perfect!  Thanks Jott.

Posted in Tools.

Help Wanted moves to Twitter

If you are a recruiter or in the market for a job, check out TwitHire, a free job listing service launched earlier this year (follow here).

Here’s how it works…

If you are a recruiter, go to Post a Job Tweet on TwitHire’s website and enter the appropriate information to generate a job tweet and key.  Then post the job tweet and key to Twitter.  The job will then appear on TwitHire’s home page.

If you are looking for a job, search through the listings on TwitHire.  Once you find one you like, click on one of three links:

a) click on the recruiter’s twitter name to see the recruiter’s updates
b) click on Reply and initiate a twitter conversation with the recruiter (note – this link doesn’t automatically set up a direct message, so be careful about what you put in the public timeline)
c) click on the job title and go to the recruiter’s website

Try it out and let us know what you think.

Posted in Tools.

Your Plants on Twitter

Technology now makes it possible for your plant to contact you via Twitter. When your plant needs water, it will post to let you know, and send its thanks when you show it love.

The technology comes from Botanicalls, a company formed by graduates of New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program which invented the kit that enables plants to communicate with their owners by telephone and the internet.

The Botanicalls Twitter kit sells for $149 from Adafruit Industries and includes all the hardware you need to create a networked communication system for your plant. A moisture sensor placed into the soil will send information to simple electronic detection circuitry you solder together yourself. Twitter updates are then sent out via an onboard Ethernet connection to the Internet, where they can be viewed online or routed to your mobile phone.

Once you have the software installed and your plant networked, the system code provides five different status updates, based upon current conditions:

1) When the moisture level of the plant’s soil drops below the satisfactory threshold, it will send a status update that the plant needs to be watered.

2) If the soil moisture drops below a critical level the plant will twitter that it is urgently in need of watering.

3) Any rapid rise in soil moisture will be detected as a watering event. The plant will then determine if the soil moisture has risen to the desired level for a proper watering. If it has, then it will twitter its thanks.

4) If a watering event occurs, but the soil moisture has not reached the desired level, the plant will twitter to report that it was watered, but not sufficiently.

5) Likewise, if a watering event occurs, but the plant was not in need of water yet, the plant will twitter to complain that it is being over watered.

    We’re not profiling the Botanicalls solution because we’re fanatical about plants – at our local store, you can buy a lot of plants for $149.  However, this is a great example of thinking outside of the box to really leverage Twitter.

    What about other applications along the same lines?  How about a security system for your home or office?  Or a system that reports the mood of your pets or if they simply need their water bowl refilled?  I’d really like my refrigerator to tell me when we’re out of beer…

    The other question is how this kind of application could leverage the unique benefits of twitter as opposed to a simple text message system?

    btw, if you still don’t believe this exists (I didn’t), see the New York Times profile from last year.

    Posted in Tools.