Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

How Amanda Palmer Built An Army Of Supporters

May 5, 2012
Amanda Palmer playing at the Music Box Theatre

Amanda Palmer playing at the Music Box Theatre

This is the future of music - Amanda Palmer

This is the future of music – Amanda Palmer

While you were sleeping, Amanda Palmer built an army. – Sean Francis

They thought I looked fat. I thought they were on crack. — Amanda Palmer

I feel sorry for them. they are trying to sell pieces of plastic in a digital world. but they’re barking up the wrong tree if they think they can katy perry or avril lavigne me into the walmarts of the world. — Amanda Palmer

I feel an extraordinary amount of sympathy for anybody working at a major label right now because their lives are over. — Amanda Palmer

Nowadays the game has changed so much that I would never advise a band like us to sign up with a company like that. — Amanda Palmer

I first came across Amanda Palmer when I stumbled upon her album Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under on bandcamp. How I came across it I have no idea, or at least I cannot recall.

You can download this album for a dollar. You can of course choose to pay more.

Amanda Palmer used to be on a major record label. It was not a happy experience, and when she tried to leave, it was not easy.

The lyrics of Please Drop Me give some idea of how unhappy the relationship:

Please drop me, what do I have to do?/ I’m tired of sucking corporate dick.

Her record company objected to exposure of her stomach on a video, called her fat, and wanted it cut. Amanda Palmer practices yoga and can by no means be described as fat. She told her fans. They responded with a ReBellyon, published a book The Belly Book. By now Amanda Palmer had had enough of her record label, wrote on her blog what a bunch of shits they were, put it into her song lyrics. She wanted out, even going as far as composing and performing a song called “Please Drop Me,” which asked the label to free her from the contract.

Had the Warner Bros label not dropped her she threatened to have ‘3,000 devoted Amanda fucking Palmer fans showing up at their corporate offices in New York dressed like zombies. ‘

Now she is free and happy. She is in control of her career, not a faceless corporation. She now has a sustainable musical career.

Amanda Palmer follows the advice of Steve Lawson (who follows his own advice) and like Imogen Heap and Paulo Coelho knows how to make effective use of social media, social networking. And note it is social media, many to many, interaction; not broadcast, one to many. And that interaction has to be genuine, not going through the motions.

Amanda Palmer has used crowd sourcing, community supported music, for her latest venture. She raised $250,000 within a day!

Interesting her husband is Neil Gaiman, who, like Paulo Coelho, knows a thing or too about giving away books free.

Paulo Coelho has been happy to give his books away, to see them on pirate web sites. His latest is to offer his back catalogue for digital download at 99 cents an e-book. An offer at the moment restricted to US and Canada.

Hope and Social see the advantages of giving music away free. And by doing so they are making more money, and having more fun, than when they followed the conventional model of being on a corporate record label.

The Sixteen have stuck their collective toe into crowd sourcing and community supported music, but sadly seem to have lost the plot on the way, too corporate, money buys access and privileges. A pity as their concerts are well attended and they have a good support base. But, they have to get involved, mix with people at their concerts, move the stall selling their music away from a cold entrance, where three people and the entrance is blocked, to a more prominent location, man the stall, not leave it to staff. For their next recording, they need to take their followers with them, talk through what is happening, the composers, the recording, the artwork, video blogs, question and answer sessions. It can no longer be, we are the performers, you are the audience.

Below thoughts of Amanda Palmer originally posted on Techdirt.

And below that thoughts of  Sean Francis, who has helped Amanda for years on the tech/social side of things. 

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There’s a great story about how bamboo grows. A farmer plants a bamboo shoot underground, and waters and tends it for about three years. Nothing grows that’s visible, but the farmer trots out there, tending to this invisible thing with a certain amount of faith that things are going to work out. When the bamboo finally appears above ground, it can shoot up to thirty feet in a month. This is like my kickstarter campaign. The numbers aren’t shocking to me, not at all. I set the goal for the kickstarter at $100,000 hoping we’d make it quickly, and hoping we’d surpass it by a long-shot.

I’ve been tending this bamboo forest of fans for years and years, ever since leaving roadrunner records in 2009. Every person I talk to at a signing, every exchange I have online (sometimes dozens a day), every random music video or art gallery link sent to me by a fan that i curiously follow, every strange bed I’ve crashed on…all of that real human connecting has led to this moment, where I came back around, asking for direct help with a record. Asking EVERYBODY. Asking my poor fans to give a dollar, or if nothing else, to spread the link; asking my rich fans to loan me money at whatever level they can afford to miss it for a while.

And they help because they know I’m good for it. Because they KNOW me.

I’ve seen people complaining that this is easy for me to do because I got my start on a major label. It’s totally true that the label helped me and my band get known. But after that, the future was up to me. It bought me nothing but a headstart, and I used it. I could have stopped working hard and connecting in 2009. If I’d done that, and then popped up out of nowhere in 2012 to kickstart a solo record in 2012, my album would probably get funded to the tune of $10k…if I was lucky. There are huge ex-major label artists (pointless to name names) who have tried the crowd-funding method and failed dramatically, mostly because they didn’t have the online relationship with their fans to rely on. And vice versa: plenty of young upstarts with a small but devoted fanbase have kicked ass using crowdfunding, because they’ve taken a hands-on approach online and at shows, and have been close and connected with their fans ALL THIS TIME, while nobody was caring or watching.

I tweet all day. I share my life. My REAL life. The ugly things, the hard things. I monitor my blog religiously. I read the comments. I ask for advice. I answer questions. I fix problems. I take fans at their word when they see me at a show and tell me their vinyl arrived broken in the mail. I don’t try to hide behind a veil of fame. I don’t want to be anything more than totally human. I make mistakes, get called out, and apologize. I share my process. I ask for help SHAMELESSLY. I sleep at my fans houses. I eat with them. I read the books they write. I see their plays and dance performances, online and in real life. I back their own crowdfunding projects. I get rides home with them. I’m the kind of person they WANT to help, because they know me well enough, after years of connecting, to know WHO I ACTUALLY AM. They don’t just get a photoshopped snapshot of my every time I have an album to promote. They see the three-dimensional person, in motion, in real-time. Living and working.

There is no marketing trick. There is human connection, and you can’t fake it. It takes time and effort and, most importantly: you have to actually LIKE it, otherwise you’ll be miserable.

We’re entering the era of the social artist. It’s getting increasingly harder to hide in a garret and lower your songs down in a bucket to the crowd waiting below, wrapped in a cloak of sexy mystery above. That was the 90s. Where an artist could be as anti-social as they wanted, and rack up cred left and right for shoe-gazing and detaching. It’s over. The ivory tower of the mysterious artist has crumbled. If you’re painfully shy and antisocial and hate tweeting and blogging and connecting and touring…and you really just want to write and sing music and be left alone, you can still succeed…if your music is BRILLIANT. But you better have a damn clever boyfriend, girlfriend or friend-manager to fight your battle for you and lift the megaphone in your name, because no longer will a huge, magical company scoop you up and do all the heavy lifting (or if they do, they’ll charge you 100% of your income for the service).

I got asked today on Twitter: “why is an artist your size using kickstarter? shouldn’t you leave crowdfunding to the peple who need it?”

I answered: all artists at every level (even the Gagas and Madonnas) have to somehow raise capital for their work, whatEVER level it’s at. some artists go to labels/companies for the capital to fund albums & tours. Now artists (at any level) can go direct to their fans. The end.

The basic tenets of success in music are still true: have good songs, touch people, work hard. But as far as getting around from place to place… musicians are no longer traveling by limo with one-way glass protecting them from view. Now we’re all going on foot, door to door, in the open sunshine… with the internet as our magical, time-space defeating sidewalk.

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The internet’s been synonymous to Wild West’ian outlaws and lawlessness for so long, I think people forget that it’s also got another REALLY appealing attribute: it’s a giant safety net. And if you spend time nurturing and engaging the people holding that net, you KNOW you’re going to get caught.

For several years, I’ve watched and aided, as Amanda’s interwoven strategies predicated on those two things – pioneering and connection.

As new media has emerged, we’ve looked at how it’d be advantageous to her career, and in what ways it could be potentially beneficial to the fanbase… and as she’s toured, written, recorded, and Twitter’d away, we were privately (and sometimes publicly) playing with puzzle pieces which are culminating in the release of this new album.

To get this right, Team AFP have spent hours on the phone and sent literally hundreds of emails, every week (sometimes daily)…and with the launch of our Kickstarter this past Monday, the public is seeing what several years of work can do.

When Amanda fell or misstepped in the process of trying to get this right, her net was there. And now that she’s ready to do this on her terms, they still are.

Maybe it’s a small collection of fans in some people’s eyes – but it’s a SOLID one – that believe in art and connection. And I’m watching it grow in size by the minute… not just monetarily, either.

While you were sleeping, Amanda Palmer built an army.

Heapsongs

April 23, 2012

A project, a concept, an album.

Started in 2011, an album by Imogen Heap that she estimates will take a couple of years to finish.

So what you may think, lots of musicians take years to produce an album, what is so special about about that?

What is so special is the way she is going about it, the community involvement, a conversation that is being fed back into the music.

Imogen Heap is using crowd sourcing, community support, not to provide the funding, but to provide the sources, sound samples which she calls seeds, around which she composes the music.

The first song, initially titled heapsong1 and later retitled Lifeline, premièred worldwide on 28 March 2011 via Ustream.

Last night, Earth Day Sunday 22 April 2012, Imogen Heap streamed a live event from the garden of the Round House, it was streamed live on her website. At this event she premièred Love the Earth and heapsong6, now called Me The Machine, in which she controls the sounds on stage using gloves with built in sensors.

I had not heard of Imogen Heap until Steve Lawson mentioned her in a talk as an excellent example of the use of social media.

I checked her out, and that is how I stumbled across her live stream last night, more is the pity I did not catch it from the beginning, as what I saw I thoroughly enjoyed

Imogen Heap not only makes excellent use of social media, she engages in a conversation, a conversation that is fed back into her music.

Watching the live stream last night, then in the early hours of the morning a piano improvisation for Earth Hour 2012, she was very much in conversation.

She uses crowd sourcing and community support in novel ways.

The film clips for Love the Earth were crowd sourced. The sound track can be bought. The money raised will then be used to finance a DVD. But you can watch the film on-line for free.

Each of the tracks for Heapsongs has its own mini-website, a sub-domain of her website. You can see the song as it evolves. You can watch the video, you can listen on soundcloud.

Each of the tracks can be purchased in various digital bundles. Download the track or download the track plus, where the plus can include various options including the video. Each track is available as high quality lossless FLAC as well as lossy mp3 320. [see mp3 v FLAC]

To play FLAC, download and install VLC Media Player.

I noticed Imogen Heap has a page on bandcamp but nothing is there. I assume it is reserved for Heapsongs when complete. Let’s hope so.

In the meantime Imogen, please record improvisation Earth Song 2012 as an album and upload to bandcamp.

Imogen Heap provides lesson for others to learn from.

The Sixteen are dabbling with crowd sourcing and community support. Crowd sourcing is being used to fund their next recording.

I would strongly recommend The Sixteen establish a mini-site for the next recording. A video of Harry Christophers (founder and director) talking about the music, why he has chosen it, its cultural context. A video of it being recorded.

Shadowboxer and Cass Lowe were in the recording studio at the weekend. How do I know? A message on twitter.

The only other person I know (apart from Steve Lawson) who engages in this level of conversation is Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. When he reached 3 million followers on twitter earlier this year (he has now almost reached 4 million), he invited six readers to join him for dinner in Barcelona. A dinner that took place at the weekend. Early this year he produced a series of podcasts where he talks about writing, using his latest book Aleph as an example.

If you do something interesting, have something interesting to say, people will talk about it, tell their friends, write about it (as I am doing).

Disruption Talk

January 25, 2011

Discussion between co-founder of Napster Sean Parker and Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho.

We tell stories, we write stories, we have the book.

We can tell stories in a book, through short stories, through a few paragraphs on a blog, or in the minimalist form of 140 characters in a tweet.

Haiku masters were able to tell a story in the minimalist form of haiku poetry.

Paulo Coelho is wrong when he says we will not have books in the future. Unless there is a complete collapse of civilisation there will always be books. Nothing beats curling up with a good book.

Paulo Coelho has sold upwards of 130 million books.

Platforms are not neutral. Facebook is not neutral. Google is not neutral.

Facebook is a social networking company, right? Google is a search company, right?

Wrong on both counts!

Both companies are information and surveillance companies. They acquire information on you and they sell it. Google even trawls through the content of your e-mails to obtain information on you.

Try posting this to your facebook account

Let the hacking begin: If facebook needs money, instead of going to the banks, why doesn’t Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a ‘social business’ the way Nobel Price winner Muhammad Yunus described it? http://bit.ly/fs6rT3 What do you think? #hackercup2011

you will find it is blocked.

So much for platform neutrality.

But: Assume 500 million users, each pays $1 each to turn it into a social business and become the owners of a not-for-profit business. This would raise $500 million, more than sufficient. There would then be no need to sell users personal details to third parties. Indeed it would be a condition of ownership. Facebook would be run as a social networking site for the benefit of its members. Sadly what many mistakenly believe it to be now.

Many smart phones use Android as the operating system. Android is from google. Can we trust them not to do what they normally do which is to access our information? The truth is we do not know, it is not Open Source Software and so it is not open to public scrutiny. What we do know is that google can install and delete applications without our knowledge or consent.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Google and facebook are not charities. They are global corporations out to make money by using information on you. And never forget, the boss of facebook called his users ‘dumb fucks’ for so obligingly handing over personal data.

To change people’s minds you have to say something. In media jargon, you have to create content.

Production of content, editing of content, distribution of content, were and probably are, the three centres of power of the mainstream media.

This is no longer true, at least not true if we assume net neutrality.

I can control all three. My blog is just as likely to be read as any mainstream media, and I can get the content out quicker and usually with greater accuracy.

The mainstream media edits what we see. And for that read global corporations edit what we see. And they do so in a way to maintain their world view.

As the invention of the printing press shared information, and so the world view, so does the new media that we make use of today. Look at what Wikileaks has done.

There is also a paradigm shift between what the mainstream media does and I do. The mainstream is essentially broadcast, ie one to many. I am network and interactive. What I write others can comment upon, a dialogue takes place. Those who like what I write in turn pass it on to others, by posting on their facebook walls, by tweeting and re-tweeting on twitter.

What I write, although original creative thought (unless reposting what others have written that I think is worth passing on), is often based upon interaction with others, the germ of an idea is expanded upon.

Paulo Coelho makes extensive use of twitter and social networking. There is not only interaction between himself and his readers and followers, thus not one way, there is also interactions between his followers and readers, especially on his blog.

Summer 2009, twitter and social networking almost brought down the evil regime in Iran. Earlier this month it forced Ben Ali the president of Tunisia to flee the country like a rat up a drainpipe. Evil regimes across the Middle East are likely to fall like dominoes as we saw across Eastern Europe with the fall of the Berlin Wall. [Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia]

Social networking had come of age. It was no longer a medium for mindless celebrities to post drivel and trivia about their meaningless lives. It was being used to make a difference in the world.

Paulo Coelho spreads ideas, be it through his blog or his books. He encourages people to break out of their straitjackets, to follow their dreams. No surprise then that earlier this month the regime in Iran decided to ban all his books (or at least ban his publisher). The only surprise was that they were not banned sooner or that publication was permitted at all. Iran is now being flooded with books in Farsi that can be freely downloaded off the net.

Iran bans Paulo Coelho
Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books

People can get hung up on technology. What is important is not the technology, it is what you do with it. Who would have thought of social networks as tools of the revolution? A car can take you from A to B. It can also be used as a lethal weapon.

Content matters. Writers want to be read, artists to be heard. We hear a lot of hype about net piracy, go back a couple of decades and it was about sale of cassette tapes. Each sale of a cassette tape was wrongly associated with the loss of an album sale. Those who are bleating are the global record companies and the manufactured pop bands who between them have destroyed music. Look at the top perfomers of today who have been around for what seems like ever. They performed because they liked performing. It is the manufactured rubbish on programmes like X Factor who seek instant fame.

Paulo Coelho has over a million followers on twitter, over four million on facebook. Interviews, book launches are boring, the same dumb questions, what is this book about? Why not try reading it?

O Aleph was published in Brazil last year with with no promotion, no book tours, no publicity. It shot to Number One in Brazil. Worldwide publication this year is eagerly awaited.

The writings of Paulo Coelho, the new media, are disruptive, they force change, force paradigm shifts.

A paradigm shift would be for business to shift to creating shared value not share value.

Paulo Coelho at World Economic Forum in Davos
Moglen: Why Facebook is Evil
Corporate Social Networking
Their business and ours
Google’s surveillance is taking us further down the road to hell
Facebook founder called trusting users dumb f*cks
“Let The Hacking Begin” Declares Person Who Hacked Zuckerberg’s Facebook Fan Page
Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US
The sad shrinking of Myspace into the digital void
Zuckerberg says it’s time for Facebook to become a “Social Business”
“Dating” site imports 250,000 Facebook profiles, without permission
The wrong kind of sharing: Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page hacked
Egypt, The Age Of Disruption And The ‘Me’ In Media

Bad girl receives an envelope

January 17, 2011

DISCLAIMER: Intel, “sponsors of tomorrow”, do not sponsor this blog. But I thought this creative ad was worth showing, as did Paulo Coelho who also posted on his bog.

Facebook Manners And You

August 14, 2010

Brilliant!

Cala Boca Galvao

June 16, 2010

A Brazilian joke takes over the world!

Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho helped spread the joke, as did unwittingly many of his followers and fans.

See

Cala Boca Galvao – Paulo Coelho blog
Brazil’s ‘Cala Boca Galvao’ Drive is for the Birds – NY Times
Brazil: The “CALA BOCA GALVAO” Phenomenon
‘¿Cala boca, Galvao?’

When tweets become spam

November 16, 2009

‘… following @guykawasaki suggestion repeat tweets …’ — Paulo Coelho, twitter

One metric which may increase our ranking on twitter is the number of tweets we produce, ie the amount of traffic we generate. The temptation therefore is to increase the number of tweets in a crude attempt to bolster our twitter ranking. A temptation to be resisted. Were we to do so we would reduce the signal-to-noise ratio, reduce the value, and worse could be seen as generating spam.

https://keithpp.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/can-we-rank-twitter-streams/

Guy Kawasaki has advised that we repeat our tweets. Were we to follow his advice and repeat every tweet, we would half the information content, decrease the signal-to-noise ratio, reduce the value and worse would quite correctly be seen as generating spam.

http://holykaw.alltop.com/the-art-of-the-repeat-tweet

Repeating tweets should not be confused with re-tweeting, which is to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio and demonstrates our tweets have merit.

I have had followers where every alternate tweet is a repetition of the same tweet, worse, a stream that consists of a repeat of the same tweet! In the past I blocked these followers, now I block and report as spam. So be warned!

A reminder is ok, as is sending a tweet to multiple recipients, anything else is spam.

Special thanks to Paul Coelho, whose tweet of yesterday on following the advice of Guy Kawasaki to repeat tweets gave me the germ of an idea.

See

Can we rank twitter streams?

The art of the repeat tweet

Can we rank twitter streams?

November 13, 2009

‘Interesting article on twitter public. Thanks to you I am there.’ — Paulo Coelho, twitter, 12:19pm 11 November 2009

Can we rank twitter streams? What I mean by ‘rank’ is best illustrated by example.

I carry out a search on google for any of the following: Puerto de la Cruz, Guildford, Washingborough, Harry Parkins, Paulo Coelho. My first examples I am seeking information on place, if google returns information on flights, schools, football clubs, property for sale, then google has failed me. If I desired information on these topics I would add further key words accordingly. In my latter two examples I am searching for specific individuals, a veteran of WWII Bomber Command, a Brazilian writer. If google supplies different individuals, which may be what others desire on their search on these same names, then the onus is on me to refine my search with additional keywords.

How then can this work for twitter? The ranking we use with google has no meaning for twitter. Let us take an example.

A group of a dozen friends on twitter, each has around ten followers, chit-chat flows between them as would flow over a garden fence or down the pub. The group is an isolated network, ie no links external to the group. The group is not closed, ie their tweets appear on the public time line. Unless a third party stumbles across this network, no one would be aware of its existence. But even if they did, of what interest would they be other than to those students of social networks and micro-blogging? On the other hand the information flow within the network is of high value to the participants, that is why they participate.

Large number of followers is an indication of popularity, thus could be used as a ranking metric.

A crude measure at best. Every celebrity would have a high ranking. As does news sources, though I am surprised how relatively low at just over 27,000 is the excellent news source @bbcnews.

With around 50 followers I would fall way way down the ranking. It would be several times this figure, but I check out every follower, and unless they have something worthwhile to contribute, I delete them. If they are con merchants, flogging something, then I report as spam.

Numbers of followers grows exponentially. From 1 to 10, takes as long as from 10 to 100. The reason for this is if you have no followers, no one knows of your existence, with followers, more people know, the effect snowballs. Eventually though it must saturate.

If you wish to influence, to change the way society works and thinks, then it would be of greater value to have fewer followers who are themselves of influence, who in turn have followers of influence, than to be followed by the common herd, especially if followers of influence re-tweet your tweets all the way down the line.

Large amount of traffic, large number of tweets.

Celebrities tend to tweet all day about their meaningless existence. If I wanted this garbage I would subscribe to Hello and OK magazines.

I tend to avoid high traffic as it swamps out everything else. Or, it will have to have high merit. I will look at websites for example BBC News, Indymedia UK, but then I am being selectively in what I read. I look at @ClimateCamp, as they have high value, ie has merit, but I dip my toe in their stream, rather than subscribe as a follower. On the other hand I follow @airportwatch as they have high value but do not swamp me.

According to a Harvard study, around 10% of twitter users account for 90% of the traffic. The average tweet is less than one a month. Many users never tweet at all. I am one of the contributers.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8089508.stm

My tweets are an eclectic mix of environmental information, philosophical musings, links to articles, links to pictures, quotations, re-tweets and chit-chat with friends.

Does a stream have merit? A measure of merit is are the tweets re-tweeted? My tweets are regularly re-tweeted, then often re-tweeted again.

Re-tweet can be seen as a signal-to-noise filter. It picks out what is worthwhile or of value from a twitter stream and thus enhances the signal-to-noise ratio.

Is there engagement, a dialogue, an interchange of views? Our network of friends would score highly, a celebrity merely broadcasts drivel to the mindless masses.

The Guildford Book Festival has a twitter account, but failed to make good use of it during the 2009 book festival. Occasionally during the book festival they would say what was happening that day. Comments to @GfordBookFest were rarely re-tweeted, unless from one of the invited authors (though my comment on this was at least acknowledged). A complete failure of engagement, no attempt to facilitate a discussion on the festival, which would of itself created more interest in the festival.

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/10/440470.html

How many others users point to that twitter account? Another measure of the value of that twitter stream, cf a link to a web page or citing a reference.

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian writer who has sold over 100 million books worldwide. First published over twenty years ago, The Alchemist has sold 20 million copies and recently celebrated two years in the New York Times best-seller list. Not surprisingly @paulocoelho has approaching 200,000 followers on twitter. He is regularly re-tweeted by his followers, some like parrots re-tweet everything they receive, others add value by adding variants. There is a dialogue and discussion, the traffic is two way. His twitter stream drives traffic to his blog, the blog drives traffic to his twitter stream. The blog is often more of a discussion forum. Paulo Coelho poses a thought or a topic, there is then a discussion between all participants. He has also devised a novel use of twitter, for interviews. Followers are invited at an alloted time to post questions, the first five in English and Portuguese he answers.

I recently heard a puerile discussion on twitter on the Moral Maze on BBC Radio 4. The participants did not use twitter, had no idea how twitter worked.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nkcfk

Twitter and social networking came of age during the flawed Iranian elections this summer. Twitter, and to a lesser extent facebook, were used to organise street protests, to avoid trouble. The face of the revolution was Neda. The first I knew of Neda and her senseless slaughter, was when Paulo Coelho posted a video clip on his blog. This was a day or so before it was picked up by the mainstream media. Those who saw it on his blog, reposted, tweeted, what he had shown. It went viral and spread around the world. Following the Iranian example, activists are now making use of twitter, both to provide information and to coordinate actions. For weeks Neda and Iran were trending topics on twitter.

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/07/434151.html?c=on
http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2009/06/23/iran-by-neda/
http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2009/06/26/the-doctor/

I was recently at a meeting with a surviver of the Tiananmen Square Massacre of twenty years ago. He spoke of how it had been erased from the Chinese collective consciousness and how important it was to keep that memory alive. He said the Chinese feared the internet, that there were more police patrolling the internet than patrolling the streets.

https://keithpp.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/eyewitness-account-of-tiananmen-square/

How therefore to rank twitter streams or twitter users? There are those who are trying. On the metrics I have discussed, our isolated network of family and friends would rank very high. They would agree with that ranking as they would value their network, but would it be of any interest to those outside of that network? Paulo Coelho would also rank very high, and for those who follow him they clearly place value on what he has to say, but would those outside his followers express any interest? Celebrities would rank low, even though they have a large following and often generate a large amount of traffic, for the simple reason they have nothing worthwhile to say and there is no engagement.

What we are trying to measure is influence and the numbers influenced, which may be via re-tweets. Influence does not directly correlate with number of followers or the number of tweets, indeed the higher the number of tweets the likelihood is the lower the signal-to-noise ratio, but these are factors to be taken into account. The ratio is likely to be logarithmic, that is going from one to ten followers has the same impact as going from 10 to 100 or 100 to 1,000. With the number of tweets and lowering signal-to-noise ratio, there must be some ceiling or saturation point that is approached.

What is your TweetLevel? Is it a meaningful measure?

For what it is worth the day before this article was posted tweetlevel gave me 34 and for comparison Paulo Coelho 73. I am advised to follow more people, to increase my followers, engage more, my trust level is pretty good. Maybe more interesting is how these scores vary over time. The danger of course is that people will tweet to maximise their metrics rather than because they have anything useful to say (always assuming of course they had anything interesting to say in the first place).

In reality not something to get hung up about. A bit of fun, nothing more. Rather like those machines you find on the pier where you grip a handle or place your hand on a metal plate and out pops a little printed ticket with your future mapped out. The value of any particular twitter stream is going to be what value you put on it, unless you follow like sheep.

Special thanks to Paul Coelho, whose tweet of a couple of days ago gave me the germ of an idea.

Also see

how to measure ‘importance’ on Twitter

He’s also got a cat called Retweet …

The Winner Stands Alone