Twitter Takes (and Keeps) Your Pictures

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Last week, Twitter was buzzing with news that the site would now dip its toes into the photo sharing waters with a brand new image gallery. Twitter profiles are now equipped with a strip that features the photos you’ve recently shared in tweets. It’s cool stuff — and long overdue for the site that seems to become more and more conversational in tone with every passing day. The addition of photo sharing takes Twitter into more of the… dare we say… Facebook social territory.

Still, Twitter photo sharing has big-time possibilities for social media marketing and Twitter marketing.

Up until recently, Twitter marketers would have to obtusely yammer on about their amazing products and blogs in hopes that followers would be lured in by their 140 characters to go check out their websites. Now with photo sharing, marketers can put pretty pictures front and center on their profiles. The new photo galleries are a veritable visual archive of the pictures you’ve tweeted, so why not curate them to create great images of your company? These treasure troves of images can give your followers a visual to go along with your witty and wise words.

Twitter galleries also have the potential to help users avoid marketing trolls. As if the all caps, sales pitch-heavy tweets in their history weren’t evidence enough, Twitter profiles without photos could steer folks away from wanting to communicate with robots. Your four most recent images appear on your profile now and tweeps with no pictures could be considered persona non grata. The long-lasting photo memory of the site could also cut down on the amount of embarrassing pictures that are tweeted. Sure a Twit pic of you doing Jell-O shots with a midget clown is funny but if you had to look at it every time you logged in, some of the “ha ha” factor might dissipate.

All in all, more images and photos and content on Twitter is a good thing. It forces folks in charge of Twitter for business campaigns to get creative. But readers, what do you think? Are you loving the Twitter galleries? Or would you rather not look at the people you Tweet with? Chirp about it in our comments section!

Jux Like Heaven

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Imagine a blog where the content fills the entire screen. Picture taking your words and photos and turning them into a near cinematic experience in size and depth. The concept sounds too high art and too magazine-like for your standard blog, but Jux has just made this possible. Jux is the latest slick graphic blogging platform to capture the attention of tech writers and bloggers alike. The concept behind Jux is bold and unusual and after reading about it everywhere, I decided to take it for a spin.

When a visitors first arrives in Juxland, they quickly realize they aren’t in blogging Kansas anymore. Jux looks like one of those cool European magazines that cost the price of a pizza at a newsstand. But more than that, Jux stands out for what’s missing: ads and links.The start-up blogging platform hopes to lure new bloggers in by delivering a full-screen blogging experience, 100 percent free from blinking advertisement plugins. Sounds enticing, so I hopped right in and made my very own Jux. What bloggers will notice right away is how Jux lets you see your blog develop as you write and create it. No more posting in boxes and then waiting to see it pop up — Jux puts you right in the action and allows users to see a clear picture of what they’re blogging in real time. It’s a little clunky to use at first, but after a few tries, the process of Juxing becomes fun and easy.

Jux is yet another sign that bloggers and blog readers want content that is full-bodied and bold. The site is part of a movement that is taking blogging into the realm once reserved for lifestyle magazines. Blogging for business can get in on the party as well. There’s no reason business-created blogs can’t hop on the style bandwagon and create beautiful and well-written blogs that people want to read.

5 Things You Might Have Missed!

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Can Mountain Dew fuel another online gaming craze? Did a trillion people visit Facebook this summer? Did Twitter kill or reinvent the press release? The answers to these and other titillating questions in this week’s edition of 5 Things You Might Have Missed!

1.) VW Spins the Roulette Wheel: Oh, Volkswagen. Just when I think you couldn’t have possible another amazing online marketing trick up your sleeve, you pull out Roulette. Using Google maps, VW played a game of real-time roulette with followers who placed bets as to how long it would take for the new Golf BlueMotion to run out of gas. Players only got one guess, so they had to research the car and its fuel mileage. Winners won a new golf for themselves. Losers learned about a new product and had fun while doing it.

2.) Ready for Lift Off: We were intrigued and curious when we read about Lift this week. Lift is the vaguely-described app for achieving goals from Twitter founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams. We’re not sure what the heck it is… and the shroud of secrecy around it makes us salivate even more. But we are sure that Stone and company are expected to cause a PR firestorm once Lift takes off in the next few months.

3.) Dew it Again: Mountain is back with more highly-caffeinated online fun for their joint promotion with Activision’s Modern Warfare 3. Nobody does bro-tacular marketing like Mountain Dew, and this marriage is one made in marketing heaven.

4.) Tweet and Release: To celebrate acquiring social media marketing company One Forty, HubSpot blasted the web with a tweet-rich press release. The digital release featured built-in “tweet this” buttons so readers could take the news to Twitter. Soon the PR world was not only talking about the acquisition but also about the genius of the Twitter-rich press release.

5.) Facebook is a Trillionaire: Finally, Facebook celebrated yet another milestone this week when it was reported that the social media monster had more than 1 trillion page views in the month of June! The news inspires us to keep on keeping on with Facebook marketing, regardless of how crowded it seems.

Social, Savvy and Specific

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We’ve been keeping on our eye on the specialized social media market this year, and with good reason: Niche social media sites — and the social media marketing that comes along with them — are exploding. From television watching to fashion to vampires, we’ve seen thousands of social media users who have something specific they want to talk about make the leap from Facebook and Twitter and give the specialized guys a try. So when GOOD reported on Healthcare Savvy, a site devoted to folks talking about healthcare triumphs and disasters, we had to see what the fuss was about for ourselves.

The concept is too brilliant to resist: The social networking site allows registered users to review and discuss healthcare. It’s kind of like your basic shopping or restaurant social media platform, but devoted to shopping for healthcare. Clearly neither the private sector nor the government is making these decisions easier for people, so the people are speaking back… and what they’re saying is funny, wise, proactive and interesting.

Everyone has been faced with shopping for healthcare, and this commonality is what binds the users of Healthcare Savvy together. The site just launched this month, so it isn’t loaded with content but it also isn’t bogged down with advertisements and sponsored blogs. There’s a kind of subtle rebel spirit on the site but the content generally (and wisely) avoids the great healthcare debates. We enjoyed clicking around Healthcare Savvy and couldn’t help thinking what other niche social networks could be next.

The boutique effect on social media and online branding is one we’ve just started to see. Technology and desktop publicity is as such that anybody anywhere can now sew together a network of folks who have something distinctly in common with one another. Niche networks allow marketers and bloggers to talk to target their audience just that much more directly rather than getting lost in a sea of social media drones.

Al Gore: Nobel Laureate & Amazing Marketer?

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There are a few negative things one could say about Al Gore — that he isn’t an engaging speaker (or even that he sounds like your most boring science teacher from middle school), that as a politician he didn’t have enough fight in him to really make an impact while he was in office or that he promotes just one side of the climate change story. But you can’t accuse the man of not knowing how to market himself and his pet projects.

Gore has long used the Internet to champion his cause of climate change awareness. For a decade, the former vice president has kept up with technology and like any brilliant marketer, using every new innovation to his advantage. His latest endeavor, which we stumbled upon thanks to Mashable.com, is no exception. Long exhausted from accusations which claim climate change isn’t real, Gore was inspired to create The Climate Reality Project. The project hopes to re-open an honest and unbiased conservation about the realities of climate change.

On September 14, 2011, “24 Hours of Reality” will be unleashed on the world. This global event will feature 24 climate change speakers and presenters from around the world. Partnering with Ustream means the messages can be seen from anywhere without interruption. The call to action also features a social element to help spread the word and ways for everyone to take action.

We’ve seen Ustream channels take viral video into the next phase: branded, independently-broadcasted programming. The ease and quality of Ustream means anybody with a cause or company can broadcast in ways YouTube never even dreamed about. Seeing as we’re in the blogging and marketing and social media biz, we’ll stay out of the climate change debate — but we do love the way good old Al is bringing attention to his cause.