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Twitter communities

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Some social media outlets foster a sense of a smaller communities among its members, with LinkedIn connections or even Facebook Groups. Twitter seems less oriented to forming smaller communities around any concept except who you follow and who your followers are. I traded e-mails recently with Kent Huffman, who has taken to creating and maintaining several marketing-related lists of Twitter users. They almost feel like a Facebook group that you need to qualify for, rather than join.


Kent decided to make lists of the top CMOs, marketing professors, and marketing book authors active on Twitter. Kent explained to me that he compiled the lists through online searches for “CMO,” “Chief Marketing Officer,” “marketing book author,” and “marketing professor.” He searched his 5,000+ followers on Twitter, used TweepSearch.com to find bios on Twitter, and used the Twitter search.
At that point, Kent says, “Once I posted and then tweeted about the lists, other Twitter users suggested additions (on behalf of themselves or others), which is why I update them every two weeks. So the lists are very fluid in nature, as they grow and change along with the Twitterers featured.”
Kent shows the lists in order of the number of Twitter followers, and I asked him if he thought the number of followers indicated anything significant about the authors, for example. Kent had a quick answer: “I don’t think that the authors toward the top of the list are better than the others toward the bottom, as the number of people who follow each of those authors can be affected by how long that author has been tweeting, how interesting his/her tweets are, how aggressive he/she is with the marketing process on Twitter, and a number of other factors. However, I had to publish the lists in some type of order and decided that organizing them by the number of followers would be somewhat logical, as it would at least be an indication of the number of people on Twitter who wanted to know what that person had to say.”
This is clearly an experiment on Kent’s part and I find the whole idea interesting, much like services like TwitterGrader rank all Twitter users on a number of factors. Kent updates the lists frequently and he uses Twitter to tell his followers who’s on the new list each time.
Kent says that he plans to “add a few more new lists in the coming weeks and months–all connected in some way to the core subject of marketing.” So my question is, “Is this a form of community building?” Can we use Twitter to build communities in this way?

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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