Tag Archives: twitter

Explaining Twitter in one page…

I’ve been trying to create a general purpose one page guide to Twitter for a while. I’ve made two attempts in the past for particular situations – although with the end of SMS based access to Twitter in the UK those guides are both out of date.

But – I think I’ve finally created a guide I’m happy with – with this guide created for an Action Learning Set on Youth Participation and Social Network Sites I’m currently co-facilitating – but written to work as an introduction in just about any circumstance.

You can get the PDF of this one page guide to Twitter from Scribd.com (look for the download link) or, as this guide, like all the other one page guides, is provided you can download an Open Office copy (ODT) to edit and re-purpose as you wish (just make sure you let me know about any updated versions).

(Thanks to Harry @ Neontribe for photos and feedback used in this guide)

Guide preview:

Ask for Fairtrade (a twitter experiment)

Update: @askforfairtrade now has it’s own blog over here…

Have you asked for the Fairtrade option in a coffee shop that advertise it as an extra and been met by a bemused look from the person serving, been told that it’s out of stock, or simply been told they don’t sell Fairtrade coffee, in spite of the big Fairtrade logo on their menu?

I have. Quite a lot of times. And it’s really frustrating.

So, this morning I set up an @askforfairtrade account on Twitter to start finding our who the worst offenders are.

If you’re a regular coffee-shop hopper and you’re amongst the twitterati, then follow askforfairtrade, and when you’re next getting a caffine fix, make sure you request the Fairtrade option. Report the response you get by tweeting an update to @askforfairtrade.

I’ll aim to collate the reports on a regular basis and will get in touch with the best and the worst of the coffee chains to let them know how they are doing and to put the pressure on to keep Fairtrade on the menu.

Why does this matter?
Fairtrade matters. When a mug of coffee with the Fairtrade Mark is sold in place of a bog standard brew the farmers of the coffee beans are getting a guaranteed price for their labour, and a social premium is being invested in health, education and infrastructure projects in producer communities. Asking for the Fairtrade option makes a tangible difference. (Read more about the different Fairtrade makes on the Fairtrade Foundation Website)

Big companies are actively misleading consumers, giving the impression that their coffee is ethically produced and certified to Fairtrade standards, when in fact, Fairtrade is only available as an optional extra, and no effort is taken to actively encourage customers to ask for Fairtrade. In fact, from my experience, the level of service when trying to ask for the Fairtrade option actively discourages it.

By collecting reports of whether or not coffee shops and chains are living up to their promise to provide a Fairtrade option we can put pressure on them to make sure staff are trained, and products are in stock, for choosing the Fairtrade option to be the easy option. And we can demonstrate the consumer demand for Fairtrade as standard.

New One Page Guides: twitter, tagging, crowdvine

A few additions to the one page guide series, this time developed for the 2gether festival. Blogger here mainly for people in the Talking Tech session. You can find a range of other guides here.

We've got a new overview of Twitter (PDF)

An experiment with a more image based style for an overview look at tagging (PDF).

And a How To for the CrowdVine conference social network in use at the festival.

You can find the original files for each of these guides (created in iWork Pages on the mac) below – and they are all licenced under Creative Commons so you're free, indeed you are encouraged, to take and adapt these for your needs. (Erm – it's a bit of a slow upload here from the venue WiFi – so I'll post the original files later on…)




Attachment: Crowd Vine.pdf
Attachment: Twitter.pdf
Attachment: Tagging.pdf

Hidden costs of conference twittering on T-Mobile and 3

My post on using twitter via text message at conferences has been one of the most popular on this blog.

When I wrote that guide I had thought that text-message feedback via Twitter cost only the standard network rate for UK mobiles – and so for those (like me) with inclusive text message bundles that never get used up – it was virtually free.

However, via a trail of posts leading to Tech Crunch (and checking against my own phone bill) I've just discovered that's not quite the case:

Note also that the 07624 in Twitter’s number (+44 762 4801423) means it is actually billed as “international” by 3 and T-Mobile, making it a pricey service for those who like to tweet via SMS.

That raises an issue particularly for conferences with young people – where the 25p a message cost of sending in each bit of feedback at a conference can put up a significant barrier to participation (“you can have your say – but it'll cost £1 over the course of the day if you're on T-Mobile” doesn't seem quite right).

I might have to do a little rethinking about the best process for conference twittering to see if this is an issue we can work around in future. Any suggestions welcome…

The twitter post: txt for conferencing and consultation

(The twitter post: Well, it had to come sooner or later…)

Twitter from YOMO Event

I've just returned from an event in Chester (YOMO's Practical Ideas for Participation gathering) where we were making use of a tool called twitter to collect and share instant feedback throughout the event direct from people's mobile phones. The image above shows the feedback we got at the end of the event, all sent in by text message. With Twitter you can...

This has been my first large-scale experiment with twitter, and so shared below you will find:

  • A quick account of how we used twitter and a creative commons briefing you can adapt for using twitter at your conferences.
  • A reflection on the potential for twitter as a consultation/participation tool, and an invitation to suggest a pilot project.

Conference twitter for feedback
We set up a conference twitter account, and asked delegates to follow our account via mobile phone (by sending two sign-up text messages).

Throughout the event we were able to send instant text messages to all delegates – letting them know about what was coming up next, and inviting feedback. And delegates were able to text in their reflections, questions and feedback – with their views instantly appearing on the 'twitter wall' projected up on the main room, and on tickers running along the top of each powerpoint presentation being given.

Twitter briefingIt cost us nothing to set up. And it provided some really insightful gut-reaction instant feedback throughout the event.

The briefing paper I used to get people started using twitter at the event is attached at the bottom of this post.

It's not quite the same as the rest of the 'One pager…' series, as you will need to adapt this to your context if you want to use it. You will find comments in the margins giving you information on what you need to get set up for that.

Community twitter for consultation and participation

Twitter is a very flexible platform for building social networks. In general, it will work something like this:

  • People opt to follow your updates via the web, their mobile phone, or an instant messenger (gtalk).
  • You write an update.
  • Your followers receive your update on the web, by instant message or by text.
  • They can reply to you by instant message, web or text message either public ally, or privately.
  • You can read all the responses by phone, on the web or by instant message.
  • It doesn't cost anything more than the standard cost of any text messages involved.
  • If you are asking for public replies, then it would be possible to share the question and replies with others by pointing them to your twitter page on the web.

Some twitter users treat it as a way of keeping in touch with a geographically dispersed team. Some twitter users micro-blog using it to alert others to what they are up to.

From twitter.com

But, if you're thinking what I'm thinking – you might spot that there is a powerful tool for youth participation here. Imagine this scenario:

  • People opt to follow your updates via the web, their mobile phone, or an instant messenger (gtalk) - you ask young people across the community to follow your updates by phone, building up a large groups of 250 'followers' across the community.
  • You write an update - when you need to gauge ideas in the area on a particular issue. You pose a short question.
  • Your followers receive your update on the web, by instant message or by text - hopefully as many as possible receive the message by text soon after you send it.
  • They can reply to you by instant message, web or text message either public ally, or privately - you ask for public replies and within an hour you have short text feedback and ideas from 90 young people. You send a text an hour later thanking everyone from feedback and letting them know you no longer need replies.
  • You can read all the responses by phone, on the web or by instant message - instantly gaining a deeper insight into different young people's views on an issue. If this helps you make a decision or make a change, you can send an update to provide instant feedback,
  • It doesn't cost anything more than the standard cost of any text messages involved.
  • If you are asking for public replies, then it would be possible to share the question and replies with others by pointing them to your twitter page on the web - you could send a link to the views to a local councilor to ask them to read young peoples views directly.

I'm not aware of any groups making use of twitter in this way yet (though I would be suspired if there aren't some out there applying it like this – do get in touch) and I would be very interested in supporting a pilot project.

Other applications

For more on applications of Twitter, you might want to check out




Attachment: Twitter briefing for conferences – draft.doc