The post-#140conf NYC Meetup

by Bradley Jobling on May 19, 2010

A follow up to the #140conf held in NYC on April 20th was a two hour #140 Meetup held on May 17th with speakers Liz Pullen (@nwjerseyliz) of What the Trend, Mo Krochmal (@krochmal) Assistant Vice President of the Journalism School at Hofstra, and Jeff Hayzlett (@JeffreyHayzlett) CMO of Kodak.

Jeff Hayzlett

One of the first questions to come up was the ethics of Twitter. What is considered spam? Jeffrey Hayzlett sent a DM to all of this followers about his book The Mirror Test reaching a sales goal. Due to this DM thousands more copies were sold. Was this DM spam? The somewhat heated discussion was inconclusive. Some were adamant this was an invasion of privacy. Others felt the DM sent by Mr. Hayzlett was a reflection of the direct marketing industry where a few people need to be bothered to make money. Direct marketing, DM no less, just works that way.

Liz Pullen

The highlight of the night was a presentation provide by sociologist, ethnographer and scholar, Liz Pullen who talked about trending topics and hashtags in Twitter. Takeaways were:

  • When determining trending topics, words that are common or general are discarded. After this, the top 10 trending words are presented in five minute increments.
  • From January 2010 to March 2010 there were 4,500 trending topics. One-third of these were hash tags.
  • Hashtags trend longer than non-hashtagged words. Non-hashtagged words trend higher for shorter periods of time.
  • Categories of trending topics are usually: nostalgia, jokes, charities, holidays, sports, politics, spam, Twitter, weather, locations, now playing, celebrities and “other”. A spam topic is Tweet message that doesn’t match with trending topic it contains. This is done do trick readers into reading the Tweet or more often clicking on a link.
  • The trending topics can be sociologically categorized as interpersonal, social identity (race), inspirational (quotes), the “truth” (personal takes on situations or topics), and “why”.
  • #FF (Follow Friday) does not trend as high as what you would think.
  • Hashtags can be used to connect people and rhythms.
  • Businesses still need to learn how to use hashtags. According to a Tweet from @fredabramson that was based on a quote from Liz, only .0003% of hashtags are about brands.
  • Many hashtags are created, yet only a few make trending topics. The best way to get anything trending is through a celebrity endorsement.

Mo Krochmal

Mo Krochmal discussed the state of education and journalism today. Education takes too long to change. Education is ripe for disruption. Textbooks are 9 months out of date when published. Regarding journalism, information is a commodity, engagement is what the new journalism should target.

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