Twitter Asks You How You Use Twitter While You Watch TV, While You’re Watching TV and Using Twitter

As we’ve noted many times, Twitter is very interested in linking itself with the TV business. (Facebook too, but that’s a different story.)

And as we noted last month, Twitter has recently started asking its own users if they connect Twitter with TV, via online surveys.

Here’s a new survey, which is even more direct about the Twitter/TV linkup. This comes to us via Eli Langer, a social media producer at CNBC, and what’s most interesting is that it:

  • Is explicitly about watching football and using Twitter, and that
  • The invitation to participate in the survey showed up in Langer’s feed shortly after kickoff during last night’s “Monday Night Football” finale.

Here’s the query:

want to take a survey

 

And here’s the four-part survey, which seems pretty self-explanatory:

why do you use twitter when you watch tv

commercial:2

most likely:3

factors:4

And, for what it’s worth, sometime late last night, my feed filled up with football.

hello we are watching the footballs now

Hey! Before you go: On the off chance that I don’t type at you any more this year at this website, may the rest of your 2013 be filled with things you like and love. See you soon.

(Almost) No One Is Reading Your Tweets

empty shutterstock Pavel L Photo and VideoDo you like to post things on Twitter? That’s cool.

As long you’re cool with the idea that almost no one will read what you type.

That’s the gist of a report published last week by Jon Bruner, a data journalist working for O’Reilly Radar. Bruner surveyed Twitter accounts and concluded that almost all of them are all but ignored: “The median Twitter account has a single follower. Among the much smaller subset of accounts that have posted in the last 30 days, the median account has just 61 followers.”

On the other hand, if anyone is paying any attention to you on Twitter, then slap yourself on the back. You are Twitter Famous!

By Bruner’s count, it takes a mere 458 followers to land in the top 10 percent of  all Twitter users. It takes 2,991 followers to crack the top one percent.*

But here’s the thing: Twitter has been like this for a long time. Lazy typers like myself will still often describe Twitter as a “social network,” and the notion of a platform where anyone can sound off is inspiring. But Twitter’s most basic use case is a one-to-many broadcast platform.

Twitter fessed up to this idea years ago. Way back in the fall of 2010, when Ev Williams was still nominally in charge of the company he co-founded, he was promoting the idea that Twitter was a “consumption environment” —  a  great place to read (and eventually watch) stuff other people created.

Twitter’s official messaging still promotes the idea that you, ordinary you, can find your voice on Twitter — its newly tweaked welcome screen invites new users to “start a conversation.” But Twitter’s business plan — based on its “asymmetric follow model” — assumes that you and Twitter’s other 230 million users will spend almost all of your time reading about the conversation, not leading it.

Check out Twitter’s onboarding sequence for new users, for instance, which is dedicated to helping you “find and follow well-known people.” (Twitter seems particularly interested, by the way, in helping you find Neil Patrick Harris.)

There are exceptions, of course. It’s easy to think of examples — like an MBA in Abbottabad, Pakistan, or a woman paid to represent Barry Diller to the press —  of people you’ve never heard of becoming Twitter Famous. It’s one of the things that makes Twitter so much fun (and sometimes not fun).

But just because you have access to a printing press doesn’t mean you can force people to read your stuff. Even if you keep it really, really, short.

* There’s one caveat to Bruner’s numbers. For whatever reason, his figures are calculated by defining an “active” Twitter user as someone who has posted once in the last 30 days. Twitter defines an “active” user as someone who has logged in to the service once in the last 30 days. So presumably, if Bruner had used Twitter’s definition in his calculations, the math would have changed a bit. I don’t think the conclusion would be an different, though.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Pavel L Photo and Video)

Happy Holidays! Facebook Stuffs More Ads in Its Stockings.

Facebook News Feed EventRemember a couple months ago, when Facebook said it wasn’t going to jam itself full of ads, and Wall Street freaked out?

That was silly. Of course Facebook isn’t going to jam itself full of ads — everyone there still remembers Myspace.

That said, Facebook is not averse to stocking up on ads — at certain times. Like the last few weeks, when many of its 1.1 billion users are in shopping mode.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali thinks Facebook’s ad load — the percentage of ads in the average Facebook user’s News Feed — has jumped from five percent in the last quarter to 10 percent in Q4.

It’s not unusual for Facebook to load up on ads during the end of the year — ad spending jumps everywhere in Q4 — but Squali thinks this year’s jump is qualitatively different: It “seems more amplified with bigger brands and a greater mix of higher-priced click-to-play video ads.” (Remember: Facebook has had video ads for a long time — the new ones it showed off last week, which you’ll see a lot of next year, are auto-playing ads.)

That has convinced Squali to bump up his ad estimates for the quarter, and to push his price target for the stock to $65, up from $63. Right now, Facebook is trading at $55 — right where it was before Friday morning, when the company announced a big stock sale.

Music-Discovery Service ExFM Pulls the Plug

cloud musicAfter a four-year-run, music startup ExFM is throwing in the towel.

The company, which operates a music-discovery website, as well as iPhone and Android apps, says it will shut down its apps, as well as the guts of its site, on Jan. 15. Hardcore users will still be able to access a bit of the service, via a Chrome browser extension; ExFm raised a reported $2.75 million from investors including Spark Capital.

Startups are hard, and music startups are much harder. And while there was a short window when digitally savvy music fans were quite interested in ExFM, the service was facing an uphill battle from the get-go: It started out as a Chrome extension, which limited its market to the relatively small group of people who knew what a Chrome extension was and how to use one.

Here’s ExFM’s summation of its problems:

After an amazing four years of sweat and tears, we’re ever-so-reluctantly accepting the reality of sustaining the Exfm platform as it exists today. The high costs of processing millions of new songs every month while attempting to keep that data relevant and useable is monumental. The technical challenges are compounded by the litigious nature of the music industry, which means every time we have any meaningful growth, it’s coupled with the immediate attention of the record labels in the form of takedowns and legal emails. Today, subscription services are gaining in popularity and enjoy the blessings of most major labels at a non trivial cost to those companies.

ExFM’s note to its users also insists that “this isn’t a full goodbye,” but there doesn’t seem to be any plan to keep the company going, either.

Back in 2010, when I interviewed ExFM co-founder Dan Kantor, I suggested that the most logical outcome for the company would be to sell to Google. At the time, he didn’t seem interested.