Francisco Espinosa

International Man of Mystery

Archive for July, 2010

Study: Most Brands Still Irrelevant on Twitter

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Marketers Are Certainly Tweeting, but Users Are Barely Listening

Article by: Michael Learmonth
Published: July 27, 2010

NEW YORK ( — Attention brands: Twitter users aren’t talking to you or about you. In fact, they barely know you exist. The most mentioned brands on Twitter tend to be there because they are part of constant daily conversation, not because of anything the brand is or isn’t doing on Twitter.
That’s one of the conclusions of a six-month analysis of the service’s ubiquitous 140-character messages conducted by digital agency 360i and released today.

Despite marketers’ embrace of the medium, brands are finding themselves on the outside of the conversation. Of the 90% of Twitter messages sent by real people — the other 10% come from businesses — only 12% ever mention a brand, and most of those mentions are of Twitter itself.

Further, only 1% of consumer tweets that mention a brand are part of an active conversation with that brand, meaning marketers are, for the most part, conducting one-way conversations — the opposite of the way consumers often use Twitter.

The most mentioned brands on Twitter tend to be there because they are part of a constant daily conversation, not because of anything the brand is or isn’t doing on Twitter. The most mentioned brands on Twitter are, in descending order, Twitter, Apple, Google, YouTube, Microsoft, Blackberry, Amazon, Facebook, Snuggie, eBay and Starbucks.

Embedded in the culture
Snuggie is the surprise brand on the list, but that appears to reflect the brand’s place in the culture, not its own Twitter activity. Official Snuggie profile @OriginalSnuggie has just 591 followers and @WeezerSnuggie, an account set up to promote the once-popular Weezer video, has just 693 followers and has been dormant since November.

After spending six months going over a statistically significant sample of 1,800 tweets, 360i Senior-VP Sarah Hofstetter was struck at just how mundane and personal they were. “They’re mostly doing what people mocked Twitter about in the first place, as in, what I had for lunch.”

The vast majority of real people’s tweets, 94%, are personal in nature. Most tweets, 85%, are original and not re-tweets of other messages. They’re also very often conversational: 43% of tweets begin with an “@” sign, meaning they’re directed at another user, not the sender’s followers at large.

While marketers such as Dell, Comcast, Ford and Starbucks have been, at times, clever participants on Twitter, the majority of marketers use it as a mini press-release service. Only 12% of messages from marketers are directed at individual Twitter users, meaning marketers still see it as a broadcast medium rather than a conversational one.

Showing up isn’t enough
“There is still a misperception that if brands show up, people will listen to them, kind of like Facebook a few years ago,” Ms. Hofstetter said. “Twitter can be used as a promotional RSS feed, but that’s not going to establish a relationship with anybody.”

The study was conducted before Twitter took any advertising, from October 2009 through March 2010. Twitter has since rolled out a series of ad units including promoted tweets and trends. Ms. Hofstetter said the ads are great to help boost things already popular on Twitter. “They are only going to work if they are relevant in the first place,” she said.

Twitter posts are intrinsically navel-gazing, conversational and personal, but they aren’t predominantly self-promotional. Depending on your circle of connections, it can certainly feel, as Wired’s Evan Ratliff noted, that “self-aggrandizement” is “standard fare” on Twitter. But the 360i study found only 2% of tweets were professional updates or career-related.

What do Twitter users talk about? Beyond the 43% of individuals’ tweets that are conversational, 24% are status updates, 12% are links to news or comment on current events, and 3% are seeking or giving advice.

The good news for brands is that when a consumer does mention them on Twitter, they’re usually not complaining about it. Only 7% of tweets mentioning brands indicated negative sentiment, 11% positive and an overwhelmingly 82% neutral.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

July 28th, 2010 at 7:03 am

Posted in Social Media,Tech

5.6- and 7-inch iPads Coming

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Rumors about OLED iPad resurface
Monica Chen, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES

Apple reportedly plans to launch its second-generation iPad, using 5.6-inch and 7-inch OLED panels, as soon as in the fourth quarter of 2010 with Compal Electronics having a chance to receive the orders, according to sources from component makers.

The sources noted that Apple has recently placed new iPad orders to Taiwan-based component makers for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 with 9.7-inch, 5.6-inch and 7-inch models all included.

The 9.7-inch model will see some minor changes, while Apple will add Chimei Innolux (CMI) as one of its panel suppliers.

The new 5.6- and 7-inch iPads will mainly target the e-book reader market, separating them from the 9.7-inch model, which mainly targets multimedia entertainment, the sources stated.

Although market watchers originally expected Pegatron Technology to land iPad orders from Apple, the sources indicated that the orders have actually been grabbed by Compal. However, Compal declined to comment on specific clients

The sources also stated that since Samsung Electronics and LG Display have recently been throwing heavy resources into the development of OLED panels, costs are dropping gradually and with Apple’s brand image and high average selling price (ASP), Apple should have no problem adopting OLED panels, which have higher price than standard panels, into its devices.

Commenting on the rumors, Digitimes Research senior analyst Mingchi Kuo pointed out that the largest OLED maker, Samsung Electronics’, current OLED capacity is not even enough to supply the company’s own handset products; therefore, the capacity is unlikely to be enough to supply Apple’s new devices for the fourth quarter of 2010. Tight OLED capacity may ease in the second half of 2011, Kuo added.

Kuo also noted that Compal is unlikely to strive for orders from Apple, since manufacturing gross margins on Apple’s products are at electronic manufacturing service (EMS) levels, which is a lot lower than notebook OEMs can accept.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

July 13th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Tech

Firefox 4.0 beta 1 out

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Article by: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

If you like living on the cutting edge of software, you’ll want to download Firefox 4.0 beta 1.

Those keeping track of such things will know that Firefox 4.0 was previously known as 3.7. That aside, there are some cool new features available in this release:

- Tabs are now on top by default on Windows only – OSX and Linux will be changing when the theme has been modified to support the change.
- On Windows Vista and Windows 7 the menu bar has been replaced with the Firefox button.
- You can search for and switch to already open tabs in the Smart Location Bar
- New Addons Manager and extension management API (UI will be changed before final release)
- Significant API improvements are available for JS-ctypes, a foreign function interface for extensions.
- The stop and reload buttons have been merged into a single button on Windows, Mac and Linux.
- The Bookmarks Toolbar has been replaced with a Bookmarks Button by default (you can switch it back if you’d like).
- Crash protection for Windows, Linux, and Mac when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, – - – - Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins.
- CSS Transitions are partially supported.
- Full WebGL support is included but disabled by default at this time.
- Core Animation rendering model for plugins on Mac OS X. Plugins which also support this rendering model can now draw faster and more efficiently.
- Native support for the HD HTML5 WebM video format.
- An experimental Direct2D rendering backend is available on Windows, turned off by default.
- Web developers can use Websockets for a low complexity, low latency, bidirectional communications API.
- Web developers can update the URL field without reloading the page using HTML History APIs.
- More responsive page rendering using lazy frame construction.
- Link history lookup is done asynchronously to provide better responsiveness during pageload.
- CSS :visited selectors have been changed to block websites from being able to check a user’s browsing history.
- New HTML5 parser.
- Support for more HTML5 form controls.

Release notes here.
Download available here.

Remember that this is a beta product, and things can go wrong, so take care.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

July 6th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Posted in Tech

U.S. government launches 17 mobile apps

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Article by: Amy Gahran has unveiled a slew of free mobile apps that provide information about product recalls, most-wanted criminals and other federal government information and services.

Most of these tools aren’t standalone software; instead, they use information from interactive websites optimized to work well in “microbrowsers,” the small-size, limited-functionality web browsers that come with many mobile phones.

As far as access to government is concerned, mobile-friendly websites are a very good thing. That’s because, as I wrote earlier, the vast majority of U.S. mobile phones in use are not smartphones with full-featured browsers. Also, mounting wireless network congestion can make standard websites frustrating to use on smartphones.

Mobile-friendly, low-bandwidth sites are based on Wireless Application Protocol standards. Such sites can offer useful, personalized features and functions similar to smartphone apps. However, a vastly larger audience of mobile users can access and use WAP sites.

You don’t need a smartphone, a data plan or even a high-speed data connection (3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, etc.) to use a WAP site, just a phone with a mobile web browser and an ordinary cell network connection.

There are 17 apps listed on To help you decide which app version is best for your phone, I’ve compiled this app directory by mobile platform.

A few highlights:

Most are WAP sites: Twelve of the apps are available as WAP sites, and most of these (nine) are available only as WAP sites. Also, although the Product Recalls app is listed as offering a mobile-friendly site, in fact is a standard website that will display very poorly on most web-enabled mobile phones (non-smartphones).

iPhone apps: The FBI Most Wanted app, the NASA app, the BMI calculator and the White House app are available only as iPhone apps. Two other apps (MyTSA and U.S. Postal Service Tools) offer iPhone versions in addition to WAP sites.

Two Android apps: Product Recalls and UV Index

One BlackBerry app: Only the UV Index app has a BlackBerry version. This is a little surprising, since the RIM BlackBerry is by far still the most popular smartphone in the U.S. But, of course, all the WAP sites will display well on any of the BlackBerry browsers.

More mobile apps are coming as both government agencies and third-party developers find new ways to put government to work in your hand.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

July 6th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Posted in Social Media,Tech