Alive & Tweeting™


Posts tagged with "twitter"

Tips & Tricks: Why the Period Before @Mentions?

Have you ever been scrolling through your Twitter feed and seen a couple of tweets starting with a period before an @mention? Well, this is one of Twitter’s lesser-known quirks, and it silently plays a big role in what comes up in your feed.

When you Tweet directly at someone (by putting their @handle as the beginning of your Tweet), that Tweet only comes up in the feeds of users who follow both you and the person you are directly Tweeting at. Why? It’s pretty much so you don’t flood other people’s streams when you are tweeting back and forth with someone (Tweet convos, ya know?). For example:

That’s where the period comes in: If you dot before you @mention, your Tweet shows up in the feeds of all of your followers. If you don’t dot before you @mention, your tweet is considered conversational and only shows up on your stream, the stream of whoever you Tweeted at, and those lucky followers you both have in common.

So, if you want to Tweet directly at someone and you want it to go to all of your followers’ feeds, dot before you @mention. For example:

NOTE: It’s important to know that this trick is only for when you @mention people in the beginning of your Tweet. Tweets with @mentions elsewhere do not fall under this category, so don’t go around putting periods before every person you @mention.

This piece was originally written for The Social U. You can find more of my articles for The Social U here.

5 Reasons Twitter is Better for College Students than Facebook

Most (if not all) of us are on Facebook. The reality is, however, that Twitter is much better for college students because it’s not just a social network, it’s a tool. Yes, a tool. Here are 5 reasons why you should leave Facebook for your personal life, and adopt Twitter to learn more about your interests and your possible future industry:

1. Everyone is on Twitter

Forget social network, Twitter is one of the most important media companies in the world. It is now one of the top 10 most visited sites. On Twitter you will find teachers, schools, and perhaps more important to you, professionals and lead publications in your areas of interest. With more than 500 million users, it’s almost a given that the people you want to work for are on Twitter. Marketing? Absolutely. Finance? No problem. Environmental Engineering? Yep, they’re there, too. These are just a few examples, but you get the point.

2. The Power of Lists

The ability to make lists, in my opinion, is the one of Twitter’s most powerful tools. Sadly, it’s also probably one of the least used. With lists, you have complete freedom to categorize anyone however you like. First thing I did when I got to my internship this summer was make a Twitter List of the most influential people on B2B Social Media Marketing. That way, I stayed up to date with trends and best practices during my time at LEWIS Pulse and trust me, it paid off. Lists can be public or private, so you can have a private list of your friends, and have public lists about your interests. Check out @The_SocialU’s lists (we’ve got some funny ones in there, too).

3. No Emotional Attachment

Ok, let me be clear: following people on Twitter is not like adding them as a friend on Facebook. There is no ‘friendship’ involved. In other words, people don’t get offended when you unfollow them on Twitter. I don’t follow most of my friends on Twitter, because that’s what Facebook is for. Why is this a reason to use Twitter instead of Facebook? Easy, you’ve probably amassed an enormous amount of Facebook “friends”, or people you really could care less about, and may be holding back on unfriending them because it would be awkward if you, say, ran into that person again. Whatever reason you may have, you simply won’t have this problem on Twitter.

4. The Twitter Door Swings Both Ways

People on Twitter want to interact. There is such a thing as professional networking on Twitter. Professionals and companies tweet constantly about the work they’re doing, relevant readings, and things that interest them. They are there because they want to be heard, and how do they know that people are listening to them? Responses. Twitter is a two way street, allow me to demonstrate:

5. Run Your Own Show, Make a Name for Yourself

Don’t be afraid to dive into Twitter: whatever you are interested in, you probably have opinions you could tweet and articles/readings that you could share. Maybe you come across an interesting thought on a school reading? For example, I stumbled upon a cool thought the other day when reading for a class, underlined the sentence in blue, took a picture with Instagram and shared it via Twitter:

(Cognitive & Brain Sciences major, btw)

The point is, on Twitter, you have the opportunity to make your voice heard by professionals and people you otherwise might not be able to connect with. In other words, get your name out there before you even start looking for a job. Oh, and by the way, your Twitter feed comes up when someone searches your name on Google – great way to make an awesome first impression before you even meet a potential employer.

This piece was originally written for The Social U. You can find more of my articles for The Social U here.

So You Think You’re Cool Because You Posted Your Bong on Instagram

This was my first article for It was published a while ago, but I figured I should link it to this blog. Hope you enjoy!


Bot or not? Your image on Twitter

The world of Twitter (i.e., ‘Twittersphere’) remains flexible with regards to formulas for marketing success. Best practices and ‘tips and tricks’ have become common topics amongst blogs, online journals, and those who dare claim to be “social media experts”, but these all vary and –unlike Twitter etiquette– we all can’t seem to come to a consensus. I too have made many observations on the different writing styles and techniques to grasp readers’ attention on my own feed. During my recent experiences working for a social media firm and, although I cannot say I have solved our problem, I can say that there is one thing we should all watch out for: robot behavior.

As the dissemination of industry-relevant content from your own writing and from that of your trusted sources dominates inbound marketing strategies (especially for B2B companies), company handles run the risk of seeming robot-operated. When I say a ‘robot’ Twitter account, I mean an account that appears to publish the same pre-established template with every tweet, never giving any indication that there is a real person behind the operation. This annoys me. A lot.

I don’t want to follow a user that just regurgitates article titles and links as every tweet. I also don’t want to follow an account that will bombard my feed with 10 tweets in a row, one after the other. I want to follow a person or company who has an image I can clearly see and that can/will interact with their Twitter community freely. Looking at it from the other side, I want my brand’s Twitter handle to have a personality and be the living and breathing face of my company in social media, just as my personal one is for me.

The beauty of using Twitter for your company is precisely that. On Twitter, all users (people and companies) are created equal. This allows you to communicate your company’s real values, priorities, and even opinions; thus allowing your community to see who you are beyond commercials and reviews. At times, this goes to the extent that some people manage their company’s Twitter handle as their personal account. Don’t ruin this opportunity by building a program to manage your Twitter handle, or by refusing to put more than the minimal amount of work in you or your company’s social media efforts.

If this is what your social media image is, you might as well not even have one because it can even be damaging to your reputation. One of the first things I do when observing a profile for a possible follow is look at recent tweets and ask myself “bot or not?” Now, with this in mind, look at your page objectively and ask yourself the same question.

See how Obama and the Republican candidates stack up in terms of #SocialMedia dominance via @SMChimps

Social media’s role in political campaigns has been heavily increasing over the past few elections, especially given its power and reach to the younger population. Social Media Chimps does a great job in analyzing how this year’s Republican candidates stack up against Obama in their use of social media by comparing their Likes on Facebook, Twitter follower base, and other interesting variables in this article. 

Social Media Chimps is an online social media magazine and also one of my favorite places for news and pretty much everything social media related. Be sure to check them out and subscribe to their newsletter, you will not be disappointed! 


Apr 9

Inside Navlit: Kenny Cohen talks about the new social media solution to group collaboration

Tufts entrepreneur Kenny Cohen is one of the three founders of Navlit, a new social media platform specifically for group collaboration. Given the recent launch of the site in Private Beta stage at Tufts University, I approached Kenny, -both a brother and colleague of mine- to see what Navlit is all about from the inside. 


Q: So talk to me about Navlit, what is it and where did the idea come from?

A:  The idea for Navlit was a result of our frustration with how difficult it was to stay in touch with friends using long email chains and messaging threads. With emails, it seemed like all of our conversations were lost in our inbox over time, which made them hard to reference at a later date. With messaging threads, it was difficult to hold multiple conversations simultaneously. Basically we saw that we were sharing less with our friends because there wasn’t really a social, private, and organized platform for us to use. John came to me with this problem, and Navlit was born.


Q: What is the central goal of Navlit as a social media platform/network? Where/what part of Navlit has the most potential to be a success or a gamechanger in social media?

A:  Our primary goal is to provide a private platform for groups to collaborate in a social and organized way. There is not another site where groups can hold multiple conversations simultaneously while maintaining a social feel and emphasis on sharing all forms of content. 


Q: So where does a name like Navlit come from?

A:  The name Navlit came from users navigating around their groups, which we call fires. The feeling you get when sharing around a lit fire is very secure, and we want our users to have that same feeling when using the site.


Q: What makes it different from other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter? What can you do on Navlit that you cannot do elsewhere?

A:  We view Navlit as a complement to Facebook and Twitter. Since we are specializing in private group collaboration, we are able to create a more focused platform that emphasizes the needs of group communication. Users don’t have to worry about setting up profiles or privacy settings, which makes for a much simpler process on an individual level. For groups, we offer a platform that can hold multiple simultaneous conversations, which helps facilitate meaningful conversations online in a familiar way. 


Q:  Do you intend to use other platforms to boost awareness and use of your site?

A:  We definitely plan on utilizing existing social media platforms to reach users. We have an active Facebook page ( and Twitter feed (@navlit). These resources are great ways for us to connect with both our existing and future users, and we plan on using them heavily going forward. 


Q:  Sophomore at Tufts, Quant Econ major, you got your hands full already. I can’t imagine this is an easy thing to be doing on top of all that, so what’s your motivation for starting this site?

A: It’s easy to make time for something you are genuinely passionate about. We definitely have to make sacrifices with work or social plans, but everyone on our team is dedicated to our goals and excited about where we are going with the product.


Q:  Who are your partners? Who’s in charge of what and what will you be doing now that you launched your site?

A:   Our team is the following:

John Brennan: Co-Founder

Kenneth Cohen: Co-Founder

Mark Timmerman: Co-Founder, Head Developer

Now that we are up and running at Tufts, we just want to keep improving the existing version of the site while trying to reach out to new users on campus. We really want to create a strong base at Tufts so we can receive valuable feedback as we move forward. We are focusing on connecting with college campuses, as we feel that the site will be especially useful for students. We are looking into various incubator programs and will hopefully continue working on the site through the summer.


Q:   What are Navlit’s next objectives as a social media network?

A:   We just want to continue to work on our product and improve the user experience on the site. As a small team, we are able to iterate changes to the site quickly, which is especially helpful in these early stages. We have some big long-term ideas that will hopefully make Navlit the primary place for group collaboration online.




Keep up with Kenny and Navlit on Twitter!


FBI uses Twitter and Facebook to try and catch Murder suspect who stole $2.3 Million via

Mar 9

Don't suck at Twitter - 4 tips by @SMChimps

Mar 5

Twitter, Escape from the Facebook junkyard now on the Tufts Daily

My original article from this blog is now on the Tufts Daily. If you didn’t catch it then check it out now at the Daily’s website! 

Four Simple Tips for Social Networking Success for Businesses via

So I found Social Media Chimps on Twitter (@SMChimps) a couple of months ago and I have to say I’ve learned a lot from their site. They got some great and insightful content -which you should definitely check out, and a real cool slogan too: “Covering the Evolution of the Social Media Revolution.”