Twitter closes down Posterous

Sad to see good products go down and fade to oblivion. I received an email from Posterous, saying that the service was closing down so the staff could focus more on Twitter. Here’s an excerpt from that email –

Posterous launched in 2008. Our mission was to make it easier to share photos and connect with your social networks. Since joining Twitter about one year ago, we’ve been able to continue that journey, building features to help you discover and share what’s happening in the world – on an even larger scale.

On April 30th, we will turn off and our mobile apps in order to focus 100% of our efforts on Twitter. This means that as of April 30, Posterous Spaces will no longer be available either to view or to edit.

What this means for the thousands of users on Posterous is a migration process to other publishing platforms. This means researching on other platforms who provide similar service. Fortunately, Sachin Agarwal, the founder of Posterous has moved his personal blog to WordPress and states his reasons for choosing WordPress.

What makes me sad is that a good product which was working and had millions of users is being shut down. Another example of this happening is Google Reader … it was still being used by many and I still have not found a satisfactory replacement for it! I wonder what must have gone through the core team’s mind when they decided (or were told) to pull the plug on this service.

Why do organizations acquire other start-ups only to disband the team and use them for fuelling their own product development? I understand the acquiring company must have clarity on why it is acquiring the other firm … was it ever there when Twitter acquired Posterous?

Peerindex, Klout Beware!

People who are in Social Media would already know of influence monitoring tools such as Klout, Peerindex, and Rapportive.

I started using Klout the minute I discovered it using the Rapportive add-on for Firefox. Measuring and monitoring your klout score seemed cool. Soon after that I chanced on Peerindex as well.

The approaches employed by Klout and Peerindex are slightly different. Whereas Peerindex considered the reach of your tweets and conversations, Klout seemed to focus on the richness. Both the web-apps seemed cool, since both of them gave you an indication of what and how to increase your respective scores. So I managed to hike up my Klout score from the low 40s to the low 60s. I was happy with what I had achieved, until one conversation with Sushrut at a Tweet-up made me realize, that a high Klout score or a high Peerindex score is not really the outcome.

The business model that both these web-apps adopt to monetize their influence measuring algorithms is pretty much the same. Organizations that need to reach out to the influencers and decision-makers in their particular niches can now do so … at a price of course. Peerindex for example, charges 50 GBP for identifying a single influencer in the topic of your choosing. Of course there are people who are willing to pay, but the question I want to raise is till when?

I recently read this article on the openview blog, and found this great directory of twitterati – Twellow. One simple search confirmed this, the application is a directory of topic-wise experts, whereas this might seem commonplace, what this means for Klout and Peerindex is that their premium services now seem overpriced. Why would an organization pay a premium for the same information which is available for free?

Agreed, that Klout and Peerindex do provide “perks” for influencers, but at the end of the day, the deliverable for which the organization is paying up good money is to get twitter handles of influencers to start engaging with them. Perhaps, if the engagement can be somehow integrated into these perks … but till then I am firmly sticking to Twellow!

Twitter Analytics

Was listening through a podcast by Duct Tape Marketing on Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik. It started of as an interview promoting his new book on analytics powered through crowdsourcing. Towards the fag end of the interview, something that Avinash said really got my attention.

Most people treat Twitter as a shout channel. Please do not treat it as one.

Then he rattled off two important parameters for measuring one’s tweeting success. They made more sense because I agree with him on Twitter being an engagement space with your customers. His parameters are –

  1. No. of RTs/1000 followers
  2. No. of replies per day

The first one measures how many of your followers are listening to you and see value in your ideas. The second one measures how many of those listeners are engaging with you.