Twopcharts, tracking Twitter users by language and by city

Here is an interesting project I have found a couple of days back.

Twopcharts made an effort to find the most influential active Twitter users for cities around the world, as well as widely spoken languages. By selecting any of the cities or languages available in their database, you will be directed to a dedicated page with several lists and search capabilities. Twopcharts have also created a number of twitter tools that can be used for any Twitter account. As they say in their about page, they welcome any suggestions you may have.

Here’s an example of what happens if you look for your Twitter account

New Picture

Typhoon Haiyan on social media

The Philippines struggled to bury the dead and get food, water and medicine to the living Tuesday, four days after Super Typhoon Haiyan claimed untold lives and flattened countless buildings.

“Right now, we don’t have enough water,” typhoon survivor Roselda Sumapit told CNN in Tacloban, a city of more than 200,000 that was flattened by the storm. What they can get may not be clean, she said — but she added, “We still drink it, because we need to survive.”

The government’s confirmed death toll was 1,774 early Tuesday, said Jose Lampe Cuisa Jr., the Philippine ambassador to the United States. The storm has injured 2,487 more, and displaced 660,000 people from their homes.

Patrick Meier already covered the impact of the typhoon on social media here. Meier harnesses the information-gathering power of social media to improve the speed and effectiveness of relief efforts. He’s using a relatively new set of “crisis mapping” tools to assist humanitarian work during the ongoing disaster of Super Typhoon Haiyan (also called Yolanda) in the Philippines. (See “What’s a typhoon?”)

Meier is director of social innovation at the Qatar Foundation’s Computing Research Institute in Qatar. He develops tools, like the just launched website MicroMappers, that quickly sort through online data, from tweets to uploaded photos, and then display the information on satellite maps.

They have been doing an incredible job by continuously feed their TweetClicker and ImageClicker with new tweets and images. I invite all people involved to join this huge collaborative effort us to provide Ushahidi’s UN partners with the situational awareness they need to coordinate their important relief efforts on the ground. The results of all Ushahidi’s clicks are displayed here.

Social Media has become a necessity during a disaster. To help with assessments, OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) has asked the Digital Humanitarian Network to activate their volunteer base to first assist with media monitoring and mapping for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) then to help scour social media and other online platforms for information about damage and impact that is being posted by affected people in the Philippines.

The purpose of the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHNetwork) is to leverage digital networks in support of 21st century humanitarian response. More specifically, the aim of this network-of-networks is to form a consortium of Volunteer and Technical Communities (V&TCs) and to provide an interface between formal, professional humanitarian organizations and informal yet skilled-and-agile volunteer and technical networks.

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Frank recommendations

Social media allows us to behave in ways that we are hardwired for in the first place – as humans. We can get frank recommendations from other humans instead of from faceless companies.

Francois Gossieaux, The Hyper-Social Organization: Eclipse Your Competition by Leveraging Social Media

To thank or not thank (for the follow) shouldn’t be a dilemma

Thanking for the follow is a quite common practice especially among consultants, communication experts or people working in public relations. Still, I find it hard to see the added value in “thanking for the follow.” Let’s break it down:


  • You display engagement with your audience.
  • You acknowledge and digitally “reward” your new followers, giving them “social currency.”
  • You look kind and friendly.


  • You look like you’re trying to sell a second-hand car.

Acknowledging your network is absolutely golden, but is thanking for the follow the right way to do so?

What do you think?


Interview with Bad Service Belgium

In a couple of posts already I have bashed Belgium’s appalling services and the notorious mobility problems that afflict the city by interviewing the famous @STIB_fail Twitter account. In an effort to investigate on people’s reaction about the poor Belgian service culture, I talked to another Twitter account’s manager who collects all these complaints. It’s @BadService_BE. Let’s see how he made it all happen.


When was the account created?

The account was created around March 2011.

What was the initial reason to open this account?

I was literally ripped off by a so-called company and I lost money. I felt so helpless that I wanted other people to know about this situation. Additionally, since I have had heard similar stories from friends complaining about different service providers I decided to create Bad Service Belgium to give the chance to people like me to have a simple and effective way to complain and our voices to be heard. My ultimate goal is to improve the experience of customer service in Belgium.

How many people really know your identity?

Not many. Family and some friends know about who is behind Bad Service Belgium. I have nothing to hide, but I rather remain not directly connected to the account.

Where do you get most of your complaints from? Are they mainly from Brussels?

Yes, mainly from Brussels, however I am receiving more and more complaints from all over the country. And from time to time I even receive complaints from tourists who were confronted with poor customer service and were able to find the Bad Service Belgium on Twitter. Typically people complain about public transportation and GSM/Internet operators. This is probably because of the high number of customers they have and the impact it causes in their lives.

What is your strategy behind retweets and moderation policy?

I only retweet when a complaint makes sense and might be helpful for other people to know about it (especially to put pressure to the concerned service provider to take action accordingly). I do not retweet anything related to topics such as politics, religion, sexuality or any extremist message. I also avoid non-sense complaints such as “I hate the weather” or “The guy sitting next to me stinks”. The only exception I rarely make to non-sense complaints is when they are so funny that, if I think I can make at least one single person smile or laugh, then I say why not 😉

How many notifications do you get per day? What are they mainly about?

It really depends on the day. On a regular day I get between 5-10 tweets. It also depends if people get active on a specific issue, or if there is a big service disruption that affects many people.

Have you ever been actually contacted by any of the institutions you complained about? If so, for what reason?

Mostly when I retweet a complaint, some companies offer immediate assistance to the affected customer and keep me informed of the outcome. They know that an isolated issue can easily become viral if not treated accordingly.

Do you think Belgium offer insufficient services? Can you mention other positive examples from other countries?

I do not believe that Belgium is better or worse than any other country in terms of customer service. People get good and bad customer service all over the world. However, because the important international community living mainly around Brussels, there are different expectations from different people. These expectations are heavily connected to their origins and the way customer service is handled back in their countries. Because of these differences and probably also due to a possible language barrier, some people often tend to generalize that there is a bad customer service culture in Belgium.

What’s the plan for the future? Do you plan on expanding your communication channels?

For the moment – mainly because I am doing this by myself – I will keep trying on retweeting as fast as possible (I manually go through every single tweet I receive for the sake of moderation). I hope to be able to maintain growth in the people that follow Bad Service Belgium (over 1300 followers to date), so a big thanks for all those who follow the account!

I have also created a Facebook page which do not seem to be quite successful as the Twitter account. So I still need to elaborate the strategy on Facebook.

Last but not least, I also created a “Good Service Belgium” Twitter account because I believe that praising for good customer service has even a greater impact than complaining about bad one. I am looking forward to see more people using that account.

The Nobel peace prize tweet that says it all…

Just for those who didn’t see this, my colleague Pablo Perez flagged me this beautiful tweet

The Nobel Peace Prize 2013 has been given to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.”

It appears that the people from the Nobel Prize organization were trying to get in touch with OPCW via “traditional communication” without success and that’s why they opted for the public social media sphere way.

Sincere congratulations to OPCW for this extraordinary achievement and for pursuing a very noble cause in a time where conflicts have been reaching unprecedented levels of atrocity.



You want to get retweets? use images

Are you looking for retweets? Than add a picture to your tweets. Social media expert from HubSpot Dan Zarrella has carried out a study based on over 400.00 tweets which proves that tweets with pics have twice the chances to attracts tweeps’ attention and get retweeted.

Be careful though, the study also points out that this hypothesis is debunked when posting images uploaded on Instagram or Facebook. For the former, retweets rate goes down to 42% while for the latter it goes down to 47%. More details (in Italian) on Il Corriere della Sera.

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Is labelling yourself a “Twitterer” an excuse not to have a blog?

Today I feel like asking you readers what you think about this.

I see more and more people labelling themselves as “twitterers” or “twitteratis”, meaning a sort of “Twitter bloggers” or “bloggers using only Twitter.”

On a related matter, there have been lately loads of debates about blogging and using Google Plus as a blogging platform. Above all you should see Mike Elgan and Demian Farnworth’s thoughts on the issue, but we will cover this at a later stage.

Is being a twitterer an actual thing or is it just for people to have an excuse not to write a blog (which actually requires a way bigger effort than tweeting)?

As I see it, Twitter is a micro-blogging platform and it can’t replace an actual blog both in terms of content, network and community building.

According to Damian Sieberg, who already looked at the issue over 4 years ago:

A blog provides more information, but Twitter is easier to fit into our increasingly busy lives. Arguably, more satisfaction is derived from writing an in-depth blog, but Twitter allows us to get right to the point. Blogs offer more perspective, but Twitter forces people to refine their thoughts.

What are your thoughts on this?


The World Leader Twitter & Web Directory

I was recently added to World Leader Twitter & Web Directory a project managed by Barclay Browne which I consider both ambitious and very useful for people working in social media and communication.

As we can see from the about page of their blog:

One essential element to the Electronic Diplomatic Dialogue, is being sure of “Who is Whom” among electronic accounts purporting to be those of governments and government officials. Hence, I assembled The “World Leader Twitter and Web Directory,” and have made it freely and publicly available with the simple goal of facilitating clear dialogue via Twitter both among government and elected officials and between world leaders and their constituents.

Now, I managed to get in touch with Barclay Browne, the man behind the scene and I asked him a few questions about his projects, ideas and goals for the future.

After joining Twitter, Barclay had the privilege of connecting with a group of individuals who care deeply about the larger world and their capacity to give to it. This crew who call themselves the #TFF’s have chirped their support and enthusiastic encouragement of Barclay’s development of the directory for over a year and a half now.

Barclay says she would never have met or connected with any of them if she had not joined the fray of public discourse that is alive and well in the Twitterverse.

Also, Mr. Nigel Cameron (@NigelCameron), and International Diplomacy, Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey (@MuhamedSacirbey), have shared their encouragement with Barclay.

When one has the encouragement of people who have such great experience, it matters.

Barclay is the most part a “Twitterista,” although she does blog a bit and makes use of other digital tools for communication. She represents no formal or official group and labels himself a Twittizen.

Here is the interview I had with her.

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Twitter or golf: what should you beat your boss at?

Ryan Heath, the spokesperson of Commissioner Neelie Kroes, raised an interesting and funny question. yesterday on Twitter See below:

I think tennis, golf, pool and the ability to have a few drinks, still matter very much in boss / assistant / employee relationships ,which also reminds me of a famous scene of a “Fantozzi” movie.

On the other hand social media followership is indeed considered more and more and indicator of digital popularity.

What do you think about it? Is it more challenging for an employee to be “the man” on a night out or online?