Browsing Neal Wiser's posts

25 Things You Must Know About How NASA Uses Twitter

By Neal Wiser. Follow him @nealwiser

Yesterday, What’s a TweetUp, and Should I Wear My Spacesuit? Twitip told you what it was like to attend a TweetUp at NASA Headquarters. Today, learn more about how NASA uses Twitter.

Why and when did NASA decide to use Twitter?

NASA always is looking for new ways to engage the public and spread the word about what we’re doing, so it was natural that we would look into using Twitter. The @NASA account really began its use in January 2009. (more…)

What’s a TweetUp, and Should I Wear My Spacesuit?

By Neal Wiser. Follow him @nealwiser

NASA gets “Twitter Fever” and invites the public to a TweetUp at NASA Headquarters to honor the crew of STS-127.

STS 127-white

STS-127 Mission Logo (NASA)

I want to be an astronaut. Not “wanted,” as in it was my childhood dream. I want to be one. Ever since I was a kid I knew the difference between “LOX” and “lox” (LOX is liquid oxygen, a key ingredient of space shuttle fuel and is carried in the orange external fuel tank during a shuttle launch. Lox is smoked salmon and tastes great on a bagel with cream cheese).

I was not a normal kid.

But as badly as I want to be an astronaut, as much as I studied science and technical manuals of the shuttle’s flight controls, I chose another path, one that would ultimately bring me full circle to NASA Headquarters in Washington DC on September 24, 2009. On that date, NASA held a TweetUp. (more…)

#BlameDrewsCancer for this Case Study

Welcome back from a US Bank Holiday, Labor Day! TwiTip took the 4-day weekend off, and we’re proud to present today’s post. It takes a closeup look at a really great thing happening on Twitter surrounding one man’s idea to blame his cancer for all the problems in his life. Read about how the story’s unfolded to mean so much more for many others fighting the battle.

By Neal Wiser (follow him @nealwiser) and Peter Marinari (follow him @krisis)(

First in a series of brief case studies about using Twitter for social good.


Drew Olanoff has Cancer

Sure, you can use Twitter to tell people about your literal and metaphorical dirty laundry (you really shouldn’t), or you can use Twitter to try to overthrow governments such as Iran and Moldavia (please be careful), but personally, I believe that one of the best uses for Twitter is to rally people around good causes.

And despite the annoyances that can sometimes result when people misuse and abuse Twitter, except for television there has probably never been a technology that can spread the news about events faster than Twitter. As a result, Twitter may just be the perfect platform for charitable causes and institutions.

Getting the Word Out

While some may argue that anything you do to raise awareness of your cause is a good thing, what you really want is to have people take a desired action and actively participate. Otherwise, your cause is just an idea, not a movement, and it’s movements that drive change. (more…)

Did @PhilBaumann Just Save Follow Friday?

by Neal Wiser. Follow him @nealwiser

Could a solution to the FollowFriday conundrum finally be at hand? I’m not sure, but @PhilBaumann has a great idea.


If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may have read my April post, Follow Friday, too Much of a Good Thing? In that post, I discussed some of the many Pros and Cons of #FollowFriday, especially why so many people are becoming disenchanted with the meme, and offered some recommendations that I feel would improve the FollowFriday experience. Unfortunately, while many people do seem to be making better recommendations recently, my personal FollowFriday experience still leaves me frustrated. (more…)

Star Trek Exhibition Tweets New Worlds

by Neal Wiser (@nealwiser)

twekBack in the mid 1990s, I worked at Paramount Pictures and their emergent television network, the now defunct United Paramount Network. It was a great time to be at Paramount if you were a Star Trek fan. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was in the middle of its run and Star Trek: Voyager had just premiered to ratings that rivaled some super bowls. In addition, Star Trek: First Contact was in production and when I wasn’t constantly running into people like Jonathan Frakes, Avery Brooks, and Colm Meaney, I was running into Klingons, Borg and Ferengi. (more…)

How To Unfollow On Twitter With Class

by Neal Wiser (@nealwiser)

Sometimes in life (and Twitter), you just got to cut your losses and start over. Here’s how to do it right.

ari_herzogLet me tell you the story of Ari Herzog (@ariherzog). Some of you may follow Ari (whose blog, AriWriter I highly recommend) and may have seen his recent announcement that he was declaring Twitter Bankruptcy.

Twitter Bankruptcy is basically the Twitter version of Email Bankruptcy where someone is so inundated with emails that they cannot realistically process them all. In Twitter Bankruptcy, instead of emails, the problem is having to process too many people (decide to follow, organize in groups, etc.) and unfollowing everyone in order to start over.

Although this may seem like an antisocial thing for a social media evangelist like Ari to do, for Ari this was an act born out of necessity.

What Happened Was…

Ari recently reinstalled his OS (including Tweetdeck) and quickly realized that rebuilding all his Tweetdeck groups was going to be extremely time consuming (he was following about 500 people). As a solution, Ari decided to follow everyone.  But instead of following groups of individuals, Ari’s strategy was to follow conversations where the people whom he wanted to pay attention to could be found, along with other new voices. Ari also felt that following everyone would be the best way to, “grow my network, gain potential value from more people and… pass that value on to you (the follower).”


Interview with Micah Baldwin, Father of FollowFriday

by Neal Wiser. Follow him @nealwiser

micah-baldwin_smWhile researching my post FollowFriday; Too Much of a Good Thing? I had the pleasure to interview Micah Baldwin (@micah), VP and Lead Evangelist for Lijit Networks, a Boulder, CO startup and the “father” of FollowFridays (check out Micah’s blog, Learn to Duck).

I was originally hoping just to get some insights and maybe a few quick “sound bites” about FollowFridays for the post, but Micah was so open and accommodating that I decided to include the entire content of the interview which offers some nice insight into FollowFriday.

Thank You, Micah.

The Interview

Neal Wiser: How do you feel about the response to FollowFriday?

Micah Baldwin: I think the response is great. More than I, personally ever expected. After all, no hash tag on twitter has ever lasted as long (It started January 16, and we are now into the fourth month!). Plus, I am not a big influencer on Twitter, nor do I have tons and tons of followers. All of that adds up to something that would have been funny for a couple of hours.


Follow Friday; Too Much of a Good Thing?

by Neal Wiser. Follow him @nealwiser

FollowFriday is a wonderful way to get introduced to new people. Unfortunately, its benefits are being undermined. If you’ve experienced problems on FollowFridays, read on…

followfridays-1st-tweet_smFollow Friday (#followfriday) was started by Micah Baldwin (@micah) in January 2009 as a way for Twitter users to recommend people who they enjoy following to their own followers. As is typical of good Social Media memes, FollowFriday immediately went “viral” and became a global phenomenon.

I personally love the idea of FollowFriday. It is a testament to the true spirit of Social Media; people using its various tools to connect with (or in this case, to recommend) other people. Unfortunately, through naiveté, simple ignorance and/or intentional abuse, FollowFriday may be on the verge of becoming more of a nuisance then a benefit.

“The best-laid Tweets of mice and men often go awry”*

From humble beginnings in a single tweet by Micah, FollowFriday has become a surprising phenomenon. “All I did was send the first tweet,” said Micah in an interview with this author, “It was from there that things took on a life of their own.”

Twitter Fatigue: Rumors of Twitter’s Demise May Not Be Greatly Exaggerated

by Neal Wiser. Follow him @nealwiser)

Over the past year, predicting Twitter’s demise due to a lack of business plan has been the topic de jour in the blogosphere. However, it’s recently become clear that Twitter faces a more immediate threat; its own success.

In my last post, Twipocalypse Now: Warnings of a Twitter Bubble, I observed that Twitter was at risk on several fronts, one of which being what I called “Twitter Fatigue” (TF). Since then, I’ve discovered that TF has been around in various forms for quite some time and that it has recently found a new sense of urgency among a growing chorus of bloggers. It now seems clear that not only is TF a malady spreading in parallel with Twitter’s own growth, but perhaps more ominously, if TF is not brought under control, it will undermine the entire Twitterverse itself.

Say, You Want a Twevolution…

twitter-evolutionIf you’re like me, you’ll agree that Twittering is a very different experience today than it was only a few months ago. Even if it’s not, I guarantee that Twittering will be a different experience for you in the near future. This is because just as change is the one undeniable constant that defines evolution, change is also something that currently defines Twitter. And change is inevitable; for the more people who join the service, the more third party services that are introduced, the more people you follow can only result in one thing; a change in your Twitter experience.


Twipocalypse Now: Warnings of a Twitter Bubble

by Neal Wiser (@nealwiser)

What does it mean when hundreds of third party services (with questionable, if any, business models) are dependent upon a single service which itself has no business model? This guest post by Neal Wiser suggests that Twitter’s amazing growth and popularity are indicators that the company is at the center of an emerging Bubble and examines the risks and rewards that a bubble could present to the service.

nuke-cloud_smNever before in human history have the words of so many been able to travel so far so quickly. Now, with the emergence of Micro-blogging and The Live Web, our ability to communicate and collaborate has, yet again, been significantly amplified. Indeed, it seems that everyday, as we drink our morning coffee, we hear about amazing new technologies, products and services that are developed, announced, released and gain massive loyal followings seemingly overnight.

While it took Twitter, the de facto leader among micro-blogging services, a little longer then that to reach its current level of popularity, few who use this and similar services can doubt that we are participating in the birth of a new, exciting and important communications channel. But does Twitter’s growing popularity and the evolution of the Twitterverse, the combined ecosystem of users, third party services and all things Twitter, foreshadow continued success or impending doom?

No Doom Here. Move Along

It’s hard to suggest that a company with less than thirty employees that just closed an additional funding round of $35 Million is at risk for anything, but the signs are there. Indeed, there are a combination of factors which, together, suggest that if it’s not careful, Twitter could succumb and be a victim of its own success.

So what could possibly suggest that Twitter is at risk? To answer this question, we must take a step back, far enough to see the totality of all that which is the Twitterverse, in order to get a good look at the big picture. It is, in fact, at that point when the ever increasing size of the big picture comes into view that one can see that Twitter is at the center of an enormous and ever inflating bubble.