Cultbook: 400 Million Users and Growing

When I first joined Facebook I felt as if I was part of the cool culture of educated geeks who seemed to agree with my sentiments that the bigger and more established Myspace sucked ass. When I first signed up for Facebook, I was happy to see that the little teeny boppers were gone, as were the annoying background flashing GIF’s. There was no music that instantly streamed every time you loaded a new page – thank goodness! The Facebook interface was clean, easy on the eyes and a pleasure to navigate. You needed a .edu email address to register. There was a time when Facebook felt exclusive.

Those days are gone.

NerdyShirts sums things up succinctly by characterizing Facebook as Cultbook. With 400 million users and growing, including those teeny boppers that I so happily left behind when I abandoned Myspace, Facebook is turning into the modern day MySpace. Facebook is no longer exclusive. Facebook is Cultbook, 400 million users strong and growing.

Cultbook is available now from NerdyShirts for $14.95 ($5 off this week only).

Cultbook

And for you Facebook loyalist, be sure to get the You Like This tee, also from NerdyShirts for $19.95.

You Like This

And of course, this post would not complete if I didn’t ask you to Like Co-Tee TV on … Facebook!

Facebook Like Co-Tee TV

Philadelphia/San Francisco Day 7

Day 7 T-Shirt of Choice: No T-Shirt today, just a sweater :(

The 7th day of our 2010 spring break vacation got off to a very early start. We woke up at around 7:00 am to catch Baylink Ferry at the San Francisco Ferry Building out to Vallejo. From there, we caught a shuttle to the Napa Valley Wine Train Station for what was to be an awesome wine tasting tour onboard vintage rail cars. We purchased the Gourmet Lunch package which put us in refurbished 1915-1917 Pullman Cars.

Napa Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train

Before we boarded the wine train, we waited inside of the station for a pre-boarding wine tasting. While waiting, I, as I have been doing throughout the trip, “checked-in” to the wine train station via Gowalla and Foursquare, both of which are location-based social networking services. Shortly after checking in at the wine station, I was greeted by Andrea Guzman aka @dreawinetrain, the “mayor” of the Wine Train on Foursquare. To my surprise, she introduced herself and then awarded me with a voucher for free wine tasting for two, which included 8 full glasses of wine on board the wine train! The President and CEO of the Napa Valley Wine Train, Gregory McManus, also introduced himself to us after he found out that we had received the complimentary wine tasting from checking in via Foursquare and that we were visiting from Hawaii! When he is not in Napa Valley, Greg resides on the Big Island of Hawaii. How cool is that!

I’ve been a regular user of Gowalla for about 3 months now and have only started using Foursquare since this trip started a week ago. After this wonderful experience using Foursquare, I think that I might make Foursquare my default location service of choice.

Napa Valley Wine Train

The ambience inside the rail cars was classy, the staff was friendly, and the food was surprisingly good! I had the salmon topped with caviar and Michelle chose the fresh sea bass with a shrimp sauce and risotto. I also experienced some great wines, including a riesling that I very much enjoyed, as well as a dessert Port that was the perfect complement to my chocolate encrusted tiramisu.

Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train

For us, the Wine Train was the perfect way to experience Napa Valley with the least amount of effort on our part. We were able to sit back, enjoy the scenery while dining on a great meal and all the while experienceing some unique vino. If driving from vineyard to vineyard isn’t your thing, but you still want to experience Napa Valley, then I highly recommend that you check out the Napa Valley Wine Train.

After the Baylink Ferry dropped us off at Fisherman’s Wharf, we made sure to stop by Ghiradelli Square to pick up some chocolate squares. We had visited Fisherman’s Wharf the last time we visited San Francisco in 2008, so we didn’t spend too much time snapping photos or sightseeing. We knew what we wanted to do there and we did it! After Ghiradelli, we stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up some snacks to take back home. Interestingly enough, our cashier briefly lived in Hawaii. What’s with all of the Hawaii connections today? He also informed us that a Trader Joe’s will be opening in Hawaii soon. That excited Michelle very much.

For dinner, we headed back toward the Wharf and ate at Boudin at the Wharf. No clam chowder for us. Instead, we had the steamed mussels with garlic frites to start and for entrees, I had the dungenuss crab mac and cheese, and Michelle had the margharita pizza. After a long day of wining and dining, we proceeded to head back to Union Square satisfied and excited for the following day.

And here’s the day in photos:

How To Follow People on Twitter

So the other day I was reading a post over at the Assault Blog titled Why Twitter Followers Are Worthless. The author argued that:

1. “If you can’t mobilize your followers for feedback, links, retweets or an opinion: they’re worthless.”

This is somewhat true. When I first started blogging about a year and a half ago I used my existing Twitter account to send out links to posts that I’d do on this blog. For the first month or so I received minimal feedback or retweets.

I was following a ton of T-Shirt people and yet no one seemed to care about my content. The main thing that I learned is that Twitter is a two way street. Unless YOU care about the people that YOU follow on Twitter then YOU are worthless to THEM.

Once I started providing my opinions to tweets I’d read over Twitter, leaving feedback and retweeting I started to notice that people would do the same for the content that I pumped out over Twitter.

Twitter is a two way interactive street. Provide worth to your followers and the people that follow you will be worth their weight in gold 100 times over.

2. “Twitter is a vehicle for word of mouth, but offline word of mouth is always better than online word of mouth.”

I disagree. I don’t think my blog would have grown as much as it did and as fast as it did without the online word of mouth gained through the use of Twitter. Had I not utilized Twitter, my blog might just be another blog. Instead, I have a strong following of people who love T-Shirts and enjoy visiting my site to get the latest tee related scoops.

In fact, I made it a point not to SPAM my Facebook friends (people that I actually know in real life) with status updates linking back to my blog. I didn’t even announce my blog on my Facebook profile despite the fact that my 300-400 Facebook friends would have seen it. I wanted to see how much the blog would grow minus the friend and family factor. Other people automate updates on their blog to their personal Facebook page. I don’t do this and I will explain in a future post why I don’t.

Coty’s Followers/Following Rule

I started to follow the “big” people in my niche (T-Shirts) and I’d take a look at the people that they followed and I would selectively follow those that I thought had an interest in tees.

Note that I don’t have a monstrous or unbalanced followers/following count. I follow about 1800 people and have about 1100 followers. A balance in the number of people you follow and the number that follow you (followers) is a good thing. It means that more times than not, when you followed someone they followed you back. Or, when someone followed you, you found their content interesting enough to follow them back.

Remember, Twitter is a two way interactive street. So be weary of people whose follow/follower count are not balanced (i.e. they follow 300,000 people but have 23 followers). These are probably SPAM accounts, don’t follow these people. I’m a little follow heavy when it comes to Twitter, when you encounter these types of people you need to take into account their tweet history and even the link they provide on their profile page (covered in next section). When it comes to the followers/following rule you really want to be aware of the extremes, for instance:

Twitter

How To Choose Who To Follow?

Once you start using Twitter you’ll start to get people who follow you that you aren’t currently following. You can do one of two things:

1. Ignore the Twitter email notifying you of a new follower.

or

2. Click on the notification email and review the stats of the person following you.

Ignoring people over Twitter is a bad idea. Twitter is a two way interactive street, remember?

Therefore that leaves us with option #2. So you take a look at the user stats that is included in the notification email and then from there you can make a “trim the fat” decision. This when you use the Followers/Following rule: If they have an unbalanced Twitter Followers/Following count I usually ignore them and do not follow them back. They are probably SPAM.

If however, they have a balanced Twitter Followers/Following count OR they have a username related to my niche then I’ll take look at their Twitter profile.

For example, @Timothyfree decided to follow me on Twitter. I took a look at the notification email and he passed the Followers/Following Rule. Next step is to take a look at his Twitter profile page.

Twitter

So now I am taking a look at their Twitter profile and at this point I need to decide to follow him on Twitter or not. My decision of whether to follow or not to follow hinges on a few things:

  1. Are they following other people in my niche? Go through and look at the people they are following.
  2. Do they’ve have an interesting profile link (bonus if they link back to a tee related site), or
  3. Does their Tweet history show relevance to my niche?

So continuing on with @Timothyfree’s profile, I notice that he is linked to Freedom Clothing. Perfect, another clothing company to keep under my radar. But I do notice that his followers/following numbers have changed from when he initially followed me. That’s fine because I checked out his profile links, his tweet history and I know he is not SPAM, instead, he is someone that I’d  be interested in connecting with on Twitter. His tweet history shows that he likes to tweet about personal life stuff but that’s okay because when I looked through the list people he follow I found the official Twitter account for his clothing brand and I decided to follow that.

Twitter

Once I review these three things I make a gut decision as to whether or not I follow this new person. I decide to follow @Timothyfree.

If you follow these steps then I promise you that you will develop a community of Twitter followers that actually care about what you are talking about. And once this happens, online word of mouth becomes a gazillion times more powerful then offline word of mouth. This is all based on the quality of your online word of mouth reach. And remember, since Twitter is a two way interactive street and you’re interacting with your community, your community members will be much more likely to retweet your content and/or provide feedback. Once this starts to happen on a regular basis then that’s when the online Twitter world becomes your oyster. Eat it up.

Some take home points:

  1. Twitter is a two way interactive street.
  2. Remember the Follow/Foller Rule and be weary of people whose follow/follower count are not balanced.
  3. Trim The Fat, but don’t ignore new followers, see what they have to offer before you decide to follow or not follow them.
  4. Once you’ve built a quality number of Twitter followers, don’t forget to continue to provide good content and leave good feedback.

I’d love to know what you think of this post. Also, if you have a different strategy for following people I’d love to hear about it!

If you enjoyed this post be sure to follow me on Twitter!