Saturday, June 18, 2011

Twitter Talk Milestone and Problem Solving


June 20, 2011 marks our 18th Global Product Management Talk on twitter since we began in February!

So its appropriate to welcome Robert Swanwick as this week's speaker. Robert is a product manager and founder of, an online tool for integrating media with twitter chats and creator of the Twitter Chat Schedule Google doc.

Prior to the weekly chat, I provide an orientation to the speaker to go over the mechanics of the talk and do a practice run using the tools for tweeting. Robert was an early supporter of creating a twitter chat for product managers, in that it is a weekly mini product camp. He has generously offered advice and suggestions since he has been on the ground floor of this growing trend for using twitter. He tweets from several handles: @swanwick @twchat @twebevent

Robert suggested that the power of twitter for group discussions is that it enables a parallel threaded discussion where many people can talk at once and the discussion is captured in one place, as opposed to a webinar or telephone conference which only allows a serial threaded conversation limiting the conversation to one person talking at a time.

We've had some technology issues - and it seems that Twitter will act up at the same time Skype is acting up - which is a problem since I am talking over Skype with the speaker and my co-host Adrienne in Australia, while we are watching the Twitter stream on Tweetchat and discussing the conversation flow. Producing the twitter chat requires my multi-tasking ability to type, read, talk, process the information, answer questions, monitor the conversation, respond to tweets and maintain a sense of humor before the hour runs out. Since wthashtag is no longer available to capture the transcript and provide metrics, I have the added challenge of copying the tweets before they disappear from twitter's temporary search.

An additional problem we've encountered, especially with Jim Holland and John Haniotis, which seemed related to using Tweetdeck, is that the speaker's tweets were not showing up in the twitter stream in the discussion room at To remedy the problem, people who could see the speaker's tweets retweeted them, Adrienne retyped tweets spoken by the speaker, and I added in other tweets that didn't show up in the stream to the transcript after the talk.

Some people's tweets are making it out into the Twittersphere, but since they are not included in Twitter’s search function, they don’t show up in a search for a particular hashtag, even if they tweeted it.

Your account may be functioning properly to some extent: your tweets might still be seen by your followers, but chances are you’ve been prevented from showing up in Twitter search. Since aggregator programs (like Tweet Chat, Tweet Grid) rely on accessing Twitter search to find those tweets containing a specific hashtag, you are thus ‘left out’ of the party.

A. To see if your account has been blocked from search, log on to Twitter, and enter the following in the search box at the top of the screen:


If you don’t get any results, your account is not showing up in search. Your followers most likely can still see all of your tweets. However, to properly participate in a chat, your tweets need to show up in Twitter search.

B. Read Twitter's "I'm Missing From Search"

C. If your tweets aren’t showing up in search, what could be happening?

1) Incomplete Bio: You might not have completely filled out your name and bio in your profile (so it might look like an account set up for spamming).

2) New or Low Activity Account: You might not yet have tweeted much, thus not looking like a legitimate account or your account might be brand-new.

3) Spammy Content: Your tweets might be considered spammy if you tweet the same tweet or link over and over, post the same content across different accounts, use bots or sending automated tweets & replies, you might be marked as a spam account. If you are frequently retweeting tweets from other accounts that might considered to be spam, your account also could be tagged as being a contributor to spammy content.

4) Third Party Apps: If you gave your username/password to a third party app that is updating other accounts with similar content, then you might be blocked.

So what can you do if you are blocked from Twitter search?

1) Twitter Search Best Practices
Try to fix your account (complete your profile, start tweeting if you have a new account, stop tweeting the same link or same content repeatedly). It might take some time, but if you follow Twitter’s guidelines for Twitter Search best practices, your tweets should start to appear back in search.

2) Dear Twitter, Please Help!
If you’re at your wit's end and feel that your account should be in good standing, contact Twitter to open a support ticket to look into the problem. There’s a chance that you are doing nothing wrong; your account just might be one of the unfortunate ones experiencing an ongoing problem.

See you at the next Global Product Management Talk on twitter!  

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