An Interesting Interview with TweetMeme

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This is one of the interesting interviews we have on our blog.
Sarah Blow, from TweetMeme.com was kind enough to answer our questions. And importantly, answered so accurately. Its interesting to see a business built around Twitter.

TweetMeme is a service which aggregates all the popular links on twitter to determine which links are popular. TweetMeme is able to categorize these links into categories and subcategories, making it easy to filter out the noise to find what you are interested in.

TweetMeme was built by a small web company called fav.or.it who are passionate about twitter, social media and a whole lot more. You can read about what the team are up to on their blog
TweetMeme-office-space
A glimpse at TweetMeme office space!
All the photographs of TweetMeme looks interesting, we have chosen one for this interview. You can look at the rest @ flickr.

Here is the interview:

Please tell our readers about yourself and TweetMeme service.

TweetMeme is a service that aggregates the most re-tweeted stories on twitter and makes them accessible to people in one central location. The service also includes it’s re-tweet button which helps users quickly engage their readers in re-tweeting interesting and relevant content to their twitter followers. Other offerings around TweetMeme include the Widget and API.

Some history about TweetMeme and fav.or.it(Parent company of TweetMeme!).

TweetMeme started out around 8 months ago as an extension of the original service Fav.or.it but specifically created with a focus on the content from Twitter rather than the web at large. The company is owned by Nick Halstead who is passionate about technology and entrepreneurship. Fav.or.it was founded about a year before TweetMeme and TweetMeme is a brand owned by Fav.or.it Ltd.

What inspired for the creation of tweetmeme.

TweetMeme was a natural progression of the original Fav.or.it concept of centralizing and aggregating interesting and most importantly relevant content from the web. The focus on Twitter came about as Twitter became more main stream showing that it may yet become a tool for the masses.

Many people around the world, all over the blogs are talking about “Is Twitter a Good Marketing Tool or yet another Time Waster” ? Tweetmeme being in the business, I can guess your answer, but would like to know it from you. And please tell us the reason for your answer.

You ask an interesting question here on Marketing. I would say Twitter is a tool that you MUST understand before using it for Marketing purposes. If used correctly such as for the Twestival campaign which raised hundreds of thousands of pounds around the world for the charity Clean Water then yes it is an excellent marketing tool. However if companies just use it as an extended RSS feed and don’t actively engage their brand in conversation and support then it’s no where near as useful as it could be. We try to help companies understand this when they come to us asking about using our featured tweet offerings or asking for a custom channel to be created for them. We think it is incredibly important for companies to understand both the risks and the rewards that can come from using social media tools such as twitter for marketing their brand but also for public relations.

What are the long term business plan and business model for TweetMeme?

Now that would be telling wouldn’t it…. We are already making money through our advertising revenue, featured tweets and custom channels but look out for other interesting things in the coming months. I’m going to leave that question there and leave you all guessing to find out what comes next for us.

How addicted are you and other employees at TweetMeme, to Twitter?

Addicted… that’s a strong word… that would suggest that we can’t keep away from the tool. We use it a lot but not to the detriment to our health or happiness. We understand that there is a healthy balance to be had between online and offline communications. I think you would class all the employees at TweetMeme as Twitter enthusiasts!

Do you think Twitter is becoming more of a main stream media now a days or do you think it will be a main stream media soon.

I think Twitter is fast becoming a common communication channel much like SMS however it will still take some time for the majority of the general public to find a suitable way of it working for them. Mainstream Media here in the UK already use it on local and national radio stations, within some TV programs for feedback and major celebrities both in the UK and the US are using it to engage their fans. As an engagement tool it is powerful but I’d love to see it used on programs such as Top Gear and National News Programs. So all in all I’d say it’s coming but it will take time.

Do you think, the presence of a company on Twitter, will positively help in their business or is just a distraction.

I think it depends on how the company has a presence on twitter and what the purpose of it’s presence is. If it is individuals on Twitter just to communicate on a personal level then that is very different to say a large medical company interacting with other businesses or key business influencers within their industry sector. Twitter has the power to connect people that would otherwise never manage to communicate with one another without intervention.

We can see TweetMeme buttons on many websites now a days. It makes me curious to know, how much bandwidth does it consume each day or each month? And what server configurations do you use to manage them?

We serve over 46,000,000 buttons per day but this isn’t the only thing that we do and as such our bandwidth usage isn’t something that is easy to split down to specific usage functions. We use Sun Micro-systems servers and are supported through the Sun Startup Essentials program. It’s a great program that we would encourage other startups to consider.

What new features can we expect from TweetMeme in coming days?

You’ll have to wait and see… that’s part of the fun of following us on twitter @talktweetmeme or following our blog http://blog.tweetmeme.com we announce all our latest releases of information over there, so you’ll just have to wait and see.

How big or small is TweetMeme, as a company?

I guess size is very much dependent on how you measure it. As far as number of employees, we’re a small team of 9 people but as far as our reach and traction, then I guess you would say we are pretty large.

What do you feel about Twitter. What might be its future?

Unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball but Twitter’s future is bright and I look forward to seeing where it leads in the future.

How important do you think the numbers game in Twitter(I am talking about the follower count)? Do you think it matters?

Does the follower count really count…. now there’s a question that thousands have tried to answer. I think the most important thing with follower counts is that you follow people that you find interesting and people who find you interesting follow back. I don’t believe that any good can be had from following the whole of the twitter population and at some point you reach a personal maximum where the number of people you follow is so large that the stream of information is just too vast and varied that you miss interesting conversations and as such will end up following less to keep useful information flowing. As far as finding followers goes, be interesting, engaging and of value. If you are those three things you’ll get followers. You don’t need to be the most followed person in the world to have a large influence just a good strong network with links to other key influencers if you want to get a message spread far and wide.

Best practices at Twitter.

I’m assuming you mean when using twitter with this question:
Be honest, block spammers, don’t feed the trolls (those people deliberately out for an argument), be careful about telling people your location when you’re out and about, think about personal online safety (don’t publish your address details, bank details etc!), be reasonable, engage, inspire and enjoy!

Worst practices at Twitter.

Advertising, spamming, explicit images, rss to twitter only, excessive tweeting, uninteresting or irrelevant content,

Finally, how ofter do you re-tweet, at least when you see the TweetMeme button on a blog/website, which is interesting?

I re-tweet anything I think is useful to my readers when I see it, be that through the tweetmeme button or copy and paste. I don’t re-tweet excessively url’s as my users like conversation as well as links. Links without conversation are largely irrelevant. It’s all about meaningful, relevant and reliable conversation!

Thanks to Sarah Blow,
Community Manager
TweetMeme.com. For being so generous to agree for an interview with us. You can follow TweetMeme with these links:
http://tweetmeme.com
http://blog.tweetmeme.com
http://twitter.com/talktweetmeme
http://twitter.com/girlygeekdom

Thanks for reading. And I hope you can see a TweetMeme button below this article. Use the button to share about this interview with your friends, if you find it interesting.

3 thoughts on “An Interesting Interview with TweetMeme”

  1. What a great idea behind TweetMeme project! I’m an avid user of Twitter and access it frequently from my webtop, but something like this helps me better integrate Twitter into my blog. And it’s fun to see what is being ReTweeted higher on the list. Off to tweetmeme for a while!

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