Picture this: you’re scrolling through your Twitter timeline. Your eyes pan across a Promoted Tweet from a well-known apparel retailer. Let’s call it Dap Inc.
A week later, you’re browsing at your local mall, where you happen upon a sale at the Dap. You emerge with a new swimsuit in hand.
Both Twitter and the Dap know you saw that Promoted Tweet, even if you don’t recall it. And now both companies know you followed through on a purchase.
As you swipe your loyalty card at the Dap, the store sends data back to Twitter, allowing both the retailer and the social media giant to see that their targeted advertising worked.
With each of these types of transactions, Twitter and its advertisers gain a greater understanding of how to target you next time. Maybe you need a new summer outfit to go with that bathing suit?
Before you get frightened and cut up your loyalty cards or deactivate your Twitter account, allow me to explain this brave new world of offline tracking in brick and mortar stores.
Twitter’s Colorado-based marketing company Datalogix has access to rich databases of your personal information shared with them by 1,500 retailers, mostly through customer loyalty programs (think a My Starbucks Rewards card or Walgreens’ Balance Rewards) or mail-order sales.
Twitter provides Datalogix with a list of email addresses of all users who’ve seen a Promoted Tweet. Datalogix then cross-references their database, matching users who’ve bought a bathing suit at the Dap in the 30 days following that tweeted ad.
Your data is protected on both sides of this matching process: your email address and your loyalty program information (your mailing address or phone number, for instance) are ‘hashed’, in industry parlance.
This means Datalogix has scrambled any identifying information to produce a unique code, concealing your personal data but aggregating it. The company then produces a report for Twitter and its advertisers to show the efficacy of each Promoted Tweet at the cash register.
Datalogix has been using this data-matching technology with their client Facebook since 2012 but just started applying their vast database to Twitter in 2013.
They’ve already rolled out offline sales tracking in the consumer goods sector (think supermarket or pharmacy purchases) and the auto industry.
Now, Datalogix is concluding a round of pilot tests on the impact of Promoted Tweets in brick and mortar stores.
“The retail offering is going to be launched in coming months,” said Eric Roza, CEO of the marketing firm.
Datalogix is already helping Twitter understand its users’ purchasing patterns online, both via e-commerce websites and click-throughs on email marketing blasts.
Roza believes this new offline tracking will be especially helpful for retailers without a strong web offering.
“There are still brick and mortar retailers who do 80% of their business offline,” he said. “With supermarket chains, this can be 100%.”
For Twitter, Datalogix and advertisers alike, this latest initiative is also an exercise in closing the loop.
See, the reason you saw the Dap’s Promoted Tweet in the first place is that Twitter and Datalogix knew you’d be on the lookout for a swimsuit thanks to information garnered from your timeline.
They also saw that you’d browsed online at a Dap competitor recently, abandoning your virtual cart.
Just how widespread the target audience is for this offline tracking remains to be seen. Roza noted that “a strong double-digit percentage” of users of any given shopper loyalty program also have Twitter handles.
“Knowing what I know, this is something retailers will want to test,” he said. “The initial testing was quite promising. We’re optimistic.”
SAN FRANCISCO — Popular social-networking service Twitter crashed for “most users” Tuesday, in the longest and possibly largest outage for the company since its initial public offering.
Twitter announced on its Status blog that the outage was caused by a planned change to its “core services,” which resulted in “unexpected complications that made Twitter unavailable for many users starting at 11:01 a.m.” Engineers spiked the planned change and service was fully recovered by 11:47 a.m. Pacific time.
According to previous Status blog updates, it was the longest outage for Twitter’s mobile and Web platforms in at least the past year, when most issues have been resolved in 25 minutes or less. Those outages have been described as affecting “some users,” while Twitter said that Tuesday’s outage affected “most users” in its first Status blog update referencing the issue, indicating a more widespread problem.
Twitter declined a request to comment further on the outage and its scope.
Twitter had trouble in its early years with frequent outages, which were accompanied by an illustration that came to be known as the “Fail Whale.” The San Francisco company improved the stability of its service even as users and tweet volume skyrocketed, helping to convince users and investors about the viability of the microblogging service.
Twitter acknowledged that the ability to cope with outages was a risk factor in its IPO paperwork.
“We have experienced, and may in the future experience, service disruptions, outages and other performance problems due to a variety of factors,” the company’s prospectus read.
Twitter sold 70 million shares for $26 apiece in its November 2013 IPO, netting $1.8 billion, the second largest IPO for a U.S. technology company behind rival Facebook. Shares closed Monday at $53.88 and were up more than 1 percent in Tuesday afternoon trading.
Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.
Training employees and managers is essential at any company but particularly for startups. Yet many avoid it because it seems too hard or expensive.
“A lot of companies think their employees are so smart that they require no training,” Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz writes in his recent book. “That’s silly.”
Horowitz told Quartz that two companies that do some of the best training are, Facebook, on the engineering side, and Twitter for management. (Andreessen Horowitz has invested in both companies)
As of 2007, the company didn’t really train people, Horowitz says.
“It caused a lot of misunderstandings in the product architecture, which caused performance issues, which caused a pretty large crisis in the company,” Horowitz says.
The following year, Facebook began a program led by engineer Andrew Bosworth called Facebook Bootcamp. It’s a seven week on-boarding program for new engineers and project managers. They’re immersed in the company’s code, and start working on projects that end up live on the site within a week of their start date.
But it’s not just about getting people up to speed, Bosworth wrote in 2009—the training emphasizes maintaining high standards, identifying internal leaders that are good at teaching, making sure people have mentors, and letting engineers learn by fixing real problems.
Uniquely, engineers aren’t hired for particular teams at Facebook. Bootcamp connects engineers with teams by exposing them to different parts of the organization. That way they can find a problem or project they like working on that also needs them.
“It’s amazing how productive new people are at that company very quickly,” Horowitz says.
Horowitz had a direct hand in the beginning of Twitter’s management training program. It began with a conversation between Horowitz and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo in Sun Valley, Idaho shortly after he got the top job in 2010. Here’s how Horowitz remembers it:
When Dick Costolo took over, he took over from Jack Dorsey and Ev Williams. They’re both better managers now, but neither of them really knew anything about it then. They’re both, if you talk to them, fairly embarrassed about how they ran the company. You had a culture of management that was really dysfunctional.
I had a conversation with Dick and he said: “You know what really annoys me? We’ll sit in a meeting and all agree on something, then some managers will walk out and say to their people, ‘Well, here’s what got decided, but I don’t agree with it.’”
I said, “Yeah, that would annoy me. Have you trained them not to do that?”
And he said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “What is your management training like?”
“We don’t have management training.”
Well there’s only one way to fix that, you’ve got to tell managers what you want. Then, you’ve got to enforce it. Performance management without training isn’t worth anything. If you’re not training people, what benchmark are they performing against?
The management training program that resulted, taught by Costolo himself, is considered the best in Silicon Valley, Horowitz says. Costolo consulted with Horowitz on the curriculum, which was based on a similar class he taught at his company, Opsware.
The program teaches managers to set clear expectations for their employees, prevents them from “managing by trying to be liked,” and trains them to take an approach that’s uniquely suited to Twitter rather than transplanted from companies like Google.
Costolo’s leadership and the program have helped professionalize a somewhat chaotic company, Horowitz says, and were instrumental in helping Twitter transition from an interesting social network to a legitimate business.
Former Boston Bruins center Rich Peverley was “successfully” treated “for a cardiac event” after he collapsed on the bench during the Dallas Stars game against Columbus Monday night.
Monday’s game was postponed and a decision on its conclusion will determined at a later date, the team said.
With play going on during the first period, players on the Stars bench pleaded for help and for play to stop after Peverley collapsed. Immediately, the medical staff was on the scene and rushing Peverley down the tunnel.
According to the team’s Twitter feed and Dr. Gil Salazar, “Peverley was aware of where he was when became conscious and wanted to get back in to the game.”
“First thing Rich asked me when I spoke to him – ‘How much time left in the period’. You know, typical athlete,” said Stars Coach Lindy Ruff. “When he dropped. It was red alert. Don’t worry about the game. It was about getting the doctors.”
Scary stuff for sure.
Well wishes for Peverely and the Stars filled Twitter after news of his incident.
Marc Savard, whose head injuries led the Bruins to deal for Peverley in 2011, shared the sentiments of all Bruins past and present.
Thinking about the Peverley family on this tough night
— marc savard (@MSavvy91) March 11, 2014
The Bruins joined many teams in offering their support.
The thoughts and prayers of the Bruins organization are with Rich Peverley and the @DallasStars ^CS
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 11, 2014
As did the Celtics.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 11, 2014
Plenty of other teams showed their concern, as well.
— Heather (@flyersgrl28) March 11, 2014
Our thoughts are with Rich Peverley and the @DallasStars organization. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 11, 2014
We join the rest of the hockey community in sending our thoughts and prayers to Rich Peverley, his family and the @DallasStars organization.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) March 11, 2014
@NHLDevils Thank you.
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 11, 2014
Our thoughts are with Rich Peverley and the @DallasStars. Hoping he makes a speedy recovery.
— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) March 11, 2014
The feeling is universal: “Get well soon, Pevs.”
And the fact he wanted back in the game after suffering his ‘cardiac event?’
Well, what else would you expect from a hockey player?
Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment about my “aggressively relevant” content, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.
(Reuters) – Hours before Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was scheduled to depart on Saturday, a U.S. woman tweeted to her co-worker who was on a business trip that she was feeling ill and overworked.
(Reuters) – Hours before Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was scheduled to depart on Saturday, a U.S. woman tweeted to her co-worker who was on a business trip that she was feeling ill and overworked.
He agreed to pick up the slack and missed his Kuala Lumpur-to-Beijing flight, which then vanished and is presumed to have crashed with 239 people aboard.
The anguish and relief played out live on Twitter.
Reuters could not independently confirm whether the man, who goes by the Twitter name @KaidenDL, was indeed booked on the flight. Cylithria Dubois, in an emailed response to Reuters, said Kaiden was her “love and business partner”.
“I am deeply chagrined by the attention that Kaiden and I drew upon ourselves with our tweets,” Dubois wrote in the email. “At a time when the focus should be upon those aboard the ill-fated flight and their loved ones, I feel rather dumb speaking at all.”
Dubois, whose Twitter handle is @cylithria, sent out a series of anguished messages on Saturday about the missing plane and how she couldn’t contact Kaiden.
About 90 minutes later, he replied.
“@Cylithria can’t reach you by phone. We missed the flight. Rory and I are OKAY Ria. I’m NOT ON THE FLIGHT RIA. I’M OK.”
Kaiden did not respond to requests for comment. In his Twitter postings, he said he was angry at his girlfriend because “she’d gotten sick and I had to cover her. I was working on that, missed my flight to China. Grew angrier.
“But for the grace of God we’d be on that flight. Damn my ego. Instead of updating her, the office, I stewed,” he wrote.
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Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, an unpretentious man, chose for our lunch spot Liverpool Lil’s, an English pub, close to the headquarters he shares with Lucasfilm in the Presidio, San Francisco.
“Cheers!” he said over a pint of Stella Artois, looking at home. His taste for the murky, pubby pleasures of the Brits is the outcome of annual visits to Oxford University, where he teaches master classes in business and his quixotic brand of idealism. A college dropout, he looked about 20 years old in his tech mogul’s uniform of T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Yet he was about to turn 40.
“I sometimes feel like I’m secretly 80,” he said, and laughed. “Because of the things I like.”
“Tell me about them,” I said.
“I like to go to bed early. I like to drink P.D. Scotch. My wife and I like to go to the opera. And when we go to the movies, we like matinees on Mondays so there’s no other people in the theater.”
“I thought you were supposed to be this nice, gregarious guy.”
“I am! And my philosophy is you should be nice and helpful to everyone. But the thing that ruins a movie more than anything else is other people.”
For someone best known for inventing the 140-character tweet, he turned out to be unexpectedly chatty. “I am chatty,” he agreed. “But I can be concise. Keep in mind, though, that you can write as many tweets as you want.”
A billion tweets are sent globally every 48 hours. “When we got to 5,000 people using it,” he said, “I thought we were successful.”
“Gentlemen, how are you doing today?” our friendly waitress asked, and Biz Stone, a vegan for some time, replied politely, “Would it be O.K. if I had the pear salad without the cheese? And could I have French fries too?”
“It would be great if you have malt vinegar for the fries.”
“We sure do!”
Late in 2008, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook wanted to buy Twitter, and Biz Stone named the highest number he could think of at the time—$500 million. He and his partners laughed out loud at the audacity of it. But when Zuckerberg agreed to the $500 million, they changed their minds and decided not to sell. Five years later, The New York Times valued Twitter at more than $30 billion.
“Congratulations,” I said. “You’re now a billionaire.”
“Thank you,” he replied (though, in today’s volatile stock market, his wealth might diminish). His life remains remarkably unchanged, however. “We have everything we could need. I’m very comfortable with my dented old Volkswagen Golf. I would feel embarrassed if I bought a fancy-looking car or a new home. It would just reflect poorly on me somehow.”
“Couldn’t you at least buy a second house in, say, the South of France?”
“I bought a house for my mom,” he replied. “But when am I going to go to the South of France? The most important thing for me about having money is that it takes away most of the anxiety I’ve lived with my whole life.”
His childhood wasn’t easy. His mother struggled along on welfare in Wellesley, Massachusetts. (His father was mostly absent.) When he noticed that his socks and underwear were “Irregular,” he thought it was a brand name. For years of his working life, he struggled with serious credit-card debt. “It was like bone on bone,” he said. “You have no cushion, no resistance to anything.”
Then he added, “I still have dreams about trying to rent an apartment I can’t afford.”
In his engaging new book, Things a Little Bird Told Me (published this month by Grand Central), Biz writes of himself and his wife, Livy: “Our version of buying a Lamborghini and owning a giant house is that we give away a lot of money to help others.”
It amounts to his manifesto. The Biz and Livia Stone Foundation, for example, is active in educational programs, the environment, animal welfare, and conservation. His fledgling start-up, Jelly (which had launched globally the day we met), is an idealistic attempt to fulfill what he believes is the true promise of a connected society: to help one another, as when people use the social opiate of Twitter during wildfires, earthquakes, and revolutions.
In Jelly’s test period, he pointed out, a father desperate to diagnose his two-year-old child’s mysterious phobia soon received a cure from a stranger online. A woman driven insane by a TV with a fatal flaw that every technician had failed to fix sent a picture of the back of the set to Jelly—and the problem was magically solved in a few seconds by another thoughtful stranger.
Biz Stone seemed untroubled that he doesn’t yet know how Jelly will turn out. “People might say you’re a naïve idealist about the helpfulness of mankind,” I said.
“Or a hallucinogenic optimist,” he replied. “Come back in a year.”
(CNN) — Two men were found guilty in Saudi courts this week for, among other offenses, messages they posted on Twitter.
On Monday, one Saudi man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for using Twitter to encourage protests and undermine the country’s leadership, according to Saudi Arabian state news agency SPA.
“The accused had sent invitations via Twitter to participate in protests and gatherings against the Kingdom,” read SPA’s statement, quoting Saudi Justice Ministry spokesman Fahad Al-Bakran.
Al-Bakran added how the unnamed man, already serving a three-year jail sentence, was convicted of utilizing websites that are “hostile to the government and that promote deviant ideologies.” Saudi officials often use the phrase “deviant ideologies” when describing al Qaeda or al Qaeda-linked groups.
Saudi Arabia’s Twitter activism
Saudi’s fight against change
Arab youths in a post-Arab Spring
On Sunday, another man, accused of insulting King Abdullah and inciting protests via social media sites like Twitter, was sentenced to eight years in jail.
According to SPA, he’s also barred from travel and from posting messages on social media sites for eight years after his release.
The man, also unidentified by SPA, was found guilty of “inciting relatives of Saudis arrested for security reasons to protest their imprisonment by tweeting and via posting videos on sites like YouTube.”
Al-Bakran added the man had been arrested once before for similar offenses, but was released after signing a pledge never to do so again.
Both sentences come just days after Saudi Arabia officially declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization.
On Friday, the country’s Interior Ministry announced that the Brotherhood, as well as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Al-Nusra Front and other groups had been formally designated terrorist organizations.
The statement also detailed the country’s new, comprehensive anti-terror legislation, warning any Saudi or foreigner residing in Saudi Arabia they could be sentenced to heavy jail terms for joining extremist groups or fighting alongside them.
Many, however, maintain the new laws are a barely disguised effort to quash dissent, pointing to the fact that Friday’s Interior Ministry statement also criminalized atheism, more specifically, any Saudi or resident of Saudi Arabia “propagating atheist ideologies by any means, or questioning the principles of Islamic faith.”
“It’s unfortunate that the statement comingles the (Saudi) government’s ongoing intent to severely limit freedoms of expression and religion with its efforts to counter extremism and terrorism,” said Dwight Bashir, deputy director for policy and research with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
“It reinforces longstanding concerns that the Saudis will spare no expense to crush dissent,” Bashir told CNN, “and punish non-conforming views, even if the views are protected by internationally-recognized human rights.”
Bashir called the move to criminalize atheism “very troubling,” adding it was “consistent with the way the Saudis masquerade ‘insults to religious feelings’ as a way of garnering support for other laws that seek to counter religious extremism and name specific entities as terror groups.”
Saudi Arabia, which has jailed several prominent reform activists in the past two years, is consistently singled out and criticized for its human rights record.
In a statement from late February, Adam Coogle, a Saudi researcher for Human Rights Watch, wrote the new anti-terror legislation has “created a veneer of legality for ongoing human rights abuses by Saudi criminal justice authorities.”
“The terrorism law,” added Coogle, “is a vague, catch-all document that can — and probably will — be used to prosecute or jail anyone who criticizes the Saudi government and to violate their due process rights along the way.”
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This is incredible news!!!
The proud new papa is super stoked to have her judging again, too! Sources close to the situation confessed: