Twitter Profile Case Study – Mashable (preliminary)

This analysis is created according to a Case Study Template developed by students at the University of Washington.

Mashable stands out for its transparency, its customized profile page and the leading position in providing news on Twitter itself. Due to its role in Social Media, it cannot be ignored in a proper Best Practices list.

Screenshot of Mashable on Twitter (July 21st 2009)

Screenshot of Mashable on Twitter (July 21st 2009)

(3) Data on tweets

Out of 100 posts (sampled July 15th – July 21st)

100(!) contained links!

Only 6 of those links did NOT refer back to <a href=”http://mashable.com”&gt; Mashable</a>.

12 Hashtags

3 “@username”, but did not start with @

1 RT (However, 3 referred to the most RT’d Mashable stories)

(4) Stats

Date data downloaded : July 21st (from July 15th)
Industry sector : Social Media/News Media

Twitter ID : @mashable
Followers : 1 115 334
Following : 1 926
Ratio followers/following : 1 : 579 093

Number posts : 17 037
Account created : March 12th, 2007
First post : unknown

Bio:

Mashable Twitterbio (July 21st 2009)

Mashable Twitterbio (July 21st 2009)

“The hottest Twitter news, Twitter tips and Twitter help. Plus, the best social media links around!

Location: Scotland / SF

URLS:
Twitter : http://twitter.com/mashable
Bio link : http://mashable.com
Facebook : Facebookpage
MySpace : http://www.myspace.com/mashable (last login Jan 19, 2009)
LinkedIn : http://www.linkedin.com/in/mashable
Org Blog : http://mashable.com
Org website home : http://mashable.com
Other : http://twitter.com/RSS_Mashable

About:
Mashable was founded in 2005 by Pete Cashmore and is the leading provider news and reporting on Web2.0 and Social Media issues. With more than 7 million monthly page views (Mashable), it is one of the most influential Blogs that have been recognized by “mainstream media” as a legitimate source.

(5) Analysis

A. General

(A.1) background

The general profile background is boring. A pale grandma wallpaper that could be easily replaced with an appealing logo tile or other brand identifying features.

An additional image on the side offers information beyond the standard bio. It shows CEO Cashmore in a relaxed pose with description (“CEO at Mashable. quiet type. addicted to caffeine. scared of geese.” This allows for a more personal sense of “Pete”. This “sidebar” also invites communication with other users by providing contact information for news tips as well as advertisers and other partners. Communication on Twitter itself is not encouraged.

(A.2) Avatar

The avatar shows Cashmore in close-up with a blank face (or is that supposed to be a smile?). He is clearly established as the face of Mashable. However, with both the avatar <b>and</b> the sidebar showing Pete Cashmore, the Twitter profile almost seems to be too focused on the single individual. The brand plays an insignificant role on the profile. Mashable is Cashmore, Cashmore is Mashable

(A.3) Bio

The bio stresses Mashable’s Twitter activity, but does not explain what Mashable is. For insiders unnecessary, for Social Media newbies possibly problematic.

(A.4) Transparency (see Margery’s Alaska post)

The complete profile focuses on Pete Cashmore as a person. The tweets, however, show nothing of this person. Most consist of a headline and a link, which might well be automated.

(A.5) Bio Link (see Margery’s Alaska post)

The Bio Link leads directly to <a href=”http://mashable.com”&gt; the Mashable Blog </a> where the audience will find the latest stories.

B. Tweets
(see Margery’s Alaska post)
(B.1) Replies: I have not found replies to questions, queries or suggestions
(B.2) ReTweets: 1/100 – most content is produced by Mashable
(B.3) DM requests: found none
(B.4) Hashtags: 12/100 – most linked to explanations on #followfriday or #Hyatt4good, Mashable’s own charity project.
(B.5) (favorite tweets?)

hey Twitter

(B.6) Narrative summary

ALL of the Tweets in the sample contain at least one link, with a minimal number directing the reader to other news sites. Despite its affinity to and apparent understanding of  Social Media and Web2.0, the Twitterfeed thus reads like a newsfeed or news ticker of other news organizations. The Mashable account is used almost entirely for self-promoting purposes. However, as this information is valuable to the Twitter community, their following is gigantic despite their lack of open communication. What makes the Mashable account worthy to follow is the abundance of free quality information provided.

C. Questions/Suggestions
(C.1) Questions unearthed during analysis: Where does Mashable start and where does Pete Cashmore end?
(C.2) Suggestions for improvement:

Bring in the brand! (background and maybe avatar)

Communicate with your users. This might be thought impossible due to lack of resources, but at least an attempt could be shown. The headlines could alternatively go undisturbed in a “mashhead” handle (see also RSS_Mashable)

D. Analytic Services (to come next week)

E. Conclusion
(E.1)

The Mashable profile is very strong in terms of transparency and identification. Cashmore is the brand and Mashable is Cashmore. This makes the brand more personal, but it also diverts from the brand itself.

The simple background allows users to focus on the provided contact information that allows users to communicate with Mashable. However, a conversation on Twitter itself is not encouraged. Twittruth rates the chances of receiving a direct message reply from Pete Cashmore as 1 : 666.88. (personal test to follow). Communication with users may occur through email, but it is not open and visible to the community.

(E.2) Scorecard Summary

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