Twingly arrives in Germany

Handelsblatt.com is starting to link back to blogs!

Germany, the home turf of Herr Johann Gutenberg at the time when he ushered in the era of the modern newspaper by inventing the printing press in 1477, has today one of Europe’s largest and most active blogospheres.

We are very happy to announce today that Handelsblatt.com, which to people not familiar with German media can be described as the Financial Times of the German-speaking world, is starting to link back to blogs using Twingly.

The Twingly Blogstream widget is placed in the right column on all article pages at Handelsblatt.com (here’s an example), and any blog can appear within minutes by linking directly to the article and pinging Twingly.

Handelsblatt are showing a strong commitment in opening up to blogs, and we hope it will be the first step towards a very prosperous symbioses between blogs and media in Germany.

Questions or help with pinging Twingly can be sent to support@twingly.com, while Thomas Knüwer at Handelsblatt is happy to answer any questions on Twitter.

Some response from german bloggers: Medienlese (translation), 50hz (translation), 72dpiClub (translation) and Open Source PR (translation).

Swedish retail Ellos.se is Twinglyfied

The Swedish retail company Ellos is our latest customer in the e-commerce field. Since yesterday they use our widget on their site Ellos.se to link back to blogs that link to them. The implementation is also really fresh with a horizontal view in the bottom of the page at their front page.

Ellos is one of many interesting new customers that will launch the next coming weeks. Until then, remember to follow us on Twitter!

ellos

New Twingly Partners: Dinside.no the first out of ten

Here’s some great news: the Norwegian media website Dinside.no have launched Twingly Blogstream (Google Translate).

And guess what’s even better? This is just the beginning, since nine other Norwegian websites are planning to include blog links at their sites as well. DinSide.no and the rest of the sites are all part of the Aller Internett group, a Norwegian online media house.

We will of course tell you when the rest is up and running – so stay tuned!

Update: Pål Joakim Olsen made a comment that both Digi.no and Kk.no started to use it last week.  Dingz.no, Femina, Henne.no, ITavisen, Lommelegen, SEHER.no and topp.no is on their way.

Twingly inaugurating world's first federated microblog search

This is it! Today we’re launching Twingly Microblog Search.

We’ve been microblogging for a couple of years now at Twingly. Mostly at Jaiku because it’s been the service of choice for new-media-people here in Sweden but we have our own Twitter and since Twitter is becoming bigger and bigger here in Sweden, we’ve been more active there lately.

When we last summer started to see the microblogging-hype we felt that a search dedicated to microblogs would be a quite natural development for us. We like Twitter Search and been using it a lot, especially at conferences and when news like Mumbai were having the best news source at Twitter. But because we used Jaiku ourselves it wasn’t what we needed in many cases.

Today we’re proud to launch our own microblog search with both Twitter, Jaiku, Identi.ca, Pownce (which is sadly closed but we still have a lot of data indexed so we keeped it) and even some local microblogging platforms like the Swedish Bloggy and the German Bleeper.

It’s also therefore we call it the first federated microblog search because our goal is to indexing all microblogs from all services. If you know more microblogging services or run your own, please contact our developers so we could start index it.

twingly-microblog-search-logo

To be more clear about how the search works it’s for now quite clean, we would love to hear what features you would like to have in our tech plan, but there’s some really useful tools in there already that could be nice to stated out:

  • Like every search result at Twingly.com, it’s possible to get a widget for it to use on your own website or blog.
  • Email-alerts so you don’t miss any important reply, retweet or comment dedicated to you or to use like a way to monitor your brands name.
  • RSS to keep you updated on what microblogs saying about you, your brand, interest or anything else straight in to your RSS-reader.
  • It’s possible to search for hashtags (#tag) and replies (@name)

More search possibilities could be found in our help-page and in a follow-up blog post.

The true behold of Twingly Microblog Search is of course for many people the possibilities to get a full overview of what’s saying about you, your brand or your interest on not only one service but on all microblogs. Why just search in one service when there’s many other services with active users, too?

Some improvements are still to come. The search is not realtime at the moment, expect about a five minute delay (sometimes more if the result page ends up in the cache). This will be remedied later on so that we can provide a true conversational search. Jaiku comments are not indexed. Bummer. We have been talking to @jyri about ways to accomplish that, hopefully it will be resolved soon. Verbs like save, retweet, reply, comment should be implemented in the search result.

Anyhow, we hope you’ll enjoy our new microblog search as much as we do. We’ll listen to you.

Update: Techcrunch post is here.

Twitter hitting mainstream in Sweden, as we speak

Here in Sweden there has been a small but very active group of people microblogging using Jaiku for quite a long time. Most people were from internet startups, media and marketing industry, bloggers etc. Jonas Leijon created the first Swedish microblog service Bloggy (still in beta), which is very much like Pownce and Jaiku. The swedish word for microblogging (“mikroblogga”) become one of the official new words to the Swedish language last year.

In the US, Japan and everywhere except Sweden and Finland (Jaiku is from Finland, therefore it has more users in Finland and Sweden) Twitter has become the microblogging platform of choice, growing it’s user base much faster than the competition. All three services Jaiku, Bloggy and Twitter have had some users here in Sweden but it was not at all mainstream. Until now.

Last week, Twitter reached critical mass and spread like wildfire. Numerous people got in touch with us to report that many of their non-tech friends suddenly registered at Twitter.com. Over the course of not more than ten days, Microblogging went mainstream in Sweden.

So what happened? We blogged about how Mumbai was a big step towards mainstream for Twitter in November. We were not alone: VA, SSBD, What’s Next etc and our own blog post was actually given some national media publicity by SVD. In December there was an earthquake in Skåne here in Sweden and microblogs was of course faster than traditional media. Which gave some media publicity, again. Some journalists and others who are fast to respond to trends began to sign up for Jaiku, Twitter and Bloggy. But it still was not mainstream.

The last couple of weeks some big changes happened. Newspapers started to use Twitter, political partys and politicians too and a lot of non-tech people signed up, inviting their friends in the very tight viral loop provided by Twitter. Special hashtags only used by Swedes is another new iniative (#svpt), as well as a site dedicated to Swedish Twitter users with a list with Swedish Twitter-users and Companys/organisations in Sweden that use Twitter.

Why Twitter and not Jaiku or the Swedish alternative Bloggy.se? Jaiku’s growth is severely limited by Google requiring an invitation for new users to sign up. Pownce is gone and Bloggy is not yet very known. Even if the market seems very crowded, Twitter is actually without serious competition.

Adoption is not yet as earth-shifting as the Facebook-craze of last mid-year, but it’s a start. As Hans Kullin wrote in his blog post: The next election in Sweden is in 2010. If microblogging already is becoming mainstream, at that time microblogging has reached a large number of users here in Sweden. Is Twitter going to be as important for Swedish political parties as it was for Obama?

In our humble opinions: Undoubtedly yes.

You can follow Twingly at Twitter or join our Jaiku-channel.

Customer Service 2.0

Customer service is very important, it’s a fact every company knows. But not every company understands how to handle customer service on the internet and in the social media. This creates problems when customers expect you to communicate through these channels.

The Swedish blog The Artopod Experience has written a really good blog post (Google Translate) that summaries four important points of consumer service on the internet. Here’s an inspired list translated to English:

1. E-mail

The standard way to handle customer service on the internet today, is by e-mail. Customers know how to use it, and get pissed off if you’re company doesn’t have e-mail, or doesn’t answer it fast enough. This is just a start and something every serious customer service has to use.

A tip from us at Twingly is to make the communication more personal. Have pictures of those who are answering your e-mail on the company’s website. Send your answers from aname@service.com-email , and not by info@service.com. Don’t use standard phrases with a copy-and-paste-feeling in your answers. Make it personal and those who contact you will be nicer to you. It’s easy to be harsh towards a faceless brand, but not to an fellow human being.

2. Frequently Asked Questions, FAQ

It’s the easiest and most effective way to reduce the number of incoming questions, saving both time and expences for the consumer service. Could be a page on the website with regular text, instruction movies or a giant database of information.

3. Answer questions where your customers ask them

This is something new that, through the quite recent development of social media, has become a necessity. Many of your customers may no longer come to your site or send you an e-mail, they simply ask a question on their microblog, blog, social network or forum instead, and get helped. It’s of course all good and well when the customers are helping each other out, but it’s not the only thing they are doing. Instead of just being a kind question in a forum: “How do I get it work?” it can become really bad PR: “This crap doesn’t work! Don’t buy it!”. It’s in many ways very important to handle this type of customer service yourself, even if it’s difficult to get control over it. But if you as a company don’t listen and act, you can’t influence what is said about you. Be a part of the discussion on the microblogs, blogs, social networks, and so on, and think of it as a way of not just treating your customers well, but also creating PR in a positive manner.

To do this in a proper way, you have to monitor social media every single day. The easiest and probably best way to do it, is to subscribe to search results in blog search engines like Twingly, microblogs search engine like Twitter Search and use Google Reader.

4. Let the customers help to solve the problem together with you

Another simple and really useful tool for customer service 2.0, is Get Satisfaction. Here’s a forum for both customers and official representatives from companies, that works as a customer service community. Customers can ask questions and get help both from official representatives and other customers. Companies can ask what customers really want. Get Satisfaction can also be implemented and used on your own site via an API, which Spotify does very well.

So what is really happening?

The internet has changed what customer service essentially is, in many different ways. One of the key issues is that every little problem could become bad PR. 20 years ago only the neighbors and friends of a disappointed customer learned that “this product doesn’t work so it sucks, don’t buy it”. Today the same message could be on microblogs, forums and blogs and that way hundreds of people might get the information. In real-time. Every single customer can reach a lot of people, and the message will stick, through search results, search traffic and such.

When customers have become real-time influencers, your company’s customer service and communication has to be fast, open and attentive. As a company you can no longer wait for your customers to come to you with their questions – you need to find them, and know where and how they are talking about you.

It’s quite a big revolution.

A Twingly year in review – 2008

2008 was a year full of surprises, a lot of laughs and overall a really good year for Twingly. After such a great year it could be nice to summarize what we actually have done. Here’s a little resume based on our blog archive.

January

February

  • A lot of focus on the soon-to-be-released beta of Twingly.com but Politiken become the first Twingly Partner in Denmark, too.

March

  • Two new Twingly Partners in two new countries: Dagbladet in Norway and Público in Portugal.

April

May

June

July

  • The Twingly Summer of Code was finished and the interns could show up a demo of what they’ve accomplished. Unfortunately there’s nothing more than a demo even today but we’ve hired Kristoffer since then, so it was a success in another context 🙂

August

September

October

November

December