Twitter Spam. It Had to Happen Sooner or L8r.

Posted on July 12, 2008. Filed under: blog, Google, Michael Durwin, MySpace, Social Network, SXSW, User Generated Content, Web 2.0 | Tags: , , , , , , |

I was introduced to Twitter back on March of 2007. Everyone at SXSW jumped on it. I dropped it for awhile as only a few people I met at SXSW were using it. Since then a ton of folks have jumped on board. It’s become a very important part of my social media, technology and all around cool stuff networking. I use Twitter for a variety of things; to communicate with friends, to engage in discussions with others of similar interest, to find out what others are interested in, to share my interests or thoughts with others and to learn. This last one is key for me. There is so much going on in this web2.0 world that no one can stay on top of it all. Luckily, so many others are keeping up on it, collectively we can stay on top of it all, by searching, learning and sharing.

I don’t follow a huge amount of people, only those I’ve mentioned above, friends, acquaintances, and a few of the Twitteratti (big shots like Kevin Rose and Robert Scoble). I follow about 50 folks, and about 60 follow me. I’m always flattered when someone decides to follow me. After all, they must thing what I’m Twitting is interesting right? Recently I began to receive a few follows that got me curious. Usually someone uses a Twitter handle (mine is mdurwin, I use it everywhere, just Google it!), their name, nickname, combination of first and last name or initials, etc. I’ve seen very few Tweeps (or Tweople, or whatever us Twitter geeks come up with next) using first names and numbers, a common practice with AOL chat and other IM services.

Lately I’ve been getting follows from users with names like Valerie434, or Stella214. I just excepted them and moved on. Then, in one day, I received follows from Lisa1961, Tammy1961, Jessica1986, Angelina1986 and a few more. Twitter spam had caught up with me. Most of these users had a personal page with a link, most to and a picture that looked like it was either stolen from a MySpace college girl or a Russian bride site.

So, it’s here, Twitter spam. Luckily the most they can do is follow you and hope you click on their link. Only if you follow them will you allow them to push anything on you. The lesson learned: you know it’s gone mainstream when spammers start using it. Here’s a complete list of my spam followers so far:


I’d love to hear from other Twitteratti on this. Is it just me?

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NXNE? Boston is missing out!

Posted on April 18, 2007. Filed under: advertising, Austin, blog, Boston, Boston Independent Film Festival, Boston Phoenix, Boston Underground Film Festival, broadcast, Chris Cooper, Chris Kataan, consumer marketing, Cream, Grindhouse, indie films, Luke Wilson, Massachusetts, movie promotion, movie trailer, NBC, new media, North by New England, North by No'Easter, Robert Rodriguez, Sony Pictures, SXSW, texas |

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Independent Film and Interactive portion at SXSW. As you may or may not know SXSW began a a music festival that eventually attracted signed acts, celebrities and record companies. It has since expanded to include independent films and interactive marketing. I’ve blogged several times on what a great experience being involved in SXSW/INT was but not about SXSW/Film.
Boston of course has IFF, BUFF and others across the eastern part of Massachusetts. What Boston doesn’t have, but is perfect for, is a cohesive festival. There are alot of great people doing alot of hard work on a volunteer basis and I applaud them. The problem with the dozen or so film festivals around the New England area is attendance and visibility. SXSW’s film attendance was over 5,000, including the interactive portion, over 10,000. Many of the interactive attendees, myself included, attended many of the film events including parties, movie premiers and panels.
Of course with that kind of attendance the quality of the material goes up, the quality and quantity of celebrities goes up. At least 3 indie film makers I met have distribution deals now and one in particular is beginning development on new shows for NBC.

I got to attend the premier of Knocked up and got to hang out with the cast. I got to see cool cips of Grindhouse and drink for free while Robert Rodriguez jammed on stagae at a club. I got to see someone I’d just met almost get punched out by Luke Wilson. I saw Chris Kataan (I think) fumbling in his backback while some girlie pop song was ringing on his cell phone. Plus a bunch of really creative and fun people got to meet, network and get discovered. Even parts of the music festival overlapped as some bands arrived early, not the least of which were members of Cream who stayed at my hotel.

This kind of visibility, excitement and possibility is lacking from the Boston indie film festivals. Not for lack of quality films or hard work, merely by the fact that they divide attention. The idea that the whole is more important than the sum of it’s parts has never been more true.

Here’s hoping that someone like the Boston Phoenix or Chris Cooper can convince the local festivals to start working together. Maybe we can get some of the hi-tech companies and design agencies to help with an interactive festival and the local radio stations to have dueling events too. We’ll have to call it North by New England since oronto already scored North by Northeast. Maybe North by No’Easter?

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Rocketboom may charge for shows?

Posted on March 26, 2007. Filed under: Andrew Baron, Austin, blog, consumer marketing, Newark Airport, Rocketboom, SXSW, texas, vlog |

I heard Andrew Baron of Rocketboom speak at SXSW a few weeks back. He was discussing charging subscriptions for Rocketboom viewers. I just saw an article in which he discussed that option more in detail. Although Rocketboom gets 200,000 downloads per day advertisers aren’t prepared to put advertising dollars into reaching such a small audience and would rather putting it towards messaging that will reach millions. I certainly understand Andrew’s quandry, after all, he needs to put gas in his car right?

What is becomming obvious is that advertisers don’t get the new model yet. They are still convinced that creating generic messaging that speaks to a wide range of consumers and desemminating that messaging to millions in one hit. That model is losing relevance every day. Consumers want to be targeted n an individual basis, or whatever comes close. What Rocketboom has going for it is that it’s viewers are a fairly tight target audience. The advantage advertisers would have is while they are speaking to a smaller crowd, that crowd is more specific than what they’d get with a tv spot. Visitors to Rocketboom also consider themselves to be members of an elite group that view Rocketboom content. Any advertising aimed at them will surely feel personal. If done right. By really understanding Rocketboom’s crowd, an advertiser has the ability to talk directly to a niche group on their level, in their language.

It makes me think of the sci fi commercials that Gillette put out on Sci Fi Channel years ago. Those commercials spoke to a niche audience in their language (Nanu, Nanu). While it may not have given Gillette the bang for their buck that they expected, the demographic has changed.

Consumers are sick of advertising clogging up their lives. They only want relevant advertising, for products or services that might interest them and they want advertisers to speak to them personally. This puts Rocketboom in the unique position of having a distinct audience that can be targeted with laser sharp messaging.

Andrew sat behind me on the flight back to Newark from SXSW. I wanted to tell him my thoughts on his conundrum… but I figured he’d rather read it in a blog.

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should have stayed in texas

Posted on March 20, 2007. Filed under: Austin, Boston, Global Warming, Michael Durwin, Microsoft, Obama, Second Life, Starbucks, SXSW, texas, User Generated Content, vlog, Web3.d, Wi-Fi |

Snow in Boston

What a welcome back Boston had for me. Not 3 days back from SXSW in Austin, TX and we get spanked with 4 inches of snow. Granted it’s not much as far as New England standards go but between the change in weather patterns from global warming and sweating for 4 days in Austin, it was a shock to my system. Luckily the Benz handled ok. It is rear-wheel drive and all, with summer tires to boot, but it got me where I needed to be.
With SXSW fading in my memory, I’ve been working hard to bring the new scripture of UGC, vlog, web3.d to the masses. It’s a hard sell. Most companies don’t want to touch anything without a proven track record, never realizing that once a tactic’s track recprd is proven, the market is flooded rendering the tactic useless. Of course they claim to want something edgy and viral, as long as it’s been around for a few years and Microsoft or Apple has used it! “I know, let’s give away free WI-FI!” It works so well for Starbucks right? I think they’re are even beginning to realize that, while it’s too late to take back, the press and attention it got them isn’t worth having a caffiene squater taking up a table for 4 hours in exchange for $3 drink.
In other news, I’ve got a great new Obama ’08 t-shirt on my Second Life avatar. Look me up sometime:
Rize Yongho.

See ya,
Michael Durwin

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no movement in newark

Posted on March 14, 2007. Filed under: Google, Linden Labs, Newark Airport, Second Life, SXSW |

pictureStuck in newark, nj. I’ve been thinking of nothing else but virtual words, video blogging, personalization… I met alot of great people with alot of great ideas. Not too many seemed to talk among themselves though. Noone at Linden Labs or Google have talked apparently. I told them both that Google needs to prepare to make searchable not only links to Second Life but to other virtual or synthetic worlds. They should allow you to upload Second Life URLs in reference to companies. I can see the Google search bar now SEARCH: Web | Images | Video | News | SWURL
Get it? SWURL: Synthetic World Universal Resource Locator. It’s 8:07 pm in Newark. I came up with it first!
I also started a new company. SyntheStaff – Virtual Staffing For Your Virtual Strategy. Like a cross between a call center and store clerk for Second Life. What do you think?
Well this is my first WordPress blog, since I never have time to visit my blog on MySpace. I’m a little burned out. I’m just coming back from SXSW and I arrived on Friday. I’ve been to at least half of the parties there, and if you think that’s not much, I’ve had about 8 hours sleep in 5 days!
My last night was fun. I got to see at least one movie though I wanted to see more. I caught the screening of Knocked Up. I haven’t laughed so hard at a movie in a really long time. Great cast, great dialogue, fun story. I highly recommend it as not just a date movie but as a bring-your-better-half-along-on-a-double-date-with-your-college-buddy-and-his-date movie. My coworker Amy and I went to the after party with some of the cast (Paul Rudd, et al and director). We met up with Cory and Marc, two other directors with great projects (Marc’s The Toll is amazing, I hope it wins!). I met up with the guys from Doctor Doctor and their friends Kelly, Tawnie and their indian friend whose name I can’t spell. We were met by one of the stars of Confessions of a Superhero, Superman himself! The Hulk couldn’t make it. I missed it but apparently some members of Creem checked into out hotel that night. AMy saw them but didn’t know who they were.
Other great parties were the Suicide Girls and Robert Rodriguez ones. Bobby can jam!!!
I also caught What Made Milwaukee Famous at the Knocked Up party. I grabbed their CD, they are amazing!
Did I mention I’m burned out? Here’s a picture to prove it.

See ya,
Michael Durwin

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