While most of the recent advertising buzz related to Microsoft Microsoft has focused on its consumer campaign, it's business-focused "It's Everybody's Business" marketing campaign is plowing ahead. The latest piece of that campaign -- a new Twitter-focused aggregation service -- debuted on March 23.
Called ExecTweets, the new Federated Media site/service aggregates Twitter feeds from a random collection of business execs (including two from Microsoft). Microsoft is "sponsoring" ExecTweets, meaning it is paying for the creation and maintenance of the new service.
In response to my questions about the service, a Microsoft spokesperson offered the following:
"Microsoft is sponsoring the site. I can also tell you that the sponsorship of ExecTweets is part of Microsoft's 'It's Everybody's Business' campaign. As part of that campaign they are creating innovative ways to encourage conversations within the business community on a range of topics from industry trends to the value of technology. ExecTweets empowers users to find, follow and engage with prolific and successful business executives on Twitter."
I was curious if there was more to the ExecTweets site than met the eye. Was Microsoft just paying for advertising/marketing mentions on Twitter?
Federated Media Marketing Manager Matthew DiPietro responded to a number of questions I originally asked Microsoft, but they passed over to Federated.
DiPietro said that the Microsoft sponsorship has no set length. "We hope it lives a long, long time and provides a valuable service for the business community on an ongoing basis." Microsoft isn't providing any of the technology behind the scenes, DiPietro said. The actual tool/service is based on Twitter.
But isn't Federated Media simply pulling together a bunch of existing twitter feeds into a single place?
Yes and no, DiPietro said.
"Yes, we're aggregating select Twitter feeds, but there's nothing simple about it. And there are many other key features and functionality that have been baked into the site including voting, curating, browsing, nominating, etc. that help surface the best and most insightful conversations:
- Read only the most business-relevant and insightful tweets from top execs
- Easily find and follow execs representing several different industries
- Join the conversation by replying to execs or to the ExecTweets community
- Follow @exectweets on Twitter for insightful re-tweets from execs and our community
- Ability to recommend new execs to follow
- ExecTweets iPhone app to be released in mid-April (includes auto-populating for RT's, which is a big win for iPhone users who can't cut and paste)
- Tag cloud to track the hottest keywords being Tweeted by execs
- Top Links - most highly rated links within Tweets
- Browse and follow execs by industry
- Active recruitment for @exectweets followers
- Voting functions to recommend insightful tweets and twitterers
- Twitter 101 tutorial and 'About' pages to help users understand the ExecTweets experience."
More and more Softies are twittering lately. But I have to say, whenever I check in and read random twitter feeds, I still don't feel I'm missing much by not being on Twitter. The only time I find it useful is when I want to keep up with what's happening at a conference or event, like the MVP Summit or Mix '09.
I'm not too proud to change my mind. I'd be interested in hearing whether you feel you are learning much about Microsoft, its products and its strategies via Twitter that you wouldn't via other channels. Examples?