It is ethical for colleges, parents, or employers to search social networking sites for information about people?

According to 73% of users say YES.

Some tools to help get you started with nosing around social networking: SpySamePointSocialMentionWhosTalkinyoName,,  Folowen,  SpokeoWink  and a ton of others…

And there are courses out there as well, for example –
Social Networking Sites: Investigative Tools and Techniques, …

There are probably more then a few good business opportunities to be had in providing social networking / media investigative tools (as opposed to social media monitoring).

Growing Twitter Followers


You can approach building your followers from the following perspectives:

  • focus on building followers and friends that are engaged in providing information on a topic of interest and relevance to yourself, or
  • simply going for raw numbers.

If you are going to focus on building followers of relevance, then you will need to spend a significant amount of your time doing research.  Luckily there are lots of tools to help you with this.  You can use the Twitter search function and various Twitter-related directories to find users who are tweeting on topics of interest and then follow them (e.g. Just Tweet It).

If you are going to focus on building a large number of followers without regard for demographics you should focus primarily on finding and following those users who have published their willingness to “follow back” any user who follows them.  This is very easy to do – simply search for users whose bio or tweets include these hashtags in their posts #willfollowback,  #teamfollowback, #wefollowback, #followback, #ifollowback.   You can also search for and use pre-made lists of people who are willing and eager to follow back,  some examples of places to find follow back lists:

And you can also add your twitter account to these follow back lists to raise your account’s visibility with the follow back crowd.

The best way to use the list of prospective followers is in conjunction with a tool such as Tweet Adder.


There are also a number of tools you can use to pay for growth.   In my experience, the following tools are exceptionally effective (you can gain thousands of followers in a few hours) and generally inexpensive:


Your tweets themselves represent a means to build followers organically.   Typical content may include contests, quizzes, giveaways and polls.  You can also retweet content from other twitter user accounts and websites.

You can automate content creation and publishing to a large degree if you use a tool like Tweet Adder or Hoot Suite.   For example, Tweet Adder provides the ability to automatically retweet content from RSS feeds as well as to tweet from a pre-configured set of tweets.

To help attract other users to follow you (independent of your out-bound efforts), you should ensure your Twitter bio has relevant keywords and description to help people determine your relevance to their interests.   If appropriate, you can also use your bio information to bluntly indicate you will follow back by including phrases in your bio such as “If you follow me, I will follow you!”, “I follow back!”, “iFollowback”.


You should be aware that tweets have an average lifespan of less then one hour – the lifespan being the time during which they are likely to be seen and potentially retweeted.

Consequently it is important to recognize the proper timing for your tweets to maximize their value to you.   The following blog article provides a good overview of the various factors to consider when scheduling your tweets –


Promote yourself, such as by putting your Twitter username on your blog, in your email signature and on your business cards.


Be sure to review Twitter’s official rules to ensure you keep your twitter following activities inbounds to prevent account suspension.

Tim Hudak App a Great Success

Purple Forge recently did an iPhone application for Tim Hudak, leader of The Ontario PC Party.   The application has been a great success – it has generated a huge amount of earned media for The Ontario PC Party.  The application has also created a buzz in Twitter and Facebook with hundreds of mentions.

The message of The Ontario PC Party around the application is simple:

  • First Canadian political party leader with their own iPhone application
  • The party wants to connect with younger and older voters who are quickly turning to mobile devices for information
  • Embracing technology to be the most modern and effective campaign

Three very good articles are:

The application went to the Top 100 for Social Networking in the Canadian iTunes App Store on the first day it was announced.

Download the application and let me know what you think –

Purple Forge CPAC 2010 App Doing Great!

Purple Forge and Raise Digital released an iPhone application for the CPAC 2010 conference being held this week.   Raise Digital has a good page talking about the app on their website.

So far the application has trended to #78 in Social Networking on the AppStore!

There is a lot of positive buzz in Twitter –

JonnyTorres Trying out the #cpac10 iPhone app… Impressed so far!!

@ssbrumfield: iphone #CPAC10 application is awesome

commodoreboyd @jacobkampen Cpac10 iPhone app. It’s pretty awesome. #cpac10

Tons of mentions in blogs around the web…


CNN even did an article on it for their website!

What is the Mood of the Nation?

Mobile applications, combined with cloud computing and software offers the unique ability to reach out to the world and collect real-time information from the community. Ever wonder what the “Mood of the Nation” might be at any given hour? How about over a week? Month or more? The iPhone app “Mood of the Nation” does exactly that.

If you do not have an iPhone, you can still view the results online.

If you have an iPhone or iTouch – download the application and add your mood to the world view.