Twitter to users: "It's all about photos!"

Things have clearly been busy at Twitter lately. Last month the company rolled out its first new profile page redesign in years. Apparently this afternoon Twitter introduced, via an email to its users as well as on its website, a host of new features aimed at making it easier to share photos. Among them, users can now share multiple photos, tag people in photos, user photographic filters and share photos via direct messages.
Does any of this sound familiar? If you answered "Facebook currently offers these features", you are right! The clear signal from Twitter to its user base is that it sees photo sharing as the key to increased engagement (as well as ad dollars) and user growth. Clearly Facebook arrived at this conclusion earlier and even the 2013 Google+ redesign resulted in a far more photo-friendly interface.
The cement is still wet on these features, so I have yet to try them. Once I have, I will report back.

Are your company's secrets being revealed on LinkedIn?

If you haven’t already read Michael Lewis’ “Buried was the fact that The headline? If it wasn't obvious before, this story really spells it out: Far beyond its previous incarnation as an online repository for digital resumes, the platform has evolved into a sophisticated online resource that is rich for data mining. As millions of users continue to add keyword rich data to their personal profiles in order to highlight their achievements and impress potential employers, those who are savvy at gathering data and using it to uncover insights are using LinkedIn to connect the dots regarding their competitors' activities. Boards and C-Suite executives need to gain a better handle on what information is out there about their company and how to manage the flow of information published unwittingly by well-meaning employees. They also need to think about how they might use LinkedIn to gain a strategic advantage. For most companies HR is the most active business unit on LinkedIn, mainly concentrating on recruitment efforts. It's time to involve the data scientists and corporate governance folks as well. I suspect that in the coming months, we'll see a lot more about different companies using LinkedIn in less obvious ways.

9 Habits of Highly Effective Speakers

They are authentic.

Whether you're giving a wedding toast, a TED talk, or an important address to an audience of thousands, you want your words to resonate. In the wake of the State of the Union address, here are nine keys to success from some of the best public speakers in history.

Many advisors will tell you to open a speech with a joke, but that's not always good advice, especially if your persona or the subject of your speech doesn't readily lend itself to humor. It's far more important to strive for authenticity, and connection. This is why President George W. Bush's short speech in 2001 at Ground Zero resonated in a way his prepared remarks never could. Also, have you watched the beautiful speech that Malala Yousafzai gave at the United Nations last year? Pitch perfect.

They choose phrases carefully.

A speech is prose, but a great speech is marked by moments of poetry. Think of Martin Luther King, whose "I Have a Dream" speech includes that phrase in nine succinct paragraphs. Sir Winston Churchill didn't just ask his countrymen to battle the Germans,he exhorted them to "fight them on the beaches ... [and] fight them on the landing grounds..." Ronald Reagan was a master of this tactic too, from the memorable "Shining City on a Hill" speech to the one he gave about the Berlin Wall. Make your speech more memorable by mastering language tools like alliteration, cadence, rhythm, repetition, and rhyme.

They keep it short.

President Bill Clinton was first introduced to most of America at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, where he gave an interminable, 33-minute grind that showed none of his later rhetorical flourish. His biggest applause line? "In conclusion." He should have taken a lesson from Abraham Lincoln, whose Gettysburg Address ran only 270 words. For reference, this column is about three times as long. The best speeches leave audiences thinking, "I'd like to hear more." So don't tell them you'll "be brief," just do it.

They rewrite. And they rewrite some more.

A great speech is never quite done until it's delivered. Take a look, here, at the final typed draft of President Franklin Roosevelt's speech to Congress the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Had he not reworked it just before delivery, we'd quote it now as calling December 7, "a date that will go down in world history." Rememeber, anything decent that's ever been published has gone through numerous rewrites. If you haven't read this slightly profane quote by Ernest Hemingway about first drafts, do so now and take it to heart.

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