Twitter, the social network known for its 140-character limitation, has been in the news. Much of the media attention has been driven by President-elect Donald Trump who tweeted his way to an election victory over the past year.
Trump will, no doubt, be the first president to tweet his thoughts and policy decisions without a filter on social media when he takes over the
@Potus Twitter handle on Jan. 20.
The other reason Twitter has been in the headlines has more to do with the company founded a decade ago in San Francisco, valued at around $10 billion, far less than its $40 billion valuation just three years ago.
While Twitter has more than 300 million monthly active users, many have questioned its health. Businesses question its marketing value.
One local Metro Detroit stand-up comedian and businessman is positioned to change that. The internet is no stranger to Jeff Dwoskin of West Bloomfield. More than 20 years ago, Dwoskin, with his brother Jonathan and another business partner, launched Online Marketing Company, an internet development company that was quickly sold to USWeb.
Today, the 46-year-old has been taking the Twitter world by storm and making the social network relevant again by infusing it with his creativity and comedy.
Dwoskin was not always a major player in the Twitter network. In 2012, we were sitting together at an ADL conference in Washington, D.C. I saw him post a funny joke to his Facebook profile and asked him why he wasn’t more active on Twitter. I explained that as a comedian, he would draw a much larger following on Twitter and enjoy much more engagement with his audience. I gave him some tips to grow his Twitter following. Over the next year, he took his Twitter activity to new levels.
Dwoskin’s @BigMacher Twitter account went from about 1,000 followers at that time to more than 43,000 followers today. His humorous tweets are now retweeted hundreds of times and are frequently mentioned in mainstream media publications and websites.
In September, Dwoskin made it to the top position of Evan Carmichael’s list of Detroit’s Top 100 Twitter users. The official Detroit Red Wings Twitter account jumped back into the top spot, but last month, Dwoskin’s new endeavor, @HashtagRoundup, found itself in the second spot on the list with Dwoskin’s personal Twitter account at No. 3. Suffice it to say, Dwoskin has become a Twitter guru and is revolutionizing the way people use the social network.
Hashtag Roundup came about after Dwoskin realized the popularity of the “Hashtag Wars” game started by the Comedy Central TV show @Midnight. The show’s host, Chris Hardwick, announces a hashtag and then Twitter users create funny responses to it with one winner’s tweet mentioned on the show later that night.
The first hashtag game he played was #MakeAMovieJewish, and from that moment, the comedian was hooked. Dwoskin used his quick wit and creative humor to play this game daily and then began creating his own hashtag games for others on Twitter. Eventually, he came up with @HashtagRoundup in November 2014.
This month, Dwoskin, his wife, Robyn, and business partner Scott Fischler of California launched the Hashtag Roundup mobile app for iOS and Android. The endeavor creates more than 200 top-trending hashtags each month
Major international brands began contacting Dwoskin in amazement, wanting to know his secret.
With the mobile app, users receive notifications at game time and they then copy the hashtag and begin to tweet. Recent games on Hashtag Roundup have included #ZenAFilm, #FakeAstrologyFacts, #PunctuateFilmTVOrSong and #NotGreatProducts. Each month, these hashtags are included in millions of tweets.
Dwoskin regularly promotes major companies and brands using his hashtag games. He found a lot of companies don’t know how to effectively use Twitter to their benefit. Dwoskin now works directly with marketing departments to help them apply their voice to Twitter. In addition to large for-profit companies and TV shows, he’s also begun working with organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and the Surgeon General, who want to sponsor the game’s hashtags on Twitter.
For this marketing maven and stand-up comic, Facebook just wasn’t doing it for him — he wasn’t able to develop an engaged audience for his pop culture wit on the social network.
Turning to Twitter, Dwoskin found his base — people around the world plugged into the zeitgeist who were eager to engage in quick, fun games to show off their cleverness and humor.
While many will continue to question the value of Twitter, Dwoskin has found his niche and will continue to tweet his way to fame with his creative hashtag games.
Rabbi Jason Miller is a tech entrepreneur, educator and blogger. He is president of Access Computer Technology in West Bloomfield. Follow him on Twitter at @RabbiJason