Posts Tagged ‘tweets’

I’m growing tired of Twitter

April 5th, 2009

It took me a while to get Twitter. And then I loved it. I really loved it. I followed so called power users. I watched other people’s Twitter grades and ranks with fascination. Then decided to experiment with Twitter. And through experimentation, I learned a lot about twitter.

I’ve also discovered that I’m tired of Twitter. I’m tired of people talking about the number of followers they have. I’m tired of services like Twitter Grader and Twitterholic. I’m tired of people talking up those numbers, and numbers like how many times you’ve been retweeted, and that your value on Twitter and the interest in following you is dependent upon that. None of this matters. Relationships matter. I’ve yet to see some one explain why having 3000 followers where you engage with 0.01% of your followers, post links and retweets gives value back. I’m tired of being what amounts to a recipient of tweet spam even as I engage in it myself because I want to appear in Twitter’s search engine, get more traffic and have a high rank on Twitter’s services because Social Media people think it gives value and I want to believe they know better than me.

I’m tired of always being on with Twitter. Social media is a performance art. You’re always out there, always selling yourself. If you forget that you don’t have personal relationships with the people that you’re interacting with, you might regret it. If you want to use Twitter to get traffic to your site, attract angel investors, catch the eyes of VC people, try to get a consulting gig, you can’t go off the reservation and babble about how you’re tired, cranky, depressed, broke, dealing with family issues. Your audience doesn’t have the relationship with you to stick with you for that and you look unprofessional. You get more leeway with a personal blog, a LiveJournal account, a FaceBook account. Twitter just is always on and if you’re an introvert, this can be hard to maintain. It is tiring. I’m tired of performing and worrying about my performance being off.

I’m tired of the idea that Twitter improves relationships and develops relationships. I’ve made a few good connections on Twitter. The ones I probably am most glad of are the ones with kaplak and wikihowl. They are ones I probably would not have made otherwise. But most people on Twitter are people I follow in other spaces like LiveJournal, LinkedIn, FaceBook, mailing lists, on their blogs and IRC, who I keep up with via phone calls, at BarCamps, via e-mail and IM services, through private messages on FaceBook. The relationships that I’ve developed on Twitter don’t always feel that deep and when my friends and acquaintances on other services use those services less and use Twitter more, my interest and ability to connect becomes harder because of space constraints and the noise level between their content. I really wish Twitter did what the implication was that it did. I really wish that I could go back to Twitter about 9 months ago. I really wish that as Twitter exists now, that I felt like I was getting more out of my relationships that use Twitter to facilitate them. They don’t. I’m tired of trying to make the effort while feeling like I should be getting something out of it. I’m tired of people following me for no apparent reason who never communicate with me. I’m tired of the idea that I should be getting more connected with people as I feel even less connected.

I’m tired of the hype. Biz Stone said on The Colbert Report that Twitter answered a need you didn’t know you had. That doesn’t necessarily say “Twitter is great and serves a useful need” so much as “Twitter was marketed brilliantly.” CNN talks about Twitter. FaceBook changed to look more like Twitter. News people talk about how Twitter will change how news is reported. Newspapers print Tweets. Twitter will change the world! Celebrities tweet from everywhere. Entertainment Tonight covers people who are tweeting while they are being interviewed. I get it. This is like MySpace about 2 years ago. (And we know where MySpace is going.) I kind of just want to be left alone in a world where I can use it with out everyone and their neighbor going on about how great it is. If we could get back to reporting the news instead of reporting on how people are sharing their news, I might be less tired.

I’m kind of hoping this is a phase and that I will feel better about it later. I really do like Twitter but certain parts of it are just tiring.

SocialToo is shutting down their auto-DM feature and yay! Happiness!

March 2nd, 2009

SocialToo has made an important announcement: They are no turning off their feature which allows users to send auto-DMs. This makes me extremely happy. On my primary Twitter account, I’m extremely picky about who I follow and follow back so I can avoid unwanted DMs and so I can maintain relationships I have on Twitter. I love DMs when they can be used like text messages and I get them on my phone. It is really handy as I don’t have a web browsing phone.

Because of that, if you send me a spam like DM, I pretty much will unfollow you. (If you want to thank me for the follow and point out your nifty link to your site that you think I should check out, put it out on your public timeline.) So turning off that ability is something I applaud.

Over on SocialToo’s blog entry on their change, a few people have suggested that this is bad news! It will cost SocialToo users and some of the messages being sent are legitimate. A few people have also asked how a DM that says “Thanks for the follow!” is considered spam. I don’t know how to answer them really other than to explain other two ways.  First,  it feels like spam because you’re not considering the recipient (Is this DM worth $0.10 in text messaging fees? Would a public message be just as effective? Is this personal and will I reply back to their message?) and if they might find that useful.

The other way I can explain that these auto-DMs are probably spam like involves a game of show and tell. Over on Twitter, I have an account to inform people about updates on Fan History. It has about 2,500 followers. With a rare exception, it does not send DMs and does not answer DMs. It has a lot of people who follow it trying to get autofollowers which we comply with. With that background info in mind, let me show you the DMs we get, DMs which we suspect are mostly auto-DMs. (And I haven’t read because the account content should pretty much indicate that we’re not going to respond.)

These type of messages go on for another 23 pages. Other people have problems with this behavior. See:

  • Chris Brogan: Social Media is No Place for Robot Behavior
  • Loic Le Meur: Twitter Robots Killed Me (And Why I Apologize I May Not Be Following You Anymore)
  • Canonical URL by SEO No Duplicate WordPress Plugin