Thursday, 4 September 2008

Twitter Noise and Tweetiquette

I recently had a contact tell me they have ceased to follow me due to the large amount of tech-chatter that I participate in on Twitter. Now, I have no problem with that, they are not a tech-head and I don’t want to pollute her twitter screen with my constant geeky drivel.

But, it did get me thinking, twitter has sort of become an IM service. I find myself often posting extremely uninteresting posts to people (e.g. “thanks!”) as replies. This means that the update will appear on the screens of all who are following me. Sure, I have had no complaints, but it must be quite annoying. I have to say, my screen often gets flooded with similar messages.

I do think this sort of chatter is appropriate for twitter, its fast, its light, its accessible. It’s nice to have the IM-esque use to it, it’s saves me flicking back and forward between applications. Great.

But I do not want to be polluting other peoples space - so, effective immediately, I will most likely start direct messaging those “little replies” that only really mean anything to them.

There is one problem however – Twitter in all their usability wisdom have not added a “mass delete” option for the direct messages. So you have to delete each individual DM one at a time.. FAIL.

I personally will leave them there until they create said feature. Apologies if this annoys people.

What are your thoughts on this?

Update

Following my post of this blog, this sparked some interesting conversation, I think PoppyD hit the nail right on the head with the following tweets:

Very interesting, I know exactly what you mean about 'the big names' here. I unfollowed many, but some (like @jeffpulver) still

manage to interact with their many, many followers. Yet others use their follower power as a chance to get on their soapbox :(

On top of this, many of the “big names” pretty much just spam, they don’t respond to messages/comments etc.  Now this is not to suggest they are bad people, they are probably just incredibly busy. But I find myself asking “do I need this in my Twitter space?” Why the hell do I want to a subscribe to another mailing list of 140-char spam mail?! Well, I don’t! For the most part all the “big names” are doing is regurgitating their RSS feeds, which are all in my Google Reader.

As Poppy quite rightly said, there are also big names that almost use Twitter as a soapbox to air their personal views but don’t respond to criticism/debate. I think this is a common case of “big people with a big mouth”. Which is not on, no one likes criticism. But no-one should not have to have the virtual equivalent of being yelled at by a moron and not having the opportunity to get your own point across. Others, like Robert Scoble often get in to (sometimes heated) debates, and whether right or wrong, they always argue their point with others, and are open to reason. To me, this is exactly what social software is about!

So, I will be slowly un-following some big names. It’s not a personal insult, but I want Twitter to go back to what it used to be. Fast and effective.

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2 comments:

  1. Interesting post, I try to switch to DM if it looks like I'm having a little love-in with just one other person, long conversations in the main timeline are annoying for others. And again, I know what you mean about saying 'thanks', it's not the most interesting thing in the world! But at the same time it often needs to be said :-)

    One thing I will say tho, is I do like following conversations fairly often in the timeline, if the people are interesting. A lot of the people I follow follow each other and so you can watch conversations sometimes with much pleasure to be had.

    I regularly cull people though, usually those who only ever link to vids/blogs they've made and don't ever write an orginal tweet :-)

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  2. Hey Poppy,

    Thanks for the comment, it's nice to see we are on similar wavelengths. I totally agree that some things need to be said, but it's more of a case of "do all your follows need to see it too? For the most part, I guess not..

    I know what you mean about unfollowing the almost "spammy" people. There are several guys in tech that are believed "should be followed" because of who they are.. I am starting to disagree with this because even though they are great people (such as @scobleizer) and I sometimes find what they are tweeting interesting, 99% of the time, I don't click or respond.. So you have to ask, is it a waste of your twitter-space? Let alone the load on twitters already overworked-and-underpaid servers?

    I guess for me, I just want to try and improve the quality of what I see on twitter.

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