Two Things That Are Still Killing Twitter

Death of Film

Editor’s Note: I first ran this post a few years ago because I didn’t like some of the changes I saw in Twitter. IMO Twitter is a bigger mess now than it was then. Some people still blame Triberr for this and point their fingers at me because it is one of the tools I use.

You can call me an apologist if you want but I am still a fan and find that it is a very effective tool. The worth and value of a tool is usually based upon the skill of the person using it.  For example you could give me Tiger Woods’ golf clubs and ask him to use two of my old rusty clubs and chances are he would beat me every time.

What I try to do with Twitter is find more moments where I can be online and active. The benefit is that my stream isn’t filled with automated tweets. In reality I don’t have the same amount of time as I used to, especially when it seems fewer people are actually tweeting live so I have to work harder to make it work.

Anyway, I think many of my thoughts/ideas from when I first ran this post are still pertinent. Take a look at the post below and let me know if you agree.

I used a nifty service called When Did You Join Twitter to figure out that I signed up on December 30, 2008.

After four years I have seen a number of changes in how I use it as well as how others do. Not all of them are good.

I Hate AutoDms

I don’t have any scientific data to share with you about what sort of impact the AutoDm has and can only tell you that once upon a time I was guilty of using them too.

It seemed like an easy way to acknowledge new followers and to start building a relationship with them but I found them to rarely give me the warm fuzzy feeling that makes me feel like anything but a number.

The AutoDm doesn’t show me that you have taken the time to read my profile or tweets so I haven’t any clue whether you find me interesting or if I am just another number you use to build your following.

I have built real friendships with people I met online and know that there are real people on the other side of the keyboard but those relationships started because of the personal touch.

Twitter is Like a Cocktail Party Or Barbecue

Twitter is like a barbecue or cocktail party. It is a place to meet people and talk. The AutoDm reminds me of the sleazy man/woman who approaches you at a party with only one thing in mind and it is never with your best interests in mind.

It is an immediate turnoff.

I don’t have a problem with Internet marketers, brands or businesses trying to sell things online. All I ask is that you at least pretend to care about more than what is in my wallet.

Problem Number Two- Broadcast Is Not Engagement

The second challenge and one that is probably far more serious is the proliferation of people/brands/businesses that are using Twitter as a broadcast channel and not for engagement.

Twitter is noisy and cluttered because it is filled with Tweets promoting posts, reviews, sales and all sorts of other crap. It wasn’t always like this and I am well aware that I am part of the problem.

That is because Triberr is one of the biggest sources of traffic for my blog and the primary traffic driver for promoting posts through Triberr is Twitter.

If I want people to pump out my posts to their followers I need to reciprocate so it means that I can send out a large number of tweets in a short time.

A Solution

My solution is two fold:

  1. I try to make a point to engage as frequently as possible on Twitter so that my stream is not all links.
  2. I try to make sure the content I share is relevant, interesting and useful to my followers.

It is not a perfect solution but at the moment it does the best job of meeting my needs without completely alienating the community I am working to build.

What About You?

What about you? Do you use Twitter? Do you like it? Do you agree/disagree with me?

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  1. Casey E. Palmer February 12, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Hey Jack,

    I’m a Twitter user from June 2008 onward myself, and 41,300 tweets and 2,800 followers later, I agree — it’s just not like it used to be. I’ve written on this topic myself, and here in Toronto, there used to be a thriving scene around Twitter… but only if you engaged in person.

    Many of the friendships I’ve made through Twitter are still alive and kicking, but few of us really use the tool as much anymore. I’ll still attend some of my friends’ tweetchats and broadcast the odd thought, but most of my use is replying to other people’s stuff, or checking my lists out when I’m bored.

    I’m waiting for whatever comes next 🙂

    And yes — death to Auto DMs. DEATH!!!


    • Jack February 12, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Hi Casey,

      Twitter used to be a hell of a lot of fun. You reminded me of the Tweetups and all the people I met through Twitter.

      I remember trying to explain it to friends who couldn’t understand how you could have a conversation in 140 characters, but we did. Still do sometimes.

      Don’t know if you are on Google+, but sometimes it feels like Twitter used to or at least it does to me.

      • Casey E. Palmer February 12, 2014 at 11:04 pm

        I’m trying to get into Google+ — I really am! I recently got acquainted with Amanda Blain who has over 3.5M followers there, and we chat about it, but it’s hard to add another social network to the myriad of time I spend online already 🙂

        Maybe if it were my full-time job or something.

        It’s encouraging to know that there’s still a sense of community out there — perhaps I just need to find a good starting point like I did on Twitter with my first Tweetup. That’s likely what’s missing in my personal Google+ equation.

        Must think on this some more!

  2. Nick Kellet February 12, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Well said.

    The craftsman and the tool

    I’m a auto DM hater myself, and yes it kills Twitter

    Twitter fancies being a IM play – hence adding photos to DMs.

    So they won’t fix that.

    And you have to mix broadcasting with conversing. Twitter is not a read all experience. You read bits so you have to be able to re-share the same content.

    Most marketing people under promote their content.

    Well said!

    • Jack February 12, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Hi Nick,

      Sometimes I wonder if Twitter has fallen prey to the try to be all things to all people “thing” that afflicts so many.

      DMs have always been a bit problematic.

      Without conversation Twitter will die a slow and ignoble death or so I think.

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