December 30, 2007

Twitter Litter Control - Don't Spam Me with Links

I recently jumped into a Twitter discussion between Shel Israel and Guy Kawasaki, both of whom I follow (I'm currently not following Guy for the reasons referenced in this post, but maybe he'll cut down the Truemors links and the bother-value ratio will improve; then I'd follow him again.

The reason for my popping into Shel's comment to Guy was that I agreed with Shel about the annoyance factor from the inordinate number of tweets (oh lord i hate that word) Guy posts that are nothing more than links to mainstream news stories on Guy's business site, Truemors.

A typical Guy Kawasaki tweet? Cat Returns After 7 Years shelisrael shelisrael @guykawasaki Just once, I'd like to follow a url from you that did not take me to Truemors. Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @ shelisrael Why? Are they not interesting? Here's one for you then: shelisrael shelisrael @guykawasaki That was diverse, but my baby is 35. I just wish you would converse more & promote less. It would put me more on Truemor's side

Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @shelisrael What if I don't feel like conversing? Is it a requirement to bare my soul with every tweet? jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki no, but it is a requirement that you not link-spam on twitter.

Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane What is the definition of link spam? Why not just not follow me?
jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki I want to follow you, not truemors. Why not start a twitter ID for truemors.

Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane Actually, there is one. It has all the Truemors in it. Here's the thing: my feed is the 3rd-4th best source. It "works" jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki OH you DO have a Truemors twitter account. So why double duty the links?

Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane 2736 people follow me. About 300 follow Truemors. What would you do? jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki maybe tinyurl's the problem. if I KNEW you were doing a Truemors link for the 20th time, I'd skip it and just read YOUR stuff.
Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane Then you can skip anything that comes in via Twitterfeed. All of those are truemors. jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki thanks for the tip. still it's your face, with peas. Could you add some personality? As is, how is it not bot-ish? jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki re: "what would you do," I would decide why only 300 people are following truemors. Has the over-linking increased the follows?

Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane I never promote @truemors. It started way after @guykawasaki. I took @guykawasaki and ran with it.

jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki you asked what I would do if I had 2000+ followers and my company/client had 300. Constant gratuitous links would not be it. Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane You and I define gratuitous differently. Truemor is my labor of love. I think it's highly interesting stuff. If you'd rather hear Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane about my cat rolling over, then you're going to be disappointed with my tweets. jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki - So you love the business and every piece of content you link to? You are linking specifically to stories you love? Ok then.

jeneane sessumjeneane @guykawasaki but you're linking to truemors stories almost constantly. Are you in love w/ truemors or the content there?
Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane What is the difference between loving Truemors and its content? It's the same thing.
jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki, by the way I have no prob whatever you want to do--just trying to point out more than a few people are like: alright already!

Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane Fair enough. And honestly, not sarcastically or bitterly, if they don't like it, they should not follow. No harm, no foul.

Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane There are six or so truemorists. I have total faith in all of them to post very interesting stories. We now moderate non-truemorist
Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane so more or less, no "crap" will appear on Truemors.
Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane This is not to say you'll love every story. But you can't say that about NPR, CNN, NYT, IHT, WS jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki they are not people. you are a person. i don't follow those entities, and I don't follow truemors.

Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki SF Zoo director said the tiger's cage wall was too low!

jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki you just sent me to a broken link, and I saw that story on drudge 5 hrs ago. ok i'll stop bashing my head against the wall now. Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane Link worked fine for me. We'd love to have you as a truemorist since you're so on top of the news.

jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki how much does it pay?
Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane Goes here: If it went to the blank AP page, how did you see it in Drudge? jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki the news that the wall was too short was all over drudge a few hours ago (2-3 story links).
jeneane sessumjeneane @guykawasaki it still goes to a blank AP page for me -- can someone else check guy's link? maybe it's my browser?
jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki okay reports from others are that the link still goes to an AP blue page. Just trying to help. sheesh! Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane wow, that is bizarre. I go here: jeneane sessum jeneane @guykawasaki - Strraaange! ok well i have to go to sleep. i'm sure everything will make sense when i wake up. ;-)

Guy Kawasaki guykawasaki @jeneane I can't control it. I pasted in the story link and Twitter put in the tinyurl!


...all of which begs the question: should we be trying to control conversation on twitter or should we be participating in conversations that develop organically on twitter. Sure, there is room for both. For everything. Twitter is wide open if you can fit wide open in two lines of text. But spamming me continual links to mainstream news stories that I can see on 10 other sites is not talking to me, it's not engaging me. IT'S YOUR FACE WITH A BOT DOING THE WORK

It's broadcast, old boss-new boss, it's like metametaspam - you have a site that aggregates news from other sites and then you aggregate it again for me in a feed I subscribe to expecting to hear from you.

Maybe I'm expecting too much of the Twitter crowd. And maybe that's why blogging still gives me what I need.