What Twitter Doesn’t Need

For all its hype and status as media darling – turn on any news and you’ll see something about ‘tweeted today’ – Twitter is really struggling to become.

More. Better. To reach. To fulfill the promise that maybe never existed in the first place.

Good ideas, everyone’s got one

Here are a few of the ‘save Twitter’ or ‘how to make Twitter suck less’ posts I’ve read and shared of late:

What Twitter Can Be. Long read, very smart by VC Chris Sacca. As always, I’m like real human people it needs to be about that.

Some people think Twitter needs Nuzzle. Filters and controls, I’ve been typing that for years.

I totally respect HBR author Alexandra Samuel for asking Buffer to remove her content from their suggestions, disappointed about How Bots took over Twitter.

1244318836blockedWhat’s not helping.

If it’s not part of the solution, you know what it is.

Celebrities reading Mean Tweets may be fun, but celebrity Twitter feuds – real or fake – don’t help. Or at least to me, aren’t going to do anything to make people want to spend more time on Twitter. Time matters.

Random changes from TBTB don’t do it any favors. Seriously, why zap wallpaper Twitter? Sharing block lists seems like something that should be automatic, not make the user’s work for it. By hand HUMAN curation via Project Lightning, I’ll believe when I see it.

Horrid, manipulative, self-involved navel-gazing first world problem tweets pretending to be inventive storytelling does not elevate Twitter into some kind of art form. (No really, I hated this. Tweet 53 made my blood boil and the non-shock and subsequent pandering of tweets 60 and beyond… bleep bleeping BLEEP. YMMV.)

Gimmicks and stunts aren’t solutions. Attacks, trolling and threats are common place, while real human conversation isn’t. Read Facebook comments on any media story covering ‘news of the Twitters’ and it’s rife with ‘still don’t get Twitter’ or ‘that’s why Twitter sucks.’

R-O-I are three of the most dangerous letters in business, social media ruined as its used solely to sell crappy products, horrible services, and holy terrors, build personal brands. Ergo people who once loved the platform are either fleeing or unfollowing en masse (but leaving all that automated link dumping behind).

I share too many links (relative to conversation), I’m muting when I should probably be unfollowing, I’m ‘using’ Twitter for myself, my career – which admittedly makes me part of the problem. The solution? If I knew, I’d put it in my cover letter.

You: Has the magic died? Are you still there out of obligation, for the social shares and occasional chat? What would make Twitter better for you, professionally and personally?

P.S. If Twitter would give me the source filters on the native, mobile apps like there are on TweetDeck, I’d be ever so grateful.

Image credit: Bluntcard, sometimes NSFW but funny.
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Please don’t change MY Twitter

Many changes afoot at Twitter.

Dear Twitter, The reason everyone uses someone else’s apps for Twitter instead of yours or your web interface – it’s because they are BETTER.

Best from the Rest

TweetDeck. Used to be awesome, which is why I use the old pre-Twitter buyout build. It allows for: Scheduling, I time-shift my reading, and schedule tweets so as not to bombard all 14 followers who might be paying attention; Organizing by lists, groups, searches into columns; and Filtering by apps, which is my favorite old feature; my stream doesn’t include FourSquare updates and Paper.li and I like it that way.

HootSuite. Pretty good, does a lot of the things TD does like handling multiple accounts. It also allows me to ‘automate’ the one blog feed I know I’ll promote – mine.

Though I wish I could clear mentions and messages I’ve seen, it has a nice interface for reading, organizing, scheduling and a solid iPad app. It also includes someone’s Klout score in their profile, if you’re into that sorta thing.

Twitter bought TweetDeck because it was so popular. TweetDeck was popular because it was powerful, gave users a variety of options and controls. Twitter then ruined TweetDeck – it stripped away the very flexibility and customization that made it a hit. Boo.

Have it MY way.

Companies like Buffer and HootSuite, they’re getting marketing types to pay for Pro versions. Is it a matter of user fees, like App.net seems to think?

Ads supported by eyeballs? Back-end features for the brands plying their wares? Plenty have written, myself included, posts about Twitter’s impending demise and the moves they could make to stop it.

Reclaiming control of their API – this is supposedly how Twitter will make money, by killing its openness.

Who knows? What I do know is that Twitter seems set on defining what it should be and should not be – for the user. It’s kinda like giving me a dozen eggs, but telling me I can only use them for omelets, no cookies or cakes or french toast allowed.

From where I sit, that’s the wrong move. I think Twitter needs to let us decide what OUR Twitters will be and – in ancient news, then figure out how to make that profitable.

Maybe Twitter is a news service; maybe it’s a microblog; maybe it’s something totally different. Maybe an ‘active’ not-fake user IS someone who just reads but seldom tweets. And maybe some of us want to link with other networks, use other apps and clients. Certainly that mileage will vary.

FWIW MY Twitter would let me decide what’s noise, what “via” apps to filter; how to best connect with others, what I want to automate, what I will do myself, and what apps and services I’ll use to get the most out of Twitter. If I had enough options to make it truly mine and work for me, I might even pay to use an ‘official’ Twitter.

Are these 3rd-party crackdowns salting your Twitter game? If it changes too much from what YOU like, would you stop using it? 

Photo Credit: Geek and Poke, some of the best tech comics around.

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Unfollow Friday, Redux

Seems to be going around. It’s your Twitter, do whatever the hell you want. Promise you, that be my plan.

Unfollow Friday, Part Three, Act LDXV, Version 4.7

Whenever I do this I nix mostly news, bots, RSS feeds – anything that’s push only. (Fare thee well Social Media Today; you’re still in the Reader). I also look at people, what value I get from what they tweet, very WIIFM per my Twitter rules.

My follow/unfollow strategy of the moment includes:
someecards.com - Your repeated attempts to follow and unfollow me on Twitter will continue to be ignored.

  • Not giving two wits about your Klout score, though I’ve been tempted to peak at what influence PeerIndex says I don’t have, just to see.
  • Automation overload. Tools are nice, scheduling works but too much of a good thing – that’s getting some more unfollows, especially since I can now Circle you on Google+. Until you figure out how to program and noise that up too.
  • Platitudinal randomness. I like quotes, I get quotes but random tweets of “time is like an ocean, make your bed” aren’t moving my furniture these days.
  • My streams a little organizationally challenged, so seeing if following lists makes things any easier.
  • Profile pictures of bacon or kittens, that’s just cheating. Dancing, animated avatars, please say no.
  • Content, engagement, fun, interest. Winner, winner, winner… that’s what I want, from a funny feed like OHnewsroom or a clever blogger who gets it, whether they tweet 10 or 50 times a day.

Insert whiny chorus of [whah whah ‘need to get more from Twitter‘ whah] here. Think I’ve zapped a few dozen this week, moved a few people to Lists or Google+ instead. This is of course requires looking at the streams to see what’s what, which has another benefit: I’m noticing people again and actually taking the time to be social. Whataya know.

What moves you to break out the unfollow button? Besides posts like this.

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Google+. One network to rule them all?

I used to think that what Facebook was doing ‘wrong’ was not giving people more control over their audiences, what they share with whom.

Is Twitter random?

I agree with most of Mitch Joel’s points on Twitter, but for the reason that Twitter is [not] random. People use Twitter for:

  • Easy IM chatting tool with friends, share Tumblr posts.
  • Lifestream to anyone or no one listening, except us slimy marketers of course.
  • Business pros like to connect with other like-minded professionals, quickly and simply.
  • Marketers want to pimp their wares and spammers want to give me free iPads and cheap Viagra.

someecards.com - I can't wait for Google Plus to reunite me with everyone I blocked on Facebook.I have a personal Twitter account that is interest-specific. Some nice friendships have developed as my friends and I chat, get to know each other. My 3HatsComm about is about networking with peers and potential clients. Nothing random about them.

Facebook is the reunion

Tisha Berg wrote something to that effect in a comment. Once the initial rush of connecting with old school chums, far flung family members, the fervor dies down. Fun to play your BFFs in some games, but after a while it’s about you: where you’ve been, posting what your kids are doing. Look at me.

When you open up Facebook to ‘Friend’ anyone – unless you put them in a List via the labyrinth of privacy settings – you run this risk of your boss seeing that nekid keg stand picture your idiot roommate from sophomore year decided to upload and tag. Beyond the embarrassing and career damaging, there’s the irrelevant… too many updates that have nothing to do with what interests me right now.

Google+ tries to Circle the ‘problem’

In creating its network Google counters the Facebook List with a Circle. The concept – other than to attract folks to its cloud and gather data to perfect search, sell ads – I think is to give me control so I can:

  1. Write any old thing I want to share with anyone.
  2. Post the ‘hey look at my EPIC World Changing blog’ link for everyone to ignore at their leisure.
  3. Maybe chat up with friends about my favorite TV shows with only those people on that page or hangout having access, other personal and professional connections being none the wiser that that’s really how I spend my time. :-) Emoticon for accessory. Or not:
  4. Share the ‘cruising vacation wackiness photos’ with the few friends I trust enough not to rebroadcast or tag it, with privacy settings that mean it’s not findable anywhere else. – HA! Believe that, I have THE real estate deal for you; there’s a big SHARE link under everything.

Different is good
someecards.com - Google Plus reminds me of my job in that I have no idea why I'm there or what I'm doing
I do this already, separate work (LinkedIn, Twitter) from play (Facebook, other Twitter).

Google+ is very nice, but I’m not using it differently. Yet. First thing I did was create a Twitter-Business-Blogging friends circle. When it’s more open to the general public (see also, everyone else I know – none of whom give a rat’s ass about being ‘social’) I’ll still have different circles.

What’s still missing?

If it’s not the networks that are broken, then it’s the way I use them? Or rather the way I think of using them. TEHO. We’ll always use these our own ways, so what I may want to filter may not matter in any way to others. I’ve already liked how I’ve used G+ for some discussion, how it’s not being programmed or gamed – yet; just curious about control, what will be searchable and shareable to others, not to mention what happens when the API opens up as it evolves.

Are you using social networks differently? Do we need ONE network to rule them all?

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Should I pimp my old posts?

I suck at pimping my own crap. Not sure what that is all about really, just have it ingrained in me not to brag, self-promote, toot my own horn too much. Which is good as I have no musical talent. Or vuvuzela.

Wave of the Now?
someecards.com - please continue to value my outdated contributions.
That’s my name for my social media category and why I am unsure about recycling older posts, as well as rethinking the ‘now’ part of it. (Future post pending.)

Fighting spam aside, I never understood turning off comments on older posts but then I’ll get tweaked when lured to a 2-year old post that is now out of date or irrelevant. Or if the post is still current, be frustrated by a blog owner still hyping it but not replying to open comments.

I do read and comment on ‘older’ stuff – did so the other day as I get to know more of Margie’s thoughts on social media. But I find that the exception – not many seem to do so.

FWIW I’m already sharing older posts.

  • I use the LinkedWithin plugin for this, probably should dig into some analytics to see if it’s working.
  • I created a new category – which I may need to use more often – to revisit an older post with a newer one, to update it and see if it’s changed. Jack B does this, with an aggregate post of posts we hadn’t but should read posts. Clever.

I am curious about the value of promoting older stuff.

How far back is too far back, and are we better off bringing the ideas forward with a newer post? Do you get new comments, readers? If readers are lurkers, how is it helping you to see bumps in old posts are you getting new readers that way, more subscriptions or just current readers seeing the older stuff? Is there any downside?

I’m thinking of auto tweeting. Somebody stop me.

I’ve seen this ‘Tweet Old Post’ plugin. A lot.

From what I’ve seen I know I can customize it with a big fat warning. Wondering about the other settings, how low or infrequent can I go? Like once or twice a week? Which may seem silly but as I can never guarantee how much I’d be on Twitter, I don’t want to auto-hype my own posts 23 out of 34 tweets a day, especially since I don’t tweet that much. Just don’t want to put Tweet Old Post on overdrive, you know.

Think almost everyone’s using this plugin. Tips, tricks, advice? Please share.

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