Friday, September 25, 2009

Web Worker Daily: Twitter Expectations

Web Worker Daily had a post about Twitter Expectations the other day. I figured it would give me a good chance to post a rant about Twitter. You can follow me on Twitter here.

Julian Smith posted a video called 25 Things I Hate About Facebook.

I find Twitter to be a useful service. All kinds of API's (Application Programming Interfaces) have popped up on Twitter and Facebook and other social networks, so things are starting to integrate nicely. My Twitter feed also goes to Facebook (you can follow me in Facebook here). I think that works out nicely. I can post to Twitter and then discuss my tweets on Facebook. I have several friends on Facebook who are not on Twitter, so it works out nicely.

That said, there are a few things about Twitter that annoy me.

1) Wanna be "social media consultants"

I know that two or three people have "gotten rich" off of Twitter and Facebook and a few other services. Then other people came along and started creating "webinars" to supposedly teach other people how to "get rich" off of social media. It's Ebay all over again. Eight times out of ten, when somebody follows me on Twitter, and I check their bio, sure enough, they describe themselves as "social media consultant". One time out of ten, it's got something to do with porn. The other one time out of ten, it's either somebody I know, or somebody who stumbled across my blog or Twitter feed and might be interested in what I have to say.

2) Autofollow bots

This goes with #1. Whenever I use certain keywords, I pick up tons of "social media consultants". All I have to do is rant about a commercial, or mention that my 5 year old, Joshua, is susceptible to marketing, and I pick up tons of "social media consultant" followers. One time I picked up 15 "social media consultants" because I Tweeted that I took my wife to a farmer's market. I guess what happens is these people, who all think they'll get rich from Twitter because of the free social media teleseminar (which is really a conduit to a very expensive "social media bootcamp") use a service that follows certain keywords. If I use the word "market", as in "farmer's market", their bots (scripts- that is, a program or service) pick up my tweet and follow me.

I see some utility in this. If I were to get involved in small business, I'd probably look for people who tweet certain keywords to see if I want to try to approach them. If I were launching a service, I'd probably want to monitor for certain things. It just really creeps me out when people auto-follow me, not because they're interested in what I say, but because they somehow hope to make money from me.

3) Running commercials

This is another problem I run into with the "social media consultants". It does happen in other markets. When my wife and I went on vacation to a resort for Memorial Day week, I posted a lot about timeshares, especially after our high pressure sales presentation (we walked away with our budget intact). I picked up a buttload of people somehow involved with timeshares on Twitter. One person, in particular, ran what I considered a commercial every other tweet. I got sick of it an unfollowed him.

Another one that drives me nuts I'm still seeing. "I just became a member of a great free site that gets you tons of followers!" followed by a link. I unfollowed a guy because he kept running it. I took a free social media teleseminar once, but I still can't see what having lots of followers actually does for me on Twitter. I'd rather have 20 followers who follow me because they're interested in what I say and do than 200 who just follow me because I ranted about a commercial and used the word "marketing". It's creepy. I almost feel bad about unfollowing that guy, because Max Lucado tweeted the same thing a few times, then said that it wasn't him and apparently his account got hacked.

That's not out of the realm of possibility. When I reviewed "Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage", I admitted that my wife and I had hit a rough spot. The next morning, a Sunday, I got up and found that, during the time period when I was in the shower, somehow under my Twitter account the following went out: "My marriage is over". It freaked both my wife and I out. I started changing every password I could think of. I still have no idea who did that, or who would have done that. The only people that I'd been talking to about the troubles we were having at that point didn't even know what Twitter was. The only person capable of hacking my account who knew would never have done it. It still freaks us out to think about that.

4) Direct Message Announcements

OK, this one doesn't have much to do with the "social media consultants", although they do it once in a while. Most of them realize it's the fastest way to lose all those tons of followers they hope to get rich from, so they don't do it. Normally, when you follow one you'll get a DM (Direct Message) from an autoresponder. Some people complain about it, but I'm not big enough on Twitter for this to be a serious problem.

One time I did get mad at somebody. He would DM me, and I assume all of his followers, every time he posted a video. This got to be a pain in the butt though. His DM's all came through at a bad time. I used to get an email and a text message every time I got a DM through Twitter. It's this person's fault that I tuned those notifications off.

One night my family and I used some of my hotel reward points to stay in Ocean City, NJ for a night. Around 2:30 AM, my iPhone chimed from a text message notifying me that I had a DM from Mr. "I just posted another video!" I couldn't get back to sleep after that. About an hour later, I took out my iPhone and sent him a DM saying "Please don't DM-spam. I see all of your posts in my main feed. Your last DM woke me up at 2:30 in the morning". Unfortunately, I think I hurt his feelings. He hasn't posted on Twitter since that night. That obviously wasn't my intent.

What do you find annoying about Twitter?
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