I’m going to get flak for this post, but I don’t care.
I’m so frustrated that I have to write something. I love Twitter. It’s my main social media outpost, my main information source, and where I connect with a lot of my friends. But Twitter is dying, and it’s all because of you.
Tribes are killing Twitter
I’m a content curator and I spend time every morning reading content and sharing the best of what I find that day, on topics like social media, technology, marketing, and website and mobile design. I look first to Feedly where I can review the latest posts from the bloggers I trust. Then I go to a Twitter List of my favorite Tweeps.
That’s where the problem is. It’s been happening for a while, but today it really drove me crazy. Three tweeps shared the same post with the same title. It sounded like a useful article, but when I clicked to read it, the content was actually mediocre and not very readable.
Continuing to scan my Twitter stream, I kept see the same posts, each tweeted by several people. They weren’t great posts that were being shared because they were uncommonly good. They were average posts being shared because these folks are in the same tribe as the author.
Spam, spam, and more spam
When I first started curating content, I used LinkedIn groups as a source. It took a lot of work to comb through the discussions and find good content. Too often, a headline looked good, but the article behind it was junk.
Later, I added Twitter to the mix. I had better success with Twitter as it was faster to scan the stream and the content shared on Twitter was much better. Over the years, I created a list of other curators who regularly shared good links. Eventually, I abandoned LinkedIn.
In the last six months or so, I’ve seen the quality of the content being shared on Twitter drop dramatically. While it’s still easier to scan the stream than use other social networks, too often clicking a link leads to junk–or at least subpar content.
It’s become a big spam-fest on Twitter. I find myself going back to LinkedIn and also using Google Plus. I’m thinking that I may try to use Facebook more or a third-party tool like Alltop.
You’re part of the problem
I know I’m not alone. I’ve heard you out there complaining about the same thing. Let’s be clear. If you think there’s too much spam, too much arbitrary link-sharing on Twitter, and you’re using a tool like Triberr to auto-tweet links yourself, then you’re being hypocritical. You’re part of the problem.
We all want traffic to our blog, preferably traffic consisting of our target audience. We’re all busy and find it hard to juggle maintaining a presence Twitter, so auto-tweeting seems like a good option. But it’s not. It’s just turning Twitter into a big blogger ad-space.
We are part of the Twitter ecosystem. We get value from promoting our content on Twitter, among other uses of it. But being part of the ecosystem means we also must protect that ecosystem by being responsible about our use of Twitter. The consequence of not being responsible is that Twitter will become less useful, lose users, and therefore stop being valuable for us, too. If you continue to contribute to the problem, you have only yourself to blame when Twitter is no longer viable.
I don’t really expect you’ll quit, though. It’s a prisoner’s dilemma situation. Everyone else is doing it, so if you don’t, you’re missing the boat. We’ve seen this story play out before in many different venues.
Which is why I’m hoping the jailor is going to step in and solve the prisoner’s dilemma. The best solution would be if Twitter banned auto-tweeting. I’m not talking about scheduled tweets here. It’s a very different thing for you to manually schedule a tweet. You have to make an effort, and if you’re taking the time to schedule the sharing of a link, you’ve probably read the content you’re sharing. The same is true if you’re using a tool like Triberr in manual mode, where you have to approve the share.
I’m talking about auto-tweeting, where an application shares links on your behalf without you having to manually do anything. I’m really, really hoping that Twitter figures out what is happening and bans third-party apps that auto-tweet. After all, Twitter has the most to lose from the practice of flooding streams.
Twitter doesn’t have a good track record of seizing opportunities or identifying and responding to problems. But it’s in their best interest to not let Twitter become a spam-playground. So I hope they will take action this time. It’s also in your best interests. So here’s hoping you’ll help the ecosystem. Take a positive action. Turn off auto-tweeting and tell your fellow tweeps that you’re #notautotweeting.
Author: Neicole Crepeau a blogger at Coherent Social Media and the creator of CurateXpress, a content curation tool. She works at Coherent Interactive on social media, website design, mobile apps, & marketing. Connect with Neicole on Twitter at @neicolec
Read more: The Future of Twitter