As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I find Twitter to be one of the best social media tools around. The fact that it only allows you 140 characters to get a message across usually means that there’s no waffle.
People genuinely think about what they want to say, and it’s a great way to connect with people you share interests with, personal and professional.
Yet lately I’ve been getting a little frustrated with Twitter – not the service itself (although the fail whale is never a pretty site). No, my frustrations lie with the way many users are spoiling what Twitter has to offer – at least for me.
I know that people use Twitter for different reasons and I have no qualms with that at all. I just feel that some use it less effectively and far more selfishly than others. So here, in no particular order, are my Top 5 peeves when it comes to Twitter use. (These are just my peeves – it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right – Twitter should be used how you want to use it).
- Shameless self-promotion. Yes, we’re only human and that means we like to talk about ourselves. Yet social media is all about the conversation and interacting – sharing others as well as yourself. There’s nothing more annoying to me than a Twitter stream from someone that is nothing but a plug for their latest blog post or product. To me, that doesn’t offer anything to the community – sorry.
- Selfish shouts. One of the reasons I love using Twitter is the way I find great new content, thanks to users I’m following recommending new blogs to check out. This has introduced some great opinions to me that I would never have been aware of otherwise. However, only recommending blog posts where you’re mentioned? Just as bad as shameless self-promotion (and possibly a little egotistical).
- Twitter DM spam. So I’ve just agreed to follow your Twitter updates, and BAM! All of a sudden you feel it’s acceptable to send me direct messages telling me to sign up to your newsletter or join this group or that forum. Sorry, no – show me that you’re offering something selflessly and I’ll find that information anyway. Bombarding me with DM’s is akin to email spam and I instantly delete that.
- Open conversations. This might be a bit contentious and I apologize if it comes across wrong – that’s not my intent. But if you feel that you’re going to have a long conversation with a particular user, can you use the DM option? Seeing half a conversation taking up every other Tweet isn’t particularly conducive to community spirit. You wouldn’t like me listening in on your phone conversation, would you?
- Competition Tweets. While it’s nice to have the chance to win something at any time, Tweeting about it every other minute is not a great way to go about it. Instead of blasting everyone in your Twitter stream, why not have the competition URL and short spiel about it in your bio?
I’m not saying that Twitter is becoming annoying per se – just some of the ways that it’s being used.
Of course, maybe I’m missing the boat altogether and it’s me that’s in the wrong and the above points are moot. I’d love to hear your opinion, and if there are any other Twitterisms that annoy you.
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