Over on Global Geek News, Jeremy “pcnerd37″ Bray has written a post called “Twitter Etiquette” and a follow up unexpectedly called “Twitter Etiquette Part 2.” While the first post makes a few good points as well as a few I disagree with, the second post is on the defensive and expands on the motivation behind the list including this line which I think is the most telling. Jeremy says:
“While I won’t name names, but it is people like them that flood everybody’s Twitter feeds which ruin the experience for their fellow users. I don’t like to stop following people, but if you have an unhealthy obsession with Twitter that creates a less enjoyable user experience for me, I will stop following you. The purpose of my list is so that people don’t create a less enjoyable experience for others.”
The biggest problem here is that he’s assuming everyone has the same use of this tool that he does. Or worse, that they shouldn’t be allowed to use the tools in other ways than he does. The thing about services like Twitter is that who you are connected to is completely up to you and each person will find the best mix of how they want to use it, and how they want to use it for other people. Jeremy assumes that because he doesn’t enjoy the way some people use the service, that other people must not enjoy it as well. He’s completely overlooking the fact that there are certainly some people who do enjoy the way these people use the service, and acting like he’s being put out by having to deal with the way some people use it that don’t conform to his etiquette rules. In reality, if hs doesn’t like how other people use the service he should just stop following those folks rather than trying to change how they use it.
That’s not to say he doesn’t have some valid points. Some of the things he lists as annoying I think are pretty annoying too, but I’d never tell people they weren’t allowed to do them, I’d tell them in person I thought it was annoying and if it bothered me enough I’d just stop following them. It’s pretty easy to guess some of the folks he’s referring to and the sheer number of people who follow those people proove that not everyone thinks it’s as annoying as he does. I’ve got a few more notes on some of his specific points after the jump.
1. Conversations that require more more than two @ replies should be moved over to a direct message.
Totally disagree, if only because I’ve joined some very interesting discussions after seeing them happen between two people on Twitter, as well as had valuable contributions made to my own discussions by people who were watching from the side lines. I will say that when two people very regularly have conversations with each other that no one else could contribute to because the topic is private or following up on something that happened off twitter it’s a bit annoying and would probably be better done over IM. I’ve stopped following some couples because of this kind of activity.
2. If you are going to Twitter events, do it on an alternate account.
Also disagree. Personally I don’t like reading when people are Twittering about events and simply drop them, if they are interesting enough people I’ll add them back after the event is over. I also know that I’ve had a ton of people start following me after I’ve twittered events so I think it’s way more valuable than it’s given credit for.
3. You should not twitter more than once every 15 min unless it is in reply to another twitter user.
Sure, I’ll go with this for the most part.
4. Do not follow massive amounts of random Twitter users for no reason.
What?! This one is nuts, why the hell does he care how many people other people follow? This doesn’t effect him in anyway and can’t possibly be considered etiquette on any level. Really man, you are not king of the web. Don’t act like it.
5. Automated Twitter messages should be done on a second account.
Yes and no. If you are talking about the “there’s a new post on my blog” auto messages I think that’s prefectly OK to post to a main twitter account. If you are talking about the “I’m streaming live!” messages that show up every few minutes then I not only think they are dumb and shouldn’t be on your main account, I think they are dumb and shouldn’t be on a second account either. This is simply a matter of not using one tool to try and get people to use another tool. Most of those “streaming” services offer their own form of notification and if I cared I’d follow it there. If I don’t, these messages come across more like spam.
6. Don’t post the same thing to multiple services.
7. If you have many projects that you want to plug updates on Twitter, make dedicated accounts for each project.
I also agree with this, and admit to have broken it from time to time myself.
Those were his main points, here’s the ones from his follow up post:
1. Messages should not be split up over multiple Twitter posts.
Disagree. Audience is what is important here, and sometimes there is a different audience between a blog and your twitter account. If you are writing something specifically for your twitter audience then take as much space as you need. If people are following you and don’t enjoy it, they will stop following you. Simple solution.
2. Twitter is not a chat room.
Disagree. It’s the internet, everything is a chat room. The whole point of all of this stuff is to help people communicate better.
3. Posting the exact same message multiple times should be avoided at all costs.
Ok that’s my rant for the evening. Stop back tomorrow for more fun and bitching and moaning.
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