twitter as a one way communication vessel??

Gwen twittered this on Monday and I’ve been noodling on it for a bit. The noodling was fast since I brought something similar up on twitter the week before 360|Flex, so my thoughts were already kinda ordered.

Gwen asked if it was ‘assholish’ for someone to have 5000 followers and follow 0.

My answer, yes, it is. I don’t have the slightest idea why twitter exists, but I believe it to be to build community and allow (140 character) conversations to take place.

twitter isn’t a PR engine, and it isn’t (well it seems to be actually) an ego machine. I don’t care who it is, but there’s no one I’d follow that isn’t actually engaging in a conversation. Following no one in return just says (to me, at least) that you don’t care what anyone has to say. If that’s the case, then why Twitter? Other than ego building by counting how many (largely spammers I’d guess) people are hanging on your every word.

the 360flex twitter account, get’s tons of spam followers. Not only do we not follow them, but I go in and actively block the, so they can’t follow.

I gotta say if twitter turns into merely another water mark of who the next Scoble is or who’s as popular (heaven knows why) than Jason Calcanis, I’m not sure it’s worth participating, there’s other options.

14 thoughts on “twitter as a one way communication vessel??

  1. Joshua Post author

    That is why I use plurk (www.plurk.com) a lot more. It really forces the two way communication, and rewards for it. Visually it is much different then twitter, but that isn’t a bad thing after a few min. Now if only they made an API so we can have a proper AIR app for it.

  2. Steve Withington Post author

    Interesting points. I suppose your example of the 5000 followers and follow 0 could be extended to bloggers who don’t allow comments too. It seems like, well for me anyway, that I’m still trying to figure out where twitter really fits. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s difficult enough ‘following’ 30 or so people. How in the heck can someone ever follow hundreds, or thousands of people. For me, sometimes it just becomes noise in the background (I use twhirl). Other times, when I tend to like it best, it can become more like a large instant message tool. But even then, if you are following someone and they aren’t following you in return, how can you ‘reply’?

  3. Rey Bango Post author

    I totally disagree. Twitter was meant to be used as decided by the specific user, hence the reason that there are so many twitter services out there. The @jquery is a prime example of where we’re able to share really good info with the jQuery community without ending up in useless banter via Twitter. The jQuery community have even scolded me for too much noise when I’ve replied to tweeters via the @jquery account. They only want news and tips, not conversation. The good thing about Twitter is that users don’t have to follow you if they don’t want to and if they really want a conversation, IM and email is better suited for that.

    There’s nothing that says that Twitter is solely meant for 2-way conversations and if you’re not adjusting your specific account to what your followers are expecting then you’re not using Twitter to it’s fullest and that in itself would be more "assholish".

  4. Dan Post author

    whether its "the right way" to use it or not, twitter does act as an extremely cheap and effective way to start a text message campaign for a small business… and even for large organizations (like NASA). There are plenty of people using it for conversation, some use it for life status updates, some use it for pr and short news updates, i don’t get whats wrong with that?

  5. John Wilker Post author

    @ Josh, Yeah plurk's UI was a bit hard for me to follow, but the idea of the karma points is interesting for sure!

    @Steve, yeah I agree. Blogs with no comments, I don't read. Blogs without comments are newspapers. That's a good point on the replying when they aren't following. I've run into that once or twice myself, and it's frustrating.

    @Rey, That's an interesting point! I guess I'm used to the 360|Flex community who like to converse, but you're right, that's a community thing, and some just want info and no conversation, very valid.

    @Dan, 'wrong' might be a strong term. I feel it's wrong, but that's just me. My take (and you're right there is no user guide) is that it's a tool for conversation. Sorta like a blog.

    I know many use it like you say, NASA, etc. I don't follow a single one of those. oh wait, I do follow tiny Buddha… but that was a lark, more than anything.

  6. Rey Bango Post author

    You should take a poll of the 360Flex users to see what they think. I was surprised to find out how many folks were irritated by the conversations. Even something like posting "Sites Using jQuery" pissed people off to the point that I had to create @jquerysites. The users that are quiet are the ones that worry me the most because many just don't want to be confrontational or won't take the time to say anything. Then they just bail.

  7. John Wilker Post author

    @Rey, good idea. certainly can’t hurt. I suspect I know the answer based on the amount of traffic directed at @360flex, but asking is the sure fire way, LOL

  8. John Wilker

    @Rey, good idea. certainly can't hurt. I suspect I know the answer based on the amount of traffic directed at @360flex, but asking is the sure fire way, LOL

  9. Dan

    whether its "the right way" to use it or not, twitter does act as an extremely cheap and effective way to start a text message campaign for a small business… and even for large organizations (like NASA). There are plenty of people using it for conversation, some use it for life status updates, some use it for pr and short news updates, i don't get whats wrong with that?

  10. Rey Bango

    I totally disagree. Twitter was meant to be used as decided by the specific user, hence the reason that there are so many twitter services out there. The @jquery is a prime example of where we're able to share really good info with the jQuery community without ending up in useless banter via Twitter. The jQuery community have even scolded me for too much noise when I've replied to tweeters via the @jquery account. They only want news and tips, not conversation. The good thing about Twitter is that users don't have to follow you if they don't want to and if they really want a conversation, IM and email is better suited for that.

    There's nothing that says that Twitter is solely meant for 2-way conversations and if you're not adjusting your specific account to what your followers are expecting then you're not using Twitter to it's fullest and that in itself would be more "assholish".

  11. Joshua

    That is why I use plurk (www.plurk.com) a lot more. It really forces the two way communication, and rewards for it. Visually it is much different then twitter, but that isn't a bad thing after a few min. Now if only they made an API so we can have a proper AIR app for it.

  12. Rey Bango

    You should take a poll of the 360Flex users to see what they think. I was surprised to find out how many folks were irritated by the conversations. Even something like posting "Sites Using jQuery" pissed people off to the point that I had to create @jquerysites. The users that are quiet are the ones that worry me the most because many just don't want to be confrontational or won't take the time to say anything. Then they just bail.

  13. Steve Withington

    Interesting points. I suppose your example of the 5000 followers and follow 0 could be extended to bloggers who don't allow comments too. It seems like, well for me anyway, that I'm still trying to figure out where twitter really fits. Let's face it, sometimes it's difficult enough 'following' 30 or so people. How in the heck can someone ever follow hundreds, or thousands of people. For me, sometimes it just becomes noise in the background (I use twhirl). Other times, when I tend to like it best, it can become more like a large instant message tool. But even then, if you are following someone and they aren't following you in return, how can you 'reply'?

  14. John Wilker

    @ Josh, Yeah plurk's UI was a bit hard for me to follow, but the idea of the karma points is interesting for sure!

    @Steve, yeah I agree. Blogs with no comments, I don't read. Blogs without comments are newspapers. That's a good point on the replying when they aren't following. I've run into that once or twice myself, and it's frustrating.

    @Rey, That's an interesting point! I guess I'm used to the 360|Flex community who like to converse, but you're right, that's a community thing, and some just want info and no conversation, very valid.

    @Dan, 'wrong' might be a strong term. I feel it's wrong, but that's just me. My take (and you're right there is no user guide) is that it's a tool for conversation. Sorta like a blog.

    I know many use it like you say, NASA, etc. I don't follow a single one of those. oh wait, I do follow tiny Buddha… but that was a lark, more than anything.

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