Twitter Needs Filters

Drew Rattray : Design vs. Functionality
Drew Rattray
| News and views on design vs. functionality balance across the communications and technology space.

Twitter Needs Filters

I jumped on the Twitter wagon a month or so ago and like almost everyone else in marketing, I used twitterfeed to abusively spam topics of interest across the Twitter interface in an attempt to gain exposure and social prowess in my field of expertise. I've had a change of heart.

While now unethical in my eyes, my strategy worked.  I basically set my Twitter on auto pilot. My twitterfeed would pull from 5 or 6 of my favorite rss feeds every hour or so.  It would automatically take a recent story and send the title of the article or blog and a link to with a tweet. I also used socialtoo to auto follow anyone that followed me.  Both services combined made it actually look like I was involved and was socializing with the the rest of the Twitter world.  My followers were increasing at what I thought was a fairly impressive rate.

But then something happened.  I actually wanted to socialize with Twitter.  I discovered that people like me were just... spam.  Twitter Spam.  It's actually out of control in my eyes.  People tweeting just to tweet.  They don't even know what they are tweeting most of the time by using twitterfeed.  It's not original contributions.  Robots talking to robots, following robots who followed them.

However, In some cases, I think it's fine.  Like with the TMCnet twitter.  This tweets every article we publish.  That's all it does.  It's not meant to be social.  It won't direct message you.  It won't @ you.  It won't RT (retweet) you.  If you are following it, you know that's all it's going to do.  It will tell you what we published, and if you are on twitter constantly, it may be the best way we can reach you.  A glorified RSS feed for our site.  We know exactly what we are tweeting, because we wrote it.

I think Twitter could take dramatic steps at stemming the spam abuse while further increasing its user base by adding filters to the interface.  Personal preference filters to be exact.  Twitter already tracks where your tweets come from.  When I tweet from my Storm the tweet comes tagged with "from twitterberry".  When twitterfeed tweets, the tweet says "from twitterfeed".  As an example, I think Twitter should allow you to have all twitterfeed entries removed from your homepage.  In my case it would probably weed out 95% of the tweets that I follow.  Now I don't mean to just point out twitterfeed, I know there are a multitude of other services out there, but it's the one I am familiar with.  I'm suggesting there could be filters for all.

Now, before anyone calls me out on it, I still use twitterfeed.  It tweets my blog entries for me, and it tweets articles from sites that I feel publish some of the best SEO advice out there.  But, it does this once a day. I have shut everything else down.  Every other tweet you see now is direct from me.  While I suppose these filters would still affect my strategy on Twitter, I think it could only make it a stronger social media tool in the long run.
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