The problem with everyone getting all aTwitter

August 4, 2009 by Dave Haynes

I have mostly stopped even looking at Linked In because it has turned into a self-promotional swamp, in which people pose questions in discussion groups in a very slightly veiled effort to hype themselves or their pots and pans.

The only thing I find fascinating about Linked In now is when people I’d never imagine would use it suddenly pop up, and ask for recommendations. They clearly think they may need to make a career change.

I use Twitter is a means of monitoring comments and news about the DS industry, and a couple of things I have an interest in. I also use it to drive blog traffic. I see Twitter as having two constituencies. One is the somewhat absorbed populace that needs to know what their friends are doing, and tell them what they are doing, 24/7.  The other, newer and smaller group is those people on there to learn, drive awareness of their products and services, or business network. I am absolutely in the latter camp, and these groups can merrily co-exist.

The problem is volume, and the lines between those groups getting blurred. I now follow about 100 accounts, and using TweetDeck, the thing is bobbing up on to the screen all day long. MOST of it is good and useful. Some is not. And there are people who now seem to spend all day on there and have grown to believe their every thought and move fascinates followers.

As a busy fella, like all of us, I am interested in a tweet that says a company just added a new bell or whistle or bagged a big deal. That’s why I follow that person or company. It is faster than press alerts and the 140-character limit means companies have to get quickly to the point.

I am NOT interested in a tweet saying, “Going for Thai tonight!!!” or “American Idol rocks!!! Can’t wait for next season!” I have, in fact, “unfollowed” (strange new word) several industry people who actually have interesting things to say but couldn’t help banging out nonsense much of the day about what they were seeing as they made their way to 5 o’clock.

Don’t care. And it was eating up my time glancing at that crap.

I got into a virtual bun fight with a guy last week after I suggested his company really didn’t want him doing idle tweets about his candy cravings on a Twitter account with the corporate handle on it. We made nice.

I am not entirely perfect, having posted something the other day about driving up north with the kids, but that was to let people know I was out of reach for 48 hours. Writing that you are going off the grid for holidays, as Bill Collins did today, makes sense and is actually helpful to Bill and people who know and work with him. 

So here’s a suggestion that may stop a little of this madness and allow us to optimize this thing and win back a little of our finite time. Get two Twitter accounts. One for business and focused interests, the other for telling your friends and family you saw Katee on the weekend and she looked fab. If you can’t bear to do that, consider yourself unfollowed, at least by me.

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