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Friday, 1 May 2009
Yeah, it's a rant... here's the deal: Twitter's auto DM culture has made me very salty. It's like a really bad idea happening to really good people, only...you don't want to know because you just want to strangle their handles until the vowels pop out! (That's Cynnergist talk for 'Unfollow'.)
On the back of having received so many of these, I couldn't help myself with the following tweet:
I've heard Twitter being compared to a cocktail party, and it's a good metaphor. You're at a soiree. You don't know anyone, because you heard about it via a friend of a friend of a cousin who's the colleague of a beekeeper. You get it. You go into this room of random conversations, and you size people up by what their clothing and bearing tell you about them (aka Twitter Bios):
- the Really Beautiful Girl with inoffensive manners,
- The Serious Business Guy with the Armani suit screaming moneymoneymoney,
- The Spiritual Guru who's got a sense of humour as she entertains some folks with stories by the buffet table.
Now, would you actually make your next move by walking over to all of these distinct personalities by saying the same thing, like:
“Hi! Increase your followers by 16,000 in 30 days!”
“Go to this link to look at my grandma's new snuggie robe!"
or “Try this product to maximise your potential to a successful run on 'Britain's Got Talent'!
If you're not in the least psychotic, you wouldn't do this. Ever. If you disagree, then have a good weekend with lots and lots of vodka, because you are officially useless; you need to be with other lower primates compatible with your habitat.
While there aren't any fast rules on Twitter (yet), I do think it's prudent to approach the TwitterVerse with the same manners you'd treat people in the physical world. Am I being fussy? Maybe. But am I wrong? I don't think so.
Here are the categories I've seen so far in the DM space:
The Polite HalloHallo – This person sends a fairly benign message hoping that you fulfil your inner Dalai Lama and with the sustenance of the Spirit Angels and the books touted on the Oprah Book Club, you evolve into the next incarnation of Buddha/Jesus/Elvis/Soupy Sales. These folks aren't the problem, so if this is you – move on, there's nothing to see here.
The 'How Can I Help You?' vibe. These bleeding hearts approach like LOA terrorists, trafficking like businesses, all in the name of friendship - but that's okay, because it's All About You. Please... Chances are if you send out this kind of message, you risk putting people off because you want information from someone without giving ANY about yourself, and by doing it in an automated way, it comes across as banal and insincere and is arguably the phoniest form. At least the businesses are clear in what they're after. What the heck is your deal? Why do you want to act as if you're my best friend? Why would you make me cry, write mournfully in my journal, listen to My Chemical Romance during the daytime after you make me realise that my life has been so bleak until you reached out to me and CARED about my life??? (Oh, the sadness, more kleenex...).
The 'Please go to this site and help my business' vampires. As abhorrent as the emotional hijackers might be, this category inspired the rant, and these folks are making quick progress in lowering the TwitterTone. Think I'm exaggerating? Automated introductions are in aggregate making the Direct Messaging Service unusable because no 3rd party Twitter client can distinguish between automated and manually typed messages. This creates too much inbound messaging noise for the Twitterer with more than, say, 500 follows to actually have off-line conversations without exposing key personal details in public (such as their email accounts or Skype/Gchat Ids) to get around the problem because they can't use the DM inbox. To prove this, how many Twitterers actually state in their bios that they don't return DMs? Exactly.
So, Difficulty + Rudeness = I Ain't About To Click On ANYTHING You're Talking About.
The RTs and #TwiHighFives supportive of the above tweet suggest that others view this just as passionately. So if you see yourself in this, Beware. Rethink. Enjoy the Weekend. If You Can.