Friday, February 20, 2009

Open Letter to Twitter

Twitter will be the most successful NET company EVER. Let me say that again... Most successful ever. They will be the largest digital infrastructure (see an earlier post re Twitter is the Train Tracks of the 21st century) with the exception of the Internet itself.

I am writing this open letter because I believe that Twitter is successful in spite of itself. Management (IMO) has made some assumptions based on THEIR expectations - that are just wrong. When reading this, you might not agree, or you might agree with one point but not another. Regardless - I would LOVE to hear your comments or your Tweets either way.

This started when after following my 2000th person, and trying to follow #2001 I was unable to. There was no explanation...I just clicked on the follow button and nothing happened. This is fail #1...If you block at 2000 follows HEY at least send me to a screen telling me WHY I can not follow. For a week I was emptying my cache, reinstalling browsers, etc wondering why clicking the button did not work.

Fail #2 - Once I realized this was an intentional policy, I just assumed this was in some way to stop spammer accounts. I also assumed that whatever their "algorithm" for this was just flawed, and would improve over time. You should note, that up until last week my follow to follower ratio was around 1000/1500. Not a profile of a spammer. I also note that my perception (whether or not you agree) of accounts where there is a 1/10 follow/follower relationship is that the person has that "rock star" image of themselves and that they Tweet mostly to feed their ego...not for me, but I guess that works for others.

Me? I like to follow who I want. It is a RARE occasion when I would not follow someone back immediately (If after following I did not find benefit, I would simply unfollow). One of the best parts of Twitter (up till now) is that I can control WHO and WHO I DON'T want to follow. <--- This to me is the BEAUTY of Twitter, and surprisingly (I was FLOORED) that Twitter management doesn't get this! This was my email to @EV:

"...I do MANY charitable things on Twitter, as recently as this past week via Twestival – and next week I am bringing a campaign live on twitter (I am doing this free) representing a 12 year old blind boy who will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. You have no bigger fan who RT's and Tweets all the good stuff. Witness my latest blog post "10 Commandments of Twitter" which must have been good because it has been RT'd like crazy...OK so this is what I need from you. I have a 2000/1500 follow to follower ratio …I am OBVIOUSLY not a spammer …please grandfather me in until you offer it as Freemium. Bad to just lock me up..."

@EV 's Reply:

"...We don't remove that for anyone anymore. It sounds like you want to follow more people to get attention for your account. The follow limit is there exactly to restrict that kind of behavior. People do not appreciate being followed for that reason. Sorry. ..."


WTF? FAIL #3 is who cares WHY I want to follow someone? Twitter has thrived on being OPEN - Yet you dare to DICTATE what/who/why people choose to follow someone? Since when does Twitter management speak on the behalf of their Tweeters? The beauty of Twitter is that if I found someone followed me just to "get attention for their account" AND I decided that I did not like that - I have MY OWN choice to simple unfollow that person.

FAIL #4 Twitter is not a governemnt - There is no and SHOULD NOT be a "lower class" "middle class" and "upper class" So please explain to me why MANY on Twitter aka the "Twitteratti" follow 10's of thousands i.e. jowyang , chrisbrogan,etc <---(Disclaimer they have done nothing wrong I only mention them because they are in my network and I am aware of how many they follow ).

For any of you who want to know why I want to follow more than 2000 you should note how I (everyone of us is differant) use Twitter:

1) I originally followed anyone I could find in the Social Media space ... This is an interest of mine, and also my proffession.

2) I also follow my personal friends and family...think of this as yet another group.

3) I recently found myself moving to Phoenix (where I knew nobody) from NYC - So I reached out via Twitter and followed everyone in Phoenix that I could. Had I not been able to do this, I likely would not have the new friends hear, nor proffesional oppertunities I have created via Twitter.

So I ask YOU to leave your comments here if you agree - more importantly if you think I am wrong. Most importantly if you DO agree, please Tweet @EV @Jack @biz and @Twitter:

"Let my Tweeple Go" #donttellmewhotofollow" - and PLEASE RT (if you agree)

I can't follow U back, but you r welcome to follow me @A_F

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Twitter 10 Commandments

I saw God the other day - he had just come down from the mountain (OK, so it was Camelback Mtn) and Tweeted to me in my sleep. He told me he had come to bring me the 10 Commandments of Twitter Here they are (in no particular order):

First Commandment

OK, for those who are Newbies on Twitter - you're forgiven, but only on day one. Twitter gives you a really ugly brown Twitter avatar by default. Change it, this goes a long way toward showing a "personality" behind a Tweet. I personally like real pictures of you however in some cases logos can work better for a brand.

Second Commandment

OK, the point of this one as I interpreted it is that you should never take yourself to seriously. It's ok to have typos on Twitter. It's ok to let your guard down and show emotions that you experience in real life. Let your Twitter network know the person behind the Tweets.

Third Commandment

Ya, ya I know some of you don't agree with me - but I follow very few people that have more than a 1 to 10 follow to followers ratio. One of my favorite aspects of Twitter is the engagement. If I can not have a TWO way conversation with you, your probably all about "you" anyway. Use an email list or blog instead.

Forth Commandment

When God shared this one with me, I think it was advise for a brand (be it personal or professional). It is very easy for people to "put you on the defensive". Even more so on a social network like Twitter. If someone tells you your brand (product) is crappy, or they experienced crappy service - LISTEN and learn. Although it is easy to just defend i.e. - "My product is not crappy, you must have just been having a bad day." Try asking them why, or what about their experience they found unsatisfactory.

Fifth Commandment

Ya I know, this sounds just like the fourth and Fifth commandment, but trust me it is not. This one is about how you interact with other's Tweets. If someone "@'s" you, reply. If someone you do not know Tweets about a topic you find of interest - join in the conversation. It does not matter that you know them or not - you'll likely find that you'll make a new friend.

Sixth Commandment

More than any other social network I know of, Twitter is FULL of charitable people. Lot of times Twitters are getting behind a cause. They use Twitter to either raise awareness, rally behind a cause or even raise money (Twestival is a great recent example). Not in a position to donate any money? Hey how long does it take to at least Re Tweet it to YOUR followers - perhaps they would want to donate.

Seventh Commandment

I took this one in vain for months! I signed up for a few services that would alert me when someone unfollowed me. Looking back it's like something I did when I was a little kid asking a girl on a date ("Oh ya, you don't want to go out with me? Well I think you are ugly!). Hey if you want to unfollow someone because they're no interesting, or offensive that's one thing. But think before you unfollow. If you followed them in the first place, it is likely because you found value in their tweets. Unfollowing them does nothing other than soothing a bruised ego.

Eight Commandant

OK this one is my favorite. Everyone want other people to Re-Tweet their Tweets. It is a could feeling to be popular, this is how you meet new people (who likely share your view or interest). The same way YOU like it so won't others. So Re-Tweet some of your favorite Tweeters.

Ninth Commandment

This one speaks for itself. After all, this is not some cult, and you are not some cult leader. It doesn't sound like you are really welcoming a new follow when you Tweet this - it just sounds dumb and somehow self serving...get over yourself.

Tenth Commandment

Everyone sells something on Twitter, whether you are supporting your brand, or a blog post,etc. You need to walk a fine line. It is very ok to promote something, just not all the time. Try mixing it up. Tell me about your kids or your dog. It's OK, I will be MORE likely to learn about your product or blog after I get to know you anyway.

Now before you forget these 10 commandments, start by practicing the 8th and please RT this blog post :-)


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