For the past few months I’ve spent much more time on Twitter and started to see some real value in it.
The flux of tweets can be overwhelming sometimes, but with some clever management, like setting up Twitter lists or different feeds, you can not only survive but truly thrive on the network.
There’s just one thing that’s really pissing me off, and if Twitter doesn’t solve it in the nearest future, the network is doomed.
No, it’s not the display of photos and videos directly on your timeline. Twitter boasts to be a ‘real-time information network’ that they are obviously trying to make much more engagement-friendly. However, this add-on made Twitter so much slower – instead of quickly skimming through a feed of information, I am now bombarded with photos that are shouting for attention, and that is really time-consuming.
And no, I am not talking about the new design of Twitter profiles that was clearly stolen from Facebook (Twitter, please use your imagination or hire a few extra designers to help you out with the next redesign).
And no, I’m not even talking about the sneaky injection of random favourites and popular tweets of people I don’t follow into my timeline, although it does deserves a separate rant.
So what is it then?
Yes, you heard me right – if Twitter doesn’t eliminate the auto-follow feature from their API or find another way to sort it out, it will soon be an online wasteland covered by birds’ skeletons.
Sure, it’s all sweet and nice to tell everyone how they “may not use or develop any service that allows for the following or unfollowing of user accounts in a bulk or automated manner. Accounts and applications that engage in this practice will be suspended.” or that “”get followers fast” applications and services are not allowed”, but let’s look at the reality.
According to SocialBro, in the past two months the number of my followers increased from 344 to 423 – that’s a 23% increase (yayyy!..).
It’d be all very exciting, if it wasn’t sad.
I only need to look at the profiles of my new followers to find this:
Mmm, so what were you telling about bulk following being illegal, again?
The most interesting thing is that the vast majority of these bot accounts follow a tad bit less than 800 people at once – they’ve clearly found a sweet-spot that doesn’t get on Twitter’s radar.
So why is it a problem?
Because it’s inflating the network with ego-centric spammers that are trying to get a follow-back from you just so that they could push their promotional material to you.
These people will not engage with others – it’s clearly impossible to actually follow what 180,000 people are doing on Twitter, and respond. And they will surely not make an effort to sort everyone into smaller, more manageable lists, because their aim is not to make meaningful connections, but rather to sell and spam your timeline with self-promotional tweets.
And it’s really getting on my nerves.
Now when I get a new follower I don’t know whether that person is genuinely interested in what I have to say or is just looking for numbers. If such trend continues, Twitter will become a desert full of ego-fanatics that are pushing out their content, but there will be no-one left to engage with it.
I personally don’t give a damn about how many people are following you. I judge you not by the number of followers you have, but by the number of direct tweets, favourites and retweets you make.
[Tweet “I judge you by the number of direct tweets, favourites and retweets you make.”]
So do me a favour: if you are, stop using the auto-follow apps and focus on building personal connections.
And if you notice some bastards that are bulk-following other people, report each and all of them as spam.
Let’s clean this place up, shall we?
QUESTION: what is the one thing that You would change on Twitter?