Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Social Media Problem - Twitter

First up I am going to explore my Twitter usage as it feels like it is home base and the main starting point in most of my day to day social media activities.

Twitter has become the de facto sharing site in my social media world.  I come here to share links and click on links, see what others are saying, stay up on the here and now and trade brief conversations with real life friends and online followers.  I check my Twitter stream more than any other social media outlet I currently use.

As of today I am following 607 folks, have 529 following me, am listed 17 times and follow 18 lists.  If you are familiar with Twitter you can follow anyone and anyone can follow you back (unless of course you have your Tweets locked, which I feel doesn't allow you to get the full potential of Twitter).  On Twitter I am able to follow my friends, superstar athletes, pulitzer prize winning authors and writers, tech leaders, foodies, local and national news outlets, corporate titans, CEOs and so on.

Sharing on Twitter is fantastic, feedback from Twitter users is better, but not as frequent as I would like.  The feedback I get on Twitter is actionable and direct.  I like this, but I wish I was able to have more fruitful and engaging conversations.  Twitter's 140 characters weren't built for deep conversations. I find I have to move my twitter conversations to another platform, usually email but now slanting towards Google Buzz to get that greater engagement.

Twitter's simplicity and ease of use is fantastic.  How other applications plug into Twitter is a breeze.  I hook in a host of other social media applications which push to Twitter.  From Foursquare and Gowalla, to Hype Machine, Pandora and even my Sonos system.  Qik and YouTube are also linked to share the videos I create and videos I like.  Additionally, I push some of my liked items from Google Reader into Twitter.  On top of that most websites contain the "tweet this" link allowing me to tweet an article or video clip from anywhere on the web I am consuming content.  I use Tweetdeck, Seesmic and Brizzly to post tweets from my Mac and PC and Seesmic and Twidroid from my Nexus One.

From Twitter, I push all of my Tweets into my Facebook account as well as into Google Buzz.  I push from Twitter to extend my social media life cycle and create further engagement with my Facebook friends and Buzz followers.  I will delve into both Buzz and Facebook in separate upcoming posts.

My issues with Twitter are the inability to allow for deeper more engaged conversations, both on an individual level and with a group, as well as the lack of richness of items I push to Twitter.   For instance, my Gowalla or Foursquare check-ins are simply text with a link, some text I pop in if I choose, which is added to the location of where I am.  Other platforms, notably Facebook, pull in this content in a much richer format with maps and images.

Previously I detailed some of the many applications I have plugged into Twitter.  A problem arises with the noise I am creating for my followers in my Twitter steam as I plug in additional applications (as well as the noise I am getting from those I follow using multiple applications).  When I started Tweeting I continued to plugin each and every application that I was using to Twitter.

What eventually happened was a fair amount of backlash from some of my followers (and Facebook friends) due to the abundance of Tweets I was pushing out, and as a result each one of my Tweets were losing some of their intended effect.

Since the backlash and in the interest of my followers I unhooked most my social apps from Twitter and plugged a few back in overtime.  This then caused greater fragmentation across my social media usage and I lost the intended network effect of plugging these applications into Twitter to extend reach.

I would love to see Twitter make it possible, within one click, to take a conversation or group into email or perhaps deeper private group tweets.

As for the fire hose issue of pushing content from applications all over the web into Twitter, I wonder if there is a way where my followers can choose which applications outside of Twitter they want to see when I push that content into Twitter.  I doubt that is the best approach, but perhaps a bridge until Twitter gets smarter about the Tweets they show me and the ones my followers see from me.

One of the great aspects of Twitter is discoverability, finding things I wouldn't otherwise due to my followers.  The downfall here is a ton of noise from tweets I don't really care about that just clutter my stream.  Twitter's lists do this in a very simplistic form, but it is based on people, not the content from the people.

I am following every person on Twitter for some reason, I opted into their streams.  What I would like to see Twitter do is get smarter in figuring out how I interact with each users tweets and surface those tweets deemed more relevant to me and hide or bury tweets that are less likely to be engaging (for me).  For instance do I click on a persons link in their tweets a lot (relevant person I am engaged with), do I @reply to them (another point for engagement), is a specific Tweet from that person retweeted often (high relevance), and if we both are opted in and sharing our location does their tweet provide info that is relevant in the here and now (location aware).  All of these signals need to be taken into account, showing the most relevant and useful information to the individual - greater personalization.

Lots of great ways for Twitter to get smarter and make my followers and stream of tweets more useful and actionable to myself as well as my followers.  I hope some of this is on the road map, but in the meantime Twitter will still be at the center of my social media world.

Next up Google Buzz.

No comments:

Post a Comment