A little flavour of what's in store...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Twitter protocol - do you say thank you to your followers?

For those of you not familiar with it, Twitter is a social networking site where users sign in and then post a 'tweet' - the question being "what are you doing?".

The twist is that your 'Tweet' (your individual post on Twitter) can only be a maximum of 140 characters long. However, forget SMS text messaging, this isn't a platform for C U L8tr (see you later), more a snapshot of information you can choose to interact with by replying to an individual you're following or who's following you.

Most users make use of Tiny URL's and other such URL shortening services to post URL's to items they want to share.

Anyway, I digress - back to the question in hand.

You can apparently automate your Apple mail to look at a Twitter notification that someone is following you. The automated function picks out the username of the new follower and emails them back saying thank you for following me (or whatever you've set the message to).

This caused some debate in our office as I've received one or two of these thankyou's and to be honest, whilst they're an acknowledgement of you acceptance, they're not very personal and easily spotted.

The rule being that you don't have to follow everyone that follows you - like any other social networking platform, Twitter has its share of 'spammers' usually spotted by hundreds of followings, few followers and even fewer tweets.

Personally, I like to tweet a personal thank you along with an appropriate comment on that person / their tweets / their bio information.

Back to the debate - my colleague argued that you don't say thank you to someone for visiting your blog, only when they leave a comment, however, since you don't know who visits your blog unless they leave a comment... plus Twitter is more of a social aspect than faceless blogging.

Each Tweeter has the opportunity to upload an avatar ( I use the same one as i use for all comments and blogging and do get a few followers based on others recognising me) and many other Tweeters also take advantage of this aspect too. Some you will notice change their Avatar on a daily basis - personally whilst it's fun, it can cause confusion - especially if you're a poor memory for names (like me).

I'll continue to say thank you to my new followers in my own way. I feel it's even more important to acknowledge personally especially in this high-tech age where things are accused of moving too fast to be able to respond but that's a pretty flimsy excuse isn't it?

The whole subject of Twitter protocol really got my interest so I searched a bit deeper and came up with these choice words from some fellow Tweeters....

"I follow people that I think have something interesting to say or that I want keep up with. I figure it's like blogs - I subscribe to the ones I'm interested in. Just because I find your blog interesting it doesn't mean i expect you to find mine the same. I hope you do but I don't take it personally if you don't." posted by Pocket Mojo.

"Twitter-like micromessaging is a relatively new communications model, with unique characteristics that affect how we use it and what’s appropriate. It’s an RSS feed for people, a way to directing the attention of audiences, and a means of reaching the famous without burdening them with an obligation to respond.

In short, Twitter is a human API. It’s being defined in real time in front of our eyes, through an amazing example of Internet Darwinism." Bitcurrent.

"I like to keep with all that is sexy on the Internet, so I have a Twitter account and access this from time-to-time from my iPhone. I 'follow' a couple of people and I can see that they are about to wash their hair or walk the dog.

I now read that the Hudson air crash is a potential tipping point for the Twitter protocol, but I don't get it. Someone put up a 'tweet' which appeared before the BBC reported the crash, but presumably I would need to be 'following' this person and just happen to check my Twitter updates to notice this on Twitter before the BBC. Given that no-one I know with a Twitter account happened to be on a ferry to pick up the passengers, how was Twitter going to tell me about the crash before the mainstream news. Am I missing something? Does anyone use Twitter for anything meaningful?" MacNN Forums

"Like a lot of people, I tried out Twitter early on, but didn't stick to it. Most of the early twitter conversation was personal, and I didn't have time for it. I came back when I noticed that about 5000 people were following my non-existent updates, waiting for me to say something. With that many listeners, I thought I'd better oblige. (There are now close to 16,000.) I soon realized that Twitter has grown up to become a critical business tool, ideal for following the latest news, tracking the ideas and whereabouts of people who will shape the future of technology, and sharing my own thoughts and attention stream." Tim O'Reilly

"We really can’t deny the fact that businesses are testing out Twitter as part of their steps into the social media landscape. You can say it’s a stupid application, that no business gets done there, but there are too many of us (including me) that can disagree and point out business value. I’m not going to address the naysayers much with this. Instead, I’m going to offer 50 thoughts for people looking to use Twitter for business. And by “business,” I mean anything from a solo act to a huge enterprise customer." Chris Brogan

"Perhaps the most significant step so far in TV presenter Jonathan Ross's media rehabilitation, after his three month suspension, was the revelation he is hosting this year's Bafta Awards in February.
The news did not come in the usual way though, through a press release or publicist.
It came directly from Ross himself, through his Twitter feed." BBC News - Entertainment

I hope the above links help you make up your own minds about Twitter, about how to use it, about what to expect out of the experience, about the personal and business scope it offers individuals and businesses alike. My thanks to the above for inclusion in my own thoughts on Twitter and Twitter protocol.

You can follow Fabulous Photo Gifts on Twitter - go to: http://twitter.com/fabphotogifts

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nothing says "I value, cherish and adore you" to your Friend Force louder than searching their posts or blog and finding something to retweet. http://budurl.com/k6vz

... and taking the trouble to add a comment is the icing on the cake.