I Talk About Twitter Because I Care: And Because It’s Starting to Suck


Most businesses and individuals don’t get Twitter. And the way things are going in the Twittersphere, I’m starting to doubt things myself.

Instagram and SnapChat are more common among young people as a way to share information and news about themselves and their friends. I believe there are several reasons Twitter sucks. And I believe there are some solutions that we as users can implement, that Twitter as a company can implement, and that our social media leaders could implement. If we could work together we would keep Twitter from becoming a broadcasting channel for spammers, pornsters, and MLM offers. What is it that we want Twitter to become? What benefit do we get from being part of Twitter?

Let’s look at some of the things we can do, as users.

  • Use a tool to read and respond on Twitter. (Using Twitter.com vs Tweetdeck)
  • Take the time to Report and Block the spammer and huckster accounts. Twitter uses these reports to help their Spam Account deletion system. (Here’s How You Are Killing Twitter)
  • Ask your mentors (the Guy’s and Chris’s of the world) to quit abusing Twitter. An auto-tweet on repeat day after day is spam, pure and simple. (The Shame of the Spammy Tweeter)
  • Ask the friends who are using annoying verification systems like TruTwit to stop using them. They are spamming our inboxes.
  • Use Twitter with a purpose.
  • When you tweet stick around for a bit and see if anyone responds in the first 5 minutes. Yes, conversations can take place on Twitter. But if you’re never ON and you simply robo-tweet your broadcast, there is ZERO chance the conversation can take place. Sure asynchronous tweet chats are fine, but they’re not the same.

A few things Twitter can do to increase the value of Twitter.

  • Kill all auto-responder options within your Twitter account. If you’re going to thank someone for following, do it in-person. A robo-thank you for following me, here’s my facebook page, is an irritation and waste of my time. (Killing Twitter: Who Killed the Direct Message?)
  • Do not let unconnected accounts DM me. Ever. And kill the new “unlimited” DM. It was one of the things that kept DM messaging spam to a minimum.
  • Step up your efforts to kill spam accounts and account selling Twitter followers. When I see a known spammer account in your “recommended for you” section, I know you are not doing your job.
  • Pause all robo-accounts. You know who they are. Stop them. Make them account for their actions. Force them into compliance.
  • Increase the duplicate tweet ban for 5 days. “I’m sorry, it looks like you already said that.” This would cut down on the robo-tweeting.
  • Come out publicly with some rules and etiquette information about how to use Twitter.
  • Train people to use Tweetdeck rather than Twitter.com

A few things Guy Kawasaki and Chris Brogan could do to increase the value of Twitter for everyone else, and not just themselves.

  • Stop robo-tweeting. Stop today. Stop forever. (Master Tweeters Have Become Auto-Bots: @chrisbrogan and @guykawasaki Please Stop!)
  • If you’re going to have others tweeting on your behalf, have the courtesy to put their initials at the end (Guy used to do this) so people can understand they are not reading tweets from you.
  • Come out against robo-tweeting and spamming twitter.
  • Become the Trust Agents you purport to be and quit being awful social media citizens and leaders. You’re showing everyone how to do it wrong.

Twitter is not going away any time soon, but it could be a much more fruitful and connective place than it is today. It’s no wonder most accounts are abandoned within a week of starting on Twitter. The experience today, on Twitter.com absolutely sucks.

  • Clean it up. Kill spammers and robo-auto-responders.
  • Educate everyone on how to tweet nicely.
  • Train people on how to tweet with respect and integrity.

We can do it. We can make Twitter better. But it’s going to be a joint effort. And if it’s only us squeaky wheels saying, “Hey this sucks,” then things will continue to downgrade into chaos and spammy noise.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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