Do you ever get the feeling that some of those tweets you follow might be, how shall we put it….canned? Chances are that quite a few of them are. We live in a busy society and anything that can make our lives a bit easier, quicker, or more manageable, and we’re all over it. There are a variety of software options to help us keep track of our social networks. The more popular ones allow you to schedule tweets or Facebook posts in advance. Some will even let you send the same tweet out over, and over, and over again, based on whatever schedule you desire.
Setting aside the software clients and browser extensions for a moment, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Triberr in this post. Triberr is built around retweeting, and if setup properly, can be automated as well. For those of you not familiar with the service, and others like it, here’s a typical list of what the average Triberr user does when they sign on.
1. Open web browser and sign in to Triberr.
2. View a list of new tweets by members of the Tribe you are in.
3. Click the Tweet button beside each of those tweets, thus retweeting them automagically.
4. Log out of Triberr.
Sounds simple, right? It is. I’m not bashing Triberr, so please don’t walk away thinking I am. In fact, I’m not bashing Hootsuite, TweetDeck, or any of the other applications that will let people schedule a tweet and walk away from their computer. I’m guilty of it myself, and it would be extremely hypocritical of me to judge anyone that finds these services useful. Think of Triberr as a compact little list of tweets that you are supposed to retweet. You can of course pick and choose which ones to retweet, or not pick any at all. Doing that goes against the spirit of the service however. The idea is that you retweet every post in your Tribe, and the people in your Tribe will do likewise for you. Most of these tweets are tied to an RSS feed from blogs. It’s very…automated.
As I said, I’m guilty of sending out auto-tweets. In my defense however, I was almost always in front of the computer or my phone when scheduled tweets went out. When someone responded to a tweet I did my best to get back to them within the hour. Some days were better than others, but overall I think my response time probably falls into the 95% area during that first hour.
Even so, I felt guilty enough about that other 5% that I eventually deleted my Triberr account, and stopped using automated tweets. My tweeting has been cut in half as a result of that. That’s both good and bad.
The bad part is that all the people I auto-retweeted (ART) from Triberr will no longer get the same kind of attention and coverage that my tweeting provided for them. However, I had to ask myself just how much attention my ART’s were generating in the first place.
The good part to tweeting half as much? It helps to clean up your twitter stream, focusing on the things you care about the most. You may think of this as being less social, but in the long run it’s the tweets you care about, the ones worth posting that make you more engaging.
I could, right now, easily pick out 50 people from my Twitter feed and see the following:
1. Every tweet for the past 24+ hours has been about the same thing (buy my book / read this review), or..
2. Every tweet for the past 24+ hours links to blog posts of friends, with some of their own mixed in.
I’m not kidding. At least 50 people, and not 1 of them will have any conversational, or social interaction tweets in their recent timeline. It’s like flipping through the television channels late and night and the only thing on are infomercials. They look interesting at first, but then you realize they’re just trying to sell you something. If not a product, then something, even if it’s just a desperate plea to visit their blog. Which, by the way, is often an infomercial in itself.
I feel like this post is being harsh, and I really don’t mean for it to be. Again, I’m not trying to judge. I just want to point out that social networks are about interactions, engagement of two or more minds to discuss things. It’s hard to discuss a topic with someone when you’re responding to their answering machine.