Its seems like a day doesn’t go by without signing into my Twitter account to see a stream of tweets from someone going by with a #hashtag I don’t recognize. I’m not talking about a couple of tweets, I mean the full-on stream. I’m begging you, please stop!
I’m all for the idea of sending a Tweet when you hear something remarkable, moving, or innovative, but based on the number of Tweets I see flying by every other sentence is worth exclaiming over, somehow I doubt this.
What it really looks like is too many people are using Twitter as their personal note taking system. Get a notebook, a netbook, or a pen and paper, whatever, just stop Tweeting!
If you’re Twittering:
- You’re not paying attention – mulitasking is a myth – you can not text as fast as you type, so whatever you are texting likely happened 30 seconds or more ago, meaning you are not paying attention to what is being said now. Stop texting and pay attention, its what you’re there for. Even if you’re tweeting from a computer…
- You’re not contributing. Yes, I know there are a few cases where some awesome back channel conversations* happen, and someone rushes off to write an article or a post about it, but most likely you’re not.
- You’re crying wolf – If you’re sending 20 tweets an hour, the really awesome super duper things got lost in the crowd of the bagillion others you sent you sent. Pick and choose the really exceptional things to Tweet.
- Someone else is saying the SAME thing at the SAME time (most likely). Instead say something new, say something of value, pick the one or two really good pieces and Tweet those, it is much more useful for your followers.
- You’re loosing your followers, I don’t mean unfollowing, I mean they aren’t paying attention to you. Sure one or two might love to here a play by play of whats happening right now, but the others don’t care. They don’t care because they don’t want to spend the energy chasing down what the heck your hashtag means, they don’t care because they just popped on so see what their friends are up to and instead all they see is one person, you, filling up their screen. They dont’ care, not because they don’t care what you’re tweeting about, they do, but because they don’t have the time and energy to focus on it right now. They don’t care because they just don’t care.
- You’re making it hard for people to find the information later. Sure you can search the hashtag and read through thousands of 140 character snippets of information, many of which say the same thing because everyone else was tweeting the conversation.
- You’re not blogging. Yes I know some have declared blogs dead, but f I want real information about a session I missed I’d so much rather find a blog post. Yes a blog post, with everything nicely typed out, not abbreviated in weird formats to fit in to 140 characters, not scattered across tens or hundreds of tweets. I can bookmark one page, not 20.
If you find you absolutely must conference/meeting tweet prodigiously, take a page from my smart friend Maruice’s book and get a seperate account just for conferences.
*I’m not sure how I feel about these back channel conversations, everyone thinks they are so awesome, but arent’ they really just the equivalent of two people talking to each other in the back of the class? It might go unnoticed in a large audience, but in a small group its just rude.
I’m not advocating never Twitter anything from a conference, meeting or pow-wow again, but show some discretion man, moderation in all things, even Twitter.