Sunday, March 21, 2010

3 Biggest Problems with Twitter are…

Ky Ekinci : Co-Founder Office Divvyby Ky Ekinci
Co-Founder,
Office Divvy ™

Firstly, I have to admit that it is totally by coincidence that my blog entry falls on this 4th birthday of twitter.

There were some things that were bugging me about twitter recently, and I’ve been thinking about writing about those for a couple weeks now.

I was able to finally get to it yesterday. And as I was almost to the end of writing this post, I saw a tweet from Kevin Sablan (an accomplished journalist and blogger, and a well known personality on twitter, whose tweets I do follow = @KSablan).

Kevin was referring to the fact that March 21st was Twitter’s 4th birthday... Our dialog is captured here in the image.

Sooooo: First and foremost, Happy Birthday Twitter! Glad that you were born -- genuinely wishing you a happy birthday, and many happy returns.

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Now, let me move on to my actual post. :)

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As a company we have been on twitter for just over a year. And so have I personally.

I’m glad we got married when we did to twitter… After 1 year of marriage, we’re happy together. There are so many things right with Twitter, that it never seemed like a good time to mention some of the things that need “a little work”.

We started tweeting on March 8, 2009... As we enter Year-Two, and I reflect on the amount of time and heart invested in this marriage, I feel I have certain rights and responsibilities in our relationship.


Above is our anniversary tweet, in recognition of our first tweet back on March 8, 2009. Unfortunately I cannot pull up today what our first tweet was. It seems all our tweets prior to September 2009 have been erased.

So things for Twitter to perhaps work on, here’s number 1:
Archiving and Searching of past tweets
Please work on meaningful archiving, as well as advanced searching capabilities of past tweets.

This marriage has introduced me and our company to people I might not have otherwise met: Thought leaders, Businesses Starting up, Professionals, Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, new clients, as well as fellow providers of office and co-working models, and so many others.

It has been a terrific adventure. We’ve been able to say to them “Thanks for good writing, work, and referrals” --all in real time, without waiting. Twitter created a wonderful platform where we could share raw ideas, questions, and things we are learning, again all in real-time, without waiting.

What we’ve gotten from old and new relationships is not measurable in traditional ways. It’s on a new scale of measurement for which we have not completely created the tick marks yet. Let’s just say the scale is full. We dig the interaction component. We go to tweet-ups (twitter meet ups), or get on the phone with some of the folks we meet on twitter… We are happy and ready to convert the virtual to the actual, when and where it makes sense.

Surrounded by so many people that like what they do, we started a blog: Business Life Stories with its centerpiece “Why love what I do”. With Twitter, we promoted and people responded. For us this blog is a long lasting collection that we continue to grow and evolve. Without Twitter it would not have been possible.

Our Twitter community is made up of more than 20,000. The term “friends” or “followers” et al remains strange. Our community was built organically…we’re proud of that.

Twitter, we know you are not perfect. You have your shortcomings. We all do. If you are picking some things to work on here’s number 2:
Direct Message: Auto Respond
We often times would have to disregard our DM box, as it was full of so many “Thanks for following – join us at 8am Monday through…." kind of nonsense. Plus the phishing, and hacked accounts through DM.

Listen to all of our 20,000 peeps? We would love to (and sometimes try to), but alas, nearly 20,000 people’s tweets passing through our timeline becomes a loud noise -- not doable. But we do zero in on the tweets of about 700 or so people we identified.

Don’t ask me how we do that. Let’s just say that we’ve developed some systems. But twitter, we totally get it with your introduction of “lists”. Thank you! That was a good move in the right direction to focus on who to listen to and for what. We are still considering whether or not to abandon our old system of tuning into the favorite folks, and to use the lists instead. Additional time investment necessary to do that is the issue at this point.

In the early days, I appreciated this advice, given by wise friend I met on Twitter:
Twitter is the CB Radio of the 21st Century. Depending on time and place, you’ll catch something someone is putting out there…

That was such a true description, and summarized the focus on listening, and connecting. That said, here’s problem #3 –and this is a big one for me:
Absentee Tweeting” is a downer!
It’s good that twitter has such an open platform (open to tools, APIs, and applications). The downside may be an opening for the developer of apps, or especially those users using these apps that don't serve the community. With this comes much noise from many automated, artificial, programmed and scheduled tweets via certain applications and through APIs. The motivation in that work does not seem to be in the interest of authenticity, which is a value we share. With this kind of automation, there is no listening, being present, being part of what’s actually happening.

It would seem Twitter’s operations and infrastructure is growing to identify a genuine tweeter versus a robot. We feel protected when we see a scheduled, absentee tweeter fail. I see some faux-tweeters are being blocked from search-results; but with those I see some genuine ones being blocked, too. So these systems are not perfected. Some of these other noise-makers are still programming automated tweets every few hours, spamming ones timeline and twitter keyword search results, and that’s a real problem with me.

There is no question that absentee-tweeting and robots takes away from the whole web 2.0 concept. If I want one-directional commercials and spam, why do I need twitter? There is enough of that elsewhere! Dealing with the robots equals preservation of what’s real.

Twitter, thanks for listening... It's never been my style to provide feedback on a birthday (no matter how constructive). But because you are a start-up like us, we know birthday celebrations are fleeting and then it's back to work.

To better days ahead!..

Ky Ekinci
Co-Founder
Office Divvy ™


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As a footnote, I have to add these two basic systems I developed to deal with auto-DMs and absentee tweeting:
Tip: Who not to Follow to begin with
It’s more likely there is no connection to be made by someone who is automating their tweets or with those who do not reach out. We learned not to follow those people back when we see that their tweet source shows API or twitterfeed. These folks are typically robots, pushing tweets and their agenda out there. We also do not follow folks, when we look at their tweets and see that they do not have a single mention: meaning their profile page does not show any conversation starting with @twittername --and no need to go beyond the first page of their profile.

Tip: Who To Unfollow on Twitter
When we come across twitter users we previously connected with for one reason or another, but today they fit in the above criteria, we un-follow them. When we come across those who have constant self serving tweets (TV/Radio commercial-like tweeting), we un-follow them. And we are consistent with not following those who send an unsolicited promotional Direct Message (DM), or a self-serving, or automated DMs ---including those who say “Thanks for Following” we un-follow them. Hey, you followed me, I followed you back, why are you sending me an auto-DM thanking me for following. If you want to Direct Message (DM), be creative, be original. I feel there is absolutely no need to stay connected with those who are absent from twitter, who spam our timeline and spam-direct-message inbox, those who are on a false mission to build community in a way that is just about numbers and not about the exchange.

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Ky Ekinci on twitter | Office Divvy on Twitter
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