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Fighting on Twitter

Fighting on Twitter

In my day job, I work to ensure that people don’t make themselves look like asses online. So when I see two “social media rockstar ninjas” duking it out publicly on Twitter, I raise a virtual eyebrow.

Everyone loves to watch a disaster when it doesn’t affect them, but Twitter isn’t the proper place to have a fight. Twitter is the absolute worst place to fight about anything.

When you argue on Twitter, you limit yourself to the lowest level of argument. You can’t expand your thoughts. You can’t use any detailed examples. You’re fighting with whole world watching, and your fight is probably over something that could be solved with a two minute phone call.

It has even less substance than a presidential debate.

And for what? To prove a point that doesn’t need to be proven? To try and make yourself look smarter than someone else people only know through 140 character messages?

Those goals are really going to advance your crappy personal brand into the toilet, right next the rest of your mouth diarrhea.

Get over yourself. You have a right to defend your reputation, but you’re going to look like an ass trying to make a point on Twitter where people don’t have context and form their on misinformed opinions and assumptions.

Be the better person. Don’t get into a fight over nothing. Take it to somewhere you can have a real conversation. Somewhere you’re not trying to drag someone else through the slings and arrows of the social media peanut gallery.

Be the better person. Don’t fight on Twitter.



Twitter, developers, and the future of social media

The Bloodied Twitter Bird

Have you been paying attention to what’s happening with Twitter and developers recently?

Twitter’s relationship with developers is turning into a social media shit show, and we’ve all got a front row seat.

This storm has been brewing for a while now. It started in 2010, when Twitter acquired Tweetie to be its first official Twitter app. Things got worse from there when Twitter told developers to stop making Twitter clients. This past week, Twitter reiterated that position, laying out exactly which type of software it thinks developers should make using Twitter’s API.

And that blog post pissed off a lot of developers.

Developers have a lot to be angry about. They were the ones who made the first apps for Twitter. They were the ones who made up the @ reply, hashtags, and retweets. They developed software to put Twitter on your desktop and smartphone. Hell, they even came up with the idea to use a blue bird as the Twitter logo.

In short, a lot of what we know about Twitter today is because independent developers took the time to create it based on the first version on Twitter’s API. And now, Twitter is blowing it up in their face.

Arguably, most of this is occurring because Twitter is transforming from a venture capitalist-funded social network into a media corporation supported by advertising revenues. Twitter is slowly rolling out features such as “Twitter cards” to deeply integrate rich media into the code of tweets themselves. This integration creates a more dynamic experience while also giving advertisers better ways to reach users than with a 140 character messages.

Unfortunately, what’s good for the business isn’t necessarily good for the developers. Developers are migrating to App.net, a subscription based carbon copy of Twitter. That means all the smart, passionate people who care about doing cool thing with Twitter are moving away. While I am doubtful about the mass adoption of a somewhat elitist subscription based social network, the migration is an indicator of a larger trend.

We’re in the middle of the biggest shake up since the current crop of social networks began. Just like how social media professionals can’t talk about rainbows and puppies and engagement as business goals, the social networks themselves must prove their ability to make money.

And they’re floundering miserably at creating the massive revenues investors were hoping for.

In response, the once pristine newsfeeds are becoming cluttered with ads. More and more of our friends profiles are becoming electronic billboards with more stuff to click.

Is this the future of social media, where the social network becomes the media corporation, focused on creating a consistent experience to deliver ad units? I’m not sure. But, I do think we’re going to be seeing this shake out over the next few years, finding out what people are willing to pay for access to their social network.

Somewhere out there, some nerd, scorned by the mainstream social networks, is looking at these models and working on a better way to make these social network things both efficient and profitable.

That’s what I’m excited to see and be a part of.



Cyborgs - The Anti-Social MediaHow many people do you know who schedule their tweets?

I call these people cyborgs. They’re engaged, but when they can’t take the time to engage, they let the software do the talking for them by sharing content.

I understand the cyborgs. They have jobs. They have lives. They can’t spend their lives in communion with their computer or smartphone in an attempt to be a god of social networking.

But at what point do you decide that you should be a publisher when you’re not around? How do you measure the value of sharing content when you’re not there to see the conversation it creates? If the conversation is so important to you, why can’t you be there to start it in the first place?

Maybe it’s different for some people. Maybe these people are too worried about building a cult of personality around themselves than actually making social networking social.

Or maybe they’re just smart about how they use their time. I don’t know what their exact motivations are.

What I do know is that I think something is lost when you decide that it’s more important to be a robotic publisher. If you decide you can’t be everywhere, but want to give the illusion that you are, you haven’t made the decision about what’s really important to you.

You can’t have it both ways. You have to decide where your real priorities are. If social networking is important to you, make the time to be there. If the real world is important to you, don’t spend your time trying to make yourself appear like your always online.

Don’t end up a cyborg, unable to chose what will actually make you happy and successful. Make a choice about what’s really important to you.

Are you a cyborg? What made you choose to allow the computer to take over your feeble social networking skills?



TwitterBird - The Anti-Social MediaTwitter changed it’s logo and tried to make a stink about it.

“Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter.”

Oh fuck that.

Twitter is about exchanging messages around the globe quickly from any device with SMS capabilities. It’s about posting what you ate for breakfast. It’s posting what you overheard at lunch. It’s making some sly observation that makes you seem both like the coolest person ever and the biggest douche on the internet. It’s waking up and telling Twitter good morning before you’ve kissed your loved ones.

Changing your logo and posting a pretentious blog post will not make you relevant.

Providing a useful service that allows people to exchange information quickly and easily will keep you in the hearts and minds of the masses. In fact, you already do that Twitter. And you do it well without being a total asshat like some other social networks I know.

So, in six months when your creative director is trying to get you to change your logo once again (“It’s made of fairy dust!”), just stop and think about how you can use that money to improve and enhance your service to your users.

Me and the rest of Twitter will thank you then.


Porn on Twitter

Porn on Twitter - The Anti-Social Media

Twitter made a big stink last year by creating their own photo service.

Here’s something you probably didn’t notice though (unless you’re a dirty pervert), Twitter allows people to post porn.

Finally, you can share all your nasty, 140 character fantasies with all of your followers. Want to show your crappy cell phone pic of wang all over town? Twitter’s got you covered. Want the world to see your ta-tas? Tweet them out.

This is different from other image services, which had policies in place so we didn’t have to see your nasty junk.  They would take down your photos because they knew no one wanted to see that. Twitter, on the other hand, only has policies about child pornography.

Everything else is a fair, naked game.

Twitter can’t monitor every body part that gets posted on there. Porn stars have been tweeting their private parts for years now. And now the unwashed masses can join them in the orgy of fleshy images.

No longer do we need to worry if we can share our junk next to our resume and a link to a cute cat. We can. But the burden is entirely on us to behave like rational human beings. Isn’t that terrifying?

Just because you can keep your porn on Twitter, you probably shouldn’t. People look at that stuff, and we don’t need to know how kinky you really are. Really, we don’t.

Don’t the trending topics provide enough horror?


Trending Topics on Twitter

Twitter Trends - The Anti-Social MediaI recently started paying more attention to the trending topics section on Twitter. Somehow, I forgot how awful the trending topics are.

Trending topics have all the benefits of giving yourself a lobotomy. However, they come without the high price or inherent danger of performing a clumsy self-surgery on your brain. They somehow manage to combine the absolute worst in ideas, writing, and respect for other human beings in less than 140 characters.

It takes serious effort to be that consistently bad.

Let’s take a trend from last week and use it as an example: #iusetothink

This trend would be fine if people used it correctly. We would see a bunch of people saying “A good workout #iusetothink” or “A walk with the dog #iusetothink.” But no, that would be too obvious and would assume that people understood basic tense agreement.

Instead, we have a bunch of people saying things that they USED to think. This trend has caught on so much that even brands, whose community managers should know better, used the hashtag in a desperate attempt to stay out of touch and in front of an audience. It makes brands look dumb.

Marketers – based on this example, we can assume that the audience for promoted trends doesn’t even understand the basics of grammar. Do you honestly believe that the people who share trending topics will grasp your weird promoted trend and be able to help you accomplish your business goals?

This is why Twitter’s trending topics fail so miserably. Putting some funky hashtagged term in the face of hundreds of millions of Twitter users does not mean an instant success. You can’t target if you’re getting the brightest people, or those who need to go back to grammar school. And both of those groups will find a way to twist your message around in ways you never expected.

So avoid giving yourself the stress and brain damage and just avoid trending topics. Your brain cells will thank me later.


8 Predictions About Social Media in 2012

2012 Social Media Predictions - The Anti-Social MediaHappy 2012! It’s a new year for marketers to mine more data from our user profiles on social networks. More hyper-targeted ads! How exciting!

Because the internet is fueled on rumors and nonsense, here’s what will happen in 2012. If it doesn’t happen, well it will all be ok. I think.

  • Facebook will change once more, and everyone will hate it. – We all know it will change, and it will suck balls.
  • Twitter will get even worse – Monetizing Twitter will take over idea to allow users to share meaningful messages. Twitter will become filled with crappy more 140 character ads, spambots, and insightful hashtags like #mydickinthreewords. Twitter will only hang on because the mass media will give it more hype than it deserves.
  • Nobody except job seekers and self-absorbed, so-called assholes experts will care about LinkedIn. Oh, and Betty from HR will like it as well. But it’s her job to care about LinkedIn.
  • Google+ will either make it or fail miserably – Time to put up or shut up Google.
  • Quora will go away –  Seriously, it’s still here?
  • There will be at least 20 new social networks that claim to be “Facebook Killers” – No one sane will use them besides Linux users and Android elitists.
  • The entire internet will be absorbed in baseless iPhone rumors – Because our entire existence and worth as a human is based solely on successfully predicting a mobile phone we’ll use for a year until the next one comes out.
  • There will be at least one viral cat video – Wait. There will be hundreds. And they will be the best ones ever.

Honestly, most of that is just expansions of what happened in 2011, but who am I kidding? It’s not like someone will be clever enough to make a successfully monetized social network without a newsfeed and a slew of advertising. That’s just too creative.

So here’s to 2012.  May my Facebook newsfeed be ever filled with sponsored stories!


New New Twitter


New new Twitter - The Anti-Social Media

Could Twitter have done a worse job of corrupting the fundamentals of their service in the name of selling more crappy 140 character ads?