Re-thinking Twitter – mind the Twitter Rules!

I am stuck. I reached 2000 followed Twitter users and came across restriction based on my Twitter ratio, so basically, I cannot follow more users until I gain more followers. However I do not want more followers, and I definitely do not want to force anyone to follow me…is there a way to do it?:/ I could tweet it, but I feel it’s wrong. To understand my frustration you must know that a few months ago search.twitter stopped picking up my hashtagged tweets, which for a while was bearable, but as we approach Barcamp Transparency I find it rather annoying. No, I think it’s unacceptable because it contradicts the very reason I am using this tool. So – in the middle of a huge discussion about the great value of Twitter – I am about to sit down and re-think my approach to Twitter. I simply cannot use it anymore – at least not the way I did so far. First, I need to look at what could have happened in Twitter Best Practices and Twitter Rules and how it applies to my ways of using the tool. (Writing it down helps to clarify it;)).

I use the Twitter to:

1. listen and learn – I follow a lot of people whose content is valuable and very much related to my work, interests, arts. I listen to their conversations and very often (with help of wonderful tools like Seesmic Desktop) I do go back to conversations I missed out on during the working hours. I do not know personally most of the people I follow, but I appreciate their content nonetheless.

2. re-purpose – if I see something relevant to interests of my followers I very often forward it to them. Sometimes I feel like a spammer really and on few occasions I apologies for constant links and retweets. However, the feedback was surprisingly opposite – I was asked to feed more info!

3. engage in discussion – on topics I have strong opinions. This does not happen too often, but if does, I really enjoy Twitters interactivity!

4. updating on my personal life – I link Twitter with my other presences – blogs for instance – so if I am far away from PC (unbelievable, but it does happen quite often;) I use Qik and Twitter apps to update my family and friends with (interesting) moments of my life.

5. network – we live a busy, rushed off lives and Twitter becomes a handy way of finding, conversing and working with people who can contribute to my projects (rather non-work related ones).

6. feeding new posts – I use my blogs as platforms for expressing my opinions in longer form, I use Flickr to share my photos and feed them to my blog, so Twitter becomes an additional way of updating my also busy friends on new posts. Saves them time;)

Those ways of using Twitter come in order of importance, which is reflected in my Twitter ratio. When it comes to Twitter usability I need to agree with Scoble, and take on board his recent comment.I have made the mistake of trusting that Twitter can be used by many, in many ways. Looking at Twitter Rules I must admit I do understand where they are coming from:

Some of the factors that we take into account when determining what conduct is considered to be spamming are:


    • If you have followed a lot of users in a short amount of time;
    • If you have followed and unfollowed people in a short time period, particularly by automated means (aggressive follower churn);
    • If you repeatedly follow and unfollow people, whether to build followers or to garner more attention for your profile;
    • If you have a small number of followers compared to a number of people you are following;
    • If your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates;
    • If a large number of people are blocking you;
    • The number of spam complaints that have been filed against you;
    • If you post duplicate content over multiple accounts or multiple duplicate updates on one account
    • If you post multiple unrelated updates to a topic using #
    • If you post multiple unrelated updates to a trending or popular topic
    • If you repost other user’s content without attribution.
    • If you have attempted to “sell” followers, particularly through tactics considered aggressive following or follower churn.

I did follow large amount of people at once – I do not have time to sit on Twitter all the time, so I do my little usability maintenance time to time. I look at good accounts, their content and also check their users – who most probably will also have valuable insights. Hence a lot of adding users in large badges. My Twitter ratio was always around 100%/50%, not below – so this should be ok. As mentioned earlier my updated DO contain a lot of links – I share those with MY followers! And I want to continue to do so, if they ask me to…I hope there were no complaints about my account, however it’s impossible for me to not to post on multiple accounts if I work on events, have an account for Polish Lingua site of Global Voices and for another blog of mine – I want to reach all my audiences with good updates (ok, fair enough, maybe I could be more creative, but do I have to?). I do join trending topics, but only if I want to share my opinion – I really do not do it for darn fame! Rest is irrelevant. Now, I do not use any automated engines apart from welcome note – which I like because I want to be polite, even if I am not around the web. I do not schedule my post, nor use any of those ‘have 1000 users with a click’ type of ideas. So the system fails on the way. And I will tell you where: Twitter is introducing restrictions automatically (obviously the best way to go around it, I agree) but you CANNOT contact them to reconsider! So basically – all my presence on Twitter so far is useless. I have worked to build up my genuine presence for months, carefully trying to avoid non-ethical practices (talking of which, I think I preached about Twitter ethics myself;)) and now I cannot use basic options of the service due to…automated anti-spamming policy.  I feel like a little kid – for two reasons – I classify as a spammer! Secondly, Robert was once again right:) I should have invested more time in FriendFeed and other presences. Well, as action points, ladies and gentlemen, you will find me on Twitter as @presleysylwia from now on starting my Twitter adventure again, with more sceptical and critical attitude. As long as there are options left for a good user name, I will not give up;) I will follow you from there, I will talk to you more, and please do follow me on Twitter! 🙂



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