Before I continue, let me admit that I am still a loyal Twitter user, advocate, and believer in its ability to help people and organizations share and connect. My first tweet was October 14, 2006, so I also have some stake in saying that I am not a fickle Twit who just gave Twitter a try and am now moving on or giving up. That said, I’ve taken pause in my unfettered enthusiasm because of several personal experiences and reflections that I’d like to share.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may already know that I was forced to take a Tweetcation because my account was suspended due to alleged suspicious activity. Daily requests to Twitter Support and appeals from my friends to the Twitter rep handling my case didn’t seem to help. Five days later when the issue was resolved, I was told that it appeared at some point my account sent out a link to a .cn domain that was part of a spam cloud that was hitting Twitter at the time.
Networked communication is a valuable tool, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Share via multiple channels and technologies. You’ll connect with a more diverse crowd of supporters and be able to adapt to rapid changes in the social media world.
In just one day of posts in my feed reader of blogs and news outlets, I counted over 20 items about Twitter or apps that use their API (I realize the irony here). Some creative and useful tools are coming out of the Twitosphere, but frankly I’m concerned that innovation may be delayed by our obsession with a single technology. Twitter’s API is simple by design and the data communicated in each packet of information is limited. Hash tags waste valuable characters and linked urls are now often suspected of spam or worm attacks.
If Twitter fatigue can happen to me, it will likely happen to many more. Be prepared for when the next new shiny thing is discovered. Remember that many of the accounts that make up Twitter’s explosive growth may actually already be inactive.
Several people smarter than me have shared some reflections on the state of social media and social web that have also gotten me thinking. Michelle Murrain defriended more that 60% of her nptech friends on Facebook and she feels like it was a good move. Marshall Kirkpatrick’s post on the elusive promised of Web 3.0 is a must read. Both of their reflections have made me more mindful of the posts, connections, and streams that I introduce into my life. The best social media is about listening and relevantly responding to the feedback we are getting. As a whole, is this how we in the nonprofit and nptech Community are using Twitter?
So while I’m confident that the greatest philanthropic successes using Twitter have yet to come, don’t disrespect all of the other wonders that grow around us in the social media landscape.