Twitter Etiquette
Mar 19, 2008
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"If someone has 1000+ followers, but only follows 30+, are they 'misusing' Twitter?" This question of 'Twitter Ethics' is asked and answered here. My own perspective: I have Twitter followers (who get my Facebook status updates as Twits) but I follow nobody on Twitter. Is that a misuse? I have had people (sometimes rudely) suggest that it is. Because, I guess, reading 500 blogs isn't enough, I have to pay special personal attention to a select group of Twitters. The twitterati. The thing is - there is (and always has been) an asymmetry of communication. Which is simply this: it is easier to be heard by many people than it is to hear many people. It takes no effort at all to broadcast to 1000 Twitter users - the computer does it all. But following 1000 takes some commitment. We need to understand that the whole internet is like that. "It's a dip-in, take a scoop from the passing river kind of experience." See also Micro-Blogging Part Deux. Total: 155
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Re: Twitter Etiquette

Hey Stephen, do remember that session I did at back in London a few years ago on attenuation/amplification ..? :-)

- Scott [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: Twitter Etiquette

I do. But I recall at the time being more concerned about the whole systems-theory Stafford Beer line you were pursuing. [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: Twitter Etiquette

Hi Stephen, I ought to say that 'misuse' was a dumb term to use. But it was interesting to see the different approaches people have to Twitter. O'Reilly talks about listeners, talkers and nodes as a simplistic classification. Tony H had a similar response to you - ie that they focus their energy in reading blogs and linking through that. So, what type of Twitterer you are will depend on where Twitter fits in your web 2.0 ecosystem.
Martin [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: Twitter Etiquette

It's all Etiquette2.0 really, isn't it? It's the same as whether or not you should automatically join every group that anyone invites you to in Facebook, join yet another network because someone you know invited you.
I tend towards the miserable git end of the scale. I only join things if I think I'm interested enough to spend time on them. I'm not a friend/ group / whatever counter.

Mind you, I was kind of the same with "Etiquette1.0". If someone offered to link my site to theirs, I'd generally respond by saying that if I thought their site was relevant, I'd link to it; but there was no reason for them to reciprocate. [Comment] [Permalink]

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