Friday, August 7, 2009

The 10 Stupidest Mistake And Most Misused Apps For Twitter That Will Make People Ignore Or Hate You And Your Business
1. Blip (and other music stations)
Sharing your musical choices is great fun. Updating Twitter every single time you play a track is stupid. Why do you think people like radio stations where they hear lots of tracks and hardly any voice? Why do you think visitors scream at blog owners to switch off the damned music plug-in? Yes, that’s right – because it’s annoying!

Do it right: Just link your Blip ’station’ URL – and not too often.


They’re inspirational. They’re profound. They’re funny. They show us that you are none of those things and have nothing to say. They get you unfollowed. Stop it. (That also goes for sending the same message every hour, on the hour, by the way)

Do it right: Just don’t do it!

3. Auto-follow

I’m not sure who invented the idea of auto-following everyone who follows them (or who follows someone else, for that matter). It’s a stupid idea. The point of Twitter is to listen to and talk with people who interest you, not just anybody who happens to randomly hit your profile page. Switch it off.

Do it right: Follow people who interest you.

4. Auto-DM

When I follow you, I don’t need your thanks – what you’re saying is interesting and useful. If you want to send a personal message, that’s great, but don’t spam me with some crap about being really grateful or your latest way of earning $65,000 in a month. Businesses who send a link to their web site are even worse – hello, I know how to click on a profile, thank you. Send me a $5 gift voucher instead.

Do it right: Ask people to introduce themselves and reply when they do.

5. Auto-Tweet

Automatically sending individual links to absolutely everything you publish on your blog, every single picture you post (on Twitpic or Flickr) or every single job you post on your site is possibly the most infuriating pile of spam ever. It’s hard enough keeping up with the good content from more than ten people without having to deal with your Tweet-diarrhoea.

Do it right: Summarise. Post a link to that.

6. Auto-RT bots

Noticed the trend for stupid apps yet? Yes, they’re automated. This is the worst: bots that constantly search for the use of a word or phrase and automatically reTweet it! What’s the point of that? So I said “Woot”. So what? Astoundingly pointless waste of time, energy and resources.

Do it right: Delete the bot. Sell the parts and donate to charity.

7. Web pages that auto-tweet

You’ve built a killer app. You have hundreds of people registering. You have thousands of hits every day. And your web site sends an automatic Tweet through their account every time someone registers or uses the site. Allow me to clarify something for you here: that’s not advertising. It’s annoying, stupid spam. Word of mouth doesn’t work when you’re the one speaking on someone else’s behalf.

Do it right: Give people the option, don’t force the Tweet.

8. Twittascope

This is worse than the music. Yes, I know it’s only once a day, but why on earth would anybody be interested in someone else’s horoscope? Hello? Go back up the list and read numbers 1 and 7. Thank you.

Do it right: Just don’t do it. Unless there’s a hilarious coincidence – then blog it and link that.

9. Follower finders

The Tweets that people have added themselves to YATD (Yet Another Twitter Directory) are annoying enough (see 7), but the constant advertising that I can find another 50,000 people who are interested in the same things as me just by registering are even worse. The idea of “natural growth” in membership and the fact that these followers are chosen from a list of spammers who register in every category has obviously not occurred to you yet.

Do it right: If the site’s good, tell us. Otherwise, we don’t care.

10. Advertising

Please read the post entitled “Bend over, I want to sell you something” . Advertising in any social media is an enormous faux-pas unless you do it very, very well and actually engage your audience. Doing it on Twitter is the quickest route to follower-migration ever. I’m not even going to mention paid-per-Tweet models of earning. Oh, poop, I just did.