Often I really hate Twitter

I often think to myself: “what did I do before Twitter when I’m bored?”

The truth is, the 140 characters of time wasting are great to keep you busy and entertained however I can’t help but find complete disdain for the sins performed on Twitter. I will now demonstrate these sins with my own examples:

  • Sin 1: “My life is so f*&king awesome:

This was me posting a picture of spending a Friday in a small plane. Why… I want to look awesome.

  • Sin 2: “Here’s an article I think will make me look smart”:

I’m so smart,  I read Business Insider.

  •  Sin 3: “I’ll argue with you even though I would never do this to your face”:

Some backstory here: I was shooting down a South African startup that I don’t really know much about. It wasn’t constructive and it was said in a flippant manner. We’re all guilty of this.

  • Sin 4: “The subtweet”:

I don’t have a good example here. I’ve deleted these tweets because I feel like a tool

-Saul Kropman (@saulkza)

I don’t have a specific example here because I’ve tried to remove all of them because I feel like a complete idiot once the moment passes. This is typically found in the form of a tweet saying something like: “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.”

  • Sin 5: “Brand hatred”:

It’s so easy to complain to a brand online. It’s relatively safe and anonymous and social media was created so brands could listen right? Notice my words: “listen” not “abuse”. Be nice out there, don’t look like a tosser.

  • Sin 6: “I’m so angry about politics tweets”:

The truth is, politicians are so taken with social media that they’re sitting online all day waiting for the complaints of their constituents. Complaining on Twitter about politics is about as useful as pissing into an oncoming wind.

Twitter has become a place for complaints, moans, whinging and general outbursts. Sadly, it’s a medium where the loudest (and usually the dumbest) climb to the top. I’m not saying it’s a bad place to spend time during the day however I am saying think before you tweet your latest complaint.



It’s taken me a while of struggling with the social network to understand this but I think Twitter (possibly this is limited to South Africa) should really be called “Shitter”. The service itself is great, revolutionary even, but the biggest problem with Twitter and less serious social networks are invariably the people the exist on them.

The latest Twitter “controversy” is that Kirsty Bisset, her Boyfriend Barry Tuck and his company GorillaCM have been inflating their follower numbers by buying followers. Read the expose here.

Firstly, it’s pretty easy to buy followers. I’ve done it before for a mere $5 and it works like the bomb.

Secondly, who gives a shit.

Social media is actually a load of crap, it’s got nothing to do with real life and actually offers nothing useful. I have this niggle at the back of my head that one needs to be online from an image perspective and to gain clients but again this is junk. The most successful people I know in the digital industry are hardly on Twitter. When they tweet, it’s a useful link or some sort of interesting snippet they may have enjoyed. Do you see Pete Case tweeting? Nikki Cockcroft? Rob Stokes? Jarred Cinman? Adrian Hewlett? Nope, they’re all doing some real work.

The problem ultimately is that the early adopters with many followers were traditionally your real life geeks and nerds, the type with low self esteem issues and what feels like the need to impress and one-up their fellow tweeters. It’s a shame how a social network can bring out the worst in people.

I don’t know Barry or Kirsty, I’ve seen them occasionally on Twitter but it seems a lot like people discuss their drinking exploits. What’s interesting is that they felt the need to buy followers. This isn’t directly sad for the two but sad how PR agencies and clients feel the need to quantify by the amount of followers or hits one might have. Yes you need a metric but surely quality is more important than quantity?

The truth is that we’ve created a monster by giving people with followers authority and we’ve trained clients to think its okay to quantify people through followers.

Should we be up in arms about buying followers? No, we should be up in arms that people need to buy popularity in order to achieve any useful outcomes through a social network.

Shame on you marketers, shame on you

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Introducing “Medium”

It seems like prolific “cool services without a revenue model” founder Evan Williams and his partner Biz Stone (both of Blogger and Twitter fame) have soft launched their latest product into the world.

Fast Company had the following to say:

Twitter cofounders Biz Stone and Evan Williams today offered a preview of Medium, their new publishing platform.


Medium is at heart a blogging service, although right now it’s only open to a select few authors. The posts are organized into “collections” that use different layouts depending on the content. One section, “The Writer’s Room,” appears to be organized by Emergence author Steven Johnson and is a plain text article template, while “Been There. Loved That.” is a photo-driven page that looks squarely like Pinterest and is curated by a developer at the company.


The posts in each collection aren’t organized chronologically. Instead, Medium uses a Reddit- and Digg-style upvoting feature that lets visitors rate each item, with the highest-rated content moving to the top of the heap to ensure better visibility. Currently anyone can sign in–using Twitter, of course–to upvote and leave feedback, but contributors are still on an invite-only basis.


Collections can be open to everyone, or closed to only a few authors. “Lots of services have successfully lowered the bar for sharing information, but there’s been less progress toward raising the quality of what’s produced,” Williams writes in a blog post introducing the service. Yet he also says that Medium is built so that lots of people can easily contribute, and it’s unclear what kind of controls the curator of each section has over what appears in their collection.

The site looks really nice and seems to be an interesting way of handling content in a more fluid manner but ultimately from a users perspective this could be a WordPress site and technically could easily be done via a really fluid WordPress theme. Evan Williams is something of a new product genius so it’s difficult to slate this off the bat but for now I’m taking a “wait and see” approach before swapping to Medium over WordPress.


Lazy Journalism

There seems to be a new trend on news sites lately where an article is written about a Twitter trend or topic people are tweeting about. This is what’s known as creating news out of nothing.

Example 1:

Example 2:

Example 3:

There is more than enough happening, more than enough content and more than enough people on Twitter to not have to report on a social network. My thought is simple: we don’t mention how people are “abuzz” on Facebook, Google+, Linkedin or any other social network.

Anytime you see an article like this: please do yourself a favour and write a snotty comment.


Charging to use a social network

I can’t help but feel sorry for Twitter and Facebook. Literally over a billion users between them but fairly middling profit and in the case of Twitter no actual revenue. In addition Facebook has become a massive billboard and Twitter is now pumping promoted tweets into your stream. The same issue applies with Linkedin, adverts that are semi relevant to me.

So the problem is simple: for a social network to make money they need to inject advertising into your face.How about a freemium model? E-Consultancy has some thoughts:

The people most likely to pay for Twitter are its most committed and enthusiastic users; advertisers aren’t going to be crazy about paying to target thousands of rarely used or dormant accounts while the most valuable prospects frolic in a garden within a garden.

But let’s get real. What sort of money are we talking? How about $10 a year? That’s surely a reasonable and manageable sum for those who really appreciate Twitter, from practically anywhere in the world. A trial period could help new users get into the experience before committing.

Of course, not everyone will go for it. But if just one-tenth of Twitter’s 500m active users paid up, the revenue realised would be $500m a year. For context, that’s roughly three times what the site made from advertising during 2011.

On the plus side, it would keep the platform free of ads – and free of the obligation to cater to advertisers’ wishes. It would deal a killer blow to the spambots that plague bona fide users. And it would bring in cash that could be used to improve the core experience in ways users actually want.

Personally the ads don’t bother me enough yet but I could see this becoming useful. It’s unlikely this will ever fly but it’s a great idea.

Source (E-consultancy)