During the last week of my holiday (a holiday that I’m still in the midst of), I have continually found nothing of any value or worth to retweet. Finding nothing there, I started looking for just little touches of humanity from those I follow in order to engage with them a little…. Nothing there.
It got the worst last week when I wrote what became a 140 character manifesto of sorts:
This week I have found so little actual humanity on Twitter, a distinct lack of value, and a lot of noise. Controversial, but true
Since then, I’ve had lots of feedback, and talked in particular to Nathaniel Davis (@teedp ), David Thomas (@Bluegrass_IT ), and spent an hour on Skype with Robin Dickinson (@Robin_Dickinson ), all in an attempt to make sure what I communicating today is firstly felt by others, and to draw from that what seems to be the way forward.
Every I’ve had feedback from agrees on this: people are trying to cut through all the noise on Twitter with more noise. People who were once quality follows have become streams full of ReTweets on ’10 reasons why’ and other content that is devoid of any originality. The same content is being repackaged over and over. I myself have seen what once were people who I once enjoyed connecting with become self-proclaimed Twitter guides, their streams filled with advice and links to mostly their own content, where they contradictorily describe how Twitter is about helping other people!
If turning your feed into a stream of constant ‘information’ and RTs, tweeting nothing personal, human or engaging, and becoming a mini Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki ) is the price for ‘influence’, then I’m not buying. And I’m not buying because it adds no value, and that is what all these supposed gurus are telling us it is all about, right? I get plenty of value from Guy’s blog, but nothing from his tweets — why? — because his tweets, and the others like him, aren’t original. There is no uniqueness.
When Seth Godin said months ago that a lot of this social networking was worthless, people were up in arms — including myself. Now, I see what he’s saying. When talking to Robin Dickinson yesterday, he succinctly said “it’s a volume — value problem”, the more volume you churn out, the less value you have to dish out to each one.
A Solution: Add
My challenge to myself then, is to add. If I’m going to retweet, I should add a comment at the beginning rather than blindly retweting away. If I’m going to say something, let it add to others experience of me by being personal. If I’m posting a link, I need to add content that is unique and helpful, not just content regurgitation. And if I’m @ replying a lot of other people, make sure my replies help those who aren’t in the conversation understand what’s going on, rather than just saying ‘Yes’ or other short and non-understandable replies.
By thinking ‘add’, I also deter myself from getting into squabbling, wasting time with critics, and churning unoriginal content.
So that’s me done. Thanks for your time.