Friday, 30 July 2010

If I wanted to know your tweets I'd follow you on twitter

Don't get me wrong: I do like ubiquity of information and aggregators, I find them useful and so on.

What I do not like is SPAM!
What I do not like is twisting and bending the nature of a thing in the name of aggregation of information.

If I wanted to know your tweets I'd follow you on twitter.
Twitter is made for frequent 140char updates.

Linkedin is NOT.
It is a platform made for building a network of business contacts and potentially for sharing professional point of views and information within dedicated groups.
You can put in a status on your profile, but Linkedin is not meant to broadcast frequent updates on what you think and feel to all your contacts. I do not want your tweets broadcasted there.

Facebook is NOT.
It is a platform built to share things with a bunch of friends. To tell them what you do, to share pictures, videos, to share and make community.
You have a status, but it's more about sharing things and building a dialogue than broadcasting a stream of messages. I do not want to see your tweets broadcasted there.

Moreover, If I have you as a contact in every previous mentioned platform, I do not want to see wherever the same information going on!

I do believe that finding in one place all what you say and do and publish on the net is nice and good to avoid cluttering. Yet I do NOT believe that every platfom can be that aggregator.

Everything has a purpose and is built to serve that purpose well.
Flicker is to collect your media, Blogger to write your stuff, Twitter to build a stream of thoughts, to build a personal site that aggregates the thing you've published on the net.

Everything has a purpose.
And I want to feel free to choose what to use when pursuing one goal, sure that I will not be overwhelmed with other useless, unwanted, time-wasting information.

If I wanted to know your tweets I'd follow you on twitter. 
Since I don't, then why are your tweets haunting me?!?


  1. That's a really complex issue, because while the three network are facilitators for different kind of usage patterns, in the end it's the motivation of the users and their social group that defines how it's going to be used.

    For example, in some context, it's perfectly normal to see the same content on all the networks, because on different network one can have very different social groups.

    The split you make in the post defines just the "basic" usage of the tool, or it's primary function, but social networks aren't deterministic and people use the tools - "neutral" tools - as they prefer.

    Also, there's the problem that the designers of those networks are trying to "take over everything", for example LinkedIn shouldn't have added the status update feature if they had to follow strictly their own social network idea, but nonetheless they added it. Good choice or not? Well, it's probably working for them, since it's still there. ;)

    And even the primary usage you said about those tools is a bit too strict and focused on the explicit task: for example Twitter isn't exactly to build a stream of thoughts: some social groups use it that way, some others use it as a link-sharing tools, some others as a daily handshake, some others as a PR tools, some others as a work tools (i.e. you can buy pizza, order a taxi, etc).

    Changing again point of view, ultimately, if you don't like someone's usage of one tool... just stop following/friending him/her. Since they're social network, they are defined for the most part by the group you interact with. :)

  2. I do agree it's a complex issue and, moreover, I do agree that there can be many different points of view.
    I tend to be a very "functional" person, I know, but although I'm trying to overcome that, I can't with this topic.

    You say "For example, in some context, it's perfectly normal to see the same content on all the networks, because on different network one can have very different social groups.".
    I do agree with part of it: of course on different networks one may have very different social groups, but then, if they are different and they are on different networks (meant to serve different purposes) why would he want to share with them the same content, the same meaning?
    Looks to me as if a neuroscientist goes to a discotheque and starts explaining neuroscience as he would do to his colleagues. Sounds weird, doesn't it?

    (To add a point on LinkedIn: the status was meant to talk about "what you are currently working on", so to me it was perfectly fitting. Maybe the wrong thing (to me, of course) has been to add the possibility to share your tweets through your status - it might have been a better choice to place them in a box on your profile page, complementing your "static" profile with more information. But, as we all know, sometimes strategical purposes lie underneath..)

    In the end you're making a good point when saying "social networks aren't deterministic and people use the tools as they prefer".
    Yet I do not feel comfortable in viewing everything turned to a Facebook-like social network.

    Though one can use a toothbrush in thousands different ways, using it as a carpet cleaner doesn't seem clever to me.

  3. "why would he want to share with them the same content, the same meaning?"

    Many reasons could exist. Maybe because the cross-broadcasted element is thought to be interesting for all the groups. Maybe because s/he uses one social network for one purpose but s/he wants to show the activities to all the other groups. Maybe because s/he just uses one social network and the others are seen as "gap fillers" to reach a few persons. And many more. :)

    But in the end, the point is: if a tool is used in a certain way, it's critical to see why that tool is used in that way - and it's even more critical being as a designer.

    You say "Yet I do not feel comfortable": this post is more about you than about social networks. ;)

  4. Curiously enough, UX Myths just published this:


  5. Thank you, Davide for your comments and your time. :)

    I'm aware of what the article on UX Myths says.
    Designers have always been aware that people end up using a tool in unpredictable ways: it has always been a hot topic in the design field and there are many examples of it documented in literature.

    Though in this case I wasn't debating about that.
    Mine was essentially a provocation. :)

    While I am not happy in receiving tweets on LinkedIn, I can of course guess why people might use that service.
    Though I believe there are different implications worth thinking about:

    Why are different (both diverse and with different purposes) social networks choosing to offer that features?
    In fact it is not a neutral feature, it makes some users happy and distress some others.

    What kind of people use that option? Do notorious people use it as well?

    How is that function valued? How is it perceived both by the active user and the passive user?

    It was with this in mind that I wrote the post.
    It's not about users' faults. It's never their fault. ;)