Putting the Conversation Back into Twitter

http Callout BoxSome days it seems Twitter has moved from a social platform to a headline and link platform. I don’t know about you, but I miss the old days of Twitter where people shared insightful thoughts or strangers met through a conversation.

Communicating something useful or interesting in 140 characters was an art, and some practiced it well. This art is already being lost.

Today, 140 characters is just a promotion for 500 more words.

The only art applied is headlines and adding the personal endorsements (+100! anyone?) that make the headline and link more important than the 20 billion other headlines shared at the same time.

It is worth a reminder here: sharing is recommending someone takes their time to read the link you shared.

How bad has it become? The other day I looked across 20+ Tweetdeck columns and all I could find were links. No conversation and nothing close to the art of communicating in 140 characters.

My Solution: Filter Out the Links

Filtered_TweetdeckFilter out links in TweetDeck for your All Friends column by filtering out any tweet that includes “http://”.

For the last week, I have changed my TweetDeck setting and I am finding those conversations and insights again right on Twitter, without needing to click a link.

Now my all friends stream is a place to discover potential conversations once again, and I still have more than 20 columns full of links if I’m looking for something longer to read. 🙂

I also use Tweetdeck’s global filter extensively to remove sources like Twitterfeed and Foursquare, hashtags for TV shows I don’t care about and +K endorsements. Learn how here: Use Filters to Manage Twitter

Your Turn

Do you feel Twitter is a good place for conversation, or has it been taken over by links and promotions? Share your view in the comments below or just say hello to me on Twitter (@wittlake)!

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  • Hey, you stole my brainz! 🙂

    • Ok, you can have it back! Didn’t realize you had just talked about this as well, always glad to be on the same page as you!

  • tomdebaere

    Hi Eric,

    I guess that’s what happens with platforms that become popular. I have found the same with LinkedIn groups. So many people thinks it’s a place where they can publish their press release or promotions.

    It’s sad that these people don’t understand social. But at the same time it’s an opportunity to differentiate yourself or your company to do it different and show value to your followers or group members.

    I’m glad you found a way to find back your conversations.



    • Thanks Tom! I agree, it is still an opportunity to pick a different path.

  • Love this idea. Is there a way to do this in Hootsuite?

    • I was going to ask the same thing. Off I go to find out…

      • Unfortunately, no, at least in the ‘free’ Hootsuite you can use an include filter but not an exclude filter. It is one of the reasons I don’t use Hootsuite much. cc @lauraclick:disqus

        • Yea, I found that out almost as soon as I posted my comment (and I have a paid version of HootSuite).

          • I have the paid Hootsuite too. It’s a darn shame that it’s not available there.

  • funny… good article and excellent point. But curious… I just checked out your last 52 tweets since February 5th from the company’s Twitter account… all links and not one conversation. ?? Just curious… In my opinion, there is broadcasting and there is conversation. I truly believe that you can achieve both in one tweet. Just my .02.

    • I agree with you on that latter point, Jeff!

      • Thanks Shonali… I don’t want it to sound like I am bashing Eric.. He wrote a very good article and it’s a good reminder to many of us. So many people are just broadcasting. But when I checked the company’s Twitter stream that Eric works for, all I say were links… no conversations. Even from a business such as theirs, I believe you need a mix… Just my .02

        • I know you weren’t bashing @wittlake:disqus – and it certainly wasn’t my intention to do so either – that’s why I said “on that latter point.” I love Eric’s posts, he’s one of my Triberr highlights. I almost always share what he writes.

        • Jeff, yes, we are link heavy. At least for now, we have chosen to share content we like through the logo account but focus on responding and engaging as individuals.

    • Jeff, I agree you can do both, but I’m not ready to walk away from a full thought shared on Twitter without a link as well.

      Curious, what company Twitter account are you looking at? My personal account (linked in the article) is actually pretty heavily biased towards conversation over the last few days.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and even taking the time to look into how accounts are really behaving.

  • I have been saying this for a while – I use it for both – so no need to tell me what is in my stream. I miss being able to talk with folks in evenings. We use to have some banging convos on twitter.

  • Here’s what happens to all of you linksters—I list you, I don’t follow you. And when I have time, I look at the big long list of links and pick a few to click on—like this one! I may not have a big following (I have chosen not to adopt the follow for follow strategy—I follow those who either share a common interest or who interact with me), but my timeline is not full of junk, and this allows me to enjoy both the serious and silly side of Twitter. You should try it! 🙂

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  • Twitter is more a selfish spam platform, it is all about me, me and me and nothing more. very horrible, but that is just what twitter is. A lot of self promotion, links sharing to their own website is spam. People are not starting any conversations but use it more as a chatbox.

  • Interesting article Eric, Sometimes sharing links can be a start for an interesting conversation. Maybe sharing without listening to reactions, might be the point to avoid ?

  • Hi Eric, great topic. I think marketers either get this or they don’t. Most don’t. I don’t dismiss those that post links, but if I look at a Twitter timeline and see robotic spammy posts, I’m not impressed. But at least they are posting! I have more of a problem seeing robotic Tweets that show up over on LinkedIn and Facebook, than on Twitter. If the same messages are everywhere, why follow or connect with them?

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