There are many different uses of Twitter that I find somewhat disturbing and annoying. At the heart of it is the fact that I don’t believe Twitter should be your personal billboard. It’s one thing to be highly active and engaged in the community, but it’s quite another to flood your followers with automated Tweets. One of the primary culprits of this is TwitterFeed. TwitterFeed is a way to pipe an RSS feed directly into Twitter. It checks your feed at an interval that you specify, grabs the newest items, and posts them to Twitter.
I’m quite positive that the person who developed this tool (@mario) did not intend for it to be a problem. I’m sure it was created to add value to the Twitter experience, but mostly it just gets on my nerves. After a heads up from @isthisstupid (her blog is here), I decided to check and see if there were actually some settings that could make Twitterfeed less…uh…evil. No matter how great a tool is, there is usually some training that needs to be done on the part of the user to make sure everything goes as planned.
Now, this is Chewbaca a screenshot of the Twitterfeed settings page for creating a new feed. As you can see here, you have the option to specify how often Twitterfeed is checking to see if there is anything new from your feed. Every hour seems pretty reasonable.
This is the other setting you can change on that same page. Twitterfeed also gives you the option to specify how many updates it will spit out at a time. I think this is where most of us are messing up.
These are the default settings, which means that Twitterfeed will check my feed every hour. If there are 5 new posts at that time, Twitterfeed is going to dump all of them into Twitter. All of them.
Take another look at the pic at the top of this post. Do you think your followers are interested in seeing 5 back-to-back, automated updates from you? What would you think if you saw 5 updates in a row from someone you followed? How about if you and a friend are talking and someone just busts into the conversation and talks nonstop for 5 minutes? I’m quite positive you’d both walk away.
So, in the interest of making yourself more valuable to your followers, check your settings. I would change that 5 to, at most, a 2. What you’re doing here is spreading your content over a longer period of time. This gives your audience a chance to actually digest what you’re posting at a normal pace, rather than seeing a huge set of links and just ignoring it entirely.
Are there any services that you think people are abusing or misusing? How do you feel about people pulling in automated Tweets? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.