Why Twitter is the Most Annoying Networking Group in the World

I’ve argued with myself about if I should have a little rant or talk about one of the many other topics on my mind now. It’s Monday, and I slept terribly, so it’s a rant day 😀

A Tale of Two Twitters

I have two Twitter accounts. One I’ve had for several years and most of my connections are people in the real estate industry (my current day job). There are some that are still just posting their new listings, but for the most part I’ve stopped following them. Although the real estate industry has its quirks that can annoy me at times, this Twitter stream is fairly conversational and less marketing broadcast.

Now lets look at my SCUBA Twitter account. Since I’ve seen that the SCUBA industry is not as far along as real estate when it comes to using social networking tools (Realtors have a lot of free time, I think), I expected fewer people having more conversations. My expectations were turned upside down, and not completely in a good way.

Traditional Networking Groups

I’ve taken part in several networking groups over the years. Imagine this, if you will:

You walk in for your first meeting with a networking group you’ve joined. You’re well dressed, had an extra cup of coffee and a pocket full of business cards to share once you’ve made some connections.

You enter the meeting room and are hit by a tidal wave of noise. It’s as if everyone in the room is talking. “Great!” you think, “lots of business!” Then you start to realize that everyone is talking. Everyone. If everyone is talking, how can anyone be listening?

You start to listen more closely to see what everyone is talking about.

“Widgets for sale, $1.99!”

“Look at our newest product at www.whatever.com!”

“We just closed another deal!”

“I’m just repeating what the guy next to me said!”

“I’m just repeating what the guy next to me said!”

“I’m just repeating what the guy next to me said!”

You get the idea.

This isn’t networking, this is broadcasting. You are part of a group that yells their marketing message at each other, repeats each other for assumed personal gain and does no real networking.

Social Networking

Twitter, Facebook and other communities like them are social networks.

Think about what it means to be social and how you prefer to network.

Is it by telling people what’s new with you without listening to what’s new with them?

Is it by repeating stories you’ve heard other people tell over and over again?

How to Identify the Noise Makers

In an effort to streamline my activities online, I have tried to cut the noise to find the true value.

Here are my two big tips to eliminate noise via Twitter:

  1. Login late at night. Check the timeline to see if you see anyone who is very active (their avatar shows up repeatedly). Now look to see if those are just a bunch of @-replies (they may just be having a lively conversation). If they aren’t people in conversation, odds are they are automated accounts. Stop following them (unless you like the social network equivalent of SPAM).
  2. Look underneath peoples updates. It will say something like:
    X minutes ago from Application
    If it says something like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or Web instead of Application, you’re probably safe. If it says Twitterfeed or API, the spidey senses should be tingling. Check the rest of their timeline, if it’s predominantly Twitterfeed or API, they are an automated account. Stop following them.


I believe a small degree of automation is great. I use a Twitter Publisher to send my blog posts to Twitter automatically. I use Networked Blogs to send them to Facebook. When someone leaves a comment, Twitterfeed pumps those out to Twitter.

But I am also interacting with people (when I can find someone who isn’t a bot). I’m sharing links I find interesting. I am networking for the benefit of all of us in the SCUBA industry.

Finally, a huge Thank You to the people I’ve had conversations with, who reply to their @-replies and direct messages and otherwise are connecting with myself and other. You make it enjoyable to login to Twitter.

Won’t you join me?

Photo via oliverchesler

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