Arrest me! I’m a Twitter Gamer! A response post

This is a post in response to “Twitter declaring checkmate on Twitter Gamers” .

I love twitter for all its worth but even the best of us make mistakes. Twitter is trying to crack down on the ‘gamer’ community ie people that blast as many followers as possible and then unfollow the ones that don’t follow them back. They are trying to increase their follow/unfollow ratio and now, company brands and users are threatened with suspension if they continue following this ‘game.’ I find this to be absurd. I do not think the ratio game is hurting anyone and Twitter should be more preoccupied with more important tasks like getting rid of spammers on the site rather than punishing companies that are rolling in more money than Twitter is currently able to produce.

Twitter should rather put their efforts into enforcing a 200 new follower per day cap and boxing out spammers. Most everyday tweeters follow about a max of 100 new followers per day. Spammers are the only ones that have 962 followers with only 15 people following back. Spammers are polluting our twittersphere, not these ‘gamers’ that Twitter aims to get rid of. In addition, this gives the ‘gamer’ term a bad reputation as how the term ‘hackers’ has become perceived as something evil and malicious.

Sure, I don’t appreciate the company brand sending me tweets in all caps but other than that, they are completely harmless. Spammers, on the other hand, are associating me with their slutty profiles to tell me that I can get wanked off ten different ways if I decide to follow their links. In addition, it takes time and effort to continuously block these scoundrels for as soon as you block one of their accounts, some goblin that lives in a deep dark cave forms a new account under a different name and does it all over again. It is just as annoying as having the pre-recorded motor vehicle calls that tell you that your vehicle warranty has expired and continue to call you from different numbers until they use up your day minutes. (One day, we’ll get you. Until then, here’s how to fix it .)

Unless someone can prove to me that getting rid of gamers is more important than getting rid of spammers, then bull shit. I currently follow about 1500 people with about 1000 people following me back. Every once in awhile, I like going through my list and unfollow people who I do not find interesting so my readings are more relevant. If you wanted to, you could assume that I am trying to be a badass gamer and am attempting to break the Twitter rules . (Yup, that’s me.) In reality, I tweet about incoherent things like guns, unicorns and rabid poop throwing monkeys but I am not in my bedroom concocting an evil plan to sabotage Twitter and have the fail whale reign forevermore (even though I’m sure we all love seeing him.) Yet I could easily land on Twitter’s radar because of my method of following/unfollowing people, where I will be at risk for suspension. I am sure other people on Twitter who are not large celebrities or trying to sell a company brand employ the same method as I do. You don’t always know if you like the new follower and people are bound to change their opinions of other people’s tweets. It’s like going through your google reader and getting rid of articles that you don’t find interesting anymore. Or when you switch back and forth between different political leaders during an election.

I say we rip up the gamer rule and focus on more important things. Like fighting spammers and remembering to wear pants to work.


Go Twitter: response to How Twitter staff uses Twitter

This post is in response to Marshall Kirkpatrick’s post on ‘How Twitter staff uses Twitter (and why it could cause problems.’

First of all, the people at twitter are incredibly smart and because they are really ridiculously smart, I am sure they have an overall sense of what they want to do with twitter. They have done an amazing job so far.

Now the concern isn’t twitter employees not using twitter because they do have twitter accounts and are following people but more that they aren’t following large amounts of people and therefore, do not completely grasp the essence of twitter (other than CEO @ev, who is following 1k+ twitterers.) I disagree. I follow 1k+ followers and tweets that I would normally read and followup on are lost in the masses of tweets I receive and because I do not have an iphone or an awesome phone that lets me reliably check my tweets, I am most probably losing valuable information. It is the same as if you are backtracked on reading messages in your inbox except in the twitterverse, not only are you trying to keep up with your old mail but a hundred more emails are being sent to your inbox per hour.

I have been trying to follow rails/ruby developers foremost, followed by other devs like lispers and js devs and then website designers and a couple of miscellaneous people. I personally use twitter to keep up with the tech world and I get plenty of tweet gems like the tweet that mentioned Ruby’s toolbox page or on a massive scale, whenever people are tweeting about sessions at a tech conf.

As a twitter employee, by Marshall’s terms, in order to keep up with your community, you need to follow heaps of people such as celebrities, people talking about knitting , teenagers, the million start up companies on twitter, etc. You would not be able to solely follow tech developers or whatever it is that you wanted because that would mean you are discriminating and you wouldn’t want anyone to feel alienated. I do not think it is humanly possible to make sure you are always following the top devs on twitter or top twitter stars unless your secretary is checking your tweets while you are sleeping. Now you have to wonder if @ev started following 1k people because he wanted to or because it was expected of him.

I, for one, would not want to be following thousands of people just for show and if I did, there is a likelihood that I would be following people whose interests I do not share. Twitter then would be more of a spam box and that wasn’t the reason why you started working for twitter in the first place. Yes, it would be nice if twitter employees followed more people but so what? There are plenty of people who are on twitter that follow less than 100 twitterers and they are content with the website. Do you think Mark Zuckerbeg has a million friends on Facebook? Tom from Myspace is friends with just about everybody but I doubt he talks to everyone. As long as twitter is gaining feedback from its power users and users in general, then they are in good hands. As soon as this stops, the company will get in trouble, as any company would. Feedback is important so that the company is able to shift in a particular direction if need be. And sure, twitter employees might not tweet as often as some of us crazy folks but part of it is because they are so damn busy making sure their servers don’t keel over due to over usage and at the same time are trying to implement new features and making sure that the current features are getting upgraded. And they need a life outside of work. Yes, they love providing twitter services to us but everyone needs some down time .

Marshall expresses concern over the new @replies changes for the twitter power users. I did notice it but I wasn’t sure in what way it had changed. If someone could clarify this for me, that would be great.

If it is true that twitter employees are not looking at different desktop applications, then they should. It is good to examine those applications as well as applications that stemmed off of twitter like tweetscan, twitpic, etc. I’m surprised there isn’t a wikipedia page for this information. Here is a link to Twitter’s services and apps. It is always good to see what ideas arise while users are using your application as their platform. It helps the company get a good sense on what direction the twitter universe is leaning towards. Ev did mention that they already hired full time employees to read the incoming feedback and I am sure they know what is happening in the Twitter world and are relaying this information back to the rest of the employees.

In the end, as everyone learns eventually in their lifetime, you can’t make everyone happy and as of now, Twitter has been doing a pretty darn good job. Keep up the good work guys and I hope to see more awesomeness sprout from the twitter cave.

Celebrities complaining about twitter accounts: Get over it

I am pretty pissed that people blame twitter for ruining their lives and in this specific case, are suing them for it. Tony la Russa is suing twitter for “trademark infringement, trademark dilution, cybersquatting, misappropriation of name and likeness, invasion of privacy, and intentional misrepresentation” (1) , etc. Cybersquatting? There currently tons of people cybersquatting domain names and they’re getting paid million of dollars. Next reason. Invasion of privacy? The paparrazi did not creep into your bed and take photos of you while you were sleeping so that one is out as well. You’re running out of plausible reasons.

Do you really think Twitter is going to stake out all the possible celebrity names just so that you don’t throw a tantrum ? There are literally a million ways that any celebrity name can be changed to be used as a celebrity profile and considering twitter’s exponential growth, do you really think they have the time to babysit you? Maybe if they got paid to but other than that, buzz off. They and everyone else around you have better things to do .

And the guy who used Tony la Russa’s screen name even said it was a parody. Where is your sense of humour? You weren’t born with one? That’s tragic. My condolences .

I am sick and tired of people like Tony la Russa and P diddy getting all worked up for nothing. At least everyone is starting to follow the #unfollowpdiddy trend. Why is it that every time something big and phenomenal happens some douchebag needs to ruin the fun for everyone? Twitter isn’t stealing social security numbers or breaking into your house so stop your complaining. Seriously dude, if you’re annoyed, go get yourself a twitter account and tell twitterers that it’s the real Tony la Russa. Shaq, Oprah and Ashton have jumped on board the twitter train. So, please do something constructive or leave it alone .

(1) == reference to mashable’s blog post on Tony la Russa suing Twitter