Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Public chats on Twitter - invading your timeline?

After a conversation with Alan Berkson, I wondered about the public chats on Twitter. They're conducted by following / naming a hashtag, which usually happens at conferences, but there are also various chats going on such as #lrnchat, #influencechat

How do you chat on Twitter? That is the question. And it is a difficult one, or rather, the answers are various. There is no general recipient for a chat except a hashtag maybe, but that is visible for all others to see. So everything you say, goes down your timeline and is to be absorbed by your followers

Now there's a twitch, maybe: who do your followers follow? You? Or do they have lists. Or do they not follow anyone at all, or just a random few?
Three choices there. I'm old-fashioned, I follow everyone I follow, and that's why I only follow 300+ people - and even their tweets are too much for me to catch up with as I do sleep at night, to no surprise I hope

Still, regardless the method your followers use, suddenly spawning tweets every few minutes must disrupt your followers' timeline unless you tend to do so as a habit, right? Right

So I'd like to introduce a new courtesy: directing all your public Twitter chats at @chat, which is a Twitter identity that is taken by someone I don't know but is clearly directed towards general Twitter chat.
If you don't have someone else particularly in your chat present to direct your tweet at, direct it at @chat please and include the hashtag as usual so everyone else can follow

If you deem one of your chat questions, answers or else worthy of public attention like you do with any other tweet, please be my guest and prefix the @chat with a dot, or an "MT" as that has lately seemed to become into fashion - more work for the analysis machines but they're still working on the new way of "double double quote over simple RT" anyway so just keep them busy

Seriously now - seriously. Public chatting is something I've kept up with for over a year now, unfollowing people who almost only seemed to do public chats, but it is just like standing in the metro, the train, a store or bus stop and yelling into your phone so we are all forced to witness your private conversation.
We don't like it. In fact, most of us detest it. Some even hate it, although hate, I think, is a word that should be allowed to become extinct because no one is practising it, let alone use the word in itself

So, please, dear public chatters, those who regularly, meaning weekly, litter my and other people's timeline with their charbage, please keep your private and public conversations to yourself unless you think they are worth sharing

Because that's how we live here on Twitter: we share what we deem worth sharing, almost every single tweet that we produce. Quantity over quality? The 90-9-1 rule applies here as well: at least 90% of what we tweet is worth tweeting. At least in my timeline

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