Twitter : Is it a valuable community contribution? (Follow Up)

There was some pretty interesting feedback on yesterday’s post, so I thought I would mention it in a follow up post, so it doesn’t get lost in the wasteland of blog comments. 🙂

Remember, I wasn’t saying certain types of tweets were necessarily good or bad. I was talking about how *I* rate them as far as content production and how they *might* be rated by an evangelism program…

  • Social Tweets : A few people including Martin, Oyvind, Stew and Hermant, mentioned how social tweets are good for binding the community and helping to meet other like-minded people. I agree and I personally like the more random stuff that people post. The issue was, does this constitute good content that should be considered for your inclusion in an evangelism program? I would say no.
  • Timeline : Baback, Matthew, Noons, Hermant all mentioned things about the timeline issue associated with Twitter. Twitter is a stream of conciousness, so if you tune out for a while (to go to bed) or you live in a different time zone to other people, it is easy for stuff to get lost. You don’t often come across an old tweet, but you will always stumble upon old blog posts and articles, thanks to the wonders of Google. 🙂 The quick “disappearance” of information is one of the reasons I don’t rate Twitter as a good community contribution.
  • Notifications : There was much love for notification posts. These days I quite often find things via Twitter before I notice them sitting in my RSS reader. I always post notifications and like the fact others do too, but as I said yesterday, it is the thing you are pointing too that is adding the most value, not the notification tweet. The tweet is useful to direct people to the content, but it in itself does not seem like valuable community participation to me, just a byproduct of being on Twitter.
  • Content Aggregation : Stew said an important point where content aggregation is concerned. If you tweet a link to someone else’s content, you are effectively endorsing that content. You need to be selective.
  • Audience : Noons mentioned the audience issue. Twitter is a public stream, but being realistic, the only people who will ever notice your tweets are those that follow you, those you tag in the tweet or robots mindlessly retweeting hashtags. Considering the effective lifespan of a tweet, it’s a rather inefficient mechanism unless you have a lot of followers, or some very influential followers.

So I’m still of a mind that Twitter is useful, but shouldn’t be the basis of your community contribution if you are hoping to join an evangelism program. 🙂



Update: I’ve tried to emphasize it a number of times, but I think it’s still getting lost in the mix. This is not about Twitter=good/bad. It’s about the value you as an individual are adding by tweeting other people’s content, as opposed to creating good content yourself. All community participation is good, but just tweeting other people’s content is less worthy of attention *in my opinion*, than producing original content.

If someone asked the question, “What do I need to do to become an Oracle ACE?”, would you advise them to tweet like crazy, or produce some original content? I think that is the crux of the argument. 🙂

Of course, it’s just my opinion. I could be wrong. 🙂

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

8 thoughts on “Twitter : Is it a valuable community contribution? (Follow Up)”

  1. >>So I’m still of a mind that Twitter is useful, but shouldn’t be the basis of your community contribution if you are hoping to join an evangelism program

    Hmmm, well, what if your reach is thousands, or tens of thousands? What if you don’t have time to blog, but you can help many many folks via Twitter?

    I’m not saying it SHOULD be the basis, but I am saying it COULD be the foundation. Maybe special case, but aren’t we ALL special cases?

  2. Jeff: I think there are a couple of angles here. If someone is answering lots of questions, often by linking to content, that is adding a lot of value as the tweet is an answer. Much like answering a question in a forum by saying “read this” and linking to a relevant article.

    Alternatively, if someone is just tweeting other people’s articles, I feel this is a low value contribution. I don’t have a problem with that, and it serves a purpose, but if they then said to me, I’ve tweeted 10,000 times to other people’s content, can I join your evangelism program, I would probably say no. I rate original content over this type of content aggregation. I could easily write a program that polls and tweets every blog post. Would that make me worthy of a spot?




  3. “…would you advise them to tweet like crazy, or produce some original content?”

    I think that it is fairly obvious that you should write one piece of original content, then tweet about it over and over again until it seems like you’ve produced several pieces of original content. Rinse and repeat. 🙂

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