The Lawlessness Of Twitter’s Wild West

cowboyWhat to tweet or what not to tweet, the rules of behavior and usage for Twitter abound on the internet. Most humans desire some rules to live by, whether it’s through religion, government, family, workplace, or self imposed ethics, most people get a certain level of comfort from knowing the parameters within which they should or are expected to operate. The problem with trying to apply rules to Twitter use is that everyone is inventing their own rules as they go to suit their own needs. Like it or not, Twitter is like the old wild west and like those days, it is a bit of a free-for-all.

I started writing this post to express my opinion about such things as ghost tweeting, sponsored tweets and spammers. Then I thought about it a bit more and realized that I’d just be contributing to the already incredibly long list of posts about Twitter do’s and don’ts (this one I thought was particularly amusing). There are a myriad of ways to use or not use Twitter and a matching number of viewpoints about which is “right” and which is “wrong.”

There are people who use Twitter to write books one tweet at a time, people who use it to link to naked pictures of themselves, people who use it for customer service, for marketing, for shameless self promotion, for entertainment, enlightenment or inspiration, for posting affiliate links in the hope of making some cash, for posting random thoughts, or for posing as someone else. Whatever the use, whatever the motivation, no matter how many people scream “that’s wrong,” the same number will scream “says who?” When there are no rules, people will make them up as they go or some will not operate under any rules at all. So one of my resolutions for the new year is to try to stop being so irritated by those that are not using Twitter to my liking. I will simply do what they did in the wild west and in a blink of an eye I’ll take my gun out of its holster, aim, and fire directly at the block button.

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7 comments so far. Leave a comment.

  1. Greg Satell

    wrote on January 4, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Is it okay to shoot people who send those syrupy “thanks for following, I truly hope that we can be of mutual benefit” direct messages?

    There should be a rule…

    - Greg

  2. Cheryl Andonian aka Momblebee

    wrote on January 4, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Virtually shoot, sure. Really shoot, not so much. ;-)

  3. Andrea Hill

    wrote on January 8, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Block? Really? Or just not follow?

    That’s another feature or behavior that people seem to use differently. Rarely will I block someone unless I feel they’re active, intentional spammers. Otherwise, I figure ‘tweet and let tweet’.

  4. Cheryl Andonian aka Momblebee

    wrote on January 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I block spammers always. I sometimes block people who aren’t necessarily spammers, but who I find annoying in either the frequency or the content of what they are saying. People that I’m simply just not interested in or don’t see the connection, I just don’t follow.

  5. Ed

    wrote on January 9, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Interesting post. But even if people are using Twitter differently to others, there is still no excuse, i think, for being irritating to others. So for example, “shameless self promotion” is always wrong in any scenario. At the end of the day most of us want to promote what we do in some way. We just might do it in different ways to others. But always in a way where our audience and we both benefit, equally, in some way. As opposed to just one person taking centre stage and trying to control the show.

  6. Cheryl Andonian aka Momblebee

    wrote on January 9, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Ed, I do agree with you, but the problem is that most people who are not spammers, but are simply irritating probably don’t see themselves that way. It is a subjective view. What is really irritating or sleazy to me might be interesting or entertaining to someone else. People all have different standards and methods of operation. The only control we can have is over our own actions, interactions and connections. Behave yourself to your own standards and use the block and unfollow feature as you see fit to control who is part of your own community. Thanks for stopping by and adding your thougths….

  7. TerryR

    wrote on January 11, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I agree with Momblebee…set your standards high enough to set the example you wish others to follow. The Twitterverse is going to mirror natural human behavior, afterall! Even the Wild West did settle down a bit. I do like Andrea Hill’s saying: “Tweet, and let Tweet”

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