Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 4, 2011
As some of you know, I participate most of the time on a weekly Twitter chat on Wednesdays called Community Manager. It’s pretty neat sometimes, and today it was on the topic of blogging communities, something I like to talk about often.
Days ago I asked people if they comment on blogs they share via Twitter. It’s gotten a lively discussion and has even sparked conversation on other blogs. Well, something else came up today that begs the question as to whether people should ever be retweeting content that goes on through a Twitter Chat.
Actually, this came from someone who wasn’t even part of the chat. As I’d mentioned in the original post on chats, some folks don’t really like it when a group of people take up an hour or two for these chat sessions. I debated with myself how I felt and decided that I wanted to participate and that pretty much is that.
His gripe was that because each chat already has hashtags, which means everyone who’s participating is already into the chat, that there’s no reason for anyone to retweet anything while in the chat. His two points were these:
1) Followers (who aren’t chatting) see tweets out of context, becomes blather
2) It’s redundant to people who ARE following chat
Of course we debated this for a bit, and he included someone else in his diatribe who didn’t appreciate it and said she was going to do things her way and that he could just unfollow her if he wanted to. I’m going a different way; he’s a good guy, so I’m going to state my point of view here.
To his first point, he may or may not be correct. Let’s talk about blather for a minute. When a study was done a couple of years ago, it considered these categories:
News, Spam, Self-Promotion, Conversational, Pass-Along Value, Pointless Babble
The “pointless babble” part was the only piece considered as blather; it accounted for 40% overall. Babble was defined as “These are the “I am eating a sandwich now” tweets.” Not very scientific but it fits for now. If one is in a chat and one happens to RT something that found profound enough that someone else said, is that considered babble by the definition of the study? Nope. Does it matter whether someone is in the chat or not? Nope.
Is it irritating? Well, on that front it might be. I see these things all the time, chat or no chat. However, I also share a lot of things. In this particular chat I was guilty of at least one official retweet, and some messages where I selected retweet so I could respond to a group of people all at once and forgot to remove the RT in front of the message; oops. But the retweet I did I felt was so profound that I wanted other people following me, friends of mine, to see it whether they were on the chat or not. I tend to do that with RT’s in general, and this was no different in my mind.
Now let’s look at his point #2. Is it redundant to people in the chat? Could be, but also might not be. This is a very active chat. Last week in an hour there were almost 700 messages. Today’s topic was “blogging and community management”, something I know a lot about obviously. I posted a couple of thoughts, and the next thing you know I’m getting all sorts of people writing me directly. I won’t say it was overwhelming, but it was comprehensive. To a degree, I couldn’t keep up with every single message in the chat while also responding to everyone that was writing me directly. So, often I caught a retweet hashtag instead. Redundant for some readers? Absolutely. Redundant for me? On a day like today, not even close. On other days when I say almost nothing; yeah, I’d have to agree.
My overall conclusion? It’s actually the same thought I had when I first talked about chats. Some people aren’t going to like it at all. Some people aren’t going to like aspects of it. It’s like the PC/Mac argument. Based on how I use it will I stop doing it my way. Nope, ain’t happening. Based on how others use it will I stop participating or get upset about it? No, because then I’d be a hypocrite, and I’m certainly not that. When I get irritated by a behavior I either drop someone or I move them into another bucket. But I can take it for an hour, so I have no issues at all.