When to Rein In Twitter Over Share?
As is the deal with any mode of human interaction, the rules of
social media etiquette are in a continuous state of formation.
We're collectively hammering out the unwritten rules of what (and
what not) to share and how to share it. For instance, in
face-to-face conversation with someone, it's not exactly considered
a "best practice" to belabor a topic your interlocutor has little
interest in. But face-to-face, phone and text messaging best
practices don't seem terribly relevant when you have the
tantalizing option of blasting every single one of your social
media contacts with info on what you ate for breakfast this
morning. Because obviously they care!
Case in point: Last weekend's 2011 MTV Video Music Awards were a
hot topic, earning 5.5-million-social-media-mentions, as reported
in a Mashable article.
I contributed at least 10 Tweets to that sum, without once
considering whether my VMA preoccupation might cost me followers
-because obviously everyone cares who I want to win Best New
Using social media to engage with a televised event is nothing
new anymore. The State of the Union, major sporting events and
certain season finales can tend to dominate social media feeds. But
should we be warning our followers first before sending out a
volley of live Tweets specific to an event that they all might not
be watching? Or do what the New York Times did and create
handle dedicated to live Tweeting major, real-time stories?
What's common courtesy?
One of my colleagues sometimes alerts her followers when she's
entering a Tweet Chat, as a way of warning them about the volume of
Tweets she's about to generate on a specific topic. One time, a
follower told her he was going to un-follow her and re-follow her
once her Tweet Chat was over. Maybe therein lies the answer.
The other thing to consider is how we choose the viewing events
we want to live Tweet. Perhaps the VMAs are one of those things I
should have reined in my excitement for-or not. A friend Tweeted he
wasn't watching the VMAs at all but was appreciating the deluge of
comedy the show was generating from his social media network.
So what do you think? Should we have a little more respect for
other people's interests and maybe not post five remarks in two
minutes about Lil Wayne's auto-tuned crooning as the closing act of
the VMAs? Or do you think we're doing our followers a favor when we
let them know what they're (not) missing?
Whatever your opinion, check out the Mashable infographic
on social media activity during the VMAs. Take a look at the fifth
top market for social media mentions of the VMAs - Philly! See, I
wasn't alone. I think I'll continue to Tweet with abandon.