Twitter needs to be opt-out instead of opt-in

Scott Karp leads a TechMeme discussion when he confesses he has stopped using Twitter. Not because he doesn’t like it, but because there are downsides to it that outweigh the upsides. The addictiveness and relative ease to post and follow tweets lead to distraction of work. Furthermore he doesn’t like the signal-to-noise ratio, or in other words, the number of silly or non-interesting tweets outnumber the number of relevant and interesting tweets. Scott also notes that you often can only follow half of a conversation, as you might see the tweets of someone you follow, but you don’t see the tweets of the people that follow the person you are following.

It is this asymmetry that I do not like about Twitter either. It is very similar to hearing someone talking through a mobile phone in a public area. You can hear half of the conversation (even if yu don’t want to) and this becomes annoying. Better to hear nothing than half a conversation.

Twitter has another annoying feature build in. You can follow anyone you want, but the other person can chose not to follow you. Although this sounds the social thing to do, letting the user decide who he follows and who not, it has the drawback that you can become a groupie instead of a friend. Not much fun in that. I follow some really interesting people on Twitter but because they do not follow me, I’m unable to participate or react to anything they tweet.

You might now say, grow up dude, the guy doesn’t want to follow you because he doesn’t know or like you. But I don’t think that is always the case. The follow request can easily get lost or ignored in tons of mail. Leaving me with the fan status.

I am not a fan of opt-out as a default option but in the case of Twitter I would argue opt out is much better than opt in. By default everyone who decides to follow another person should be followed back by default. This has the advantage that true interaction is possible if wanted. At the same time the possible dislike or misbehavior of a person following you can easily be mended by blocking that person.

Twitter is a micro messaging tool. It allows free flows of ideas, words, sentences and conversations. If you don’t want to be part of that, simply ignore it. And if someone is a nuisance, just block him. But don’t ignore a follow me message. It is a compliment if someone is willing to listen to what you have to say! You can find me on twitter, and I ALWAYS follow you back!


About vanelsas

See my about page, ;-)
This entry was posted in microblogging, scott karp, Twitter, web 2.0 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Twitter needs to be opt-out instead of opt-in

  1. Thanks your message is amazing.
    I will definitely read your blog..
    See ya

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