What Twitter could learn from Facebook when it comes to privacy and noise reduction

 

I’ll start this one with a short excerpt from my recent post Two Twitter Features I’m longing for to reduce the noise:

The fact that Twitter introduced lists is great. But wouldn’t it be even better if you could choose which lists should read the tweet you’re sending out?

A couple of scenarios:

  • I created a list of German speaking Twitterers writing about social media. If I now stumbled across an interesting social media related German link and would like to share it with my followers, it unfortunately doesn’t make much sense to non-German speakers. So I’d like to have the opportunity to share it with this specific German list of my followers.
  • You’ve created a list of real friends, close ones, not the ones from Myspace, and don’t want to share some kind of personal stuff with your whole timeline but just with the folks on your close friends list.

If Twitter had only taken a quick glance at a the privacy options Facebook rolled out roughly half a year ago, the above-named issues would have been solved right away. 

Marshall Kitpatrik from ReadWriteWeb nailed it:

The new Facebook publishing feature lets users share things with just a particular list of their friends. (Or with the public at large if they so choose.) The contexts are un-collapsed. Communication is human again. That’s a very big deal and is the kind of change that could make far more people comfortable sharing far more information about their lives on Facebook. It’s also a feature that no major competitor (namely Twitter) offers.

Facebook may be solving one of the biggest problems in social networking – the unnaturally uncontrollable nature of communication.

As a matter of fact, somebody unfollowed me on Twitter yesterday, telling me that too many of my tweets seemed too extraneous to appear in his timeline, therefore putting me on a list.

So basically, Twitter would just have to copy Facebook’s feature to reduce the noise in our timelines & make communication on Twitter more sophisticated in general. Just by enabling users to choose which lists should see their tweet. I’m not a very skilled coder, but this shouldn’t be rocket-science.

To conclude, I’ve put together a how-to-video of the above-mentioned Facebook feature for those of you who haven’t heard of it yet :

 
 

Two Twitter Features I’m longing for to reduce the noise

 

There are plenty of ways to use Twitter. Some use it in the “old-fashioned” way to stay in touch with their peers by telling each other what they’re doing. Some use it for marketing purposes, others try to be funny or something.

As I’m primarily using it as a source of information, as well as a platform to spread some (hopefully) valuable information, I’d really like to see some Twitter features that actually reduce the noise that is out there. If I’m looking for information, I select Twitterers because of the subjects they’re writing about / interested in. Thus, I don’t really want to know that a guy who tweets about enterprise 2.0 has just caught a bus in time. And I guess some of my followers don’t want to read some of my tweets as well because they just don’t have any value for them. There are two kinds of information I’m referring to in particular:

Tweets in a language my followers don’t understand

They might be helpful for my fellow Krauts, but don’t make any sense to followers who don’t speak any German. So instead of forcing them to learn this incredibly complicated language, I’ve had the idea that it’d be great if Twitter introduced language hashtags as a feature. And I guess it’s not just for German, but for a lot of people that don’t want to nag their mostly English speaking followers with Polish, Turkish or Spanish tweets, just to name a few.

An idea to solve this problem could look as follows:

#de Moin, dieser Tweet ist deutschsprachig und wieso sollten Leute ihn lesen, wenn sie kein Deutsch können?!

In this case, the #de-hashtag would indicate a German tweet. If Twitter now allowed its users to select the languages they actually understand, their timelines could be purged from “foreign” tweets that don’t make any sense to them, indicated by the specific hashtag. This would reduce the noise for Twitterers who don’t understand the language of multilingual users they follow. Other than that, it could also make a 2nd Twitter account superfluous.

Nicole Simon for example, a renowned German Social Media lady uses an English (main) account and a 2nd one for her German tweets. I also gave this solution a try by creating a German account apart from my main Twitter account SMartens83, but it really got tedious. I consequently started tweeting in English and German on my main account again, which does create noise for many of my non-German followers, but is much handier for me at the end of the day, I’m afraid.

Tweeting to specific lists

The fact that Twitter introduced lists is great. But wouldn’t it be even better if you could choose which lists should read the tweet you’re sending out?

A couple of scenarios:

  • I created a list of German speaking Twitterers writing about social media. If I now stumbled across an interesting social media related German link and would like to share it with my followers, it unfortunately doesn’t make much sense to non-German speakers. So I’d like to have the opportunity to share it with this specific German list of my followers.
  • You’ve created a list of real friends, close ones, not the ones from Myspace, and don’t want to share some kind of personal stuff with your whole timeline but just with the folks on your close friends list

These are the features that come to my mind when it comes to reducing the noise I create for my followers. If you have any other ideas or any workarounds to make these ideas a reality without a new Twitter feature, feel free to leave a comment or get in touch on Twitter. But please don’t DM me in Swahili ;-)

 
 

Happy New Year – I guess it is time for me to get social again

 

I obviously haven’t spend much time blogging recently and my presence on the social web has diminished dramatically since August.
Well, sometimes you just don’t have to say anything – let alone something use- or even thoughtful – and I’m afraid this was the case for me in the last four months, which was a kind of weird phase of my life – to use a euphemism.

Anyway, I’m trying to change this next year (wow, that’s tomorrow, right?!) apart from some other New Years Resolutions.
I know, it’s kind of lame to exploit New Years Eve to make radical changes in one’s life – in most cases we could actually do this everyday.

Rabbi Hillel makes a good point here in saying the following (thx Rabege):

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?

Nice quote – but hard to take it to heart in each and every moment (as with most quotes out there), especially if you can think of thousand of moments were you didn’t act like this at all. But I guess it’s time to forget these moments – living in the past, wondering why this and that happened, just makes things worse. So does torturing oneself for not living up to one’s own expectations and ideals.

Well, this weird private post will be followed by the usual Social Media stuff next year to be sure. Maybe some posts will even be worth reading.

Cheers and Happy New Years!

 
 

The Iranian Election and Social Media – Aljazeera Interview with Social Media Expert Robin Hamman

 

Fomer BBC Senior Community Producer Robin Hamman, who’s been leading the Social Media Team at Headshift for roughly a year now, was interviewed about Iran’s online media battle by Aljazeera.
As the Iranian election is still a trending topic on Twitter, it’s definitely worth watching, especially because Robin knows what he’s talking about:

A couple of other interesting links on the Iranian election and the impact of (Social) Media:

 
 

My Name is E: A serious Competitor for Poken from the Netherlands

 

I’ve blogged about the Do you Poken phenomenon a couple of days ago and kind of concluded:

“Due to its design, I’m not even quite sure whether they want it to go mainstream as it rather looks funny than business like.
I reckon mobile phones with an RFID chip will do the job in the future, but I’m not a technical person, so I actually don’t have a clue ;-)”

What I had missed when I visited the Next Conference in Hamburg was the startup competition, which was won by My name is E. Just check the first 10 minutes of the footage to see their slick presentation:

As you can tell from the video, they’re basically offering the same service as Poken does, but literally more seriously, which is to say more business like.
You can exchange data via any mobile phone with an internet connection or use their so called “Connectors”.

I’ve just created my public virtual business card there:

my_name_is_e

Making it public is optional, but I’d highly recommended it, also because the links to your profiles are indexed by search engines, as they’re not (yet) “nofollow”.

Looking forward to asking random people at upcoming events if their Name is E as well :-)