TrueTwit - Satan, Savior or Simply Misunderstood?

SoftwareHollis
Hollis Tibbetts Director for Software Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions Group, Dell, Inc.

Posted on November 10th 2011

My Twitter profile (@SoftwareHollis) says “I boycott TrueTwit!”.

I use an entire 19 characters out of my allotment of 140 to let people know that I won’t follow them it I have to validate through TrueTwit.  That’s a lot of characters in TwitterLand, so it must be a big deal for me.

But is TrueTwit inherently an “evil” product, or simply a great product that I dislike?

What is TrueTwit?

Not familiar with TrueTwit?  It’s a “validation service” that some people use on Twitter. 

When you follow someone who uses TrueTwit, you’ll get a direct message back asking you to fill out a “Captcha” form to validate that you’re a real person.

If you don’t fill out that form, you will get put into a bucket of “unvalidated users”, and you may get blocked if the user so chooses.

TrueTwit tries to encourage people to sign up for the service – if YOU sign up for TrueTwit, you’re always automatically validated.  But people who follow you will automatically get sent validation request messages.

TrueTwit’s pitch is that “Twitter spam is a drag. What if you could know for sure that your followers are truly human, and not some cyborg? TrueTwit is designed to help you: Verify people from robots, Avoid Twitter spam, Save time managing your followers”.

What do I Mean by “I Boycott TrueTwit”

Simply this: I refuse to fill out those Captcha forms to validate that I’m a real person.

Why am I such a stick in the mud about this? Frankly, they validation requests are just irritating.  Half the time, I get the Captcha wrong on the first try.  And I have much better things to do with my time than spend it filling out Captcha forms. 

There are millions of really interesting people out there on Twitter.  If some of them make it difficult for me to follow them by using TrueTwit, I’ll just move on to someone else.  There is no shortage of cool people out there.

TrueTwit – Is it an Abomination?

There are a lot of people out there hating on TrueTwit.  To a certain degree, I’m one of them.  I don’t think it’s pure evil – I dislike it, object to it, it irritates me, and believe that most everyone should avoid it. 

Fundamentally, I believe it is an “anti-social media” product, rather than a “social media” product.

If you’re on Twitter, it’s because you at least think you have things to say that other people want to hear.  I’m that way – I write articles, and then I tweet about them because I’m silly enough to believe that my followers might want to read those articles.  Sometimes I express opinions for the same reason.

Why would I ever want to restrict who follows me?  I’d love to have 1,000 times as many followers as I have now.  I don’t really care who they are or where they’re from.  I don’t even care if they’re a “bot” – no skin off my teeth, so to speak.

If you really want to control who sees what you say, Twitter isn’t the place for you. Join Facebook where you have complete control over who befriends you and over who you befriend.  And over who sees what (at least until the next Facebook Privacy FUBAR).

Follower Management Isn’t the Issue

I have roughly 3500 followers.  I get very little spam from them.  If I did, I’d just ban them.  I spend maybe 1 minute a month “managing” my followers.

I spend much more time worrying about who I follow.  

I go through the list of people I follow every week and “unfollow” anyone who hasn’t tweeted in the past 30 days (unless I have a very good reason to keep following them). 

If I follow someone and they end up tweeting silly things 1000 times a day, or @ me or DM me for no apparent reason, I’ll ban them or unfollow them pretty quickly. 

I easily spend 45 minutes a week managing who I follow.  Those are the voices that I want to listen to. 

Followers?  It’s still a free country – if you want to follow my Tweets, by all means, please do so!  I’m all about encouraging followers, not irritating them.

Top 10 Reasons to Hate TrueTwit

1)      It’s just annoying – I’d rather spend my time writing, learning or making money.  And I hate Captchas.

2)      TrueTwit is supposed to reduce spam.  To me, the DMs they send out automatically ARE spam.  Worse yet -  I get 100x more “spam” from TrueTwit than from all other spammers combined.  My DM column and my email folder are FULL of DMs from TrueTwit, which raises the odds of me missing something important.

3)      There are plenty of software packages out there that allow you to automate your ‘bots to get past capchas, so I question how effective it is.

4)      I don’t get much spam (apart from TrueTwit), so I question the NEED for it. 

5)      I object to the very idea behind the way that TrueTwit is set up – the only way to bypass getting DMs is to become a TrueTwit user yourself.  If the whole world used TrueTwit (including spammers) then nobody would have any protection because everyone would be automatically validated.  And TrueTwit would know EVERYTHING about EVERYONE’S followers.  That’s creepy.  And that's where the money is at, at least for TrueTwit.

6)      I object to the “blackmail” model - If you PAY TrueTwit, you can avoid spamming all your followers – which is a bit like blackmail.  I know it’s only $20, but it’s badness.

7)      I object to it on a philosophical basis - Twitter is about communication, engagement and “amplification” – why would I ever want to restrict that by making it DIFFICULT for people to follow me? It’s an “anti-social” technology.

8)      The “really busy” people – thought leaders, executives, analysts, heavy hitters, brainiacs – those are the people I want to reach the most.  They’re also the LEAST LIKELY to bother validating.  And the most likely to “unfollow” me for spamming them.

9)      Ok… I admit I only have 8. 

 But I did that on purpose – please leave comments below with candidates for “Why TrueTwit is Awful”.  Or Tweet @SoftwareHollis.  Use HashTag #H8TT.  Or email me hollis@analyst.net.  In a week or two, I’ll create a new “Top 10 list” for TrueTwit haters.

 Top 10 Reasons to Love TrueTwit

1)      You work for TrueTwit.

2)      You’re an investor in TrueTwit.

3)      Maybe they’ll come out with something useful for managing who I follow, instead of who follows me.

4,5,6,7,8) Your son/daughter/wife/husband/significant other works at TrueTwit

9)      I’m open for suggestions – I love social media and interactions.  Tweet me @SoftwareHollis with reasons why you love TrueTwit.  Use HashTag #LuvTT (NOT #Lovett).  Leave comments below.  Email me. 

I’ll collect them all and in a couple of weeks I’ll release a “Best Reasons to Love and/or Hate TrueTwit”. 

Balance in all things.  There must be reasons to love TrueTwit or else so many people wouldn’t be annoying the rest of us using it.

 

SoftwareHollis

Hollis Tibbetts

Director for Software Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions Group, Dell, Inc.

Hollis has established himself as a successful software marketing and technology expert. His various strategy, marketing and technology blogs are read over 50,000 times a month. He has over 20 years experience in creating, executing and managing innovative and effective marketing programs for startup, midsize and large technology companies in Silicon Valley and Austin TX. He has substantial expertise and a highly successful track record in positioning and launching companies and products and achieving solid, sustained growth. Hollis has developed substantial expertise in middleware, SaaS, Cloud, data management and distributed application technologies, with over 2 decades of experience in marketing, technical, product management and product marketing roles at leading companies in such as Pervasive, Aruna (acquired by Progress Software), Sybase (now SAP), webMethods (now Software AG), M7 Corporation (acquired by BEA/Oracle), OnDisplay (acquired by Vignette) and KIVA Software (acquired by Netscape). He has established himself as an industry expert, having authored a large number of technology white papers, as well as published media articles and book contributions. Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers (http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/integrationedge), writes extensively on Sys-con Media (http://hollistibbetts.sys-con.com) and maintains a blog focused on creating great software: Software Marketing 2011 (http://www.softwaremarketingexperts.com) He is also active on Twitter as @SoftwareHollis Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com
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Comments

Jay Pinkert
Posted on November 11th 2011 at 1:43AM

I'm so pleased to see this post. I was drafting one on the very same topic, and you've saved me the trouble. Also, SMT is a much better megaphone than my humble blog.

The one peeve I'd add has more to do with TrueTwit users than the tool itself. "You're not all that" types -- TrueTwit users who tweet frequently and follow many, but have fewer followers of their own. Yet they have the chutzpah to send you a hoop to jump through as their first message.

PamMoore
Posted on November 11th 2011 at 5:20AM

I think you are missing some of the points of what True Twit really is. 

If you pay for the subscription (which is very cheap - $19 I think?) then you get the following benefits:

1. If you follow someone and they use it you are automatically validated. You don't have to fill out any form. 

2. Your account doesn't send an auto DM asking them to validate, it just validates and auto follows them for you if you choose to let them do so. 

We use TrueTwit on our several of our accounts as well as on clients. It has benefits related to who you follow versus who follows you. 

I do not work for True Twit and honestly haven't looked at it, nor receieved a complaint since we opened our account with them almost a year ago. 

I worry far less about who follows me versus who I follow. We use True Twit and several other custom tools to weed out spammers and will never follow spammers or unengaged accounts back. 

My 2 cents. Hope it helps ;) 

Posted on November 14th 2011 at 4:17PM

Hollis, I'm sure there are some benefits to TrueTwit but I, like you, find it too annoying to even research what they might be. I don't need to be validated and I don't need to validate anyone else. Like you said, it's still a free country and it's supposed to be "Social".

MktgInMotion
Posted on December 22nd 2011 at 11:35AM

You are 100% correct. Your point #2 - You're absolutely correct. Those DM's are spam. The very thing that TrueTwits are afraid of, is the thing they're doing. Your point #5 - This is extortion. User PamMoore (previous commenter) doesn't realized she's being extorted by TrueTwit. If TrueTwit didn't exist, you wouldn't have to pay the $19, because there would be nothing to avoid.

Gsdg dfg sdfg sdg
Posted on February 3rd 2012 at 7:14PM

TrueTwit is the most annoying thing i've ever come across on twitter. the only i can think of that bothers me more are people who make you register to post on their blog. what a waste of time. why would anyone register to comment on this crap. then once i register i have to click through about 5 different pages just to get back to your post so i can leave my comment. so yes, while truetwit is horrible, it is not nearly as annoying as having had to register to leave this comment

Ritchieos
Posted on February 1st 2013 at 1:39PM

I too like the social media/networking for what it is defined to be and has been in many cases a succesful and sometimes unforseen at inception become a tool invaluable to professionals and socializing fanatics alike.   But with those sucesses were seen opportunities to profit on its back, and vigourously pursued and high profit designed methods that have since modeled a gazillion exploitive services and non-services.   True twit is in my first glance opinion an example of a model designed to create a service that can attach itself to aNother that already has a mass audience to directly target.   True twit is not really worried about you or your tweets or well being or if you have spam or not.  They just make you feel like u can benifit from this service, and any sucker who does pay for something so silly and not see that they have paid to be used as a mechanism to further market and expand the reach by your captcha being bait to yet the next sucka.   i dont trust many online services these days as they arent interested in the service they provide but only to provide a service that people will not recognize as a trap layed by each subscriber to click click clik and the companies profit profit profit.  you dont need it, but the more suckas sign up for it the morenyou will need it to remain within that socail medium, but thatsbabout thentimeninexcuse myself and spend my time my time elsewhere.   As i did with Facebook last summmer i was one of those who griped and ranted every so often about the evils of FB, as many do, but i actually did leave FB for a 30 day test, which has now been 6 months.  And i see how it was about as useful and necessary in my life as the hoard of postal mail flyers , coupons, advertising circuits that i have yet to get my address unsubscribed.   FB didnt fill many gaps afterall, and furthermore thenones that it did fill were not worth it to me to be used like a peasant with no name, but a warm body in a seat to be subjected to marketing in so many forms that i felt a valuation of for only that purpose yet i wasnt getting paid to allow my personal identity to be cataloged, zuckerberg and such sure were though... And that i dont like.   Getting rich by fooling the masses and rounding them up for indoctrination into a system that makes it seem like a necessity to be part of.