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 [email protected]. 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.