July 30th, 2007

Web 2.0 Inefficiency: Crossposting On Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, Etc.

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So I got my Publishing 2.0 feed set up to crosspost to Facebook and Twitter, but I’m wondering about the utility of doing so, given that most of the people I’m connected to on Facebook and Twitter also subscribe to my regular blog RSS feed.

I’m starting to think that this has the potential to be hugely annoying — and misses the point of Facebook and Twitter. I’m basing that conclusion on having come across the same blog post (for several different blogs) in Facebook Notes, on Twitter, and then again in Google Reader — actually TWICE in Google Reader, since I subscribed to the RSS feed for my Facebook friends’ notes.

I just checked, and virtually every one of my friends’ notes on Facebook are imported blog posts — which I’ve already seen in Google Reader!

To make matters worse, my email Inbox is now littered with Twitter and Facebook notifications — I can turn those off, but email is still the one platform that I ALWAYS have on.

As all of these new platforms jockey for position, and we’re all experimenting with them (which is on balance a good thing), there’s the potential for a huge amount of inefficiency and redundancy.

Which is unfortunate, because I was under the impression that the web and all these new apps were supposed to make us more efficient.

Web 2.0 derides the siloed balkanization of traditional media — yet Web 2.0 doesn’t have the wherewithal to figure out that I’ve now seen the same feed item for the fourteenth time in four different platforms.

APIs are great, and Facebook Platform is great, and RSS feeds are great, but the interoperability still seems to be very superficial, more intended to demonstrate the ability to connect rather than to actually enhance the user experience.

To make matters worse, I’m connected with some people on Facebook, other people on Twitter, other people on IM, other people on email, other people on this blog.

I come back to what Troy Schneider posted on Twitter in response to the crossposting question:

one may have to choose between using these tools as a publisher vs. using them for actual personal communication

I think these new platforms have turned personal communication into a form of publishing, but I do think there’s an important distinction here — there’s a risk of clogging up new communication channels like Twitter and Facebook with information that wasn’t really intended for that channel. If you want to share an article with someone, you’re not going to read it to them over the phone — that’s not the right channel.

There’s a very good reason for Twitter’s 140 char limit — posting blog posts to Twitter seems to violate the spirit of that. Sure, Twitter is often used to share links — but posting EVERY blog post seems to violate the intent. I’d go so far as to say it feels spammy.

I know we’re still very early stage, and it will get better. But I do think there are some fundamental choices to be made.

Like what’s the definition of a “friend” on Facebook? Sure, it’s going to be different for everyone, but right now it’s all over the map, which is detracting from the efficiency of the medium.

If you clicked through to this from Twitter, my apologies — I think I’m going to turn it off. Google Reader does wonders for this and every other blog’s feed.

  • Scott, I don't know if you read comments on posts this old, but I'm glad you saw the light! Twitter, Facebook's status field, and RSS feeds all have very different purposes from one another, and cross-posting among them is, well, kind of rude.

    Another recent phenomenon is growing increasingly bothersome, too: Twitter updates on Facebook.

    After looking high and low for a way to get Tweets out of my status feed, my frustration drove me to make a Facebook group. Yeah, it's silly, but that's what Facebook is for! And it's why Twitter updates don't belong on it.

    http://www.facebook.com/group....

    I am expecting it's more than just me who is annoyed by this.

  • The 140 character limit at Twitter also happens to (roughly) correspond to the maximum size of an SMS text message.

  • I don't cross post as I think it defeats the object of the exercise. I use different strokes for different folks. If I want to keep up with someone's various outlets I'll simply aggregate them in my RSS reader, and I'd expect any "follower" to do the same - the last thing I want is multiple instances of the same thing. Business marketing in Twitter is a nuisance, as are pingbacks in comments - just look at yours!

  • If you are thinking of publishing your materials and that they might have some wroth you might not want to have them imported into facebook. While the cross posting is annoying to RSS users like ourselves (I use google reader in the same way you do and often get double postings from the blogs RSS then the Facebook Notes RSS feeds) the copyright of who owns it becomes a little more tricky.

    I have commented on this before and since removed all my blog postings from Facebook. See my thoughts in more detail here
    http://www.christophermercer.n...

  • Definitely a problem when you're 'too nice' to someone and offend them. Someone brought that up today in the newsroom - story about a satellite company repeatedly calling him on his cellphone to see how he liked his service. After he told them to stop calling. Trying to do 'good customer service' actually hurt the company. I think sometimes each site should have it's own post - because I for one use different social media sites for different things.

    Depends also, I guess, on whether or not you're into 'SMM' (social media marketing...) Why TIME booted MySpace to their 'uncool' list I hear...

    -kpaul

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