Since early 2008, I’ve been a Twitter user. Twitter has always been a large part of my professional development toolkit. I’ve made so many connections over the years with people who have influenced my thinking and my career path.
One of the strongest strength of Twitter has always been the non-reciprocity of the platform, allowing me to follow someone else’s work without requiring a formal handshake like LinkedIn or Facebook requires. Twitter is a very strong discovery platform. But it’s not the only game in town anymore.
A couple of years ago, every time I participated in a conference, I would create an archive on a service called TwapperKeeper. TwapperKeeper allowed to easily create a list of all the tweets following certain search criteria, such as an event hashtag. Since the service was bought by Hootsuite, it is my understanding that the archival process is now a premium service. I haven’t found a free service that could archive tweets as simply as TwapperKeeper did, but, to Twitter’s defense, their search indexing has gotten a lot better (for a while, search results would stop at around 2 weeks back, which is not the case anymore).
This one really makes me upset. In January, as I was attending Educon, I was doing my usual following routine on Twitter. As attendees were tweeting about the event, and I found their comments useful, I started following them. But then, I got an error message, saying that I can’t follow more than 2,000 people (see explanation from Twitter).
I have built my list of followers over FIVE YEARS, this is not excessive. Basically, I need to get more followers to allow me to follow more people. Or I have to unfollow contacts to make some room for new ones. So I either have to be more picky from now on, or I have to adopt a spammy behavior to get more people to follow me, even if they are spam bots or porn stars. This works well for celebrities, not for common professionals like me.
UPDATE: Tweetdeck, the Twitter client owned by Twitter, has led me to believe I could follow people beyond the 2K limit, but FAILED SILENTLY while I was attending #digedcon. This is beyond ridiculous!
Twitter likes for everyone to direct their information to them, but frowns upon anyone taking their feeds and displaying and storing them elsewhere. For instance, I used to be able to aggregate Twitter feeds seamlessly in Yahoo Pipes of IFTTT.com, but not anymore. Twitter is banning other services to use Twitter triggers to other services. This means you can create a recipe in IFTTT.com to send a tweet, but you can’t take a tweet and send it to your Evernote archive, of generate an RSS feed to send to your tablet’s reader. I understand this might be related to traffic and spam control, but it’s getting a little ridiculous for the average “civil” user.
I have started to pay less and less attention to Twitter, shifting my attention to Google+. I am not saying that I am abandoning Twitter; it will still be a must for conferences, because of the sheer volume of users using it. But you should expect less activity from me on that service.