TweeterBoard is Bad and Stunts Growth of Conversations (as Do All “Lists”)

My pal Marshall Kirkpatrick made a post on Read/WriteWeb concerning the fascinating new TweeterBoard site:

On Tweeterboard you’ll find not only a list of the top 100 most influential users on Twitter – you can also look up any of almost 2000 users and see who they are conversing with and get some idea how much influence they carry in the Twitter ecosystem. Only a small portion of Twitter users are being tracked so far – but if indexing can be automated (!) then this could become a very important service.

Tweetboard is fascinating but it’s inherently bad for the type of organic and fluid conversation that happens on Twitter everyday.

If Twitter is going to make it to the mainstream and really start pushing the envelope of personal content production by non-tech gods and goddesses, we’ve got to get over the silly notion of “rank” and “importance” that these types of things measure.


Because sites like Technorati and Techmeme (though utilitarian for some) have stunted (or at least perverted) the blogosphere by introducing concepts of ranking and opened the floodgates to spammer-and-gamer SEO’s and affiliates (those are adjectives for some, not for all) and created a class system of blogging that is not easily overcomed.

Let’s level the playing field with Twitter and not repeat the same mistakes that caused for the creation of A Lists, B Lists and Z Lists. Otherwise, Twitter and micro-blogging in general will suffer.

[Update] After I posted this, fellow Twitter user Mike Krigsman (someone I follow) and ZD Net blogger posted this:

@samharrelson Absolutely agree core value of Twitter is leveling the field. Diminishment of that attribute will limit it’s value. Think Digg


6 Replies to “TweeterBoard is Bad and Stunts Growth of Conversations (as Do All “Lists”)”

  1. plz excuse mobile syntax, but i’m gonna hafta give this more thought. one diff is that some ranking systems shut out the voices of the non elite, whereas this will never hurt twitter’s value to small groups. not sure though, u may b right.


  2. Sam, these are all good points. Tweeterboard began as an investigation into the conversation dynamics of Twitter… mainly to prove my hunch that Twitter was different than blogs and other social media.

    I don’t think Tweeterboard can change the dynamics of Twitter in a fundamental way. In fact, I hope that Tweeterboard proves that Twitter conversations are more natural and, as you say, organic than other kinds of social media. If Tweeterboard has an impact on how people use Twitter, I hope that it’s toward more conversations (rather than just re-blogging or meaningless updates as so many do) and not gaming/ranking/etc.


  3. With real actual humans involved? Gamed will be the -first- order of business, especially with those wanting to see how it works, do tests, or otherwise, fill in time because they are bored with twitter and there’s so much magic to be done.

    I have little faith in humans.


  4. […] realize that folks are concerned about another leaderboard as a gaming mechanism, and while it stroked my ego for a while, I’m equalizing […]


  5. You’re right. While I see the benefits of such a measuring tool, I realize that gaming of the system is not going to help the overall community.

    I’ve published what I learned about the tool in this post, in the spirit of sharing with the community


  6. Gene (and everyone) –

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving you thoughts. As you say in your comment, Tweeterboard is a tool and can be used by people either as a positive utility or as another way to game an increasingly popular social scene.

    Personally, as I said in the post, I find Tweeterboard fascinating and a great place to help grok the Twitter ecosystem. But on the notion of gaming, I have my reservations about Tweeterboard as well. Unfortunately, I work in an industry on the affiliate side of things where certain a minority of the people are incessant gamers and spammers constantly looking for the next leg up or the next way to use a tool like Twitter for their own monetary profit and greed.

    Tools are what you make of them, however (you can build or kill with a hammer!), so let’s hope the community and people on the periphery continue to use Tweeterboard as a fun exercise or place of positive utility rather than a mechanism for gaming, ego boosting or nefarious marketing (or branding as Doc Searls wrote about yesterday: ).

    Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts!



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