Twitter Observation #2 : The Boy Who Twittered Wolf

There’s a basic rule when it comes to streamed broadcasting of any kind. I’ll just hack something I said two years ago about RSS:

The perceived importance and value of entries tweets to readers followers is inversely proportional to the frequency of entries tweets on any given day.

I’m not going to pass judgment on any given thing someone says on Twitter. Enough has been written about how nobody wants to know that someone else just finished boiling their potatoes. I’d rather tweak the sentiment a bit: if you rarely speak, whatever you say will matter more to me.

But that’s not really fair. Twitter users want to express themselves any way they like and different recipients will have different sentiments about what is worth hearing and what isn’t. If my kid is off at college I want the constant stream of what goes on in her life. Everyone else following my kid? Probably not.

Twitter users have done a great job hacking Twitter. The @ call actually evolved into real functionality and hash tags have been helpful as well. So let me throw out another:

Prefix all your messages with a decibel level. It would go something like this:

  • (No Prefix) – I’m about to share some inane normalcy about my life. You probably don’t want to hear this unless you really want to hear this.
  • * – You might find what I’m about to say or share interesting.
  • ** – I’m announcing something major for everyone to hear and pay attention to.

On the receiving end, I can filter out tweets that have no prefix. This would spare me the everyday bullshit that goes on in your life but still allows me to tune into your insights and occasional blockbuster announcement. If people start utilizing this, we’d be glad to build a simple bookmarklet that filters on decibel level in Twitter (yes, we like building bookmarklets).

2129257593_54bab10c92The other option is for people to start giving a bit more consideration to what they throw onto the airwaves. Because let’s face it, the big bad wolf will actually show up one day…and nobody will care to listen.

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