usable in any place a human can be used


to tweet or not to tweet

[caption id="attachment_758" align="alignright" width="300" caption="web 2.0 kids these days with their tweeters and facespaces, I used to have to text on a 12-button phone and I liked it!"]twitter bird[/caption]

Ever since I started writing so many many years ago (actually it was the beginning of October) I have tweeted the birth of every new blog post. For those who follow me (see the button at the top of the page to join the elite group of @ihumanable followers) I expect that you spend most of your day with bated breath waiting for the singular moment of glory that a new ihumanable blog post is ready for your consumption. I was pointed to an article today by Shawn Blanc about how to handle the tweeting of blog posts. The logic boils down to the following

  1. Some folks don’t care a dime about my nerdy posts, but have great concern about what I eat for lunch.

  2. Some folks are already subscribed to my RSS feed and would prefer to keep it there and nowhere else.

The solution Shawn Blanc comes up with is to have two separate twitter accounts @shawnblanc for personal "what I ate for lunch" tweets and @shawnblancnet for stuff about his blog. So the question that leaps to your mind is, should you immediately start following @ihumanablecom for all the updates about the great free content / ranting with oddly captioned pictures that I produce? No, no you should not, and I'm about to tell you why.

I have an RSS feed and twitter, some people would argue that I shouldn't tweet about blog posts because what if someone is both subscribing to my feed and following me (thanks to anyone who is so devoted). This poor unlucky bastard will get the grand news of a new post in gasp 2 different places.

This argument doesn't make much sense to me. Twitter is passive, it is the un-email. You follow people you like, you see their tweets, there is no "unread count" or really anything expected at all by the tweeter from the tweetee. This is why people love to tweet, its the best part of any conversation, the part where you are talking. Look at some of the recent important tweets.

Faught an old man for a parking spot at ihopp - AmandaSollenne

A man is a man when he can offer his hand. The Who - wealthmoneynow

Straight up doing nothing. Have a dentist appointment after school. then have to go to court for 5:30. Then have a bunch of homework. Great. - JamieBaskett

Now I'm not picking on these people (I don't even know them) I just went to the public timeline to see what was currently running through the tweet stream. The point is that these are low-value easily ignored communications. If something shows up in your tweet stream that you don't care about, at most its going to waste 140 characters of mental processing power.

The second argument is that somehow people could care more about what I had for lunch than my blog. What I have for lunch is some meaningless data point about my day it means nothing to me (although today's Grinders Chicken Parmesan Stromboli was amazing). This blog which I spend all kinds of free time and energy on actually means a great deal to me. I want to be out there promoting it and if you are following me on twitter I would imagine you would want to see the things that are important to me. If not then why are you following me.

I have people following this site on RSS and people following me on Twitter and I would imagine its not a perfect overlap. When I first started this blog I had no RSS subscribers because it was fresh and new, so I promoted it with a simple (usually less than 140 characters) tweet, one per day. Now I have people following me on twitter solely because of this website, and it would be a disservice to them to stop tweeting about the blog posts now, changing the rules all up midstream.

This blog is important to me, me @ihumanable. The things I write here are an expression of the frustrations, lessons, and victories that make up my life. I could easily start an @ihumanablecom (if its not taken) twitter account and tweet new posts out through that. But that doesn't make sense to me, @ihumanable is where I tweet things about me, is about me, and so tweets about will continue to be broadcast through @ihumanable.

The argument against blog post tweets fails to understand the very nature of twitter, it is a passive, non-blocking, stream of information. If someone is spamming hundreds of tweets a day about pointless blather (well then they are probably using twitter) then stop following them. If someone is trying to share something that they have worked hard on and care about once a day, then I would hardly think we need to erect walls of netiquette around it.


  1. Share your rationale, and tweet about posts. I gave up on RSS for most of what I read. Appreciate your shares on Twitter Matt.

  2. John Gruber has @daringfireball, Jason Kottke has @kottke, but really, what do those hacks know?

    The point is filtering. I don't want to see every post any of those guys (or you) write in my Twitter feed. I read them by RSS for a reason and I'm glad they don't repeat everything they post on their personal twitter feeds because I can't filter that without just unfollowing.

    If I'm the only reader who doesn't want you to post your blog to your twitter and RSS feed, then I'll risk missing a few blog posts by unsubscribing from the RSS. If your blog is as important to be communicated over "low-value easily ignored communications" then I can afford to miss it on occasion.

    But I suspect I'm not the only one because there is already a trend of etiquette regarding tweets vs. RSS. Ignoring what your readers want is not the best way to get more readers.

  3. Have to agree with you here. If you were blogging 30 times a day, and auto posting everything, including blog posts to twitter, go do it. Then watch the active human percentage of your followers drop off to nil.

    The game with twitter seems to be: Tweet interesting things only. If those things include your blog post do it. I don't tweet every blog post, but I have twitter followers who I engaged with (lots of @mentions & dms) now who I reached out through my blog.

    A lot of people use twitter as a kind of RSS on steroids. If you filter the people you follow, and they send on interesting links (to them) its like a powerful filtering engine. Refraining from tweeting your blog links makes that less than useful. Making an account that is just an RSS extension? We call them SPAM/SEO accounts. Auto unfollow on twitter for most people.

    The twitter account needs to be a human to be interesting. It means you must have credibility, you need to demonstrate your authenticity. That means human comments, @mention conversations, your links and your blog posts.

    Your follower list will moderate itself.

  4. To me, RSS is too clunky and too overbearing. It's worse than email. Have you ever tried to add an RSS feed for blogs that update more than once a day? On top of Outlook being opened? You'll lose your damn mind!

    I follow people on Twitter that have tweets that I find interesting. If someone is clogging up my Twitter feed with garbage (including tweeting what they had for lunch everyday), I'm going to stop following them.

    I, personally, tweet about thoughts I have, when I have them, that I feel like I should share or information I find that I feel like I should share with the people who follow me.

    I guess it all boils down to your philosophy on being updated about the world around you. To me, I'll read my blogs on an ad-hoc basis and check my Twitter feed on an ad-hoc basis as well (with the exception of times when I KNOW big info is coming out soon, ie, NBA Trade Deadline time). I'll leave email and SMS as the immediate methods of information.

    I really do enjoy the blog. Keep up the good work!


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