Earlier this year I wrote about my doubts regarding Twitter
. I had concerns at the time about the relevance of Twitter and whether it would be effective enough to warrant investment and attention. I’ve kept at Twitter, I’m an active user with the service integrated into my other social activities. Whilst mainstream media continues to be slap happy about Twitter, I’m still not convinced.
I get the whole information distribution thing. I blogged recently about how effectively Australian band Powderfinger had been in using Twitter to build enthusiasm for their free concerts. I see lots of other good examples – ABC Radio for example. We’ve even had tremendous success – for another business I own Twitter has become a very powerful sales and communication channel.
The system has issues and the risk for enterprise in my opinion is too great – particularly in the B2B context.
Here are my concerns:
1. The system is flakey – part 1
The whole ‘fail-whale’ thing is cute for like – 2 minutes. Google gets its butt kicked when Gmail is down for 10 minutes yet constant service from Twitter is a rare thing. Running a major service channel through Twitter with this service standard? Sorry, I wouldn’t be hanging my career on that option
2. Hackers Rule the Roost
I used to get angry when people sent me DM’s about ‘I’ve added you to my mafia family’ or ‘are you as smart as me’. Then I realised these users were subject to hack attacks and spam attacks.
Here’s an example of a user who I consider to be prominent issuing an apology:
This would be a tough conversation with the CMO or CIO – ’Lets get on Twitter. Good chance we’ll spam our followers, our account will be hacked – but it’s all good. Everyone’s doing it…’
3. The system is flakey – part 2
What is it with changes being lost, blocks being unblocked, the system being severely constipated before it suddenly spews out a torrent of ‘past due date’ content?
This is poor. And again, in an enterprise context – why would you put trust in a system with these flaws?
4. Inappropriate Content
I’m pretty diligent about blocking anyone who mentions money, sex, or religion. But most days I find companies and individuals with followers who are so suspect it beggars belief that they haven’t been blocked or reported.
I’ve seen some really really inappropriate avatars used by Twitter accounts – why aren’t these users blocked?
Worse, I’ve seen some major US companies following users who have avatars that are quite shocking. I have to ask. If you’re following users who have graphic images of women – what is your Twitter strategy? Is this really a reflection of your company’s values? One of these companies is a major brand in the social media space.
So how are we protecting our brand in this free-for-all world? Can someone fill me in on what Twitter is doing to police this space? And don’t give me that ‘oh there’s a new report spam link’ – rubbish!
5. Widespread Abuse
This really irks me. Company names and brands are being hijacked. The proliferation of this abuse is amazing.
Given I work in the CRM space I’ve been watching a couple of accounts. One account bbakari uses the Twitter API to flood the service with – spam.
Here’s an example
Now, granted I can block this user and not worry about the mindless river of drivel – but the fact is if you search for Salesforce.com or SugarCRM.com this torrent of spam clogs up the search results.
And just so you know, this is bbakari’s second account on Twitter. His first account @freecrm was killed off.
Personally, I like Twitter. I follow people whose opinions I value and I like that they use the service appropriately. I like the fact I can tie my other social profiles into Twitter.
I can see the value. I can see the big picture with Twitter being a useful tool for information distribution.
But if I put a CEO hat on I have concerns – serious concerns. Would I recommend a B2B company jump into Twitter – probably not! I think their social media strategy would make more sense and they’d get better value focusing elsewhere.