Yesterday Robert Scoble wrote a critical post claiming Chris Brogan was using Twitter wrong, stating Chris isn’t separating his content on Twitter well enough. As one who had to create multiple Twitter accounts to separate out my activity, I am one of the first to support this method. As it stands though, even I will be first to admit this is a hack. The only reason I’m creating multiple Twitter accounts is because Twitter, by nature, makes it very difficult to separate out activity like this. What Scoble wants is a way for him to better read people’s feeds on Twitter, and separate out your blog post from the rest of the content on Twitter. The problem is, despite what everyone says, I think Scoble is realizing the weakness of Twitter which is that it isn’t really an RSS Reader.
Scoble wants a way to take all the Tweets, by list of those he follows, and read their blog posts, just like he would in an RSS Reader. My guess is that this is so he doesn’t have to leave Twitter to find new blog posts, a legitimate excuse. However, Twitter just wasn’t built that way. As one of the most vocal critics of Google Reader, I think what Scoble and others with this problem need is just what they’re criticizing – an actual RSS Reader built around reading blog posts.
I’ve always been a proponent of the mantra that Social Media is not how you give – it’s how you receive. If you have a problem with the way others are Tweeting or blogging or posting on Facebook, then find a better way of receiving that data, unfollow, or do something so that you’re only getting the data you want to receive. There are so many tools out there – FriendFeed (FriendFeed is so much more than just community – it’s an incredible tool!), Google Reader, TweetDeck, Seesmic Desktop, Brizzly, Twitter’s own interface, Facebook’s own interface, and many, many more, that surely there has to be something that enables this.
If not, bloggers need to be petitioning developers, not individual users of these services, to change their ways. For instance, why can’t I separate out the Tweets with links in them from the rest of the Tweets on Seesmic Desktop? Or why can’t I specify what my blog is on Twitter and have Twitter distinguish that as meta data for other developers to separate from the rest of the stream? Why can’t I preview the links before clicking on them?
If you’re not getting what you want from Social Media, this is the fault of the innovators, not the users. In the case of RSS, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – this is why I never left Google Reader or FriendFeed in the first place, and don’t anticipate doing so any time soon. They solve the problem Robert Scoble is speaking of for me.
That said, to be considerate of those on Twitter I may still start an additional account that imports just my blog posts, but why? So just one or two individuals can read it? At what point am I separating my Twitter stream so much that you can’t find everything you want to find out about me? IMO the mantra still exists that you should always be using the best tool for the job, and for reading blogs, Twitter just doesn’t cut it.