The Hidden Horror Behind Being Awesome: Please Don’t Abuse the Twitter List


I was recently reading an interesting article by Social Quant called, “16 Ninja Marketing Strategies on Twitter for Business Owners who are Local Entrepreneurs”.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I like Social Quant’s product and I agreed with most of their strategies, but one of their strategies, the one about using IFTTT for lists.  IFTTT is actually a very cool site.  It stands for “if this then that” and it allows you to create “recipes” that automate routine tasks in your life.

Specifically, the article gives the following example: “If someone mentions your local Town anywhere on Twitter (even if you’re not following them) then add them to a Twitter list that you can call Awesome ‘Name of Town’ Peeps.”  In theory this seems like excellent marketing strategy.

However, in practice, it explains a bizarre and sort of insulting phenomenon that has been occurring to me on Twitter lately.  I will tweet about marketing or social media… and, within seconds, someone has added me to some prestigious-sounding list like “Influencers – Marketing” or “Awesome Social Media People”.  

Now, while it is true that I am awesome (both my mother and my boyfriend assure me of it), I was a little skeptical that the rest of the world knew already, so I decided to investigate these “lists”.  What I found was… disappointing.  The other members of these lists are mostly eggs — they have no Twitter bio picture or bio at all.  Furthermore, they mostly have zero followers and/or are non-English accounts.  It is not as flattering to be an awesome social media analyst if you are one of a thousand such “awesome” beings and the others don’t seem to be human (no photo, no bio, no followers, no tweets).  

So, while I think Twitter lists are awesome when used correctly and I think IFTTT can also be awesome when used well, I think that one either has to come up with a really smart automation strategy that will not insult the intelligence of your “influencers” or stick to the old-fashioned technique of building your Twitter lists manually.  Or getting someone else to do it for you. 

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