Could eBayers kill the Twitter star?

Twitter seems bullet-proof. It rose to glory so quickly. So many people are living and working their daily lives out on Twitter. It brought a great concept, micro-blogging, to the masses - to those who don't have or would never want their own blog. In a nutshell, Twitter seems resilient, and it's hard to think about what could take it down, especially now when it's still on its way up.

But at the heart of Twitter is openness. 'Mainstream' (non-techie) users often seem to be attracted by the chance to follow celebrities, and the very attraction is that the celebrity's thoughts and feelings are there for all to see - no PR team has spun John Mayer's tweets about falling asleep with a guitar on his chest.

Openness is what makes Twitter so great but my assertion is that it's also its greatest weakness, because if perverse forces take that openness away, Twitter is done for.

And here's how that can happen - the Ebay crowd moving to Twitter and selling stuff like virtual vultures. Without regulation, Twitter could easily become the worst mix of a virtual souk and those horrific banking phishing scam emails that are actually trying to commit fraud against you. If the Twitter execs aren't savvy, this could easily happen.

Here's a specific example of how it starts. I usually tweet about work. On the odd occasion I will tweet something like 'Cadbury Mini Eggs are the fruits of the devil' or 'my hair dryer got so much use this winter, it's blown itself to bits.' Then, immediately after these Tweets, I get ten new followers of which two are: 'ChocoHolicDreamStore' and 'HairdryersAreUs.'

There goes openness - that's the last time I'll tweet about consumer goods. How quickly it happened.

Sure, you can then block these spammers, but what if you get 25 at once, it takes awhile and you might not have time to do it properly. People only have so much tolerance for this. Can Twitter block them for being blocked? What if a lawsuit was brought against Twitter for that? As Twitter becomes more and more mainstream, I fear they will really struggle to weed these types of users out and keep honest users free from this kind of perversion. If I am wrong and these measures are already in place, feel free to leave a comment.

No comments:

Post a Comment