Feeds are no substitute for real content on Twitter

A while ago a service called paper.li came on the scene, which offered to pull together feeds into a daily digest of ‘news’, which it would then tweet from your account. It was never much good, tweeting the same message each day and giving little indication as to each digest’s contents. Should you delve deeper and actually click on the link, you’ll find that as often as not the stories will have little or no relevance to that of the Twitter account they’re being featured on. Many people tried paper.li for a short period, but most quickly realised its shortcomings and got rid of it. Most, but not all.

Some still use paper.li and other broad feed aggregators to fill their Twitter accounts, possibly under the mistaken belief that this is providing valuable content for them, whereas in fact it’s driving away many potential followers. The simple fact of the matter is that nothing compares for on-topic, audience focused tweets written by a real person. Of course this takes time and effort – an argument I repeatedly see being made when I confront organisations on their use of feeds.

Yes, tweeting takes time, but it’s only 140 characters. It’s the equivalent of typing a couple of short sentences, and in those sentences you could be providing your stakeholders, users or customers with information only you can provide; dates of events or meetings, a call to arms, sharing of news, and a great many other possibilities besides. You don’t necessarily need to tweet every day so long as when you do tweet, the contents are useful for your audience. That’s not really so difficult or time consuming, is it?

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