Recently I saw a tweet in my feed from a friend who I knew was away camping with his son this weekend. So I sent him a reply that simply said, "No tweeting from camp!" I was mostly just giving him a hard time. I didn't put any thought into the response. It's been less than 24 hours and I can't even remember what the tweet was about.
This morning I got short email from him explaining he is having way too much fun at camp to worry about Twitter. The tweet was a scheduled tweet from Hootsuite. Fair enough, but it got me thinking a little bit about scheduled tweets and authenticity on Twitter.
I unfollowed a few people that were posting work related crap on Christmas Day. If you can't turn it off on Christmas Day, you are not my kind of person. If you are going to tweet on Christmas Day, it should be a picture of your Christmas tree or your kids opening presents, preferably taken in real time and not scheduled from two weeks ago. Now that I think about they were probably just auto-tweeting too. However I don't regret unfollowing them, whoever they were. I don't remember 5 weeks later, so they clearly weren't making much of an impact on me anyway.
Twitter got initial traction as the place to share what you are having for lunch. People joke about that, but honestly I'd rather know what you are having for lunch, than see another recycled Zig Ziglar quote in your Twitter feed. In fact, I won't see the Zig Ziglar quotes because I would have already unfollowed you. I follow people on Twitter because they are interesting. That is pretty much my only criteria. There is nothing interesting about auto-tweeted platitudes about business or life or whatever. So don't do that. Be authentic. Nobody is going to miss you if you don't tweet for a couple of days.
I know tweeting something interesting several times a day is hard work. That is the point. Imagine how much better the Twitter user experience would be if people only tweeted when they had something interesting to share. Instead we have people who have been told by a personal branding consultant that they must tweet 6-8 times a day to build their brand. It's not going to work. You build your brand by being genuinely interesting or useful. You can turn up the volume as much as you want on a Creed or Nickelback record, and it will still be a Creed or Nickelback record. It doesn't get better just because it's louder. The same goes for your "brand" on-line.
BTW, that fact that I thought my friend was taking a break from camping to tweet is a pretty good indication that he is in fact genuine and real on-line. It seemed like something he would say on-line on a Saturday afternoon. It never occurred to me that it was a scheduled tweet.
But he still shouldn't auto-tweet. Auto-tweets are noise, and they hurt the signal-to-noise ratio on Twitter.