Sep 18, 2011 Social Media
A week ago I received an invitation to join a tribe on Triberr. Having never heard of Triberr before, I checked it out, and actually said out loud, “Are you kidding me?”
The idea of Triberr is this: you join a “tribe” of up to eleven people. You authorize twitter to use your Triberr account. And then, every blog post from every person in your tribe is automatically tweeted out by every single member of the tribe. Every. Single. Post.
Suddenly, I realized what had been going on in my tweetstream lately. For a little while – maybe a month? – I’d been noticing a lot more “hot” posts. You know, the ones that get retweeted a lot in a short amount of time. It’s happened to me from time to time, when I write something that resonates with a lot of people, and I get twenty or thirty retweets in a day. Lots more people than usual click over to my post because if all those other people loved it enough to retweet it, maybe they will too! It’s an incredibly gratifying feeling to know that you created something that touched people and caused them to spontaneously share it.
So, I clicked on a lot of those “hot” posts. And they were not…how do I say this? It’s not that they were bad posts, it’s just that they weren’t the kinds of posts that would inspire a bunch of people I admire to rush back to twitter and recommend them to everyone. Before I even knew what Triberr was, it was affecting my twitter experience in a negative way.
I asked people on twitter how they felt about it, and here are a few of the responses I got:
Reasons not to use Triberr
Not every post is worth a retweet
Even the bloggers I admire most, the ones who make me laugh and cry, the ones who have a true storytelling gift, the ones I read religiously, not even those talented writers move me to retweet every post. Far from it. Retweeting something is like giving it a stamp of approval, and I do that with care.
I know for damn sure that every post of mine isn’t worth a retweet. It’s not that some of them are sub-par, it’s just that some of them are for my core readers, the people who come to my blog each day regardless of other people’s recommendations. I don’t promote those and they’re not what I would want other people tweeting out automatically.
Nobody knows if I’m using manual mode
So Triberr does have a manual mode, where I can choose to approve each tweet before it goes out. (However, I get the feeling Triberr doesn’t want you to know about it – it’s not even on their faq page.) But my followers on twitter aren’t going to know whether or not I’m approving each tweet. My carefully chosen Triberr tweets will just get lumped in with all the spam-like Triberr tweets from other people who aren’t using manual mode.
Peer pressure makes me do things I don’t want to do
So let’s say I join a tribe, and I set my account to manual mode. And I only let Triberr retweet the tweets I really truly approve of. It will quickly become obvious to the other people in my tribe that I’m not retweeting most of their stuff. If they have their accounts set to automatic, they’re going to be especially aggravated that I’m getting way more retweets out of this than they are.
Triberr actually says, on its hard-to-find page about the manual setting, that the tribe leaders should stay on top of this: “The first responsibility is on the Chief to recognize any problems in the tribe, and speak to the members.” So now my tribe leader, who is most likely someone I know well, has to come to me and say “Hey, Amy, why aren’t you playing nice? Other tribe members say you aren’t pulling your weight” So maybe I throw in some extra Triberr tweets here and there, posts that I don’t absolutely love and wouldn’t normally retweet, but I do it just to keep the tribe happy.
I just threw my credibility out the window. I basically said to all of my followers, you can no longer trust me to recommend the absolute cream-of-the-crop posts to you. Now I’m just trying to keep my tribe from hating me and kicking me out.
So why not just block Triberr?
It’s easy enough to do on my computers with proxlet. I no longer see the Triberr tweets on my laptop. But the problem with that is, I’m sure I’m missing some great posts. Someone who has already tweeted something through Triberr is probably not going to tweet it again themselves. They know it’s been taken care of already. So if I’m not seeing any of their Triberr tweets, I’m missing out on the good ones, too.
And to be honest, even on my phone (where so far I can’t block Triberr), I’m mentally filtering out the Triberr posts. I can’t trust them, so I tend to ignore them.
I don’t think the people who created Triberr are evil. I don’t think they set out to create a spam machine. They were trying to solve a problem: how to get more traffic for blog posts. And I know why so many people are using it: I’m quite sure it does increase traffic. My problem is that there are many ways I could increase my own traffic that I don’t employ because they would annoy the hell out of my followers. Just because something helps you meet a goal doesn’t mean that you are getting a net benefit – if you’re gaining pageviews but losing influence, have you really gained anything?
The alternative is to find a few people whose writing you like and form an informal pact. Promise to read and comment on each other’s posts and promote them where you see fit. I’ve been trying lately to pay more attention to promoting other people’s work, both by tweeting and stumbling, and I’m sure I’ll see a benefit as a result. Sure, doing it this way takes a little more time and effort than relying on something like Triberr, but I know that I’m doing my part to keep spammy tweets out of twitter.
Originally posted on Behind the Screen. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.