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How to lose friends and stop influencing people with Triberr

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.

The Alternative?

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.

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14 Responses to “How to lose friends and stop influencing people with Triberr”

  1. Dino Dogan (@dino_dogan) on September 19th, 2011 2:07 pm

    Hi Amy,

    You’re right. Triberr has become a bit of a spam machine. In our eagerness to create a platform that helps underrepresented bloggers get more traffic (and recognition) we’ve created an extremely effective way of getting your posts out there, noticed and heard.

    So, now that we’ve figured out how to drive traffic to everyone’s blog, we’ve placed 2 strong mechanisms that will stop spam.

    About a month ago, we implemented limits to the size of your tribal network. Until then, there was no limit and some users have a tribal network of 500+. Needless to say, this can get overwhelming for everyone.

    The other thing we implemented over the weekend is the Zombie Algorithm. I’m reveling this exclusively here, we havent even blogged about it.

    Zombie Algorithm is designed to detect the % of Triberr tweets in your stream and if all you have in your Twitter stream are Triberr tweets, you are declared a Zombie and your Triberr account gets disabled.

    Triberr is made for engaged, authoritative, disruptive voices in the blogosphere that need to be heard. Along the way, we attracted less than desirable users to the platform, but our mission and our goal remains the same and if we make a mistake along the way, we will correct it :-)

    Salute :-)

    Dino, Founder of Triberr
    Dino Dogan (@dino_dogan)´s last [type] ..The Solution to US Postal Service Bankruptcy


    Amy Reply:

    @Dino Dogan (@dino_dogan), Hi Dino, thank you for commenting. And while I appreciate your team trying to come up with improvements, I don’t think either of those would affect my stream. The people using triberr that I’m referring to are all people I know well. There seem to be only about 4 groups of six or seven people in the part of my stream that I pay close attention to retweeting the same posts, but considering I’m closely watching only 100 or so people that’s a huge percentage of non-inspired spam-like tweets. As long as posts are tweeted out without thought I don’t see how I could ever get any benefit.


  2. Kathy Sprinkle on September 20th, 2011 2:21 pm

    I definitely hear what you are saying here. I could see this getting very annoying very fast if a whole bunch of folks in my stream were tweeting the same thing… giving the appearance of a “hot post.” This is not what is happening with my little group.

    I was invited to join a group of people I didn’t know very well, several I had never met and we have a diverse group of followers and while I agree that not every post of theirs or mine is retweet worthy, I do think everything is one tweet worthy or we wouldn’t bother to post it at all. My endorsement goes as far to say I think these guys are worth taking a look at and you may find something that really resonates for you… I don’t think I will ever know for certain what everyone of my followers likes and I like the idea of offering a broad range of interesting stuff, possibly even stuff I don’t personally love.

    I have a personal bent towards inviting points of view I disagree with, rather then surrounding myself with stuff that I have previously filtered, which I am certain is not the best for “my brand” but for this reason an occasional tweet about something that I don’t personally vet from a source I generally like seems a worthwhile risk.

    Since joining triberr more people have found their way to my blog and my Facebook page and they are sticking around which has been nice. I’ll have to see if in time the negatives start to out weigh the positives!
    Kathy Sprinkle´s last [type] ..Moxie, Rising.


    Amy Reply:

    @Kathy Sprinkle, I do think you’re very right about the diversity. If Triberr hadn’t been flooding my stream with the same posts, I wouldn’t have had such a strong opinion against it. And I have no doubt it increases traffic and helps bring new people to a blog.

    But the part I disagree with you on is that every post is tweetworthy. I read dozens of posts a day that don’t resonate with me enough to retweet them. And it has nothing to do with what I think my followers will like, but what I like (not necessarily agree with, just like – think is well-written, is worth considering, etc.). And I just can’t know it until I read it.

    I built my twitter following up in the most authentic way possible: by being myself. Using Triberr would change that.


    Kathy Sprinkle Reply:

    @Amy, Yes! I get it! Trying something like triberr is totally me and I understand how it isn’t for you. That is why twitter is so great, room for the both of us!

    P.S. I’ll let you know if I see this triberr thing backfiring. Chances are if it does, I’ll be off hopping on another bandwagon!
    Kathy Sprinkle´s last [type] ..Moxie, Rising.


  3. I’ve always believed that Moxie takes PURPOSE and ENERGY and INTENTION | Bliss Habits on September 21st, 2011 11:33 am

    [...] and I began tweeting with her. It turns out she even wrote a post about the whole thing so I went there and commented on her blog [...]

  4. Christy @morethanmommy on September 21st, 2011 12:59 pm

    I appreciate that the Triberr guys are trying to do something great. They’re the ones that told me about Proxlet and I have a lot of respect for the thoughtful replies they’ve made to posts both for and against their product.

    That said, Triberr represents a shift in the approach to social media that really bugs me. It’s just another example of how we want something for nothing. We want people to read our blogs without building up our own communities. We want to get the benefits of social media without doing the work. As a result of this shift, Twitter is significantly less social than it was before. People follow tens of thousands of others b/c it brings status, but use software to only see a select few. There are entire accounts that just stream blog posts. How arrogant is it to assume that everyone wants to read what you want to say when you can’t even bother to interact? It’s like everyone is talking and no one is listening. Triberr just adds to that to me.

    As for the idea that Twitter can be different things to different people, this assumption is only true for people who want to use it for marketing. For those of us who use it primarily as a tool for communication, the heavy marketers negatively impact the space.
    Christy @morethanmommy´s last [type] ..Lowes Build and Grow Teaches Kids to DIY


    Kathy Sprinkle Reply:

    @Christy @morethanmommy, Ha! Here I go again, the voice of the other side! I can certainly see that heavy marketers can negatively impact the space on twitter but since I have complete control over my twitter stream it is easy to remove anyone that crosses the line for me.

    I also don’t like the characterization that my triberr use is indicative of my “want(ing) people to read our blogs without building up our own communities.” I use triberr as a way to invite people, who wouldn’t have otherwise heard of my community to take a look. It is still on me to make them feel welcome and to provide the sort of place they will want to visit.

    On the other side of the coin I am providing the same for my fellow tribe members. I don’t tell my followers they must go to their posts. I offer them as an option because I have found their work enjoyable and I want to promote places I like. Once someone takes the time to visit, it is now up to them to decide if they want to stay.

    In the so called real world I might recommend an ice cream shop I like. I like the place. I have had a good experience there so I tell people about it. That is the point of my hand off. I take no responsibility in assuring you have a good visit to that shop. If the Ice Cream shop does a good job you will keep going. If they don’t, and I get a lot of complaints back, I’ll stop promoting them.

    Triberr works the same way for me. If a lot of people start telling me that they hate my triberr tweets, I’ll likely stop using it. So far this is not the case, and I am enjoying the benefits of wider reach and differing opinions!
    Kathy Sprinkle´s last [type] ..I’ve always believed that Moxie takes PURPOSE and ENERGY and INTENTION


  5. Lisa on September 21st, 2011 11:59 pm

    Thanks for the link back to this Amy, I had read it before, forgot about it, found more Triberr marketing & needed more info from those who have tried it. I think I need to think long & hard before jumping on that bandwagon. Thanks again for the info.
    Lisa´s last [type] ..Give toddlers room to grow


  6. Mom101 on September 22nd, 2011 1:29 pm

    Oh yikes! I had never heard of this. It seems like you’re trading credibility (endorsing a post via a tweet) for some traffic, right? You’re wise to back out.

    How have I never noticed this before?
    Mom101´s last [type] ..Love, love will tear us apart. Or was that Klout.


    Amy Reply:

    @Mom101, Not only that, but several people have cited achieving a higher klout score when trying to get me to join their tribes. Urgh. Hate checking my stream from my phone now, because proxlet doesn’t work there (yet).


  7. Cristie Ritz King on October 10th, 2011 5:13 pm

    Ha! I just deleted my account after feeling a little weird about it since I started having people engage me about things I didn’t even know I tweeted out. I have to admit, I joined because the group suggested it and some people I greatly respect had joined so I felt like the hesitation I was having must be unfounded. I was wrong. I was right to feel hesitant. Not only was I tweeting out links I hadn’t had time to read, but I didn’t like that every one of my posts were being tweeted out. Sometimes, I write stuff that isn’t worthy of being tweeted out and I didn’t want my “fluff” to taint the pieces of more substance that I think are worthy of retweeting.
    Anyway, enough was enough so I deleted. As for manual, I could have changed my settings but I’m certain I wouldn’t have time to maintain that, so I’ll just go back to retweeting links that I actually read and enjoy. Klout score be dammed.:)
    Cristie Ritz King´s last [type] ..Bridesmaids: Can Our Friendship Survive the Movie?


  8. Alexis on January 25th, 2012 9:38 pm

    Hi Amy..I’ve seen that you are very generous on answering the comments you had in here but I noticed it suddenly stopped, what happened. I was reading your post here and I like it. Hope you still have time to drop by and check here.


    Amy Reply:

    @Alexis, Hi Alexis, sorry I’m just noticing this comment. Since I rarely write on this blog, I usually stop checking for comments if I haven’t posted in a while. Although I guess if I’m going to do that I should close the comments. Sorry about that!


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