In several recent conversations on Twitter, and elsewhere, I’ve been noticing a bit of a trend. Seems like some of the “add-on” services that use Twitter to piggy back the social aspects of their own service, FourSquare being a prime example, seem to have an interesting effect on how followers interact with some of the folks in their tweetstream. I’m seeing many more people start to unfollow users of these services, because they don’t use them, and just don’t care.
Case in point, I don’t use any of the geolocation services. I have somewhere around 900 followers, and my rough guess would be that maybe 100-150 of them are actually local to me. That means that if I were to start tweeting all of my FourSquare “check-ins” they would be totally irrelevant to 80% of my followers. They aren’t local, they aren’t going to be meeting up with me, and they likely aren’t looking for reviews to every single place I eat out, or get a haircut. So, for me, and many others who are using Twitter to interact professionally with people who work in my industry, as opposed to people who are local to me, these services make no sense.
To many others, it seems like they really are trying to be local in their tweets. There’s a lot of meeting up, sharing local places of interest, etc., and that’s not exactly a bad thing. On the other hand, if you’re one of those folks, especially if you’re not local to me, please understand why I don’t want to follow you. The value your tweets bring me is diminished by the number of geolocation tweets you post. You and I are trying to accomplish different things. I think, as twitter grows, you’re going to see more of this. There are lots of different people using hte service now, and there is likely to be some segmentation of it’s users. I happen to think the use of geolocation services is one area where you’re going to see this, and Twitters new “local trends” is going to exacerbate this. Again, I, for one, don’t care about local trends, because the vast majority of people I interact with on Twitter aren’t local. If they were, I might care about that, but I’m not primarily looking for what’s happening in Columbus, I’m looking for what’s happening with the legal industry and ediscovery.
So, if you want to be local, and also be universal, perhaps you should consider leaving your foursquare interactions over there, instead of bringing them all to twitter? It’s going to be awfully tempting to unfollow you when you try and mix the two. You might want to decide which is more important to you, and then your followers can decide for themselves too. Soon, we might just see very distinct groups forming on twitter, folks who want to be local and are posting constant location updates and yelp reviews, and those who aren’t, and don’t. Shall the two ever meet again? I have my doubts.