Hashtag Dunce, by Lord Jim

In Clay Shirky’s seminal book on the effects of the internet on our culture Here Comes Everybody, he posited this:

The future presented by the internet is the mass amateurization of publishing and a switch from ‘Why publish this?’ to ‘Why not?”

People seem to have take that to mean “hey, just go ahead”. That’s not what it means. At some point you need to ask yourself “Is it worth me publishing this? Is it adding anything? Am I providing something useful to someone else – or am I just promoting myself?”.

If you don’t do this, the chances are you are noise not signal – and people are starting to tune you out, or unfollow you. Too much noise, and you lose the right to send your signal to people.

Too many people will tweet themselves stupid this Social Media Week London, with the emphasis on stupid. Already this morning, I’m hovering over the unfollow button on a couple of people, not because they’re tweeting too much, but because they’re tweeting so much of zero or limited value. They’re damaging my perception of who they are as people and professionals with their tweeting. That’s the risk you take with thoughtless noise-making on social media

Would you be impressed if you saw someone tweeting what you’re about to tweet? Or would you think them an idiot – or a relentless self-promoter with little interest in others? That’s a question more people need to be asking.

Here’s a tip – I’d much rather see your reaction to a speaker, or your contextualisation of their remarks, than a contextless retweeting of a paraphrased quote.

Last year’s guide to live-tweeting might be useful here

Image by Lord Jim on Flickr, and used under a Creative Commons licence