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Scheduled Tweets are Rude in an Unscheduled World

By Deb Rox |

Writer Robert MacMillan put it brilliantly in his Reuters article when he opened:

For the people’s obituary of Steve Jobs, look on Twitter. The death of Apple Inc’s visionary leader prompted an outpouring by Apple fans and customers that appeared to dwarf any news ever chronicled on the micro-blogging site.

Among Twitter’s social media roles is that of community notifying officer.  Last night I learned of Steve Job’s death while on Twitter, and it was an amazing process to watch the sad news unfold. Word branched and traveled, posters dipped in and out to confirm the news, initial reactions were vetted, and heartfelt reactions were shared. Some were obviously grieving together, others weaving a broad spectrum of reactions. It’s a fascinating and profound connection many of us have come to count on when events of community, cultural, or political significance occur.

Sure, it wasn’t news that stopped everyone in their tracks, and that’s okay, too. Life goes on.  Barring affronts to basic human dignity during a crisis, a diversity of  things going on is one of Twitter’s greatest values.

Except.

Scheduled tweets stand out like a dirty, sore thumb during important times of breaking news.  They look absolutely callous and robotic. And for this reason alone, I wish people would abolish the practice of scheduling tweets, forever.

Twitter is many different things to many different people, and I’m fine with promotion in my stream.  I actually like following links to new blog posts, sales or other opportunities.  But I like a person to be behind the account making the judgment call on whether to press publish, because otherwise the tweets are one-way streets. If I ask a question, no one is home.  There’s no there there.  That becomes horribly obvious when a hurricane hits, or person of note passes on, or other large-scale news breaks. Those scheduled tweets are rude noise of the inhuman kind.

Worse than rude, scheduled tweets could become dangerous noise. Twitter is a frequent topic amongst Emergency Managers for good reason–every agency from DHS to the CDC to local municipalities are putting stock in Twitter as a mass communications tool to be deployed.  Your scheduled tweet in those scenarios is like miles of nails on the highway.

The only good thing?  Scheduled tweets popping up during acute breaking news phases tell us who to unfollow.

What about you? Do you draw any lines in the Twitter sand? What about scheduled tweets?

Deb Rox blogs at Deb on the Rocks and you can follow her at @debontherocks. 100%-scheduled free, I guarantee.

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About Deb Rox

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Deb Rox

Deb Rox is a blogger, business developer, justice warrior, pop culture fiend, and publisher of ShePosts and Queerosphere. She is also a lesbian mother to two teenage boys. Deb blogs at Deb on the Rocks and writes for Babble Voices, where she covers a range of pop culture, current events, and various controversial stories, particularly those affecting the LGBT community. Read bio and latest posts → Read Deb's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Scheduled Tweets are Rude in an Unscheduled World

  1. Suebob says:

    It was especially bizarre last night after Steve Jobs’ death was announced, then @guykawasaki kept auto-tweeting and auto-tweeting over and over…things that had NOTHING to do with Steve Jobs. And Guy worked at Apple early on and knew Steve. If I would have had his number, I would have called him up and clued him in.

    I like Guy and I know no offense was meant, but every time one popped up, it was so jarring.

    Maybe this was an extreme case, but it should be mentioned in every “Why not to auto-tweet” lecture.

  2. Kelly says:

    I agree. I agree. I agree.

    Automated social media always stands out to me and this sad situation certainly highlights it.

  3. Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity says:

    I do schedule tweets sometimes and my blog posts auto feed to Twitter, FB and G+. I do not have time to be chained to the computer. I’m a busy mom with a home business. Automation works for me. It makes my online life a wee bit easier.

    I get emails when someone replies to my tweets and answer them back as soon as I can, because, again, I cannot be chained to a computer just because I tweeted something. That’s ludicrous and non-productive. I have a home life and family to attend to, as well as my business.

    I occasionally schedule tweets. Sue me.

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