Monday, August 16, 2010

SEO, Twitter, Social Mattters and Cloud Mattters Suspensions

Let's see...

Fixed a bug that showed up on the SEO channel, and others, which caused the links to nearby and related channels to not be displayed. One of the things that makes our site different from most news sites is the hierarchical organization the channels are arranged by - we strive for meaningful yet shallow hierarchies - and it was especially annoying that we added a bug that made it more difficult to navigate sideways through the hierarchy. Doh!

Our current effort - behind the scenes - is focused on more completely integrating Twitter posts in with the blog posts. Currently, the tweets are kind of second class citizens on our pages - and that ain't right! :-) The idea is that, yes, tweets are different than blog posts, but are still 1st class packets of information [IF they are posted by tweople who write about things of interest to other people].

And a completely unrelated Twitter-related note [seriously, one of those coincidences in this 42-ish universe], our Social Mattters and Cloud Mattters channels on Twitter were suspended last week. There were 3 reasons that they gave us.

One is that these channels are overlapping use cases [i.e. subjects]. We can kind of understand that and kind of not, at the same time. Obviously, people who work with these two domains do not consider them in anyway synonymous - but perhaps from a higher level - they both do have to deal with things on the internet - is this sense the cloud is definitely a superset of social media.

Second, that some stories we posted were appearing on both channels. Again, we can understand how this might have happened, and in fact we percolate all posts up the hierarchy within Mattters itself, so, for example, Social Media posts also appear in our general Internet channel. We would say, though, that stories showing up on Twitter, in both Cloud Mattters and Social Mattters, was probably a rather rare occurrence - as the Social Media channels is but a small subset of the general Cloud/Internet channel. We were certainly not trying to be abusive - but just trying to be supportive of people who want to read about more general cloud mattters versus those who are specifically interested only in social mattters - just like on Mattters itself.

Their third objection was to do with aggressive following. Well, we are using SocialOomphs auto-follow service (what Twitter calls auto-follow-back) which seems to be exactly what millions of other people use to try and be polite to their followers. Our main _Mattters_ Twitter account does not follow anyone, besides our own channels, but Ellen and Google. This lack of following upsets some of our followers there. So on our new channels we added this auto-follow-back feature.

So, as you can see [hopefully!] we are trying to be exemplar Twitter citizens. I mean, why not? Twitter is great - love the design: the Unix to Facebook's Windows. Any problems seem to have been rather subtle, very rare, and suspension seems like a overly harsh reaction - like a slap in the face. Just like if your best friend came up and smacked you upside the head for no good reason. We were really upset and really didn't know what was going on [and it took a few days to get an email describing why the accounts were suspended]. But we are getting over it and hopefully we can have one or the other of these channels back in operation soon.

Many people have these kinds of channels on Twitter, from the New York Times to OneRiot. We try to be more granular - to have more specialized channels on Twitter because that is what Mattters is all about. Hopefully this will be of interest and use to Tweople and at the same time acceptable to Twitter.

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