Why I have faved 18,456 Tweets (why Twitter is dominant in tech industry)

In just the past year I’ve clicked to fave 18,456 Tweets. It’s a stunning number, if you think about it, and I don’t know of any other tech blogger who has done more faves.

What am I learning? Well, for one, there’s important stuff that gets written that doesn’t get on Techmeme. Yes, the important stuff does, like when a blogger for Gizmodo gets his house broken into by the cops. That’s big time on Techmeme, but page through my faves and you’ll find lots of other stuff that Techmeme doesn’t touch.

Even for things that get on Techmeme, I’ve seen that stories break first on Twitter. Gabe Rivera, the guy who runs Techmeme, told me he’s noticed that too and said he’s about to add some Tweets to Techmeme. It will be interesting to see what he does.

But I’ve come to realize that curating great tech tweets is one thing I love to do and one way I can add a lot of value to the tech industry.

Tonight my boss, Rob La Gesse, agreed and — in a redesign of my blog that he worked on — we added a widget that displays my latest favorite Tweets on my blog. The widget itself is worth talking about: it’s done by Publitweet which is helping lots of journalistic organizations use Twitter on their sites. You’ll notice that Publitweet’s widgets include sharing links for Twitter and Facebook and include pictures and expand links to have more info. I really love the new widgets and you’ll see me use more of them in the future.

So, why do I fave tweets?

1. Because I like rewarding those who take the time to teach me something.
2. Because no other tech blogger was doing this and I felt it’s important to watch the industry.
3. Because it is a fun game to find something interesting in Twitter before anyone else does (I regularly beat big bloggers to news).
4. Because doing all those favorites has built a database that others can study. For instance, Favstar.fm builds a list of everyone I’ve faved here. Do you know definitively who your favorite Twitterer is? I do and can prove it.
5. Because I hate “Follow Friday.” It’s really lame to say “follow @scobleizer” but it’s not lame to have a stream of hand-picked Tweets that everyone can check out and find someone new to follow.
6. Because my favorites are part of my content streams on FriendFeed and, now, on my blog here. It lets me get some value out of my reading time. Plus, over on FriendFeed I can search through all of them, something I can’t do anywhere else.
7. Now that there’s an audience of people who read my faves I find that I get thanks from people who get faved because they get more traffic. Even better, now people DM me when they think they have a great tech tweet that I shouldn’t miss.

Anyway, I hope you all get some value out of my Twitter favorites. Even if you didn’t, I’d still do them because they are useful to me and that’s all that really matters anyway.

Oh, and I have a Twitter list of my favorite 500 Twitterers. I always look at this list first in the morning. It’s amazing how true the old adage is that says “past results are the best predictor of future results.” In other words, it’s amazingly true that whoever brought me value yesterday will probably bring me value tomorrow. To me this list is gold and is reason enough to have clicked favorite on all those Tweets.

But that gets me to a bigger point: WHY IS TWITTER DOMINANT IN THE TECH INDUSTRY?

See, I watch Google Buzz more than almost any other tech blogger. Same over on Facebook. They simply don’t have anywhere close to the numbers and quality of status messages that Twitter does. At least if all you care about is geeky topics. For normal people Facebook is dominant, but for the tech industry? Well, Twitter is very dominant.

Why is that? I believe it’s the little features like Favorites and the clients like TweetDeck and Seesmic. I’ve walked into more than one tech company and been greeted by black screens with Tweetdeck on them. I see those scattered around my employer, Rackspace, too. It’s how we keep in touch with our customers and make sure we keep them all happy.

The tech industry is a sharing industry. That ethos came out of the user groups that I’ve often attended (I’ll be attending a new one next week in Tel Aviv, Israel, and one met yesterday here to share info on iPad development). By having everything in public view, we’ve made it easier to share. Easier to favorite. Easier to retweet. Easier to search.

That’s why Facebook is trying to push for a more public world. Twitter is already there.

Comments

  1. I'm still struggling to find non-techies who use Facebook to discover news.

    The Facebook update stream look like a pretty crap news GUI in my view, although I rarely see this said. Intstead it's more often “Facebook is going to take over the news dissemination world” – or something along those lines.

    Functionality that we take for granted in Twitter (as you say using something like Tweetdeck) with the ability to group and then display multiple groups in one screen just isn't there in Facebook. Whilst you have the ability to filter out certain 3rd party Fbook app notifications to your stream (who cares if you're using 'Adopt-a-pet'?) you also can't choose (for example) to just see Friend's Links. In Fbook you can only drop an individual (and other low value notifications like who they've just become friends with) entirely from your 'News Feed'.

    To me it looks like Facebook's information stream is a mess compared to Twitter.

  2. Wouldn't it be great if all those faved tweets could go in different categories related to what they're all about? Everything you fave goes into your personal bundles based on some interests. People that follow you for the technology news could easily RSS that bundle and also discuss around a certain item without polluting the whole environment. Everything is stored there, ready for you to search. I think that would be nice :) Btw, I tried to put together some of your ideas about The Seven Needs of Real Time Curators and I came up with my own curated streams http://www.panciuc.ro/my-curated-streams/
    Best,
    Radu

  3. I think the main reason for Twitter being more dominant is due to how simple it is. You know that the soul reason for being on Twitter is to send a receive 140 character messages. A lot of people just log into Facebook to see pictures of family, and play games with friends. Google Buzz hasn't had the sheer amount of time that Twitter has to gain the same engagement as Twitter has (especially in the media's eye). Twitter wins due to simplicity and longevity.

    That still doesn't account for Twitter's low retention rate, compared to Facebook's rate of retention. They are really not that comparable. Facebook didn't look like it does now when it started. Facebook is good at emulation, just to keep up with the changing times. If they didn't change how they did things years ago, they'd be as dead a MySpace.

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  6. Favorites are the unsung hero of Twitter. There's tons of great content there. I just wish Twitter would open some better ways to access it all.

  7. As a big fan Robert, I do enjoy your hyper-social web activities. I just wish they weren't so tied to corporate systems. When Friendfeed was purchased by Facebook, I witnessed a serious warping of your social activity flow to Twitter (Friendfeed Likes transformed into Twitter favorites, nice move btw).

    I suspect this will happen repeatedly until you can rely on web standards to get real time information from other people in a concise way, without having to be rerouted through intermediary company networks. I like the fact that your blog has become the center of your social web pipeline, but the dependence on “side bar” networks doesn't feel ideal (it's the best you can do now though).

    Ok my preference for what it's worth: A side bar which show's web based likes or favorites of URLs that correspond to article titles, videos, pictures, songs, etc. The real value to me is your effort and attention filtering down a wider band of info. The more web based that information is, the greater I can construct follow on filters to fine tune the flow to individuals with more limited reading time.

  8. Normally I would say “Dude, get a life” if someone has spent as much time dealing with tweets. However, if you boss knows and like it and you seems to be doing good things with it… Interesing!

  9. While your surfacing of good tweets is useful, you and I know that true Curation tools in this regard are sorely lacking. For example it would be much more useful to be able to drop many of those tweets into emerging topic buckets, or to associate some directly with prior tweets and other comments elsewhere, etc.

    At least by piping your Favorites into Friendfeed, you have some search capabilities over your archives unlike on Twitter itself. Of course Zuck could decide to turn off FF at anytime.

  10. OK, I feel stupid. I've used twitter, mostly in a reading mode, for over a year and never realized I could fave a tweet till I read this post. I just went back to the twitter web client and NOW I see that little star there in the corner. How silly to miss that. (And I've been on the Internet since 1990.)

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  12. Yes, sort of does, but keep in mind that I only started using Twitter's favorites list last July, so everyone on this list earned their way on in the past 10 months.

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    They are really not that comparable. Facebook didn't look like it does now when it started. Facebook is good at emulation, just to keep up with the changing times.

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  17. Interesting post! I do fav too, but will do more of it from now on. One question: what do you find is the difference between retweeting and fav-ing? Do you fav and retweet the same tweet? If so, why?

  18. I suspect this will happen repeatedly until you can rely on web standards to get real time information from other people in a concise way, without having to be rerouted through intermediary company networks.Web

  19. I must admit, I've known that you've been favoriting tweets & promoting that fact on Twitter for a while now. My impression of this feature was: it's just an individual's personal favorites and may not be relevant to me, so why should I spend the time looking through them?

    Then I read this post. And now have a decidedly different view. And am finally looking through your favorites now. The impression I'm walking away with is: here is a curated list of potentially useful & noteworthy tweets that I might not otherwise be exposed to, by people I might not want to follow on a regular basis.

    Thank you for clarifying why you are doing this, and thank you for doing it in the first place.

  20. I think this tool could help find who your real friends are that you care if they liked something