Monday, 25 January 2010

What does your email address say about you?

Quite a lot apparently!

The feedback from the people I do business with, contacts on Twitter and from my friends was surprisingly consistent.

A "freebie" address such as Hotmail, GMail or Yahoo is considered ok for start ups and sole traders - but only as a means of contact. People are generally very reluctant to part with cash if no other dialogue occurs. Not to mention that most online payment services won't accept subscriptions from a "floating" account. The reaction is somewhat ameliorated if they know the person, but there is still the perception that they need to get a "proper" email address.

Almost equal wariness was accorded to businesses only using their ISP providers email. Again the understanding was there that this was ok within strictly defined limits. However, people were more inclined to "trust" these addresses more than the floaters.

Another consistent reaction was mild annoyance when companies have a website, but use a different domain name for their email addresses. The most common response I received when I asked for a reason was that it was "lazy".

However, the strongest negative reaction I got, across the board, was not to what appears on the right hand side of the address - it was the "name" that could really rile people!

Top 5 most despised:

You have been warned...

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Tarnishing the Twitter glitter

One of the main strengths of Twitter is the access you have to so many people.

However, the obvious counterpoint to that is that they also have access to you! (Unless you protect your tweets.) I use Twitter in a business/social hybrid model, so I prefer to have an open feed.

Good quality retweets are the gold dust that makes Twitter glitter.

I've found you need to be selective in what you retweet, but also be fair and return the retweet favour where possible. Receiving genuinely interesting information from your followers is part of the pleasure of Twitter, as is sharing your information with them.

However there is a dark and unpleasant entity lurking in the shadows - the auto retweet bots. These beasts hide in the "cloud" and pounce upon unsuspecting tweets and take them over for their own ends.

Some retweet bots are relatively harmless, like the "knitting" or "coffee" ones. (Don't ask!)

The ones I really have a problem with are those that add their own link to your original tweet and make it look like you endorse them. How many people would bother to check the original content? For example: One of my tweets was hijacked to direct people to a video of someone performing a very bad cover of a rock classic.

I particularly dislike it when bots pick up on my fibromyalgia and then purport to offer a "cure". Peddling nonsense has always been an internet speciality and Twitter is an ideal platform to promulgate the genre!

I know that by choosing to engage on Twitter that I take have to take the rough with the smooth. However, that doesn't stop the intense irritation nor the righteous indignation flaring up on occasions.

All I can do is hit the block button and hope my Twitter glitter isn't too tarnished.