For about a year, I’ve been using twitter and hashtags to tweet with fellow Red Sox fans about our favorite topic, the Red Sox. Over that time, I’ve seen a big change how it works.
First, a definition from Twitter Wiki:
Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They’re like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.
When I started about a year ago, there were a handful of folks that were tweeting with the #redsox hashtag during the games. DougH, AdamCohen, AaronStrout and Fairminder would pretty much be the list. Most of them aren’t really seen tweeting about the games anymore, and it doesn’t surprise me.
Early adopters really hate a crowd, deep down, and the numbers of folks that use the hashtag now have soared. Even Jerry Remy (and his assistant John) are using the hashtag to tweet during games. However, with the popularity, there are problems:
1. Spamming – I’m now seeing people using the hashtag to advertise stuff that has nothing to do with the Red Sox. Last night DaveAndelmann tweeted an ad for his Phantom Gourmet tv show which would air after the game. Boo hiss, Dave! If everyone does this, it becomes unuseable. The problem is that everyone seems to think that Twitter is their own private advertising medium. Really, c’mon, admit it…
2. ReTweetBots – I really hate seeing accounts (not really people) like Redsoxgame or Yankeesgame or RedSoxTweets mindlessly retweeting scores and articles with the #redsox tag. The problem is, if the original was already tagged, we’ve seen it before. With these retweetbots, we’re destined to see each article about 6 times. Stupid…
3. Red Sox Tweets Turn Off My Other Followers – Yup, not everyone wants to hear it. Since I’ve tagged my tweets, you can filter them in Tweetdeck, (go to the bottom of your friends column and find the filter icon – then select text – #redsox and they’ll be gone. But most people won’t take the time to do this.
Either we find fixes for these problems, or the noble effort that was live game tweeting will crash and burn. I predict unregulated this will go the way of Usenet possibly by the All Star break but certainly by September.
I suspect in the long term, the real solution is that live game microblogging needs to be done under the auspices of a website where someone can actually police things help maintain a quality experience. Perhaps if Jerry Remy were to put a Laconica install on his site, that’d be the place. Or perhaps the crew at SurvivingGrady.com could upgrade from their current comments system…