Useless Twitter twaddle

You can use Twitter and get business value from it, but it's really easy to lose that value.
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor on

I admit it; I use Twitter.  I'm not an addict; I don't think that my followers need to know the details of my life. I pretty much just tweet my new writing that can be found online, re-tweet stuff I find interesting from the people I follow or colleagues,  or the occasional site I find humorous or entertaining. I follow about 150 people, almost all of them interesting tech types who write or blog regularly, plus a few technology associations.

When I tweet something I've written or find interesting, I link the article I refer to in the tweet. This just seems to be common courtesy. What I don't do is link to an aggregation site or third-party site that someone would need to click-through, solely for the purpose of generating page hits.

I'm not 100% against this practice; some of the tweets I follow link to their own site, where they have a synopsis of the article and a link to the original site. But these are people that I know are linking in this fashion; they have the time I don't to scour the web for interesting information and I feel that they are providing me a service, so I don't begrudge them the hit.  And I know in advance that if I follow a link that they post that this will be the case.

But I'm starting to see an ugly trend with some of the links I click on. Something interesting comes across my twitter feed and I click on it. This takes me to a landing page on the site that hosts the story, but the story isn't there.  Just a headline, a site logo, and a page full of ads. No synopsis, no lead paragraph; nothing but the headline. Not even a link to other stories on the same site, though there is a link back to the site home page.

It ends up taking at least two or three (sometimes more) clicks through links full of advertising to get to the original story I was trying to find.  For me at least, this is enough to reconsider clicking on a link from that person in the future.  I realize that we all don't get control over how our stuff gets posted, but the second time it happens I just stop following that person.

And yes, I understand that page count is what justifies the charges for advertising (and paying the bloggers/authors). But there are many techniques that don't require the user to wade through unrelated advertising or empty pages that still garner page count, allow sites to effectively provide the advertising that pays the bills, and deliver useful information. Tweeting a link that ends up annoying the reader before they can even find the content doesn't really seem to be the best course.

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