Twitter vs RSS

There seems to be an increase in organisations providing twitter feeds. I instinctively prefer using twitter for more social 1:1 exchanges rather than many:1. Surely people use email newsletters or rss aggregators for organisation-provided feeds? 

Except that I'm currently on maternity leave, my netvibes aggregator is all based on work, so while I'm not working its not sticky enough for me to visit it. And even then, there are some organisation-provided twitter feeds that I have signed up to. So it got me wondering why anyone signs up to a twitter feed from an organisation in preference to the same feed in rss?

  1. you don't have an rss reader/aggregator
  2. if you happen to keep up with your twitter feed, a tweet is pushed under your nose more effectively (but only if you do keep up with twitter, which is hard work)
  3. a tweet can be easily forwarded/broadcasted as a retweet (RT) which lets you use the information in a more social way: its easy to share than retyping an rss item to fit a tweet
  4. people can see which twitter accounts you are following, so you can say something about yourself and your interests. rss readers are much more private, unless you make your rss aggregator public, like netvibes or pageflake, but even then, they're more about other people optionally browsing your page so less people will see
  5. if you respond to the feed with an @ message, other people following the same feed and following you can see the exchange, so it reinforces connections and similarities between people.

There's also a special case I can see, and thats for event-based twitter feeds. I've signed up to the feeds for specific editions of the BBC programmes Question Time and Virtual Revolution – I've followed them whilst watching them, and then unfollowed them afterwards. They are very opinion-based programmes where I am interested in the public opinions of whats said in the programmes, I wouldn't follow any old programme.

So, ok, maybe there is a role for many:1 twitter feeds. But please please PLEASE, marketers beware: I will not follow a marketing feed because that's like barging in on my private conversation. If you want to follow me just because I mentioned chocolate fountains, be my guest, but you won't find out much, and I won't follow you back!


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