For anyone who was witness to the outpouring of deserved admiration for Steve Jobs in the Twitter stream last night, one of the most jarring sub-plots of the event were the unfortunate barrage of scheduled tweets from those who couldn’t have possibly accounted for such an occurrence. In many instances this simply made the parties look bad and actually offered a bit of a PR blow to many Tweeters’ reputations.
For a few people I was already non-convinced about the value of, I was actually triggered to finally unfollow after seeing a few strange scheduled tweets after news of Jobs’ death had broke. I found the dissonance between the event-stream and their off-topic tweets to be almost offensive, and because of that, it crossed the line. However, my feelings independent of what obviously is a valuable and useful tool for many people (scheduling tweets), this “crisis event” brought light to a feature that is currently interestingly missing from all tweet schedulers – crisis-event accountability and the mass-eject-functionality of a “big red button”.
In light of Steve Jobs death, these tweet schedulers could have easily paused tweets for their mass of users (now embarassed), if some obvious unique conditions were getting triggered. First, they could have instantly stopped the tweets based on a “big red button” any administrator could hit, or a variable event button that could be flagged by an abnormal volume of user scheduled tweet pauses in a set timeframe.
Of course, pausing scheduled tweets would often be a power invasion that would cause user blowback, but would also be useful for the power-user who trusts that it would only been used in apocalypse like conditions such as this, Osama Bin Laden dying, or any other “Twitter earthquakes” which make any off-topic tweet damning to the party who releases the 140 characters to the world.
Our ethos about “robotic tweets” aside, the ability to remove as much “robot” from these events as possible does the best for the tweeter – and the person who views the tweet – in dissolving the negative resonance that can occur when we realize we are being subjected to non-sophisticated gamification – especially when connected to a very, very serious event.
Hootsuite, Futuretweets, Socialoomph, CoTweet, et all – care to schedule that in?