Twit vs Twat

A week ago , popular blogger and online market Jim Kukral launching a marketing experiment called TwitterMeThis.

Basically, TwitterMeThis is an experiment by Jim to see how the Twitter media can be used. He has asked people to follow the TwitterMeThis account at Twitter and periodically he asks his followers a question. The first person who responds to this question gets $5. There are currently 701 followers so it’s safe to say it’s proved to be popular with a lot of people.

The experiment has generated mixed reactions. Some bloggers think it’s a good idea whereas others think it’s pointless with some going as far as saying it will ruin Twitter.

The fight begins

One argument in particular has gathered some momentum, between Jim Kural and fellow marketer’s Sam Harrelson and Shawn Collins.

Twit vs Twat

Round 1 : Jim launches TwitterMeThis as a marketing experiment.
Round 2 : Sam Harrelson cricizes Jim via Twitter.
Round 3 : Jim responds with a video response via GeekCast.fm.
Round 4 : Sam responds with a video via CostPerNews
Round 5 : Shawn Collins joins in the debate with a video entitled ‘Death of Twitter by Jim Kukral‘ (in his post Is Jim Kukral Killing Twitter?)
Round 6 : Sam Harrelson launches TwatterMeThat, a blog which imitates TwitterMeThis and links to a Twitter account where Jim’s Surname is spelled incorrectly (something I have did in the past too!).
Round 7 : Jim states on Trisha Lynn’s blog that he doubts he will continue to their joint project GeekCast anymore.
Round 8 : Shawn Collins deals a knockout blow and takes this ‘over the top’ debate into overdrive by stating that Jim was already emailed about being replaced.

Is TwitterMeThis ruining Twitter?

I responded to Shawn Collin’s post last night and stated that ‘this kind of thing isnt good for twitter’. I didn’t really expand too much on this statement at the time but those who have read this blog in the last month will know that I’m not a fan of gaming or manipulating social media as the medium gets ruined when people try to exploit the site for their own benefit. That being said, I don’t have any major problems with those who do, I just don’t want to be part of it (some might say that if I’m not part of the solution I’m part of the problem but I prefer to look at it that I’m leading by example!! :) ). However, do I have the right to assume that Jim is using TwitterMeThis for self promotion or is his sole aim of this project to experiment with this new social media. I’m a regular reader of Jim’s blog and he has come up with some innovative methods of getting traffic so my initial thoughts when I read about this project was that he was using it to drive traffic to his blog. Maybe that is partly his plan here but at the very least he has stimulated some good discussions through this (it’s not like he’s selling his account!).

Since last night my view has changed slightly about this whole thing. I still agree with Sam’s original comments that TwitterMeThis is not really pushing any boundaries however I’m not 100% sure if my original view that it is ‘ruining Twitter’ is correct.

Michael Buechele posted a great post about all of this yesterday and ended it with the following statement :

Ultimately, Twitter Me This is an experiment. Jim had an idea and wants to see what happens. I say if people, the Market, users, friends, followers, or whatever the term is now, do not want something like Twitter Me This, then let the Market decide. All you have to do is un-follow. Hard to get a question answered when no one is reading it.

Trisha Lynn said pretty much the same thing the day before when she said

I don’t see what the harm is in TwitterMeThis. If you don’t lke it, don’t follow it.

Michael and Trisha are 100% right. If you have a problem with people using Twitter to promote themselves or promote their site then don’t follow them. You have full control over what messages you see as you can pick and choose who you follow. This is in stark contrast to a social media site like Digg where posts can be spammed onto the front page.

What do you think?

Michael and a few others have suggested that this whole debate is perhaps a scam to get more people to use the TwitterMeThis service. I doubt this is true as this is the kind of thing that can do more damage to a bloggers reputation than good.*

I do share the opinion with the commentators on Shawn’s blog that this spat is getting a little childish. I love debates like this that get bloggers and web developers talking but when you know it’s too far when the personal attacks start.

What do you think? Is it wrong to create a twitter account for the sole purpose of promoting something. Whether you agree or disagree, Jim Kukral has definately shown that Twitter can be used to to do just that.
:)