Why #tribes are not right for me but may be good for you.

This may be self-indulgent but I have just posted the following thoughts about tribal tweeting on @SeanEClark’s blog and wanted to share them on here too.

Further to various tweets with newsmary and Sean Clark I have now come to the conclusion that #tribes are not for me. That’s not to say they are a bad thing – in fact I can see them being very useful for some groups. However, I think they will work best when they reflect off-line tribes with shared values, interests and a common agenda. I am not convinced they are right for independent minded writers, who by nature don’t like to be pigeon-holed.

As mentioned previously (see replies here – and here) I think being in a tribe would constrain my freedom of expression. However, there is also the problem of the auto-RT. I know these can be switched off but as Sean explained (in his reply to me), part of the attraction of tribes is that they can get really big – and manual reviewing would slow down the process of dissemination. It could also lead to tribe members indulging in favouritism – and I guess potential free-loading (getting lots of RTs but sending very few).

In my tweets with Mary, I explained that I prefer to only RT what I have read, understood and (crucially) found either useful or interesting. The value of the RT lies in the selection – the process of winnowing.

I have just seen an auto-RT go out under my name from another tribe member. It’s not a bad post but it’s not the sort of post I would normally RT – as such the auto-RT has little real value and only serves to devalue my manual RTs (not that I am under any illusions about that value – but what value there is lies in my choice). That tension between the needs of the tribe and the views of individual can only get worse as the tribe grows.

So, apologies Sean – I don’t think tribes are for me – or me for tribes. A freelancer, sole-trader, island dweller (sometimes hermit) I will remain. I wish you and your tribe well but would ask you to set me free. In return I will happily buy you lunch at the World’s End (an aptly named pub for this recluse).

Kind regards

Huw

PS: Yes I know “me for tribes” ain’t grammatical but this is my blog – so I writes as I please (you have to pay for perfection).

PPS: Don’t let me put you off #tribes – read Sean’s blogs – make up your own mind – you might well find value in such collective enterprises – as I said in another reply ” Rome grew mighty on its conformity: individuals rarely build empires” – a theme I am happy to say Sean has picked up in a subsequent blog – read it and decide. Best wishes – H.

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