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


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.

Joining a tribe – is it right for you? (In response to @SeanEClark’s post.)

This is an interesting idea from @SeanEClark – have joined his #tribe – but not sure yet if it’s right for me.

Very happy to share interesting posts – but not quite comfortable with Triberr’s automatic tweeting of posts. Would prefer to receive tweets telling me of new posts; this would give me the opportunity to read them and RT or not as I felt fit – that might also give the RT some verisimilitude. While I trust Sean to write interesting posts, I wonder how large the tribe can get before you find yourself auto RTing posts that you don’t agree with.

Also, feel that it might constrain the way I write my blog posts. Normally I write for my own pleasure, if other people like it then that’s a bonus. However, now that I am a member of a tribe, I find myself wondering whether other tribe members will like what I post and appreciate having a link sent out under their name without any sanction. That’s a form of peer pressure – and I don’t much like peer pressure of any sort (hence why I am a freelancer not a corporate animal).

This tribe-sharing of content is an interesting development in social media distribution but I suspect the simple mechanics of the system disguise much more complex social (tribal) issues.

Watching with interest (perhaps the tribe will eject me for questioning the system – sociologists would call it group protection).


PS: Please feel free to add your views – are you in a tribe (or a sociologist), would you consider joining one – or does it effectively turn tribe members into #bots?