I grimaced when I read Adam Kmiec’s post, Twitter Needs a Thumb. His idea is that Twitter should have a thumbs up/thumbs down voting system. This would provide us all with feedback on our posts. And it would point readers to the popular stuff. Such a rating system is already operating on ExecTweets, the Microsoft-Federated Media site launched last week.
But I don’t want a rating system. I prefer the foggy status quo. Let’s say I tweet something about a Bob Dylan song I’m listening to. The way things work now, maybe 100 people see it. Most of them don’t care. Let’s say six people are a little put off that the person they follow for BW and Numerati stuff has detoured into 60s folk rock. A couple of them might “unfollow” me. Fair enough. But for maybe one person or two, the tweet brings back a memory or makes a connection. They like it.
The way it works now, I get a couple people replying nice things to me. I feel good. Every once in a while, I tweet about music.
But say Adam gets his rating system. Suddenly I might get seven or 10 thumbs down for that innocuous musictweet. Fun evaporates. Before long, I’m weighing the pros and cons before twittering. I become cautious. Some would call this optimization. For me it’s more like self-censoring. It threatens to take the fun away from Twitter.
If I Twitter something really objectionable or stupid, let people respond to the public, putting themselves on the line and starting a dialogue about it. But clicking a thumbs down, from my point of view, makes criticizing too easy.