is auto-feeding links to twitter spammy?

Cross-posting is useful where it genuinely adds value but sometimes it’s just plain spammy. That, at least, is the conclusion I’ve drawn on the use of automated cross-posting to and from blogs and social networking services.

For the past month or so I’ve been automatically posting links to twitter every time I update my blog. I’ve found it really useful as a way to drive traffic and have been getting at least a dozen, sometimes many more, click throughs from twitter to my blog each day.

Last week I realised, as I was switching back and forth between twitter and facebook on my mobile, that I kept reading the same updates from the same people but on different services. And that most of those updates weren’t updates at all, but automated links coming from twitterfeed or other automated services that link shovel to and from blogs and social networking services. The more I thought about it, the more I started to feel that this – and I’m guilty of it too – is a bit spammy. So I asked:


A dozen of my twitter followers have responded thus far with one third of those (4) saying that, yes, it’s link spam. The other 2/3 (8) each gave a more qualified response but all generally agreed that, where the link it to a genuine post (as opposed to, for example, a links post from AND where the tweet provides some context, such links CAN be a useful way of finding content.

I think the key here is user expectations. People who chose to follow me don’t expect a tweet every time I sneeze and it’s not fair to shovel links their way using automated cross-posting. However, there may very well be people who do want an update every time I update my blog(s) and, for them, I’m going to set up a separate public feed.


  1. I only tend to follow people I know in real life (or very well across the web) on twitter, so it’s the more personal conversation I use – that said I’m increasingly irritated with all the social-media cross-posting I’m coming into contact with.
    The Facebook status, pulled from a twitter auto-announcing a blog post generated from links is not what I want form these services. And I get the feed of it at each stage.
    If someone is expanding on the post at a more personal level fine, but the auto-posting is little more than background noise – for me anyway.

  2. “However, there may very well be people who do want an update every time I update my blog(s) and, for them, I’m going to set up a separate public feed.”
    Not to be sarcastic, but isn’t that why someone (at least parts why) someone invented RSS?
    I do as well try to explore new ways of “spreading my content”, but as you conclude with the auto-feeding to twitter, its just plain spamming. Because it doesn’t really have any relevance.

  3. Thanks, Jon and Chris, for taking the time to read and comment. Chris, you’re right, of course, that RSS does exactly this. But that said, how many times are you sitting there, reading through twitter, and see a tweet with a link that sounds interesting? I’m picking up a lot of good stuff this way and find it faster than RSS. Perhaps that’s just because I tend to dip in and out of my RSS but leave twitter open on my desktop all day (and read it on my phone when away from my desk).
    By the way, I agree with the respondents to my quick and totally unscientific poll – it’s the contextualised links that people have thought about posting that I find useful, not the automated stuff.

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