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 del.icio.us) 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.