Beery Twitter, is it just me?

twiterI’ve been a twitter user for a couple of years now and still find it a really valuable tool for communicating socially, plus the most incredible information source when I need to travel anywhere or even just need advice. But in recent months I’ve seen my general use decline. The reasons I think are varied, time, outside personal influences, melancholy or just general lethargy at times, but also an uneasy feeling that things are changing and not for the better.

As an early user I started as most folk tend to with a plethora of celebrity sports, TV and comedy personalities. I soon winnowed most of these away to all but those I really found either funny or interesting, as clearly none of them generally interact with Joe-Public and for me at least that is not what twitter is about.

Gradually over time my following and followers list grew into list of folk who have similar interests to myself, and post, read and most importantly interacted with me about them, these being, good food, music, a skittering of sport, coffee and BEER.

Now I may be reminiscing about those “good old days” wearing rose-coloured glasses, these filtering only the good times to the fore, but my memories of a year ago for example are filled with laughs, impromptu beer tasting sessions and good-natured banter. More recently though things seem be taking a darker sometimes sinister direction. I’m not saying it’s all bad, it’s not and I have some great friends out there in the Twittersphere, but there is definitely something that just doesn’t feel right.

So what’s changed in the beer community in that time?

Well it’s grown for starters, maybe that has a part to play as less folk know each other as they perhaps once did, therefore making the interaction more widespread and perceptually less often.

I also think some brewers interact a bit less than they used to, and that is not meant to be either a criticism nor a broad brush sweeping statement as I can understand it completely. Some do, some don’t, tweet much or interact with followers and I can’t say that I blame them in some respects. The hours worked are often crucifying and I’m sure there are only so many times you want to reply to someone saying how much they love your beer, or to randomly condemn it as being drain-pour slops making all their hard work meaningless.

This though is where the brewery and brewery folks personal accounts come into their own, but again with the former, “some” can be nothing more faceless spewers of advertising with little or no banter, though thankfully these are in the minority too.

Does Untappd have a part to play? (I wrote about this a while back) Some people really hate it and I know for sure with some brewers it definitely does. Being slammed with wave after wave of beer check-ins on a daily basis, at times with undeservedly negative comments can’t do much for your cheery goodwill attitude to all..  A classic example below:

Note: Some of these tweets were found easily thanks to Boak and Bailey‘s excellent “Top Tweets of 2013” post..

I have definitely made an effort to cut the amount of twitter posts direct from Untappd to a minimum and go back to my old ways of posting comments etc direct or even just generally without tagging.

The characters have changed over time too, some alliances/friendships fade, sometimes through neglect, or maybe perhaps a quiet but deliberate attempt to slip away from folk that annoy or badger you. I’ve lost count of some of the people I used to speak to almost every day, but who’s icons I now rarely see pop up on my timeline. It may be that these folk are just bored, I’m missing them or maybe I’m a victim of the “quiet walk off” myself. Could some though be a little fearful of being down-trodden or ridiculed for saying the “wrong thing”, going against the flow of general consensus or being lost in a sea of messages from the scattergun tweeters, those folk that attack your timeline like wasps battering themselves to death as if trapped inside a bottle of warm cider, bam, bam, bam, then silence and peace…

Then of course we have the “parody accounts”, some of which are clever and witty, others that seem to be there for nought but malice or mischief. I do follow some for sure, but I do question whether it’s a wise move at times, after all who is next, it could be you or I. Take the most recent examples of the last few days, with names I am not going to mention for fear of fanning the flames which at last seem to have gone out, but I’m sure have still left nasty scars on those unfortunate enough to have been attacked or so badly cloned. Twitter can be a truly evil place at times and it’s all too easy for a snide remark or accusation made with a certain degree on anonymity to snowball into a dark avalanche.

Finally there are some folk that are sadly no longer with us, but whose name still lives on through fond personal memories, old musings forever committed to the web, or even now in annual “Golden Pints” beer blogging awards. Twitter needs more witty, articulate folk like this much missed chap, but sadly they are a very rare breed. Make Golden Pints choices wisely and if you are lucky enough to be honoured in this way, treasure that moment as you must be doing something right for someone.

Now these are some of my personal thoughts, stuff that’s been rattling around my head on the whole for a while. You may agree, It may of course “just be me”, after all I am a moaning miserable old sod at times and there’s a good chance that your experiences are completely at odds with my own, either way no malice is meant, I just had to get it off my chest to allow me to get on with it and move on.

I wasn’t sure how to end this, in fact I wasn’t sure whether I should actually post it up at all, so I asked a good friend and confidant for his thoughts and I quote:

“I hope Twitter isn’t changing into a big fuck-bag full of lazy run-of-the-mill twats called the general public that don’t have even half a brain and are screwing up what used to be a fun and exciting media by lowering the average IQ level to that of an amoeba after 12 pints of Carling”

Not quite how I would have put it, but I think you get the point being made..

In closing I ask the question again, “is it just me?”

Am I just in the wrong frame of mind, is all still as good as it once was and I’m just not seeing it or have things seen a change for the worse in your eyes too? Either way I’ll be doing my upmost to be more positive in 2014 and plan to take as many other folks as I can with me.


31 thoughts on “Beery Twitter, is it just me?

  1. Another (complementary) angle, perhaps, is that having made these once new and exciting online connections, over a few short years sufficient of them have become both real and important, and interactions on a human level have overtaken the online ones. Coupled with the “timeline bloat” that makes those important connections harder to pick out through Twitter, and the medium has somewhat outlived itself.

    I’ve certainly found an element of that – the “real” things that were spawned of Twitter now take up the time (and much more) that Twitter did before, and it is harder and harder to keep up with an increasing number of followed accounts … I suspect there may be a cyclical nature to this somewhere in it all, and this is just one point on the cycle.

    • Dave you make a very good and valid points there (I wish I’d written that dammit)
      You are bang on in regards to once twitter friends that have now become regular real and close personal friends. Plus the extra follower angle too.

      I do try and filter who I follow back based on their recent activity, if I’m not interested in what they have to say or are about, I won’t bother. That said as the following base grows larger, the harder it is to keep up and make regular interactions..

      • So many replies to your post here Phil that all resonate. All makes me think about having a “cleanse” and getting back to what attracted me in the first place as an individual. I can see how the approach for a brand is different – you’d want a mass of followers to pass your message on to, and probably only the largest of brands don’t need to follow in order to be followed, but if it’s your personal timeline you have to think about what the value is of filling your timeline with conversations that really do no more than stopping you see the ones that really interest you.

        Don’t worry though, you won’t be on my cleanse list…

  2. Exactly that ^^^^^^^. Life in general. Good beer is everywhere, twitter is less of a tool for seeking it out. Oh, and they keep nobbing about with the app, gets right on my…..

    • Actually, thinking about it, and it is probably me being weird. It may be that the connections are more real, and instead of seeing something and chipping in to the debate, it now sometimes feels like butting into a private conversations being held in public, if you aren’t connected to all the parties involved.

      • Again Steve, linking in to what Dave said above, it stops being anonymous after a while and perhaps more care is taken, you however have been responsible for lots of terrible things and more to come with your Photoshopping antics 😉

        I may have news on that front too…

  3. I came out of Twitter as it was too personal when it was supposed to be impersonal; too dark at times. My humour is very dry and it’s hard to read dry humour with 140 characters. Also Twitter is being used as a gloat device or a slam-down device without any balanced direction from either perspective. I’m tired of seeing ‘awesome beer’ as much as I am seeing ‘that beer’s shit’ as it doesn’t do anything for the brewer and actually makes the industry worst off.

    If people took time out to tweet a balanced review it quickly surpasses 140 characters so immediately there is a problem for the brewer. Untappd seems to be gloating about drinking in public and gaining an award for having a drink. That doesn’t appeal to me at all either.

    I have noticed that the demographic is changing and more people are using it for gains which are not considerably clear or to make themselves famous. I don’t like this free easy famous celebrity for doing nowt lifestyle which the Country has taken a direction in lately . The Tabloids are certainly not helping us there and any idiot can tweet 140 characters with a point of view.

    I also find it is hard as you want information quickly and for that is is awesome. i can find if a bar has something on through a tweet to the bartender but if the bartender starts following me and disagrees with my deeply anal-ytical view points then it can (and has) become a full-blown argument when I was only trying to help.

    I also think it’s worth mentioning that tech shelf-life is generally very small. Look at Myspace; that lasted a short while. Then Facebook came. What’s next? Google +? Is there something better coming? Let’s hope so. I’ve met great people off twitter but they’re are flaws and I back you 100% with your observations. Ironically I’m so glad that we met via Twitter!

    • Tom, twitter like texting or even email to a point has similar flaws in that what you write one end in good perhaps cheery faith, can be read at the other with a “is he saying I’m f-ing that” type of mindset, I’m not saying you are/were at fault in that respect, just that real care must be taken if you or I want to avoid that. I’ve back peddled on more things than I care to recall in that way, purely to avoid flared tempers from an innocent remark.

      I do tend to agree there are some folk that use it for their own ends, but fair play I suppose, if it works and gets them where they want to be

  4. Nice piece Phil. I think the reaason that I don’t quite feel like yourself (yet) because I’m fairly new to both Twitter and the “Beer Universe” and therefore, still learning.

    Being still at the novice stage, I find it amazing how useful Twitter can be. On a recent trip to Harrogate (for instance) I was still getting suggestions for a top chippy hours after I tweeted the question!

    And without Twitter, how would I have learned about next months Manchester Twissup?

    Chin up buddy!

    • I’m with you there. I never touched Twitter until I started the blog, and now I find it invaluable, as a beer fan and homebrewer. Plus like you said how else would I have heard about the Manc twissup?!

      • I started my Social media “journey with two accounts One on Facebook and one on Twitter. I “friended” some people who had a similar interest (Northern Soul music) to gradually discover some simply hideous views being shoved down my proverbial. I stopped using Facebook and going to Northern Soul events to avoid the crap.

        I now use FB and Twitter purely for beery stuff. Yes, to promote the blog but also to interact with like minded souls. I’m not interesting enough to be trolled or cloned, for which I feel very fortunate.

        I also take the point of one of the respondents above. Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have come across Phil, you Dave, and all of those people whose thoughts and – to be frank – help have lit up my dark northern days. I am truly grateful for that and for them.
        (Sorry for rambling Phil. This ain’t my blog. Feel free to reciprocate!)

    • True enough, maybe that is another key thing, it was new and exciting for me and lots of other folk too, especially on the marketing front. Lots of the new top breweries reached mass acclaim really quickly through social media, Twitter in particular. Of course they had great grading and beer which would have gotten them there anyway, but I think riding the twitter beer wave got them on the beach that much faster than a few years ago

  5. There’s a couple of things that I feel have changed in the last few years. Craft has become more mainstream so breweries are probably more aware of their corporate image than they were a few years ago. This undoubtedly, will impact on how they use twitter, one wrongly worded tweet and it could impact sales. Another issue could also be the “newness” factor. When I first discovered twitter I found a small community of knowledgeable craft beer drinkers, who liked the same beer I liked. Everyone fed off each other’s passion but after a few years you’re only going to get the true diehards that still have the desire to keep writing about beer in a meaningful way.

    I follow quite a lot of beer people and I’ve unfollowed quite a lot as well. Twitter for me has to be entertaining, most of my tweets are tongue in cheek moans with a few of my actual interests thrown in as well. I’ve never really taken the whole beer scene too seriously as taste is very subjective. I have noticed the ‘parody’ accounts that have been used to take shots at people and they’re not funny. If you don’t have the balls / ovaries to attach your name to a comment then you shouldn’t say it.

    Anyway I’m going to get a beer…. I’ll probably log it on tapped but I won’t tweet it.

      • Sorry guys for the lack of replies, I’m out and about.

        Cheers for all the comments, feel free to continue the debate/chat, I’ll catch up and reply to all ASAP

    • JJ fine remarks, and I agree and have echoed as such above so I won’t witter on in that respect.

      For me too I want entertainment, tell me what your drinking and how good it is by all means, something of interest, make me laugh, cry, enlightened. I’m not that interested that you are taking soup today, although if you’ve made it and it’s ace then go ahead. (I am guilty of posting the odd pic of a bacon sandwich or two..)

      I do have a cull now and then, I should cull more but sometimes it’s tricky, there are some folk I really like, but find fucking irritating at times, maybe I should unfollow them but I’m too sensitive about the backlash.

      I remember someone I really got on with and liked unfollowed me on twitter but followed me on Google+, Facebook etc. I was a bit gutted but never actually asked if it had been done purposely or by twitter itself as happens from time to time…

      • The twitter unfollow when you’re connected in other ways is a blow and it is very difficult to not let it affect you. The positive thing about twitter is that it’s a snap shot and because of this it’s a little more disposable. This is also a big negative when you truly like the person who either unfollows you are tweets constant noise.

        On the plus side we all, obviously, win at twitter. I mean look at us, we’re fabulous, attractive and simply amazing!

  6. Twitter is still fun for us (despite this week…) mostly because we try not to get too emotionally involved.

    If someone unfollows us, we say: “Well, we obviously weren’t interesting them; we don’t want to change; and we don’t want anyone following us put of politeness, so good luck them them.”

    Equally, we don’t over-think unfollowing other people if they’re boring or annoying us, or if they’ve finished a particular job or project. That, I think, has kept what we see in our timeline reasonably fresh and entertaining.

    As for Untappd… We can handle a bit, from people we like, especially if they add interesting notes, but people whose time lines are *all* checki-ns? No ta.

    • I think you guys handled that aspect (and the recent blog comments) impeccably, perhaps one and the same person, who knows.

      On the follower front I have a similar outlook (despite my last comment which was slightly different) if you follow me great, if you leave, your choice, tata..

      As above too, I really should just have a clear out.

      There used to be a brilliant app that analysed your twitter followers activity. not just who followed/unfollowed, actual useful data. When they last tweeted, how often, how often to you and they interacted, it also showed the spammers up or accounts that only RT’d or did self promotion. It was a brilliant tool

      Sadly twitter changed the codes on what info was put out there and put the guy out of business, bastards!

  7. Excellent piece Phil!

    Without wanting to sound too much like an Internet old lag, twitter is my fifth or sixth different social space on t’internet and none of them have lasted more than two years at their peak. All of them still pretty much still soldier on, but without that initial energy.

    What’s really interesting is that each of these spaces has led to new friends and usually, when it’s time to move on to the next thing, a reasonable number have also moved to the same next space. Not all of them and sometimes that’s disappointing, and sometimes it’s a bit of a relief to be honest, but I’ve come to realise that Internet energy is transient and will always be looking for the next thing and, based on previous evidence, twitter is reaching the end of its Imperial Phase and within 18 months I predict there will be something new, but the important ppl that you like will come with 🙂

    Sorry, that ended up a bit longer than I’d anticipated!!!

    • No worries Steve and thank you. For me apart from Facebook it’s the first social media tool that I have truly embraced. There have been a few that have sprung up since, Pinterest as an example but don’t really pull it off. Lets hope someone else does and folk follow as you’ve said.

      In an ideal world, what would the new ‘thing” look like?

  8. I never really got Twitter. The only time I’ve found it useful is when some important news breaks. I think Facebook is better aligned to the more social aspect of beer drinking.

    • True enough Rob, it s brilliant for information gathering or better still spreading, take the Twissup example.

      I can’t agree on Facebook being better though, I do like and use it a lot, but it irritates me with the amount of adverts, sponsored pages, game invites and more recently the bringing old posts to the top of your timeline every time someone looks at it or comments etc, it’s weird..

      That said in answer to my own question to Steve above, maybe a twitter Facebook hybrid would work. What I like about FB is that you can hide friends that don’t interest you day to day without it being obvious

  9. Just got round to reading this; had been meaning to since reading the back end of Ol’s rant re: UnTappd. Yes, Untappd is largely relevant only to those who use it, and to be fair i’ve seen a bit of a drop-off in users in the last six months popping up on my timeline (and, of course, I have unfollowed quite a few). Same with pub accounts simply posting links to FB. If you don’t use social media the right way, then you aren’t going to benefit from it, as you say. But the responsibilty for your timeline also lies with you. How often do you cull? I do one a month. Even by getting rid of 5 followers and following five who you haven’t before will make a world of difference to your timeline. There’s plenty out there to discover; and Twitter is as relevant and powerful as it was a few years ago. You’ve just got to be speaking to the right crowd, and vice versa. My current bugbear? Pardoy accounts and their new, developing sub-section….Pun Accounts. I need to target those in my next cull. granted, some are funny, but most are just like having your dad in the corner of the room with you at all times, being smart (as they do).

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