Let’s Vote Triberr Off the Island

Source: Triberr.com

I don’t usually do an entire post on one particular tool, but on the recent #solopr Twitter chat (held each Wednesday, 1-2pm ET), we discussed group automation tools, specifically Triberr. I’ve shared my feelings about Triberr via comments on numerous posts, and – with some encouragement from the community – it’s time for me to state my case here on the blog.

As I commented on Waxing Unlyrical recently, I think the litmus test for any automation tool should be, does it make both my life and my community's life easier? For example, if you come across several good blog posts in rapid succession that you want to share on Twitter, it makes sense to use a scheduler (like Hootsuite) so you don't overwhelm your followers with 5 links in a 5 minute period.

But Triberr, an automated twitter sharing tool, is all about driving traffic for the user, without regard for the followers/readers of these tweets. Billed as “The Reach Multiplier,” you join a “tribe” and then “every time you publish a new post, everyone in your tribe will tweet it to their followers. And you do the same for everyone in your tribe.” (source: Triberr’s About Us)

Noise Amplification

Content curation tools are all the rage, because we’re all looking for ways to cut through all the noise and find the gems out there. While some may try to bill Triberr as a curation tool, I believe it is, in fact, just the opposite.

To see what I mean, do a twitter search for tribr.it links and see how many are out there (stay on the page for a minute and see how quickly they keep rolling in, as the “X more results since you started searching” appears up top). This doesn’t include those who are clever enough to change the links to another shortener.

Triberr users will say that they only link up with other bloggers who they trust completely to have relevant information for their followers. But if you can’t take the time to read the posts you’re tweeting, why should I?

By not adding a human element to the “curation,” it's nothing more than noise to me.

In Practice

Suppose there is a tribe of seven people, and I happen to closely follow everyone in that tribe. I don't need to see the same headline seven times from seven different people, multiplied by seven (since they're all auto-tweeting each other's stuff). Triberr staggers the timing of the auto-tweets among the tribe members, but it’s still there. That is straight broadcasting, and goes against what social sharing is all about.

If I want to see every single post from a particular blogger, I don't need you to tweet it to me. I'll subscribe to them in Google Reader and/or follow their Twitter account for updates. Yes, there are some blogs that I know will always have good info, but what do my followers get out of my tweeting their every post?

The Ick Factor

Now, I know Triberr has added some moderation features since its launch, so the user doesn’t have to automatically tweet everyone’s posts, and they can even add a unique comment. This cuts down on the 7×7 repetitive annoyance factor noted above, but it doesn’t remove what I believe is the central source of the ick factor: Tribr.it tweets are based on a quid pro quo, rather than individual post quality.

Check out some of the avatars on this page and members of the top tribes – did you realize you were being force-fed friends’ links by these folks? Does knowing it change your perception of the links?

I’m old fashioned

I like to find posts organically (often with help from Solo PR Pro Community Assistant, Jennifer Spivak), and share links from a wide variety of sources. The thing is, I’m sure I could weasel my way into a tribe or two and get a lot more exposure for Solo PR Pro with less effort (and resources) than I put forth now. That would be nice, so I don’t judge those who can’t resist the siren song.

But, call me old-fashioned – I'd rather have less traffic and be a good citizen of the community, by not contributing to what feels like an ever-elevating noise level. What is the social media 101 lesson that has been drilled into all of our heads since the beginning (Cluetrain Manifesto, anyone?)? Be human.

The hands-free, non-human aspect of Triberr is its selling point, and that's why it has to go.

Update: Neicole Crepeau commented below, and shared that she wrote a very similar guest post on Danny Brown's blog. Check it out (including the comments).