It has come to our attention lately that occasionally we find mess and people fighting over something trivial in infoll’s timeline. Sometimes people tweeted irrelevant information to us, such as suicides or power blackouts among a few things. I decided that we needed to do something about this. I will try to explain things here in a comprehensible way. Some of the things I’m going to explain will be technical, but please bear with me till the end of this post so that we can use infoll effectively, and we can help each other with the service. But in order to make things clear, I’ll explain the brief history on why we created it.
A year ago, we decided to do a pet project, something that we could contribute to and help the community. We did this by creating a crowd-sourcing traffic information website where updates come from users for real-time accuracy. The other reason that we did this is the fact that we don’t have dedicated people to run the service, and that we have to make it as autonomous as possible. And a year ago, we could hardly imagine that we will have thousands of followers in just a year.
Is it a good thing? Yes, it proves that our crowd-sourcing method works, and it also proves that people used our service. But having thousands of followers comes with a great responsibility, the margin of error becomes smaller, the chance of people tweeted the wrong information, with the wrong lingo, and having people fight over this is simply inevitable. Also, as we know it, no service is 100% perfect, and I can’t deny that we have things that we needed to constantly improve. Being a pet project, we can’t simply put all our efforts here, at least not now. We can only try to make the best that we could do with the service.
Why DMs are Automatically Tweeted?
Some people asked us why direct messages are automatically tweeted without a filter? The first answer to that is the one I just wrote before, we needed an autonomous system that we can rely on. We can’t sit by our computer 24 hours to retweet every single traffic report, we needed something that can do that for us. Therefore, we used GroupTweet, a service that automatically retweets direct messages to our timeline. Is there a drawback? Oh definitely yes, we cannot filter direct messages, so everything that you sent through DMs will appear almost instantly in our timeline. This is why we constantly remind you not to DM unnecessary messages.
DMs is our current way of submitting updates that will be pooled to the infolalulintas.com website, and our iPhone app. While @replies are reserved for a more conversational cause. We stick to this policy to as best as we could, keep the website and iPhone app clean. Not 100% clean, but at least it’s somewhat filtered.
Since to make DMs work, we will need to follow you as well, please be patient when you’re not yet followed by infoll. Unless you’re a spambot, we will eventually follow you, so there’s no need to ask explicitly ask us to follow you in a public timeline, especially asking us with a direct message. All we ask is your patience, since we have tasks to do and we’re doing our best to keep up with the growth of our service.
Suggestions and Requests
If you do have suggestions or requests, please don’t use DMs for that. Simply use @replies and put on the hashtag #SARAN. This way, we can sort them out easier and make sure that we read them. Sending these suggestions and requests (especially requests for us to follow back), would most probably just create outrage from other users that felt disturbed with unnecessary information in their timelines.
Better yet, you can also send us an email. firstname.lastname@example.org is always open for your suggestions or requests. In fact, this is better than sending us @replies.
How to Properly Tweet
The last thing that we ask is for you guys to use Twitter properly. RTs are for retweets, and not for replies. If you want to reply, just use @replies. Last night, there was a public fight in the timeline that was caused by this. Someone sent us a DM with an RT, and since messages in Twitter can only contain 140 characters, he got his username cut off, the DM was sent, our system automatically retweeted it, and there you go, someone else thought that we mocked her and used inappropriate language to deal with her matters. This is exactly why we recommend you to use DMs properly and wisely. There are a lot of articles on how to properly use Twitter—including in my personal blog (but some people couldn’t handle the sarcasm :)—but I can’t find the one I intended to share here and found this instead.
Lastly, on behalf of infolalulintas.com, I’d like to ask that we please use the service wisely. We can’t expect you to change your tweeting habits, maybe that is who you are. But for the sake of thousands of followers, please treat the service as if you are helping yourself. This way, we can make sure that our service is helpful to others.