Twitter Mailing Lists…

I’m not sure if this app already exists, but it struck me it might be useful for conferences/events – a broadcast Twitterlist that subscribers can send short messages to. (I donlt have time to try to build this, unfortunately.)

So what do we have available to us at the moment?

Hashtags allow communities to come together in an ad hoc way around an event. If you want to keep track of the event’s activities, subscribe to a search on the hashtag. The downside? If you aren’t following the hashtag, then if you aren’t following the people using the hashtag, you won’t see the tweets.

Twitter lists pull together a list of Twitter users and let you see tweets from all of them. So if we run an event and get participants’ Twitter IDs, we can generate a list of participants to provide a single point of access to follow those particpants. For greater salience, we could also run the feed through a hashtag filter, so we only get to see tweets from those participants tagged with the event hashtag. (Note to self – I need to create a “generate list of hashtaggers” from the hashtag community app.)

But a question now arises – what if I can’t rely on every in the event follow the list or hashtag. What if I want to actually send a message to each and every person on the list? That is, what if I want to spam the members of the list?

How about this recipe: create a private Twitter user ID for the event. Encourage event attendees to follow that user (and follow them back) and don’t accept anyone else. Set up an autoresponder that works along the lines of the following. Suppose @follower7 sends:
d eventID BROADCAST: This is the spam message…
Then for every other follower, @eventID sends them a personal message:
@follower1 @follower7 says: “This is the spam message…”
@follower2 @follower7 says: “This is the spam message…”

Of course, Twitter may see this as a spambot and delete it. (If the bot just sends out DMs, does this go under the radar?) However, I prefer to see it as the equivalent of a mailing list…

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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