A VRM approach to managing Twitter and Dopplr together

This morning I decided to start un-following every Twitterer whose majority of tweets are crumbtrails announcing what they are doing now, but whose crumbtrailings do not intersect mine. My twiver has grown too thick with crumbs, and something must be done.

The question is, by whom? Is this a problem Twitter alone can solve? I suggest not.

What I’d like to do is set conditions that trigger following and unfollowing various Twitterers, expecially when we chance intersecting in meet space. I see two ways that can happen.

One is some kind of feature addition to Twitter and (in my case) , allowing the latter to tell the former that I’m in the region of Twitterers whose crumbtrailings might interest me.

The other is to have my own dashboard and controls, independent of Twitter, Dopplr, Facebook or any other social (or travel) webservice provider. By that dashboard I could turn the crumbtrailings of others on or off, or set conditions that turn them on or off. That dashboard would manage my relationship with Twitter and other service providers, and connections between them on my behalf. A dashboard like this would be a good example of at work.

What we want, methinks, is to give social webservice companies ways they can adapt to their users, rather than vice versa. This can only happen when users take the lead, rather than just follow.

As Joe Andrieu says, VRM is a vector, and that vector proceeds from the user.

Once we equip customers to lead vendors, the axe is pulled from our heads, and the walled garden becomes obsolete.


  1. Dennis Howlett’s avatar

    Interesting idea Doc but as I read it, somewhat limiting. I note you caveat about ‘conditions’ without being specific other than talking about people who intersect your journey through life.

    I thought one of the objects of using these tools was to be in a position to lend a hand to the passing stranger and perhaps strike up a relationship that might not otherwise have occurred.

    In your interpretation, that’s not possible or at least unlikely. Now you can argue that is being the ultimate self-ish person. But I’m not sure that parses to developing as rich a social graph as might otherwise be possible.

  2. User generated products’s avatar

    […] products.  What got me going was the conversation that kicked off the gang about Doc’s request for a Twitter console.  Dave’s view was someone should just pick up and build it, and I would suspect that someone […]

  3. Mike Warot’s avatar

    I think that this idea could be generalized to blogs, and fits into your other ideas like subscribing to searches that you’ve mentioned previously.

    Micro content like twitter is cool, because it encourages near-real time flow, and lowers the cost… I’d go the other way and integrate twits back into a flow with full rss feeds from my favorite blogs. (I’d force the issue to work around broken bait pages and only show me the whole items… a pet peeve)

    Tie this flow into reputation / tagging / and some sort of offline store and it gets really interesting.

  4. Lifetwittin’. O no @ otro blog m’s avatar

    […] Doc Searls hablaba hace unos d

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