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As you may be aware, Triberr is a new service that’s been getting quite a lot of press these days, both good and bad. As a pretty early adopter on the Triberr train, I thought I’d share with you my experiences with the service. As you can tell from the title of this blog post, I’m a pretty big fan of Triberr today. Admittedly, that might change over time.

What is Triberr?

Triberr is a social sharing service that allows you to share your posts and other content between and among small groups within existing social networks. Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Form a tribe – select a small group of individuals who will be part of your group.
Step 2: Associate your twitter account with Triberr.
Step 3: Share your blog feed address with Triberr.
Step 4: Members of your tribe share new posts with their followers as you post them.

As Triberr was rolling out live, all tweets sent through the system were done automatically. So, if you posted something to your blog, I would tweet that post into my twitter stream without ever having seen it.

Criticisms of Triberr

Triberr came under some fire for this approach by more than a few early adopters of the service. The main complaint is that people did not want to be tweeting out blog posts without having actually read them first.

These days, critics of the service are lashing out at Triberr. Again these complaints are focused on the automation factor – but take a slightly different angle of attack. The critics are insisting that the “automation” of tweets and sharing runs against the very nature of “social media” and that multiple occurrences of the same exact tweet by various people is now littering the twitter stream with noise.

Having heard the feedback from their early adopters, the Triberr guys have since created the ability to take your tweets into “manual mode” which means you have the option of approving the tweets before they go into your twitter stream. While addressing the concerns of people who wished to use the service but who felt icky over the auto-sharing, the inclusion of manual mode did little to squelch the criticisms of some of the more recent vocal critics. In fact, quite the opposite – because the change has led to a broader adoption by new users, the new critics voices have grown ever louder because their main complaint (twitter litter) has gotten worse with every new Triberr user.

I’m not convinced by the critics

I hear the voices that are criticizing Triberr…and I get the point they are making that Triberr may change the nature of social media/twitter – we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

The two main reasons I disagree are these:
1. Not everyone uses Twitter the same way.
2. Triberr is driving significant traffic.

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

Not everyone uses Twitter the same way

Some of the criticism of Triberr is due to the fact that if I’m within a certain group of users, I’m likely to see the same tweet repeated multiple times throughout the day. On its face, this is true…but not everyone uses Twitter the same way.

If you are online, consistently hanging out on twitter, or periodically checking your twitter stream and you are surrounded by a core group of users that are part of the same Triberr group, then yes, you are going to see the same tweet across multiple users. But the Triberr algorithm tends to space those tweets out over time. And to put it frankly that’s not how most people use Twitter. Instead, most people pop in and out, checking periodically, and are less likely to see the entirety of any one tribe all tweeting the same thing.

Then again, so what, if they did see that? How is that any different than that very same group of people (being friends and all) checking out each others’ site and all hitting the retweet or tweetmeme button? It’s not.

This brings up an interesting point, and an important one.

In many ways, Triberr created a platform to do automatically that which has been happening manually for many months if not years. You do know that private coalitions exist that DM each other asking for retweets of articles, right? Oh. I’m sorry. You don’t know about those? Well, it’s been happening for some time. And it WORKS!

While I’ve never asked someone to RT a post of mine through a DM, I know more than a few people who have asked me… and you know what? When I like the post, and when I think my network will enjoy it, guess what I do….. I RETWEET IT! Ghasp! Horror of horrors! Yes, that’s right. I broadcast it to my network and hope that they might actually enjoy it!

Triberr drives significant traffic

Again, the critics seem to focus on the signal to noise ration when discussing the fact that Triberr is changing social media dynamics. I can see that as a potential FUTURE concern. The way I think about it is this…. If Triberr is driving traffic back to our properties, then it’s not noise, right? I mean, if the sharing results in an action, a click through via the link, then someone, somewhere didn’t consider it noise.

So let’s take a look at the results:

12 Most Traffic July 18, last 31 days

12Most.com Traffic July 18, last 31 days

Click the image for a larger version

I understand that the graphic may be a bit hard to read. if you click it, the pic gets bigger, but the particulars are these. In the last 45 days, our new group blog http://12most.com has seen roughly 30,000 visits and 45,000 page views. Of course, being a brand new blog (we launched on June 1st), we’re quite thrilled with this traffic. As you might expect for a brand new web property, nearly all of this traffic is coming from social media promotion – we’re too new for the search engines to trust us and to view us as authoritative in any way.

12 Most referrers July 18

12Most.com referrers for month ending July 18

Click the image for a larger version

So, of the roughly 30,000 visits we’ve seen on 12 Most in the past month, over 10% came from Triberr! I’ll say that again just to reinforce the point. OVER 10% of our traffic comes from Triberr!

I’m not sure what that says to you. But, to me it reinforces my point above that not everyone uses Triberr in the same way.

My Conclusions

The noise around Triberr (both pro and con) has been increasing dramatically in recent weeks, especially as Triberr membership has been growing. As ever, I tend to see both sides of the discussion. Moreover, I think I bring to the table a somewhat unique perspective. Having spent three years managing one of the larger SEO teams in the country, I often had occasion to speak with clients and others about the joys and dangers of link  building. Invariably, I would conclude those discussion with this phrase: The value of any link building activity is inversely related to its scalability. In other words, the easier the link building activity, the less Google valued it. Why? Because if it was valuable and easy, everyone would be doing it. So I am VERY cautious and was quite skeptical of the value of Triberr initially… but I have been won over for the now. Triberr is clearly driving business value to our new little project over at 12 Most.

I see the concerns expressed by my friends and colleagues. But their arguments just don’t win me over.

Social Media is most decidedly NOT one thing that needs to be protected and cherished, however quaint that notion may be.  Different people and different businesses will utilize social media in different ways. My only concern (with 12 Most and with others I counsel) is that you assure the way you use social media ties directly to your business objectives. in other words, make sure your tactics are dictated by your strategy.

As my business partner in 12 Most can attest, one of my main concerns as we move forward and continue to grow 12 Most is the amount of promotion within the stream. Your fans and brand advocates are with you, until they’re not. That’s a concern for me. I’m watching VERY closely for signs that we may be overdoing it. For now, I’m won over by the data and by the Guy Kawasaki model… but that’s a post for a different day.

For the time being, I’m pro Triberr.

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Sean McGinnis

Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct
Sean McGinnis is Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct. He is also a (digital strategist, blogger, consultant ) and public speaker. You can find Sean on