Twibes Twitter groups help people with common interests find each other on Twitter. The first question an experienced Twitter user will ask when seeing Twibes is “Why do we need Twitter groups when we have hashtags?”
Before Twibes, the best way to communicate about a certain topic was to use hashtags. Hashtags are words prefixed with a “#” added to tweets and automatically hyper linked to a search. For example: #photography. Hashtags are great, but in many ways they are no substitute for an old-fashioned list of users.
Hashtags are community owned by design. The meaning of a tag may change over time, or there may be multiple competing meanings. In contrast, a Twibe has a founder who chooses keywords for the Twibe, and sets its mission statement via the Twibe description. The founder alone is responsible for grooming the Twibe member lists, and this keeps the quality of the company and discussion high.
If you have a small business on Twitter, it is valuable to be able to contain your message and membership. It isn’t good or necessary to control your message, but hashtags were designed against this.
2. Membership and Group Identity
Joining a group has more meaning than tagging a post. All humans want to belong to a group. While hashtags can be used by anyone at anytime, a Twibe has a visible list of people. With hashtags, there is no way to look at a list of people who care about a topic (for example to follow them).
Twibes allow for multiple keywords, which allows for richer meaning and clearer topic definition. Hashtags are easy, but can have duplicate meanings.
4. Laziness and Predictability
With Twibes, there is no need to remember a specific hashtag or leave room for it in your Tweet. This is important since – in order to retain their uniqueness – hashtags are often unmemorable collections of characters (what does #09ejc mean?). Also, with Twibes you have greater confidence that someone will read your tweet. By
visiting the Twibe page and tweeting, you know the who your prospective readers are, and know that your tweet is included in the group discussion.
Hashtags can easily be spammed by robots. Once a tag becomes popular, it will become a target for robots that use that tag to interrupt the tweet stream. With a Twibe, the founder provides moderation.
Tagging clearly has many benefits. Many of the cons above are pros in other contexts. Hash tags work great in conjunction with a Twibe. Where hashtags really shine is in tying together content on multiple Web sites (say flickr, delicious, and twitter) with a unique term. This “on the fly” identifier works well for conferences or spontaneous events.