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5 Reasons Why Twibes are Better than Hashtags

twibeshelpf-1-1_biggerTwibes 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.

1. Ownership

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).

3. Disambiguation

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.

5. Noise

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.

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  1. I’ve noticed that whenever I use a hashtag on my personal twitter, I get a bunch of spammy-followers. I’m assuming that they expect me to follow them back, but who is really that needy? To return-follow a spammer? I just checked out the Twibes site. Thinking of some great ideas for starting my very own twibe! Great post as usual Adam!

  2. lots of people use I opened an account- but I…freinds or lots of application as well as group. Who can give me a getting … secret to helping twitter drive traffic

  3. One issue this will come up against is it needs critical mass to work. Without enough people using it, it’ll just die off like so many other similar services.

    They’re gonna have to work incredibly hard to establish the same level of usage as hash tags.

  4. I’m confused. I just joined a twibe and above my tweet box it read ‘Tweets must include tag(s): shortsale Next search in 20s… ‘
    and so I typed “#shortsale” first and then my tweet. Which is correct? Do I use # or not?
    Twitter newbie

  5. I like Twibes, generally, but it’s not the way I forsee grouping working for Twitter in, say, 5 years.

    1) I want an internal group function – something that doesn’t require me to leave or whatever app I’m using as a UI (currently Tweetdeck). Groups should be an included function within the site, because like you said, hashtags alone don’t fully cover this need.

    2) I don’t like the name Twibes. It’s a good idea, and kind of a funny pun, but I’m not going to reach out to a business associate or prospect and say: “hey, join our Twibe for more information!” It sounds like I’m trying to sound like a small child.

  6. Adam,
    My first time here in your blog. Actually, ever since i do not use hashtags and now i love twibes. In my opinion, twibes provides me a lot of benefits.

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  8. I’m so glad you wrote about this. I’ve been seeing other twitter-ers using hashtags and assumed it was a way of collecting tweets by subject. The idea of twibes is appealing from both a general social viewpoint and also as way to communicate to certain groups of people. I have clients who follow me, and twibes are what I’d need to set up for different aspects of my practice – criminal defense vs. dui, etc.

  9. I didn’t know what hashtags were until a couple of days ago. I didn’t join Twitter and didn’t know how to tweet until about a month ago. Tonight – I had no idea what the heck a Twibe was. Now I know. Thanks for the post.


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