One of the beautiful things about social media is that it allows you to interact with folks all over the globe with little to no effort. I’d like to label myself a “young up and comer” in the SharePoint Community and with that, I don’t want to upset any of the folks that I look up to nor do I want to hurt the newly formed CT SharePoint Users Group. Earlier today I noticed that Marc Anderson who is someone I have tremendous respect for, started retweeting some of his older blog posts using the “From the archive” heading which I believe is a WordPress Plug-in which automatically cycles through old posts and tweets them. I was quick to Tweet that “I hope 2014 isn’t the year of from the archive”. Now of course, my tweet gets picked up by Chris Givens who is a rockstar SharePointer out of San Diego which immediately gets some visibility leaving me with a bit of my foot hanging out of my mouth. So I’d like to take the change to explain my point using more than 140 characters.

One of the new themes that I have been seeing over the past few months is this “automation” of social media and to be honest, I do not particularly care for it. It started with Joel Oleson and Seb Matthews (perhaps others but they were the first to appear in my feed). I will pick on Seb a bit since I have both met him in real life, shared a beer, and I know that he is a good sport and will not hold my opinion against me. Cards on the table, I respect Seb quite a bit both technically and personally for how he conducts himself. I follow Seb on Twitter because from time to time he puts out some pretty good stuff that is both interesting and helpful in my job as a SharePoint Administrator. However, Seb is one of those guys that relies on two forms of social media automation.

1. He reposts tweets from @scriptingguys, mostly their ProTips.
I actually used to follow @scriptingguys before I followed Seb and actually stopped because I found it annoying to have the same ProTip repeated twice in my feed. Ed Wilson (@scriptingguys) is a master with the Powershell but since I focus mainly on SharePoint, it felt to me like I would probably get more out of Seb’s re-tweets than Ed’s.

2. He tweets “From the archive” and then links to an old blog post
So to be honest, this is perhaps the one that I find to be the more annoying of the two. I find that these posts tend to clutter up the feed a bit more and they usually point to content that I do not have much use for.

Now mind you, with the appropriate Twitter client I can certainly filter out these duplicate Tweets. I wish the native one on both Windows Phone & iPad would have this functionality. I sent a Tweet our earlier to my friend Todd Klindt who recommended I go with Tweetdeck to filter out these archive posts.

Seb, in case you see a lot of traffic to your from the archive posts, please note that was me trying to find a good example. So anyways just to break this down a bit more – here’s one that was brought back from the archive on January 3rd & December 1st: http://t.co/ZRD2LZ4Nwz  – basically a wrap-up to the SPS Bermuda event.

To summarize it, he gives a bit of detail about Bermuda, a cool picture he took, and a link to his slides. Not that I’m knocking him but the post was adequate for an event wrap-up, I’ve done the same for a few that I have attended/presented at. If the initial post didn’t exist it wouldn’t be the end of the world, the Internet would continue to churn on. But from where I’m sitting, I don’t see much value in regularly repeating this wrap-up. To me, it just looks like the manufacturing of tweets which point to some average content. I’m glad Seb had a good time in Bermuda, but to me it wasn’t worth repeating.

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However, I don’t want to come off as overly critical because again, Seb is a great guy and puts out some really useful material. For example some useful “from the archive” posts that Seb have put out are:

http://sebmatthews.net/2013/06/quick-powershell-tip-to-enable-status-tracking-between-reboots-in-scripts/
http://sebmatthews.net/2013/03/change-drive-letters-of-volumes-on-windows-server-using-powershell/

They are quick Powershell tips applicable to SysAdmins that unless you’re trolling through Seb’s blog, you might not find. Now, I don’t think it’s something that has to be retweeted every week, but perhaps on some sort of monthly cycle it might make sense. (Should the author feel its entirely necessary to support that functionality. I have actually used his status tracking between reboots myself and it was super useful at the time. However, it is not just always about me – I am sure there are people who would be “new to Seb” and might not already be aware of that older post. So I can completely understand the value in finding Seb, following him, and then reading that tweet which was “From the Archive”. However, to be honest, I don’t really think his wrap-ups of the SharePoint Saturday Events are worth much except for the links to his slide deck.

From a content management perspective, Seb should actually have a post with a summary of the session and then link to the slide deck. Then if you did a “From the archive” which linked to the summary and allowed the user to find the slide deck, it would actually be a worthwhile repeat.

I also really like Todd Klindt’s suggestion to tag the posts with something that can universally be filtered such as #classic like Joel Oleson does. Todd would probably cite from his New Media Expo learnings about the value of social media and that automation cheapens the experience. However, I won’t speak for Todd since he does plenty of that Monday evenings at 8:30 PM CST.. 🙂

So hopefully I was able to pull some of my foot back out of my mouth.. Much respect to the content authors – from Joel to Marc, to Seb. And I certainly can understand the value in repeating content, but all I (and perhaps the community) would ask is that it be worthwhile content to repeat.