Oct 27, 2011 Social Media and Promotion
Posted by Allison
Oh, Triberr. I had such high hopes for this blogging tool when I first looked into joining.
I compiled a list of links to people talking about Triberr on the BlogWorld blog earlier this year. Lots of people weighed in with their opinions, and Triberr’s founders stopped by to say thank you, which was really nice. Still, I hadn’t tried the platform myself. I wanted to wait and use it with this blog, when I started in on October 1. So I waited to sign up.
In the meantime, I watched what other people were doing and learned a bit about how Triberr works. If you don’t have experience with this platform, let me give you the quick-and-dirty rundown:
Triberr is invite-only. When someone invites you to join their tribe, you can sign up and link to your RSS feed. Every time someone in your tribe updates their blog, everyone else see it in their queue to tweet out. Some people tweet automatically. Others manually review posts and decide whether or not they want to tweet. The concept is to build your tribe with people who produce awesome content that you’ll likely want to tweet anyway.
The majority of the negative reviews I’ve seen about Triberr have all been against the automation of tweets. I actually don’t think automation is a bad thing in some cases, and this is definitely one of them. The manual setting allows you to avoid tweeting out lots of stuff that isn’t relevant to your readers, but the entire concept of choosing who’s in your tribe very carefully should make automation ideal. If I tweet out your links every day anyway, what does it matter if I do it manually or Triberr does it for me?
So in other words, the automation of Triberr isn’t what turned me into a zombie. I can respect the opinions of people who hate automation, but I personally don’t.
What concerns me more is the stupid process of getting involved in the first place. I have a real problem with Triberr’s policies for newbies, to the point where I quit today after spending several hours yesterday trying to make sense of the platform. Triberr turned me into a zombie with it’s invite system, and while I wish it’s founders and users the best, I definitely won’t be going back under the current policies.
So here’s a run-down of the problem:To join Triberr, you have to be invited. I like that, since it helps keep the riff-raff out. You can invite anyone who follows you on Twitter, so when I was interested in joining, I simply asked my Twitter friends if anyone would be willing to invite me. Two people said yes right away.
Invite-r number one invited me to her tribe…a tribe she hadn’t yet set up. There was no one in it expect the two of us, and she doesn’t really intend to build it, from what I gather. She’s involved with a bigger tribe, owned by someone else, and that’s the only tribe she wants to be in at this point. So she invited me…great…but I was left in the middle of the Triberr jungle without anyone in a tribe with me.
Just join some tribes, right? Yeah. That’s what I would do!
Invite-r number two had already invited me, after all. So I confirmed to join her tribe (which cost me 50 of the 100 “bones” they gave me for signing up) and checked it out. Now, I don’t want to offend the person who invited me, but to be honest, the people in her tribe are not really the people I’d want in my own tribe. They’re her friends, not mine, and blogging about stuff that I don’t think my Twitter followers would really appreciate. Very nice people, but just not really for me. I decided to give them a chance and remained a member, but turned my focus instead to building my own Tribe.
Ahhhhhh….my own tribe. People I know and trust and like. Splendid. I was given 7 slots to start, so I could add 6 more people to my tribe. Awesome. I already knew several Twitter friends who used the service. So I started to send invites and….
What the eff. Every time I tried to invite someone, the system wouldn’t let me. Why? Because before I can allow current Triberr members to join my tribe, I have to invite five non-members.
Seriously. Balls. Here’s the thing: I get it that you need to grow your system. But the point of Triberr is to share content of people you trust, right? The people I trust are already Triberr members or not interested in joining. I blog about blogging and social media. In my niche, most people have heard of Triberr and if they’re interested, they’re already members. Basically, I have to send DM-spam to people and beg them to join so I can use the system in a way that makes sense.
So I did it. And I’m ashamed. I sent invites to people who write great content and immediately followed up with “Dude. I’m sorry. If you’re not interested, no pressure.” Because really, it’s SO LAME to spam your friends like that. I felt like I was on Facebook begging my friends to water my crops while they all considering blocking me.
I know what you’re thinking – Allison, if your friends are already Triberr members, why not just join their tribes? I would love to do that. Totally. But there are a few problems:
- My friends aren’t all in the same tribe. I would love Nick Cardot in my tribe. I would love Marlee Ward in my tribe. I would love…well you get the picture. But these people all own different tribes, so that means I have to join them all, and all of these tribes are filled with their friends – like with the tribe I was already in, people I didn’t know. I don’t want to auto-spread content from people I don’t know and I also don’t have time to review posts from 10+ new friends PER TRIBE.
- Joining tribes can be expensive. Okay, but say I’m willing to look past that. After all, my friends have good judgement. They’re likely in tribes with cool people. Sure…but every time you want to join a tribe, it costs another 50 “bones” – and while you can get bones by doing stuff around the site, that takes a lot of time. So you have to resort to buying bones if you want to be in several tribes. Monetization is fine. The Triberr guys deserve to make money. But I don’t know if I even want to stick around yet. I’m not ready to spend money!
- If you want to join someone’s tribe, you have to beg them on Twitter to invite you. Can you say awkward? In their documentation (which is pretty atrocious and outdated, it seems), there’s mention of application forms that you can fill out to join people’s tribes. That sounds great. But I couldn’t find them for any tribe I wanted to join (and I spent a lot of time on the site yesterday testing things out). Perhaps it is a feature not on the site any longer? In any case, that means that if I want to be in someone’s tribe, I have to ask them on Twitter, and that’s super uncomfortable for both parties involved. It’s like asking someone if you can come to their party before they invite you.
- Some people’s tribes are full. One of my friends said that she would love to invite me, but her tribe was full. Now, you can add more slots…but that costs “bones” – aka money. I’m not going to ask someone to spend even one penny on me. That’s just rude.
Well, fudge. I can’t build the tribe I want to build unless I continue trying to invite non-members. It doesn’t make sense to join the tribes that my friends have created. And I’ve spammed a bunch of people that I actually like. It was turning out to be a great experience. And by great, I mean really fucking crappy.
I’m disappointed. I went into this with really high hopes because I’ve seen others using Triberr sing its praises. The owners seem like very nice people. A lot of bloggers I respect are successfully using Triberr. Maybe this was my own fault. I should have gone in with less of a bias to begin with, then I wouldn’t have been so disappointed.Or maybe I was making too big of a deal out of this? Was I thinking about this incorrectly?
Then I had some private conversations with other current Triberr users…and you know what? People aren’t talking about it, but they feel the same way. The policy of having to spam non-members before you can build the tribe you really want is something that every single person I talked to thought was completely stupid. They just don’t talk about it because now they’re in. It’s like some kind of horrible initiation that you just do because the reward is awesome if you can get through it. One person, who shall remain nameless, actually told me that he signed up a bunch of fake Twitter accounts and people he knew would never use it, just to get his five members so he could start interacting with current members. Once he did that, he could build the tribe he wanted to build and the fake accounts would quit. That’s definitely not doing anything to make the system better. Others just bit the bullet and kept inviting friends until five people said yes.
Well I’m not willing to do it. I want the traffic I can get from Triberr, but I’m not willing to continue inviting everyone I know until five schmucks finally sign up (and have to go through the same thing like some god-awful chain letter). I’m not filling my tribe with people that I don’t really want in it and whose links I never intend to tweet just to hit my quota. I’m not recommending people sign up for a service that I haven’t been able to full test myself, since I’m still new. I’m not spending money to join tribes when I don’t even know if this is for me yet. I want to use Triberr, support Triberr, maybe even someday spend money on Triberr…but I can’t get past the front gate and the party’s in the back yard.
Like I said, balls.
Do you use Triberr? What do you think about the system?
- Triberr: Inauthentic meets un-fluential (citymama.com)
- Post Case Study: Triberr Visits vs. Google Analytics (kikolani.com)
- The 11 Twitter Tools and Apps I Use Every Day in 2011 (windmillnetworking.com)