Notable moments in Twitter history #1: Coke and Pepsi

What better way to celebrate the ending of the year, the end of the decade, and the huge rise in popularity and usage of microblogging than starting a series celebrating the biggest moments in Twitter?

So here’s a particularly poignant moment to start with – the hint of a truce between the two rival factions of Coca Cola and Pepsi, from July, 2009.

Coca Cola on Twitter

Coca Cola makes contact on Twitter

And Pepsi responds on Twitter

And Pepsi responds on Twitter

The idea came from Amnesia Razorfish, with founder Iain McDonald tweeting both beverage empires. You can read more about how the message picked up momentum with plenty of retweets on the Amnesia Razorfish blog.

Twitter etiquette – are Tweeple a better class of people?

Every popular social network contains people and accounts which, for one reason or another, are undesirable. Spammers, con artists, egomaniacs (Isn’t that all of us?), the plain offensive etc all inhabit the social world – as they do in the real world.

Recently I unfollowed 3 such accounts on Twitter. None were malicious in the same vein as people setting up phishing scams. But two constantly used it as a platform for personal attacks – either against one individual, or against a group of individuals, without providing anything of value.

A third autofed his latest blog entries but refused to engage in conversation, or even reply to direct messages. That’s just about excusable if you’re constantly breaking lots of news e.g. @BBC for BBC News, or you’ve reached the scale of someone like Robert Scoble, who follows and is followed by over 20,000 people. It’s not ideal, but excusable…but if you’re batting at under 100 for example, then there really is no reason for ignoring anyone who wants to interact with you.

That all might seem a bit negative – but then I flipped it around in my head. I’ve unfollowed 3 people – not had to block them, or complain about them, but just unfollowed them with a simple click of a button. But due to a policy of reading through a few details before adding people, those are 3 of 714 I’m following. So that’s 0.42% of all the people I have chosen to follow, and an even smaller percentage of people that I’ve had any contact with.

It’d be interesting to find out how this compared with other networks, but from a subjective viewpoint, it’s a lot less. And the number one connection tool for irritation still seems to be Myspace.… The perentage on there is probably closer to 20%!

It’s why we persevere with Twitter despite the downtime, and it’s why Plurk is gaining traction. The days of average users amassing 1000s of random contacts for the sake of it is waning by people who actually want to use these tools for a tangible benefit. The days of using them for what my colleague, David Cushman describes as ‘self-forming communities of (global) niche shared interest’ is here for more and more people. And Twitter is all the better for it…