Thunderclaps and why I hate them

No, I’m not talking about the weather phenomenon that happens after lightning flashes through the sky. I’m talking about that thing on social media. First off, let me explain what it is.

For those of you not in the know, a Thunderclap is an advertisement. You create a Tweet or Facebook post, get a bunch (usually 100) of your closest friends to agree to “thunderclap” the Tweet or Facebook post, and when the Tweet/post goes live, their FB or Twitter feed will automatically re-tweet or share the advertisement. It’s asking your friends to RT or share your ad. That’s it. Nothing special there.

Or is there?! Yes. Yes, there is something special going on. See, the thing with a thunderclap is that everyone‘s feeds automatically put that tweet or post out. At the same time.

Do you see where I’m going with this? My friends and I tend to follow a number of the same people. So say I have 1000 friends on Twitter. I need 100 people to sign up for my thunderclap (if I don’t hit the number by a certain day, it doesn’t happen). So I get 100 people to sign up for my thunderclap.

The next day (or whenever) it goes live, and these 100 people all send out the exact same tweet at the exact same time. And not just once, but you can set it up to do it like once a week, once a day, once a month, once every other week, or whatever (something like that, anyway. There are options. And I loathe them all). Now my Twitter feed has just been flooded with ONE HUNDRED IDENTICAL POSTS.

I should add… it’s automatic. It’s not a scattering of tweets all going out at random times, it’s 100 instant re-tweets all at the exact same time.

And even if it’s not my thunderclap (which it never will be because I will never participate in any way) I know enough people who signed up for someone else’s thunderclap that I’m being flooded by three, four, five, of the same RT, kicking stuff I wanted to read out of my feed so I have to go dig for it.

We know the same people, people! If someone has 1000 followers and 100 of them do the thunderclap, chances are pretty darn good that of those 100 people, more than just a few of them follow each other. We’re advertising to ourselves. Really, how effective are they if the people you’re advertising to already know about the product?!

And then there are the people who can’t say no to the thunderclap request, and I get flooded with thunderclap RTs from the same person. It’s the only thing that makes sense when every hour, on the hour, I get flooded with thirty or more tweets within ten seconds. From the same person! NO-ONE CAN RE-TWEET THAT MANY TWEETS IN THAT AMOUNT OF TIME! IT’S JUST NOT POSSIBLE!

It’s annoying as hell, and I un-follow real quick when I see that crap.

Maybe it’s me, maybe I just don’t get it, maybe I’m seeing it wrong, I don’t know. But I don’t like thunderclaps.


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