I’m a huge fan of the Tour de France; love to know what’s happening over there as it’s happening. Downside of “over there” though is that most of the happening happens while I’m at work “over here.” So I was looking forward to this year’s race, sure that Twitter would come to my rescue.

And it did. Sort of. Yes, the official Tour de France site did include a “live as-it-happens” Twitter feed this year (http://twitter.com/tdf_updates), and yes, to some extent that feed feeds my hunger, with “turn-by-turn” news from the peloton. But here’s the fail: the tweets turn out to be auto-generated from the headlines of their real-time news on the actual site. Nothing wrong with that in itself; smart use of the technology. However, many of the most interesting headlines are teasers for mini-articles (“List of all crashed riders in 2nd stage”), but the tweeted version contains¬†no link to the article.

This is fail on two levels:

  1. The user (me) obviously misses out on the information, making the tweet useless.
  2. The site loses the opportunity to draw me to their site. Huge miss for them; the tweet alone does nothing for their visitor count or advertising revnue; does nothing to draw me to their other content.

Moral: Auto-tweeting headlines from your blog or site is fine, but always include the link!