March 17, 2010

Twitter 1: Why I'm Not Following You Back

Buon giorno. I have to get some thoughts out regarding Twitter, and I will have a few installments. The next one will probably be about "unfollowing". If you don't use Twitter, I hope you will read these anyway, because I believe they have some deeper meanings for our communications habits in general. The "rules" or procedures for social networking are different in many ways from "real life", but there are also some things in common. One rule is that the rules are constantly changing.

Wow, lookie here! Someone decided to "follow" me on Twitter. Naturally, I click on their profile to see what they say about themselves, what they have "tweeted", who else they follow, how many followers they have and so on. And when they decided to follow me, there is an expectation that I will feel obligated to follow them back. Not this little gray duck.

By the way, in the real world, we don't "follow" people that we just met unless we're looking for a restraining order.

"Why didn't you follow them back, Cowboy Bob?"

For me, there are several reasons:
  • We have nothing in common. I was posting about Conservative politics, they write Weblogs about motorcycles. No personality is expressed, either. Just "business". Addendum: Some are lazy cafones that probably used a "bot".
  • They have hundreds, or even thousands, of people that they follow. Yeah, like you're even going to see anything that I write? Deep, personal relationships happening here, I can tell.
  • Just a spammer. Yep, people follow only for the sake of selling you something. I have actually blocked followers because they're spammers.
  • All they do is post links. Sure, I look for Conservative news on there. I scan the links very quickly.
Twitter is a great place for millions of people to broadcast their wisdom in 140 characters or less and get ignored by millions of other people. Or ignored by your dozens, or hundreds, or thousands, of followers. If people hooked up with family and friends like Twitter originally intended, they could have some decent interaction.

By the way, I have similar thoughts about Facebook. Sure, I have a few friends that I have not met in real life. But I have connected with people that I do (or did) know before. And I do not "friend up" people left and right because it is very difficult to develop friendships in forums like that. If I have an e-mail address and don't have to deal with imaginary wars, pretend farms, fake fish or whatever, I can deal with the person more directly.

Here's something to take back into the real world: Expectations. If you go into relationships, situations or whatever with expectations on how other people are going to act, you're going to be very disappointed. Take reality as it is, not what you want it to be.


Chad said...

That's why I haven't gotten into twitter... it's just too much overload.

I've been doing computers since '81. I was one of the first people using IRC style instant messaging in '89. Newsgroups were great but now are outdated horribly.

Stormbringer said...

Hi Chad,

All this technology change, and some of us wonder if it's for the better. I have an Associates Degree that I got in 1981, learned four programming languages with it. All useless. I used Newsgroups for a while but lost interest, now we have forums and "communities". And I lose interest in those; either kind gets overrun with jerks.

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