March 18, 2010

Twitter 2: Why I Unfollowed You

Buon giorno. Last time, I discussed why I will not follow some people on Twitter. This time, it's slightly different: Unfollowing. (No, it's not a real word outside of social networking, but it's still useful.) I am not one of those people that needs to have loads of followers to validate my existence; in fact, I trim off the followers.

OK, so I've been Twittering, Tweeting, Retweeting (gosh, those terms make me feel so manly...ha!) for a while. Then I see that I'm getting bothered by some of the material that appears before of my eyes. Here are some of the reasons that I may drop my following:

  • Although I knew what I was getting into, someone sends links almost exclusively. Sure, I want news. But not quite that much! It would help if the person had personality instead of acting like some kind of posting bot.
  • They ignore my links. As almost a sub-point to the above, I post some links myself. When I have a new Weblog posting, I'll share the link. When people are not clicking on it (even though the link is directed to people that I share a common interest) and reading my stuff, I get frustrated and trim them off as well. Petty? Maybe. But it's Twitter, not a real-life relationship.
  • Not what I expected. Sure, I looked at the profile and so forth. But now, they do not write much that I want to see. Your interests have changed.
  • I feel like I'm eavesdropping. There have been times that I've followed public figures because I expected news and announcements, but instead, they were using Twitter for the communication purpose for which it was originally designed.
  • Lying about communication. There are some people that have Weblogs and say, "Tweet me" because they have disabled the contact information and comments sections. So, I tweet them. No response. I get the impression that they are too full of themselves to actually reply to comments or questions, even though they openly invited them. I don't want to see your face any longer.
  • Moodiness. My readers know that I struggle with depression. Sometimes, I have to deal with boredom. So, sometimes I get into moods and ruthlessly trim some of the ones I follow. Or maybe I just plain felt like it.
  • They unfollowed me first. It may sound childish, but if someone does not want to read my tweets, they probably feel that I have nothing to offer to them. So, they probably have very little that I need, either. Besides, there are services that can tell you when you're unfollowed or list who follows whom, if you really want to get that much into it.
  • I really don't like Twitter that much in the first place. So I may drop the whole thing again. Right now, I'm using it to give and receive information.
So, there you have it. And you can see, I'm not being Fragile Freddy, easily getting offended or had my feelings hurt. I'm not obligated to follow someone back, or continue to follow them. The same goes for Facebook. People want me to be a "friend", just for the sake of adding me to their Facebook game harem. I feel so dirty... In both cases, I don't freakin' have to "Friend" or "Follow" or anything else.

In the real world, I take friendship much more seriously; it is a kind of commitment for me, and I choose to be a friend. If you have me as a friend, I'm there for you. If I'm your friendly acquaintance (such as in an office setting) and we forget each other when we're out of sight of each other, well, that's not true friendship, capice?

Here's a link to the real world: Impermanence. Online relationships like this are fleeting and superficial. In the real world, they should have depth; this requires a little effort (and love, and caring, and compassion) on both parts to make it last. But in both "worlds", things change. People change. Sometimes, it's foolish to force a friendship to last. You lose touch with someone, and now it's just the occasional e-mail. Or nothing at all. In that case, you may need to think about whether or not to let it go. Online, it's faster and easier. If you've been unfriended, the pain will usually be brief because the whole "relationship" was superficial.

If I've Unfriended or Unfollowed you and you're upset, I found an article that may help. Read around the profanity, it's still funny and has some truth in it. "The Five Stages of Pain After Being Unfollowed", click here.

Addendum: I came across something after this was posted for a while. If you want to see who unfollows you, an excellent resource is "Goodbye, Buddy!", updated daily.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to Facebook and tend to imaginary crops. Then I'm going to see what some of my girlfriends are posting.

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