Are You Twitter Selfish?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 12, 2009
Twitter’s really been getting a lot more attention lately. When I did the interview on Sunday, we talked a lot about Twitter, and the habits, or lack thereof, for some people who are there in some capacity.
When I wrote my post back in February on why I don’t follow some twitter people, I highlighted some thing that were bothering me about how some people were using it at the time. It never crossed my mind then that I’d have some more gripes about how some people are using it, but I do, and, thus, this post.
I’ll ask the question directly of you; are you Twitter selfish? Some of you are, and I’m not calling anyone out. There are different degrees of selfish, some that are really irritating, some that are what they are. But they will probably tie in with the link to why I won’t follow some people on Twitter.
To start with, I get lots of people following me. I think I’m up around 1,650 at this juncture, give or take a few. Last week Twitter went through and cleaned out a lot of spam accounts, which dropped a lot of people from main Twitter users; I’m not sure how much I got hit, but mine is still pretty big.
What many of those people are hoping is that I’ll follow them; heck, at some point almost everyone wants to be followed. Almost, that is. One of my wife’s friends was over here two weekends ago and asked me about it. When I went to her account, she was stunned to see that messages she wrote to her son were visible. I told her everyone who followed her could see every message she writes to everyone unless she protected her updates. Instead, she went gonzo and deleted her entire account; so be it.
Anyway, I get notification of every person who’s newly following me; most people do. I go in and check out their Twitter page. I look at the messages to see if they actually ever talk to someone. Twitter gives you the first 20 initially; I’ll go through at least 60 messages to see if that person is engaging others in some fashion. If not, I’m not following them, plain and simple. Yes, it’s possible they’re putting out stuff I might be interested in. But if I can’t drop them a quick message and know that there’s a chance they might respond to me, I’d rather not have to deal with it.
I won’t follow someone who doesn’t show they’re participating in the Twitter experience at all. I can’t figure out why any legitimate person wants to follow so many people, yet never says anything to anyone. They’ve been on Twitter two months and have only written 2 or 3 messages, or possibly have never written anything at all. Nope; I’m not following them. They may continue to follow me, but I won’t reciprocate. Thing is, if they ever did write me, which wouldn’t be part of their pattern, I’d see it, and then I’d think about it. But until then, I’m not doing it.
Of course, last time I talked about this land grab for followers and how I didn’t support it, and that’s continuing. More and more people are sending out links saying “get 100 Twitter followers a day”. What the heck are most people going to do with that many followers a day?
Now, I’m not against lots of followers. I want lots of followers also, just like I want more RSS subscribers (and if you’re not following, I hope you do; easy, just look to the top right). But I have lots of things I want to share with people, from three blogs and two business websites. I actually like to talk to people on Twitter, which I do every day. I like to share things I find, and that others find, with those who are following me but not necessarily anyone else I’m either following or who’s following me. I like to be sociable.
And, really, that’s the crux of things. Twitter is called “social media”, and it is. But sociability isn’t a one way street. It’s not supposed to be about “me”, but about “we”. And, unless you’re a news service that I know isn’t a one person operation, that’s keeping me informed about what’s going on, I expect interaction of some sort, even if it’s not always with me. If that’s not going to occur, then I can learn about you in other ways. Heck, someone else is probably going to share your link, and I’ll see it that way if I’m interested. I don’t like selfish, and I’m an only child!
And there you go. What’s this, post #35 about Twitter? I’m sure there will be many more coming; Twitter doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.