Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 8, 2009
My goodness, another Twitter post!
Yes, another Twitter post, but at least each time I write about it, I’m writing something different. In this case, I want to talk about some of the more irritating things I see on Twitter. Overall Twitter is an interesting diversion, and it’s proven to be a news breaker. For instance, Twitter users spread the news about the Hudson River plane landing at least 15 minutes before the news organizations got the story. Twitter has allowed me to talk to people, albeit in short bursts, like Guy Kawasaki and Keith Ferrazzi.
But there are some habits from people that I don’t really like. I remember having a conversation with someone one night, though I can’t remember who, on the subject of some of these bad habits. Frankly, I chalked some of it up to ignorance; ignorance of proper decorum, ignorance of what irritates people, and ignorance of new technologies and how to really use them. However, we have a mixture of things to talk about, so let’s get started.
First, there’s this new trend of people who are creating new Twitter accounts for the purpose of selling something. I’m sure that’s nothing new, but in this case what they do is create the account, then try to start following as many people as they can. They usually pop a picture of a pretty young woman in there, and I wouldn’t doubt that most of the people they’re following are men. Sometimes the names make sense, sometimes they don’t. What I do is see the email come through telling me someone new is following me on Twitter, click on the link so I can take a look, and most of the time, now that I’ve seen it so often, I know it’s a fake account and won’t follow. Usually you see something like them following 1,600 people and maybe 30 people following them.
At the same time, there are some people who legitimately do the same thing. I have no idea how they find me or anyone else, but they do, and they just start following tons of people. I also won’t add most of those folks, but if they have a link to a blog or website I’ll at least check it out first to see what I think about it all. Sometimes the person does look pretty interesting, and I’ll follow; most of the time, though, I want to wait to see if that person draws interest.
Sometimes I take a look at how often someone is updating their own Twitter messages. If they’re not doing any talking, just following lots of people, I won’t follow them; I mean, that’s a waste of time. Obviously they don’t care to share, so I leave them alone. The people who bother me the most that do something like this, though, are the people who follow you, then when you check them out you see that they have their updates protected. Sure, you could ask them if you can follow them, but didn’t I get married so I wouldn’t have to deal with having to ask women I didn’t know if they’d like to go on a date with me? Unless it’s business, I don’t give people a chance to possibly reject me, so I don’t ask, and therefore I’m not following them.
Another thing I don’t like are those folks who have automatic messages when you decide to follow them. I’m sure they think they’re being helpful, but to me it feels more like they’re trying to be pushy. If the messages just said “Thanks for following me” or something like that I wouldn’t be bothered at all. However, what happens is that they either want to tell you about their website or their product, or they want you to download something. Of course, I’m not sure whether it’s a pure download, or an attempt to get me to put my name and email address on a list so they can start sending me all sorts of stuff, but I don’t care. I don’t like it, but I don’t immediately go and unfollow them, though I should. I just don’t pay much attention, don’t download anything, and go about my business.
I also don’t follow anyone who’s barely following others. There’s something narcissisticly wrong in following 10 people when there are 20,000 following you. If the ratio looks wrong, I’m not going to follow because I know that person isn’t going to follow me. Now, if that person follows me first, then I’ll follow them, but really, when is that ever going to happen?
One last thing I hate, but ignore most of the time, is someone who keeps writing post after post, not because they’re giving us a lot of stuff, but because they want to ignore the 140 character limit and actually have a full conversation, like chat rooms or IM’s or email. Having a conversation with someone is one thing; having a conversation with yourself is another. I’ve seen quite a lot of that. I have one friend who does that very thing; once she gets going, she just goes on and on. Sometimes I jump in and start talking to her; sometimes I just ignore it and move on. Since I’ve added TweetDeck to my system to use for my “twittering”, it’s made life so simple because I get to decide who I want to follow with a custom column, so it’s easy to ignore her when I wish. But I love her just the same. 🙂
Twitter can be a lot of fun, and informative also. Some folks just don’t get it; for the rest of us, though, let’s just keep enjoying it.