A friend’s recent blog about the 10 reasons why she doesn’t follow you back on Twitter got me thinking about what my expectations of Twitter are. I’ve always known what I wanted out of Twitter; I never really itemized the things I don’t want.
1. The obvious losers – every update is a link to their product or pornsite or seminar or keylogger or whatever – it doesn’t matter since I don’t click on the links. Twitter is a networking site & I guess a lot of people think it’s a way to advertise their otherwise immobile offerings to a wide audience, but not me. I’m not here to shop. If I want to buy something I’m not going to look on Twitter; I’m going to go to the appropriate pornsite. Fewer middlemen ftw.
2. Uninteresting people (that I don’t know). I originally just said “uninteresting people” but then I thought of the multitudes of totally boring people that I follow on Twitter. The catch is that these people are friends of mine & their lives are of interest to me, boring or otherwise. Am I talking about you? You’ll never know. But if I don’t know you, the only reason why I’m going to follow you is because you’re interesting.
When I first joined Twitter, I was pretty sure none of my friends had even heard of it but even so I probably wouldn’t have gone looking for them. The few who have gotten lost & found themselves with a Twitter account & then found me, I’m happy to follow, but in the grand scheme of things I’m mostly interested in the 140 character statements of total strangers. Who are interesting, of course.
3. People who update too much. Just today I unfollowed a fairly funny comedian because more than half of the visible posts on my Twitter page were his. I realize that it takes a lot of effort to post that much, & while I know there are people whose lives are just soooo empty that they really have nothing better to do than post on Twitter, I personally am big on quality over quantity. There is a certain experience I want to have on Twitter, & that involves seeing posts from multiple people, not just one dude who spams all over my feed.
4. People who reply more often than they make actual posts. This is a point on which my abovementioned friend & I differ in our opinions. She likes people who “engage” their Twitter contacts. While I’m not opposed to occasionally responding to folks on Twitter, I do think too much of it gets away from the microblogging perspective & then this is all reduced to shitty chat. There are much better places for chat, like Facebook or email or Starbucks. Why do it on Twitter?
If you take a look at the 50 people I’m following at this moment, a lot of them violate this rule. All I can say is that at the time that I first looked at them on Twitter they didn’t have a fuckton of @s. Since I block @s that don’t involve me I don’t see it. So why bother to avoid folks with lots of @s since I won’t see it anyway? I don’t know. It’s just a turn off when I do see it.
I do @ people on occasion when I think the content of the @ would be funny or interesting to others with respect to previous tweets, & when I think it wouldn’t I use Twitter’s shitty 140 character messaging. And I try to keep my @s at a third or less of my total tweets. And yes, I do have anxiety issues. Why do you ask?
Celebrities or media folks I follow because I think their content is entertaining or otherwise interesting: Olivia Wilde, Conan O’Brien, Bernie Hou (Alien Loves Predator), Jenny Johnson, Julius Sharpe, Steve Isaacs, Trent Reznor.
Random people I follow because their updates enrich my life: Tina Chesal, Fat Jeff, Paula Bender, Jarad Johnson, Donna/Champuru. These are people I have never met except on Twitter. I followed them because they had interesting content.
Fictitious entities I follow on Twitter because I just had to: Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin, The Great Cornholio. There were also a number of World of Warcraft characters who were quite entertaining for awhile with their Azeroth-related tweets, but they all kind of petered out so I unfollowed them.
When I first joined Twitter it was being marketed as a “microblogging tool.” Imagine if, instead of reading one person’s long, self-aggrandizing post about what they think about Twitter (hello there), you could just see a stream of short, sweet statements from people of all walks of life, telling you, in 140 characters or less, what they want out of Twitter? How much of a bigger experience would that be?
Yeah, I know… everyone just wants to chat & network & be popular. Actual content happens, but serendipitously. But there are still folks like me who can dream about it.