Sure, I like twitter. I use it a lot and I have since it’s inception. It’s great for local stuff like traffic or breaking news; even what cafes are open on a holiday. It’s a promotional tool combined with a very plain social media and message centre. I keep up on a lot of really rad horror news, authors I love, musicians I adore, and people who are fascinating.
For years I’ve read articles on others opinion of the site, let alone ‘tips’ on how to use it. Most of it goes in one ear and out the other, but I am very interested in what people think of social media since that tends to shape it eventually.
Recently, I read a few do’s and don’ts that came across as a ludicrous Ten Commandments on how all should ultimately use it and what Twitter ‘actually’ is. I won’t link it since this isn’t about arguing opinion, rather, it was one line that prompted me to write this. These cranky notes have been piling up for a while in my head on their own, but a lot of what irks me were things he suggested people should do. So, take this post and read it bizarro-style and you will have the article I read.
The line was an ultimatum. Something like ‘people think twitter is a social site but it’s not.’ Very narrow minded. Very typical coming from someone who only uses it to bot-tweet endless promotional links. Pretty anti-social really. Last I checked, twitter is largely a social media site and not a digital business card collection.
Anyway, there are counter-intuitive things everyone does on any social media, myself included (like drunk tweet endless photos of tacos… maybe… for one), but at the end of the day Who Really Cares. It’s Only Barely Real Life. Keep that in mind. These are just a few things that people do on Twitter that may drive me to unfollow them, never follow them in the first place, or wish every day that I could unfollow them without hurting little tiny feelings.
Hall of Mirrors
Okay. These tools exist and people use them. Is it laziness? Do they feel they are saving time and being enterprising? Using apps that auto-post from one platform to another only work half-right on Twitter. The 140 character limit cuts your post short before you actually say anything, then you insist your followers leave twitter to read your full post. Nine tenths of this is asking too much, especially if your post is cut off before explaining what the link is. There is no appeal. This is compounded when your friends or fans follow you elsewhere. What you have created isn’t a useful and enterprising duplicity, but an annoying hall of mirrors that says nothing. This is worse when the account is entirely unused except to mirror your Facebook wall. Why follow you on twitter at all? If your post elsewhere incorporates hashtags and is short and interesting, let ‘er rip. That makes sense. Most cross-posts don’t and it seems you give it no thought at all.
Oversharing and Oversharing
Sure, that tweet is cool. So is that one. Okay, the next ten… wow… have you posted anything yourself? If not I may rather following all the cool people you re-tweet over you. Sadly, I wanted to follow you, not them. It’s nice to re-tweet relevant and not-to-be-missed content but really think before you share. This becomes the record of your content in a way. If ‘your content’ is really just a bunch of other people’s notes, I’m eventually gonna cut out the middle-man.
Then, if ‘your content’ is nothing but griping about your wife/kids/bowels I honestly wonder why you turn to social media. That is really coffee talk to be shared with those close to you that can really provide input on your specific domestic situation. Or your doctor. Or your lawyer. A divorce lawyer. Or babysitter. It’s one thing to share tidbits of your personality and things important to you but when Every Single Post boils down to your wife hovering over your shoulder… yawn.
My new favorite… Nuff Said… Check this out… Made me chuckle… yeah, you know what? On a wall of succinct and interesting content, all these cryptic links get ignored. I’m not intrigued by the internet version of crying wolf. Hint at what the link contains at least, please. It strikes me that the only person who would click on it is probably in the room with you sharing some kind of conversation we can’t hear. I have no idea what you are on about, so this is static noise to me. What ever gave you a chuckle remains a mystery and I’m fine with that. Tease people into clicking your link. I’m not going to click on a link with no preface and if the preface is unimportant to me, I’m not going to click through hoping the link content redeems your weak tweet.
When people follow you, assume they actually read what you write. Also, many people scroll back in time to read what they missed. Using a bot to auto-tweet all day long is plain annoying. I know you wrote that book or cut that album or took that photo. I maybe followed you due to that. Maybe I even bought a copy. No amount of daily robotic copypasta is going to make me buy it again. If I shared the info once, I ain’t gonna do it again no matter how many times I read the exact same tweet over and over for months. Sometimes years. Don’t insult your friend’s intelligence. Don’t ask them to insult their reader’s senses by sharing your never-ending stream of diarrhea. This is just as bad as asking your followers to follow you… It also makes me think you are not present (as in the hall of mirrors) and aren’t reading anything I write either. Why follow that? I also know (or hope) you are a witty and bright person who would still be allowed on the internet if they had a mandatory intelligence test every time you logged on, so why not write custom posts? It’s not hard. Considering your feed is half pictures of beer and you bidding the ‘twitterverse’ goodnight at 9 p.m. it’s not like you don’t have time.
The Great Wall of Chirpa
Okay, sure. You got a life. Great. You only have x amount of time to spend on Twitter. I hear that. Sitting down and plastering 50 rapid fire tweets is doing it wrong. Who does that? In real life, do you do that? What do you do when you see a feed that is all one person? Do you honestly read that? If it’s a bot it’s even worse since you know it’s a hall of mirrors that isn’t even sentient. If it’s a live person, then it’s insulting due to lack of regard. I follow hundreds of people posting really cool stuff, then all of a sudden your impenetrable wall of 50 tweets carpet-bombs my feed with what might as well be napalm crap. Even if it’s all gold, due to the sheer amount, I feel like I’m expected to go panning and read every single one looking for a gem. Forget it. Magazines and some news agencies are really bad for this. Timing a slew of auto-posts or an RSS feed turns into a full wall or ten. I tend to unfollow the faceless feeds and just grumble when my friends do it…
… until Now. Now you know. Now you see the tip of that big cranky iceberg my personal Twitter Fail Whale swims around every time I peruse my feed. No need to change what you do, as I likely still follow you if you are reading this. I don’t follow all of my followers since I honestly read my feed like a news ticker and not everyone posts content relevant to my daily life. Most of the people I follow I have met and shared some success, art piece, journalistic feat or drinks with. A few are those I just plain adore. Or, like Bad Joke Cat or Sockington, are cats. This is the internet, after all.