“How about some follow-back love, bro?” – some guy on Twitter
Let me explain what I think Twitter is for. Hmm. Let me explain what I don’t think Twitter is for. Hmmm. No.
Let me explain why I’m not following you on Twitter? Yes.
It’s not personal.
No, I don’t mean that as some kind of reassurance; that’s my explanation: “it’s not personal.” Let me explain.
Dig around on the internet and you’ll find some kind of data analysis that says that most of the traffic on Twitter is generated by about 10% of the users. In my own experience, about 90% of that traffic looks something like this:
By which I mean it’s noise: “inspirational” retweets, links to websites without any kind of context, and (on a good day) maybe something like “heading out for the day, it’s been a tough one!”
I don’t hate stuff like that; it doesn’t rate that kind of emotional response — I just don’t care. I don’t want to read some dead guy’s famous quote unless I also get to see why it matters to you; I don’t want to click on a link without reading why you think it’s cool; and I don’t want to know what you’re doing.
I want to know what you’re thinking. If you want to tell me what you’re thinking about what you’re doing, though, that’s fine. Telepathy, people: that’s what twitter is for.
I have X followers on twitter. In turn, I follow X – Y people, where Y = the number of people who give me no indication of who they are when I go and look at their twitter feed, or who seem more like a cheap plastic bullhorn than a person.
X – Y = Z, the people I ‘know’ on twitter (or whom I feel like I can get to know, thanks to the way they use twitter).
I like Neil Gaiman as an author — I dig his books. I also follow him on Twitter, but the one doesn’t really have anything to do with the other — if his twitter feed was nothing but links to his next public appearance and the release dates for his next project? Unfollow.
Conversely, I may not agree with everything Roger Ebert has to say, but I feel so connected to the guy — to the sense that, after years of reading pages and pages of his movie reviews, I finally have a true sense of who he is as a person — that I cut him some slack when he gets wound up about some subject on which we don’t see eye-to-eye.
I don’t agree 100% with ANYONE, but I am extremely forgiving of any differences between myself and my friends.
And yeah, these twitterfolken count as friends (insofar as it would matter to them) — I afford them tremendous leniency because they have been willing to share some real and tangible portion of themselves with me; they act like people.
That is what people do.
That is what – to me – Twitter is for.