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The seven habits of highly annoying tweeters

October 21st, 2011 · No Comments · Blog

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, I preferred Facebook to Twitter. Part of this was due to my half-hearted commitment to Twitter, which had held me back from making a serious attempt to connect with folks beyond those I might have been connected to anyway. In other words, the same type of people I would have been Friends with on Facebook.

When I launched this site over the summer, I began trawling Twitter more regularly, learned a bit more about its ins and outs, and slowly started expanding my network. I’m still a lightweight in the Twitter world, with a small, yet growing, band of followers. I see people on there all the time with tens of thousands of followers, a level I’m sure I’ll never reach. I have a job and a family and a lawn to mow, and I’m not interested in spending eight hours a day trying to amass an army of 100,000 faceless followers.

I look for opportunities to connect with people who share interests, mostly in baseball or writing, sometimes both. But for the most part I’m a semi-passive monitor, keeping Twitter open in the background, checking in every so often to see what’s going on out there. I’ve learned of earthquakes, fallen dictators, and exotic animal escapes this way. I also keep up on baseball and football games in progress. With a quick scan of Twitter I can learn more about a ball game than I can in checking a scoreboard on ESPN.com.

Twitter has essentially replaced Facebook for me. This began even before the Facebook redesign that got everyone so upset. It’s clever to mock people who bitch about the changes to Facebook, but many of them were tweaked off about more than the simple fact that it changed. I don’t trust my newsfeed anymore. The way it’s “organized,” I feel like I’m always missing a lot of posts. I prefer a chronological order, where I can see what’s new by starting at the top. Basically, Twitter. I’ve cut my Facebook posting down to mostly things my family would care about, because they’re all on there and none of them are on Twitter. Anything else, I’ll tweet.

Not that I don’t have a few gripes with Twitter. Or rather, Twitter users. Twitter itself is fine. Some of the people using it annoy the hell out of me. And I’ll tell you for why.

Repetitive Tweeting

My No. 1 pet peeve. Perhaps for the folks who follow 10,000 other Tweeters, this isn’t as big a deal, as the Tweets must fly by so fast no one can keep up with them. But I suspect most people’s follow lists are closer in size to mine. So when Joe Schmoe tweets a link to his blog post every 40 minutes for three days (the only exaggeration here is his name wasn’t Joe Schmoe), I begin to hate his narcissistic guts. Then I unfollow him. I’m down with people reposting a link. Not everyone spends all day on Twitter, and people who might be interested could miss it altogether if you only post it once. But there’s a line there somewhere, and some people are squatting on the wrong side of it.

Multiple Personality Tweeters

Let me start by confessing I have two Twitter accounts. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. I tweet about my baseball book reviews from one, and I post about most everything else from the other. Occasionally there’s some overlap. While there aren’t many people out there following both accounts, I do try to limit the times I tweet the same crap to both. Other people don’t seem to share this level of concern. I was recently followed by two new accounts. I politely followed both back. I suddenly got double vision when checking my timeline. Identical tweets, tweeted at the same time, by two different accounts. Coincidence? Un-bloody-likely. Within a few days, I unfollowed both. Others aren’t quite so blatant about this, though I do see some suspiciously similar tweeting going on. Do these people think that they’re fooling anyone into reading their blogs by blitzing us from two different accounts?

Follow Me, Screw You

One local Rochesterian recently followed both of my accounts. I followed her back on both of them. Within a few days she unfollowed both of mine. I dumped her on both. What did she gain? Her strategy to build up a large list of followers seems to rely on sleight of hand, following a large number of people so they’ll follow her, then unfollow and repeat. This will help keep her ratio of Following/Followers at a favorable level. But with Who Unfollowed Me, it’s pretty easy to root out these kinds of self-centered users and opt out of their game.

Following To Sell Me Crap

I follow back. Most of the time. But when someone is clearly only tweeting to sell shit I don’t care about, I ignore them. Almost invariably they unfollow me a couple days later. Good riddance. I don’t need career advice, snapback hats, real estate tips, mobile phone downloads of my favorite team’s games, a vanity press, or a bookie. And I doubt any of them are sincerely interested in what I’m tweeting.

Following For No Apparent Reason

Okay, I guess there is a reason. They want to build up their number of followers. Easiest way to do that is to follow a bunch of people and hope they follow you back. Most of the time, if they’re clearly a real human, or at least doing a passable job of disguising the fact that they’re not, I’ll follow back just to be polite. But I certainly don’t seek to make connections this way. Let’s face it, most of us are networking on Twitter as a means to an end of some type. But how much is my ultimate goal of building my name and selling books furthered by connecting with people who have zero interest in what I’m writing about? Probably not much. Ten thousand followers sounds great, but if none of them care what you have to say it’s kind of a worthless pursuit.

#FF Foolishness

I strive to be a good and supportive citizen of Twitterville. I look for opportunities to help others by retweeting links to interesting posts and otherwise sharing their work. I understand the concept behind Follow Friday (#FF) is to build others up. I just don’t think it works, particularly when all people do is post a list of accounts. Some people go as far as posting dozens or more in a series of #FF tweets. I’ve been included on a few of these, and while I appreciated the sentiment, I saw exactly zero additional followers as a result. If most people are anything like me, they see those tweets on their timeline and skip right past them. So while it may be well-intentioned, it’s useless. If you want to help someone on Follow Friday, give them an individual shout out and tell people why they’re an interesting person to follow. What might I get from following this person? Because I’m not motivated enough to click on every name and investigate their merits on my own.

Must Read!!!

You want to describe a story on the NY Times or the Millions as a “must read,” fine. But you don’t get to tell me your blog is a “must read.” Sorry. That’s for someone else to determine. You also shouldn’t try to sucker me into buying your book by telling me how gripping or brilliant or important it is. If you can find someone else who thinks so, by all means include a link. But your credibility drops to zero when you have to tell me yourself how awesome you are.

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