I lost my mind this morning, and it’s all Twitter’s fault.
I use Twitter a lot, like a lot of fledgling storytellers, and as I was looking through my tweet-feed this morning I noticed a disturbing trend. Many people, it seems, are subscribing to a type of “Follower Monitoring”, that shows, in minute detail, not only who has followed you, but also who has unfollowed you. And it is readily apparent that the people who subscribe to this service are fairly passionate about it, because they talk about it incessantly.
I like to refer to these folks as “Twitter Bullies”, and woe be unto him who commits the horrid sin of unfollowing the Twitter Bully.
One guy I saw this morning actually said, in a tweet, “Unfollowers Beware”, and I was struck with a vision of a horde of torch wielding fanatics storming through a mall and into a Starbucks where some unsuspecting individual was on the other end of an “unfollow” button.
I also felt compelled to find the issuer of the warning, give him a hug and tell him, “Your worth is not determined by how many followers you have on Twitter. It’s okay. Really.”
As I’ve said before, I look for three things when I give someone my attention on Twitter: I want to be entertained, inspired or educated. If someone doesn’t do those things for me I don’t make a big deal of the fact and tell them they suck. I quietly excuse myself from their presence and seek my inspiration elsewhere. It’s nothing personal. I don’t think they’re a bad person. I just am not interested in what they have to say.
Alternately, If someone wants to hang around and read my palaver, then I’m grateful. If they don’t, that’s okay too – I don’t expect everyone (or anyone, really) to be a fan of my particular brand of foolishness. I promise I won’t stalk you if you decide you’re tired of my stupid jokes.
Using Twitter is a lot like telling a story: You’re trying to convey thoughts, feelings, emotions, humor to an audience using only a handful of words. But, as when you publish story, just because you took the time to write something down doesn’t automatically mean you deserve an audience. An audience, their time and response, has to be earned. And you will only earn it if your words are good. Or at least amusing.
If you have to try and intimidate people into continuing to follow you, then you’re probably doing something wrong.
I cannot help but think that if people spent as much time working on their craft as they do checking to see how many followers they have, there would be a lot more good stories to read.
As always, thanks for reading.