Friday, 19 December 2014


      Email subject header: Put up with mane, you have a new follower on twitter!

     Oh, do I? I wonder who tha… Oh. It’s you. Again.

     Twitter’s a funny old place. I much prefer it to facebook if I’m honest, because of the fact that you can choose who to follow (or not) and you get followers who are funny, clever, thoughtful, kind, silly, interesting, and unbelievably sexy (you know who you are).  But then you also get followers that, well, don’t seem to entirely grasp the concept and possibilities of it.

     Why me? They’re new. Probably still an egg in the profile pic, with no bio either. They’re following thirty-odd accounts, almost all of which are blue ticked news, sport, official celebrity accounts. And me. They never tweet. They never interact with anyone. They’re just there. Why are they following me? Why me? Do I know them in real life? Don’t think so, although obviously it’s hard to tell with no further information to go on.  They make me slightly nervous, as though they know something about me that I don’t.

     Not for longers. Someone you follow retweets something. You retweet it. The original tweeter sees you’ve retweeted it, and follows you. You check out their twitter feed to see if you want to follow them back. Within seconds, you know that within a day or two, one of your sweary/silly/KITCHEN DISCO tweets will cause them to think ‘Oh. Not the person I thought she was.’ And quietly unfollow you.

     The bots. You know. Mention Shakespeare, cats, Stalin, horoscopes, Norwich, politics, cats, exercise, cocktails, photography, cats, heritage, Kim Kardashian, parenting, crowdsourcing, or cats, and within a day, you’ll gain at least five new follower bots, who only ever tweet Motivational Quotes In Which The First Letter Of Every Word Will Be Capitalised For No Reason. They tend to drop off after about a week or so, a bit like a scab.

     Making a hash of things. They’re probably quite nice people. But they do like a #hashtag. They #LoveHashtags #Everything #is #Hashtagged #LikeThis #HashtagEverything #LikeHashtags #HashtagLove #Love Hashtags #TheyLoveHashtags #LivingTheHashtagDream #ItIsABitMuchHashtagging #IfYouLikeItThenYouShouldaPutAHashtagOnIt #Hashtags #Hashtagging #HashtagIsQuiteAnOddWordWhenYouWriteItOverAndOverAgain #JustOneOrTwoHashtagsWillDo #PleaseStopUsingHashtagsSoMuch #ForSomeReasonOverdoingHashtagsAnnoysMe

     And then. The type of follower that really, really grinds on me. And I don’t think I am alone in this.

     Clickteasers. You know. They follow you. You look at their profile. They’re following 14.5k tweeters. They have 20k followers. You see their feed is a lot of hashtags, links to That Type Of Motivational Quote That Is Bollocks over a picture of a sunset, a few retweets of people saying nice things about them, and them saying ‘Thanks! We do our best!’ And absolutely no real interaction with anyone. At all. Ever. Just constant selfpromotion. ‘Urgh.’ You think. ‘Not for me.’ And that’s it. Until ten days later. ‘Put up with mane, you have a new follower on twitter!’ Do I? Ooh. Who’s that? Oh. It’s that person who followed me ten days ago. Bit odd. Still not going to follow them. Ten days later, ‘Put up with mane, you have a new follower on twitter!’ I wonder who has discovered me, and my witty, clever, and inspiring tweets? Oh for the love of… it’s them. Again. Right… And it goes on and on and on. Unless you block them. But, and I guarantee this, if you then unblock them, within minutes, they will follow you again. And again. And again.

     It’s ridiculous, it’s pathetic, it’s really annoying. They’re repeatedly following and unfollowing in the hope of drawing you into following them. Guess what? Not gonna. It’s not really helping their cause, because it’s quite clearly telling you that they see twitter not as a tool for communication, interaction, and discovery, but as some kind of popularity contest where the person with the most followers somehow ‘wins’.  No. The clue is in the name ‘Social media’. You know, social. Getting to know people, to find out things, to promote things you care about, to provide support, humour, whatever you like. I would rather have ten followers who *get* me, than 10,000 who couldn’t give a monkey’s. And if I didn’t follow you the first time you followed me, then it’s unlikely that I will on the eleventh time either.

      So please. If you suspect you might be a clickteaser, please. Step away from twitter, and reflect. Is continually annoying a large swathe of tweeters really the best way to promote yourself? Or might it be a better strategy to be slightly more selective, slightly more targeted in your output, and ever so slightly less of a complete and utter click?

No comments: