Friday, 20 January 2017

Twitter and Me

I initially joined Twitter on advice of others in 2013 when my debut novel was published. Then I promptly ignored it for about a year. When I looked at it again I tried to get into the spirit of things but wasn't prepared for the drama. My humour is a bit of an acquired taste, I knew that. In real life it is very much the same but more successful, perhaps it is a visual thing.

What became apparent with Twitter is how easily offended some people are. Far more than in real life, or perhaps in real life they know their histrionics just makes them look silly. Or maybe they know in real life their indignation and outrage wouldn't wash as people they know would deem it hypocritical. The point is I was very self-conscious about upsetting people, it was / is never intended. It upset me that in an effort to raise a smile, I actually had the reverse affect on some.

Of course I eventually realised that somebody will always be offended, whatever I say. I've even been blocked for self-deprecation, weird. The original intent when I started using Twitter properly* was to amuse and interact with around 100 people as I felt this was a manageable number. Now I have over 1300 followers and follow nearly 1000 people. It's too many.

*I use 'properly' loosely as people love to remind me I'm doing Twitter wrong

At first I followed back everyone because I felt it was courteous to do so. I didn't know about bots back then, or about people who play the numbers game. My method of following was simple, I would never follow a person first (except for a handful). I know my humour is a little strange to some so I expected only to be followed by those who 'get it'. Then I could follow back safe in the knowledge they followed me first and it was their own fault if at some point they get offended.

After learning about bots I had a purge on them and now won't follow any accounts I suspect of being automated. Still the numbers were growing and quickly surpassed the intended 100. This caused another problem. Due to sheer weight of numbers I stopped looking at TL's. In my peculiar world I felt I had to look at all TL's or none. It was something akin to going out with a group of friends and ignoring some of them. It was rude. The solution was of course to just tweet in the 'here and now', and interact with whoever was online at the time.

This was okay for a time but as the numbers increased, I found myself missing what many were saying. In the time I took to respond to a tweet there were 100 more. Although I strive for fairness and impartiality, I talk to anyone regardless of race colour or creed, there are obviously those whom I enjoy interacting with more than others. This highlighted another problem. I would very often miss what they tweeted because someone else tweeted a day's worth of tweets in seconds.

I tried to refine my follow back criteria a little. No bots, no salespersons, no languages I didn't understand and who Bing can't translate effectively, no accounts that didn't tweet, none of these click on 12 pictures when only one piqued my interest, etc. etc. By then I already had too many followers and it was just too time-consuming trying to filter out unsuitable (for my purposes) accounts. I am now at the point where I need to address this issue and have a cull.

How I decide which accounts I continue to follow is quite simple. My whole Twitter thing is geared up to interaction, so I keep all those I remember interacting with. Then there are those that tweet or RT a lot, they provide me with material for my hyperactive wit. Due to my writing I have a soft spot for fellow writers / bloggers / authors, and whilst some may not 'contribute' with interaction, I feel obliged to keep following. Then there are a few others whom I follow simply because they interest me.

In the coming weeks I will gradually unfollow those who do not meet  the criteria above. It's not because I don't like them or they've done something wrong, it's simply due to the need to keep things simple. If I unfollow you the easy way to get me to follow back is to interact, isn't that what Social Media is about?

Another advantage this has, is that followers a little 'unsure' of my responses will no longer have to suffer them, because I won't see their tweets!

No comments:

Post a Comment