Not long ago, I received a tweet on Twitter that mentioned my name along with several others from one of my “followers.” I’ll call him “Mr. X.”
It read: “If you’d like to know why your name is included, please read my post.”
I did read the post, which stated he had been following me, shouting out my name on a regular basis, and that if I didn’t reciprocate or follow him back, then he could no longer spend the time “recognizing” me, and would have to unfollow me.
Wow. I had no clue who this man was.
Twitter brings out the oddest behaviour in some people, and normally I would have ignored Mr. X, but he irked the hell out of me. He was an author and obviously felt he had been doing me some big favor by shouting out my name to the Twitterverse. He had close to 10,000 people following him, and I wasn’t one of them. Now he was setting a condition on whether he’d continue to follow me – a systematic elimination of sorts.
Hmm…what to do?
Firstly, I’d like to say, “I love Twitter.” As far as my author platform is concerned, I use it daily to convey snippets of news, see what others are up to, and make connections with people. Twitter and blogging are what connect me to the author community. Facebook is more of a social network, and I primarily echo what I’ve added to my blog on it.
Given how useful Twitter has been to me, I decided to write a note back to Mr. X. I’ve included a portion of it below.
Dear Mr. X,
… I understand your intentions, however, I am of a completely different mindset…it’s not as important to me to amass followers, as it is to know the people I’ve chosen to follow. I see Twitter as a microcosm of real life, and it does not impress me to have people shout out my name in a tweet if they don’t know me. It’s disingenuous, and represents the “blind following” mentality on Twitter that I do not subscribe to. If someone wants to mention me, then I expect they know something about me, have read my blog, or have had correspondence with me, otherwise an auto-generated tweet with my name does not provide me with any connection to the sender, and is a wasted effort as far as I’m concerned…
As in real life, I give my friendship to people unconditionally. My closest relationships are those that are reciprocal, but never tit for tat. That’s the same principal I apply to Twitter. I can only control how I behave on Twitter, so I choose to form bonds with those I follow. If others want to follow me back, that’s great, but “growing my kingdom” does not interest me. I don’t follow people blindly, and I don’t shout out about people I don’t know. If I mention you, you can be certain that it’s because I’ve taken the time to know something about you. If not, then I really don’t see the point… eden
Suffice it to say, I never did follow him. He sent back a note defending his actions and we’ve parted ways.
Will Mr. X continue to shout out the names of the 10,000 people he’s following, and will that equate to more book sales for him? I highly doubt it.
I may only follow 1000 people, but that’s all I can handle for now. Even in the virtual world, I don’t think you can rush “getting to know someone.”
* * * *
What is your relationship with Twitter, and do you think it’s a useful part of your author platform?