Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Personal Twitter Guidelines

Several self-proclaimed experts have written their official Twitter rules, most of which I don't accept. When I first read about Twitter, I wasn't too sure if it was for me. I knew what a blog was, but this thing called micro blogging, I'd have to observe from a distance.

My initial and ongoing reaction to Twitter is that it's similar to merging into oncoming traffic at a busy metropolitan intersection or highway. You want someone to stop and notice you long enough so that you can join others in a conversation.

We've all rules of engagement, stated or subconscious, and Twitter is no exception. I don't like social media pundits, gurus, and experts offering unsolicited advice on how and why I should interact with people in cyberspace. My understanding of Twitter, MySpace, or Facebook, is that it's self-paced and voluntary. We're not in high school English class with a daily mandatory journal entry. However, some people feel compelled to share the trivialities and minutiae of their lives. God bless them that they have followers who enjoy reading such grocery lists. I personally do not. I prefer differences over a bleating sheep mentality any day.

The beauty of a global audience is that each person has an online signature, much like a fingerprint, whether or not they're aware of it. My opinion: it's sad day online when more people than not follow the beat of another person's Djembe, dun-dun, or snare drum.

I'm flattered when someone wants to follow me, but I don't automatically follow back. No apologies. I'm not concerned with accumulating thousands of followers. I launch Tweet Deck because I like interacting with people I might not otherwise have an opportunity because of time, time zones, and geographic distance.

Why should I automatically follow someone I've no potential personal, professional, or social interest? I don't respond well to unofficial online rules of engagement.
Back to my temporarily being flattered when someone new sends a request to follow. I think someone or something (Mr. Tweet) has advised that I'm worthy of being followed, but that doesn't guarantee I've any interest in following back. I don't want to read one-word tweets "hot", or "going home", or "stuck in traffic".

When I post a tweet, my goal is to offer news, tips, or interesting tidbits that I would appreciate reading. I talk about my personal world, but not to the point of self-indulgence or sheer boredom. Is there a mute button on Twitter? Yes, it's called block or unfollow.

A few reasons why I will not follow, block, or unfollow:

  • No personal picture or avatar.
  • No personal/business profile or website/blog link.
  • No updates: "I've not updated yet!" (When you do, get back to me.)
  • The person is obviously online to push their product or service, and has no personal stake for using Twitter.
  • The person is more concerned with accumulating followers, similar to notches on a bedpost of sexual conquests.
  • When there's an obvious disconnect. The person hasn't read my blog, website, or tweets, and has no understanding of who I am and why I'm online.
  • Not understanding that all relationships require time, nurturing, and maintenance. Those seeking instant gratification might be in for a surprise.


nikki said...

i totally agree with this entry. the bad thing about twitter and facebook and the like is that it feeds into a person's need for attention. someone who ties their self-worth to the level of attention they receive is especially vulnerable to these types of venues.

meanwhile, i don't follow folk on twitter for the exact same reason. on top of that, i block folk if i think they've added me for the purpose of selling ish.

The Jaded NYer said...

I definitely don't follow as many people who ask to follow me, especially some DJs, musicians, and ppl who just seem, um, questionable!

but I must add that your tweets (and blog... I'm a lurker) have, more often than not, provided me with very helpful information on "writerly" things, so I just wanted to take a minute to thank you.

Muze said...

it bothers me when people are constantly peddling their products, services, or selves to me through twitter. i think it's kind of ridiculous actually.

nice post.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner said...

I have to admit that while I kinda feel the same way about Twitter, I have found a lot of useful info on it, and have met some pretty interesting people--you included. Great post.

MartaSzabo said...

Right on. I feel sympatico. Looking forward to reading more!

Damon said...

Just caught this via Twitter ... interesting to say the least. I've finally caught the Twitter bug and understand what's going on ... I hate the two word tweets that say nothing of value ...

Here's something written in a similar vein about Removable Facebook Friends that i penned within the last month or so.

49. Removable Facebook FriendsIt's worth the read.

DaniC said...

Exceptional points! Read, Recapped and Retained. I personally use Twitter for 2 reasons: To gather new resources for my personal reading and professional networking (blogs, websites, etc) and to share words of wisdom, motivation and productive inspiration to random readers that may otherwise only get "fluff". I like to think that perhaps one phrase, quote, prolific response or even the occassional joke I may feel so inclined to deliver, will have a positive and memorable effect on at least one person. :) I appreciate and respect your work...and I definitely anticipate reading more!

D.D. Carraway (danic27)

LoudPen said...

Great post. I agree with most of your assertions. However, I must admit that I am at times guilty of sharing random tidbits from my life via Twitter. An example of this are my tweets from today where I talked about recovering from last night's drinking excursion. But, even when I do tweet about random things, I still try to make it interesting.

Twitter and other social networking sites are just like anything else in life...it's what you make it. If you only tweet about random ish then, that's what you'll get. But, if you use it as a networking tool and to entertain then, you will like it. I personally try to do both.

23PRGrad said...

Well, ironically I started following you on Twitter, prior to me reading your Blog. I honestly followed you because of your name, "Harlemwriter." I am a inspiring Public Relations Professional and I thought I can gain insight from you. Also being a Harlem Native myself, "Harlemwriter," grabbed my attention. There are few, "Harlem Writers."

I think it's an exception, to follow someone, as a professional resource. Especially when that person has credibility, he/she may tweet something beneficial for your career. We're in a New Media Era and I think, it's okay to use Social Media, as a module for your success. As long as you don't overwhelm the person, that you are following, then it's a go.

HarlemWriter, I think you should follow me back, I meet one of your qualifications, I have a url link to my blog. Lol

Follow me anytime @ www.astoldbya.blogspot.com or twitter/23PRGrad

Daranichole said...

I agree, good blog! Some people will use any type of means to sell their product or promote their business, just part of the game it seems.

Sara Nicoletti Altimari Suttle said...

I agree with you, but social media are a different thing to different people. There is never one way to do the same thing. You can always choose whether to shut down the incessant and uninteresting babbling or create new relationships based on common interests. Nobody is obligated to follow anybody; it's simply nice to be able to read great content when you come across interesting people.