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 bleeping 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.