Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Discourse

You can see over there on the left that I have a Twitter account. This last week I’ve seen my ‘follower’ counts go up by as many as 15, then dip down five, up two, down three and so forth. I suspect that I will have to use some application like Twitterific or TweetDeck to use Twitter to its potential.

It’s funny because yesterday I tweeted that if you’re following me because you just follow everyone whose name comes up in the hopes of building your follower numbers, you’ll be disappointed that I won’t follow back. I still read my feeds there because I use Twitter as an aggregator like Bloglines. I want to keep up with friends or acquaintances on Twitter and Facebook, not build up some Ashton Kutcher-like empire of zombie followers. I don’t need hundreds of thousands of followers or even a million if all they care about is social media empire building. I want you to follow my tweets because you’re interested in what I’m saying. If you’re not interested, I don’t want you around.

I realize this is antithetical to the entire social media phenomenon that is Twitter. Here’s a newsflash: I don’t care. Come along if you like. If I know you or think your own work is interesting, I’ll follow you back. Otherwise, bugger off for all of me.

I think it’s sad commentary that something like Twitter or Facebook is used as a status symbol. We, Americans here in the 21st century, don’t talk enough as it is, but even limited to 140 characters we can say things of interest. There are people writing novels on Twitter, there are folks finding others they haven’t seen in years on Facebook. Connecting and talking and catching up and making plans to see one another in person, they have used social media for its purpose. This fascination with celebrity competition is sad beyond compare.

So, if you’re following me on Twitter, thanks. If you’re a friend on Facebook, I’m glad I can catch up with you there. If you’re just looking to pump up your own numbers, don’t expect me to follow back. On Twitter write something interesting and then use a #tag or my @name to get my attention. If I like what I see, I’ll follow. On Facebook, it’s going to be a little harder, but you’ll figure that out.

In the meantime, if you’re following one of those celebrities with a million others, try getting all of them to reply that person at the same time and see if that doesn’t break the internets.