I know the social media gurus tsk-tsk this, but I don’t use Twitter exactly the way they say I should. I use Twitter primarily to learn about the craft of novel-writing, and to read about topics which I find interesting. I also share information- my own and others’. Yes, I occasionally chat and have fun, but too much of that and I lose focus. I don’t follow tons of people because I’m not trying to be “cool.” I’m not trying to help others be “cool.” Until recently, I didn’t think this personal decision mattered to others.
I don’t like walking into a huge stadium full of people where everybody is talking at once. And that’s what Twitter feels like when I follow a lot of people. I know not following people who follow you is a big no-no according the The Big Book of Social Media Rules. I know I’m supposed to follow anybody and everybody who clicks on my “follow” button. But I don’t. I use Twitter because it’s fun and useful. Following hundreds of people isn’t fun or useful to me.
I know I’m supposed to have at least a thousand followers, or I’m not “follow-popular.” But I’m not a “follow-popular” kind of person. Even the social media guru who told me to get on Twitter in the first place unfollowed her own advice and unfollowed me. Maybe I wasn’t uncontroversial enough. That’s A-OK. I’m not hoping the popular kids won’t make fun of me today, and I’m not wondering why I don’t get invited to any parties. I didn’t join Twitter to re-live high school. I’m an adult now. I have no interest in social posturing, and I have no interest in empty follows.
I’m not going to follow a ton of people only to corral them into a TweetDeck “IGNORE” group.
Most of the people I follow do NOT follow me back- and I’d be a little weirded out if they did. I am an aspiring fiction author, and of the people I follow, over half have nothing to do with fiction writing. They promote science blogs. I follow them because they’re saying something I find interesting and unique. Most of them don’t follow me because they’re not interested in what I’m saying, or I’m saying something they’re already reading elsewhere.
Yes, I’m trying to build a “platform.” My particular platform is “to share information about fiction with fellow writers and readers in the spirit of genuine mutual interest.” Maybe I’ll even impress a potential agent with my writing and consistency someday. I’m not interested in amassing a bunch of followers who have no interest in anything I say or do beyond getting a “follow back.” I don’t believe people who would who follow me just to get a “follow back” would have any impact my author career. I know there are people who say they have the skill and time to make every follow count, but I’m not one of those people.
I read somewhere if I don’t follow people back, I’ve snubbed them. NO. Somebody followed me. I did nothing. Doing nothing is not snubbing. I read that if I unfollow somebody it means I don’t like that person, or I am playing a numbers game. NO. When I unfollow someone I am trying to reduce the amount of NOISE in my Twitter stream. And my Twitter stream is ALL noise- dozens of people all talking about something different. My brain can’t handle a hundred conversations, one after the other.
If you want to follow me, follow me BECAUSE YOU WANT TO FOLLOW ME, not because you want me to follow you back. Follow me because I’m saying something interesting and unique, not because you want another notch in your Twitter belt. Because I don’t auto-follow back. I swear on a stack of my yet-to-be-published novels I absolutely like your online personas and I would give you the shirt off my back, but I’m at my limit. I’m doing as much as I can and still having fun at the same time.
Oh yeah- the #1 rule on Twitter is:
DON’T TAKE EVERYTHING PERSONALLY.