#1 Rule on Twitter

Thanks to Scott Hampson for this great comic.

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Dear Tweeple,

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:




p.s. Here’s another shitastic Twant.

Leave a comment


  1. I agree to this to some extent.

    I personally do add loads of people in hope of a follow back. But that’s not because I want a “follow back”, I hope that when I add people I alert them to my existence, and even though I chattweet a lot I do tweet a whole bunch of interesting articles and information as well. So my hope is that I catch people’s eye by tweeting the interesting stuff, and hopefully they’ll even consider visiting my blog.

    So far, my “aggressive” style (still following the rules of the Social Media gurus) has helped me quite a bit to get in touch with folks and get traffic to my blog.

    Thing is – I think everyone should use Twitter the way it feels/works best for them. I personally don’t really care for how people use Twitter, (except if I get included in a bunch of meaningless #ff and #ww but that’s another can of worms), as long as they’re happy. If I don’t get a follow back, I’m not sad, I’m not offended and I would most definitely not take it personally. But I’m not everyone so I guess others see this differently.

    Great post, C.M., it’s nice to think about things like this.

    • Thanks, Manon!

      I’m glad your “aggressive” social media style is working for you. 🙂

      Re: “aggressive” social media, I do admit the more often I see a link retweeted, the more likely I am to click on it. And if I click on it, there’s a chance I’ll leave a comment a maybe even retweet it myself. But I don’t retweet my own links everyday / several times a day. Interesting disparity, huh?

      Great point about doing what we feel comfortable doing. I don’t believe everybody should lockstep with the social media gurus- only those who feel comfortable doing so.

      I follow a lot of the social media advice, but only the advice that makes sense to me. I figure if somebody comments on my blog without the “preliminary chit-chat,” there’s a better chance that person is genuinely interested in me as a novelist.

      Thank you for sharing your point of view and your opinion.

      See you on Twitter! 🙂

      • Well, I don’t follow *all* and any rules that there are. If I think it’s a good rule, I do, but if it doesn’t make sense to me personally I would never use it.

        See you on Twitter 😉 Lol!

  2. Hi CM. I love your Rule #1. It’s so true. People who take everything personally are likely to get unfollowed because almost everyone I know on Twitter is quite busy. Not only that, but people who take everything personally, in general, need to tend to their egos. But I love it that I can connect with several people at the same time on different topics. I’m a conversational multi-tasker. Drives my hubby nuts. Thanks for your post, and thanks for following me on Twitter. 🙂

    • Thank you and you’re welcome! 🙂

      Yes, you are quite the conversational multi-tasker. 😉 I, on the other hand, can’t have a focused conversation with somebody if the TV is on (noise). Though if the TV is part of “background noise,” like at at restaurant, it’s easier.

      See you on Twitter! 🙂

  3. LMAO! But Seriously, there’s a tweet deck ignore button? Where? Where?

    Murphy 😉

  4. I totally agree. I use Twitter to follow discussions on writing and topics of interest. I end up cleaning house and unfollow people when I get tired to being bombarded by their constant tweets updating me on their status every five – ten minutes. Enough already! I also do not follow people just because they follow me. Twitter is something I use to keep in the loop on what some writers are writing or finding helpful related to fiction, novel, or screenwriting.

    Enjoyed the post!

  5. Great post. I don’t follow everyone who follows me either. I’ve never been a game player so don’t follow just to follow. It has to serve a purpose of some sort. And you are exactly right. It’s a lot of noise and I have a hard time filtering out all the noise. It all becomes static after a while. Am I being choosy. Darn right. I’m an adult. I’m allowed.

  1. Manon Eileen » Sunday Bloody Sunday

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