Yet again I am mystified by Twitter. Nothing important, really, and as usual it’s probably just because I’m “doing it wrong,” but yesterday I was poking at some of the people Twitter recommended me to follow, and actually did follow a couple of them, but then an interesting thing happened.
I got four direct messages immediately following those follows. I think I’m using that word too much. It’ll probably come up again in the following few paragraphs. Oh well.
Anyway. The direct messages were all advertisements. “Buy my book!” “Like my page!” “Follow my blog!” And each had a little note that the message was auto-generated by (seemingly) everyone’s favorite Twitter manager, Just Unfollow.
I don’t get Just Unfollow to start with; I’m one of those silly people that clicks “Follow” because a person had something interesting to say at some point. Whether they follow me back, or even notice that they gained a follower is really irrelevant to me. I wanted to know what they’re saying. That’s as far as the relationship need go to please me; if they follow back, or if they retweet or want to talk, that’s cool; but it’s not a requirement. The idea that there’s an app to check and see if the people you’re stalking are stalking you too, and if they’re not, they get purged is just… weird to me. (For example, I don’t expect @FunnyBearTED to follow me. But I’m not going to stop following him, because that’s some funny shit and almost always makes me smile. A celebrity account is perhaps not the best example, but it’s what I can come up with at the moment because I’m brain dead today. But I would be sad if Ted stopped appearing in my list just because some app or other said so.)
Yes, I’m sure it has configuration options that would prevent that, but given that probably 90% of the people I’m following are joke accounts, celebrities, or news tickers, and the remaining 10% are of interest for plenty of reasons that have nothing to do with my e-penis follower count, I just don’t see the point. (Also related: I don’t get people who complain about “fake” followers and the like; if someone wants to click “Follow,” let them. It’s not hurting you. I don’t know if it’s related to Just Unfollow or some other app, but several times I’ve had to verify my status as a real person just to see what someone is Tweeting. That’s kind of silly, don’t you think?)
Anyway. Back to the point. I generally follow people who actually have something to say. People who just spam their “buy my book!” statements very quickly annoy me. I’ve made the comparison elsewhere that it feels like a bunch of salesmen all camped around a fire, talking over one another, trying to sell each other something, while none of them are listening. If I somehow found you, and followed you, it was because of something other than your advertisements, most likely… and immediately turning around (via automation, no less) and demanding I look at your advertisement is typically going to leave me with a sour taste in my mouth and make me click that “unfollow” button.
Maybe I’m missing the point. Perhaps I should start spamming more “Buy my crap!” links. Or get Just Unfollow myself, so I can be one of the cool kids. Or maybe I’ll just continue to watch my feed scroll, keep hitting “Favorite” on @FunnyBearTED posts, and occasionally drop my commentary into the pool. Hmm. Decisions, decisions.