Twitter is an interesting place. I’ve learned a lot, disagreed with a lot, and still don’t care about the number of followers I have. I’m not so big on being followed as I am in finding interesting people.
Twitter does have some guidelines, and one of them seems to be “follow everyone who follows you.” Open the pod bay doors, HAL. I’m afraid I can’t do that Dave.
There are lots of reasons. Twitter is not the Promised Land, it is populated by as many funny, intelligent, insightful people as self-aggrandizing, ego-driven dolts. You pick your company.
So why am I not following everyone who follows me?
1. You make me ask for permission to contact you. It’s Twitter. If you want to live in Rapunzel’s tower, you can. But don’t expect people to follow you if you won’t throw down your hair.
2. You don’t have a bio. I want to get to know the people I deal with. The 140- character limit on Twitter is tight, and makes it hard to learn who you are. If you don’t tell me who you are or put up a link to your website, my interest wanes faster than a sidewalk water puddle in Phoenix. In August.
3. Your website is a mess of promotions, gimmicks and promises I can’t believe. Too many colors, too many typefaces and sizes, too much hype about making my website “go viral.” You can’t promise me that, and you know it.
4. You make me register–give up personal information–to find out what you do. I already know what you do, you use my personal information to market your business.
5. You DM (direct message) me with a promise of a “free” gift if I just visit your website and click on. . . .[the sound you hear is my feet running away.]
6. I see nothing but self-promotion on your Twitter home page. If your purpose to be on Twitter is to sell, sell, sell, I wish you well. But I’m not following you.
7. You use punctuation marks as a substitute for clear content. Eight exclamation marks do not make you look passionate, they make you look unable to use words well. I follow people who write well, and that’s not you. Yes, you are free to tell me the “rules about good writing are different now.” Not in my book.
9. You tell me you are a ‘genius,’ ‘guru,’ or ‘C-level executive.’ I’m happier with people who work hard. My interest in your self-proclaimed genius is below sea-level.
10. You don’t know who you are. If you list yourself as (really, I saw this one): “Parent of 6, web designer, writer, boudoir photographer, Sunday School teacher, lover of joy, passionate about making websites go viral, vegetable grower, bookkeeper, spiritual healer, piano player, rock-wall climber, believer in ‘Happyness’ and have climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro on my ‘bucket list,’ –you are too exhausted to post anything on Twitter. Have a nice day.
You might also want to read: Why I DO Follow you on Twitter, 7 tips that don’t repeat any of the above. (Well, OK, they do mention one of them.)
—Quinn McDonald is a writer who teaches writing.