Fair warning – this post is going to be a rant. It will not be the sweetness and light that everyone has come to expect from me. What it will be is a brutally honest assessment of an issue that has been getting under my skin for some time.
I am an active Twitter user. Some will say too active and I am sure there are some that would like to tell me to shut up (or more likely STFU). To all of you, feel free to unfollow me. Don’t stick around expecting me or my Twitter usage patterns to change, it’s not likely that they are going to. You will not hurt my feelings if you decide not to follow me any longer. To each his own and if I’m too much for you, then PLEASE then move on.
Sorry to get off on that tangent, but I guess it was also something I needed to get off my chest. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I am active on Twitter and as a result am privileged to gain new followers on a fairly regular basis. I want to qualify everything else that I am about to say with the following –
I am HONORED by every single person that follows me on Twitter. It is an amazing and humbling privilege to know that I am able to reach the number of people that I do. Everyone who is following me on Twitter has their reason and I respect that. I just want to make it clear that I do acknowledge the joy and responsibility that comes from touching the lives of so many people. However, I may not follow every single person that follows me for a multitude of personal and professional reasons.
When I receive a new follower notice, I take a close look at the following
- Are you a spammer? Most of the spammers are pretty easy to spot.
- Bio – if you don’t have one, very unlikely that I am going to follow you back.
- Website – my general rule – no link, no return follow. I do make occasional exceptions, but being able to link to your site tells me more about you, your business, what you like to do, etc… Some of the building blocks necessary to develop a conversation and a relationship.
- The first couple of pages of tweets – I am looking to see what kind of interactions you are having. Are you conversing and engaging people on a regular basis or are you only broadcasting or just trying to sell me something. I want to know that you are making an attempt to build relationships with other people.
So, if I am following you, I’ve put in some effort to get to know a little about you. No, I don’t follow back every single person or business that follows me. It’s a choice that I have made for several reasons, much too long to get into in this post. The point I am trying to make in telling you how I determine who I follow is this. I do not use an automated service telling me that I should follow someone, I have used a process and made the decision to follow someone.
What has me ranting today are the people who, after using my criteria and trying to make a thoughtful decision, I have chosen to follow that then immediately respond to me with an auto DM offering to
- Teach me how to use Twitter and gain thousands of followers — Hey jerk, take a look at how long I have been here and how I use Twitter. The first thing you will see if you have read any of my material is I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE NUMBERS! For me it is about conversations, relationships and the sharing of information. And really please, don’t offer to teach me to use Twitter when you have been on half as long (or less!) than I have. After almost 2 years, I have it pretty well figured out, as least well enough for my purposes.
- Offer to teach me how to use social media – See # 1 – I’m here, I’m using it, I’ve been living it! I actually help other people understand and envelope it into their lives. Social Media is not something you teach, it is not something you do – IT IS SOMETHING YOU LIVE. It is a living, breathing organism that feeds on our interactions, relationships and conversations.
- Offer to teach me how to make money online — AGAIN, get to know me, pay attention to anything that I say and you will quickly realize that, for me, being on Twitter has virtually nothing to do with making money. Yes, I have an account for my business and yes, I do promote my business, as well as many others, on Twitter. But it is not about making money and if you read anything of mine, you will very quickly figure that out. It is about sharing information, developing relationships and connecting with people. If out of those interactions, I am able to advance my business or anyone else’s – Fantastic! – but that is not even remotely close to what it is about.
- That immediately try to sell me something – Oh please, do I even have to tell you how I feel about this? Seriously, you obviously don’t get it if the first thing you are sending me is a sales pitch.
So bottom line – all of you who do these things, maybe they work on other people. They don’t for me. You have wasted your time and you have wasted mine. I have put thought and effort into getting to know a little bit about you before I follow you. The same common courtesy would have been greatly appreciated. I’ve been resisting doing this because negativity is not generally a part of my nature, but don’t be surprised when the day comes that I, or someone else, start publicly calling you out on Twitter for your actions.