The Nuances of Twitter

twitterimagePlease Don’t do that! Please don’t drop your head into the palm of your hand and moan, “Oh gawd, please not another one!” because of this, I promise you, is not ‘just’ another one. I’ve been making mental notes about the activity that I have found disspiriting regarding Twitter for several months, and I decided today, after seeing something that really annoyed me, that it was time to speak up. Although I joined ‘Twitter Nation’ in May of 2012, I did not become a serious Twitter aficionado until the last 18 months or so; and during this time, I have questioned a lot, but I have also learned a lot, and namely the difference between tweeting with and without etiquette.

Some time ago, perhaps a month, or so, I read a tweet that left me feeling disheartened for the tweeter. She tweeted something to the effect that the saddest thing that had happened to her on this particular day was that she had been followed and unfollowed by the same person, and on the same day. While I knew what was behind the act of following and unfollowing, I did not understand it fully until today when I came across a blog post titled “How to Use Twitter.”

Have you heard of “churning” on Twitter? Well, it’s Twitter speak and was apparently what happened to the user that was followed and unfollowed on the same day. Churning is when a Twitter user follows and unfollows a large number of other Twitter users in a short period of time. It’s absurd, but thankfully @Twitter monitors this type of activity; those that get busted ‘churning’ get their accounts suspended. If you utilize programs and/or APPs such as Unfollowers, TwUnfollow, etc. (there are a myriad of programs) to monitor your Twitter account activity, you can see what users have unfollowed you. You also get to see how many of these users had their accounts suspended, but the suspended user’s name will not be provided. Apparently, it’s illegal to provide the Twitter user’s name. I say, shame them, show us their names!

I had this happen to me once and I called the user out on it. The Twitter user had followed me, I followed back because he was a writer/poet and less than a week later he was following me again. I sent him a direct message and told him that I believe he had just mistakenly followed me for the second time because he had only days before unfollowed me. He told me that he had not meant to unfollow me, that he had accidentally unfollowed me while he was unfollowing other users. We messaged back and forth with friendly speak for a while and I told him that now that we were ‘Twitter friends’ he could not unfollow me again. He assured me that he would not unfollow me. And true to his word, he did not unfollow me, immediately, but one day he disappeared and I assumed (yeah, I know, but I assumed anyway) that he had been suspended. Eventually, he showed up again, but he had changed his username and his photograph. The little trickster had unfollowed me, again, but it did not surprise me, nor did it hurt my feelings; after nearly 28 years in the military – I had no choice but to grow a thick skin, it takes a lot more than someone unfollowing me on Twitter to hurt my feelings.

I don’t understand the “churning” or those who buy Twitter followers. As far as I’m concerned, it means so much more to build a following. I don’t interact with everyone I follow or everyone that follows me, but I do interact with as many Twitter users as possible. We are people – we are not numbers. My ‘thing’ is writing; I am going to follow and follow back anyone that is connected with writing, and this includes readers, editors, etc.. I have, on occasion, prematurely followed some Twitter users back that had great literary names but now I make it a point of checking the users thoroughly before I follow anyone back. I do not want to be associated with users that have great quotes but post crude and nasty photos, of any sort. Now, I must, in full disclosure, admit that I do follow God on Twitter, but when he’s not being rude, he can be rather funny and everyone needs a good laugh from time to time. So God stays.

Since I brought the unfollowing programs up, I’ll continue on this topic long enough to make a couple more points. When I first started using unfollowers.com, I set up an automated thank you message for new followers that would go out automatically, but the automation always bothered me because it was too impersonal. It also welcomed users that I would not typically welcome, so I stopped the automated messages. Like the rest of earth’s inhabitants, I become busy with life and I am shamefully neglectful when it comes to acknowledging and thanking the Twitter users that follow me. I should work on this more but from time to time I do send out a tweet to thank all the new Twitter followers for following me, as well as those who continue to follow me. I am not saying that using the automation to welcome new Twitter followers is wrong, I am saying it’s too impersonal for me.

I feel the need to share with you what really annoys me. It annoys the beetle-juice out of me when Twitter users that are using the automated messages also set up automated messages when Twitter users unfollow other Twitter users “for no reason,” other than to build their number of followers. Why does this matter? Twitter users get the information and know how many Twitter users have unfollowed them, as well as who they are unless the user has already been suspended, so why are you tweeting this? I am not going to follow someone when I see this because it feels too much like Twitter bullying and intimidation. There appears to be a lot of Twitter users that wrongly believe that the more followers they have, the better odds they have of being certified by @Twitter. Those of you that believe this, are you listening? This is not true. It’s not going to happen. Your numbers have nothing to do with whether or not you get certified by @Twitter. Remember when I said that Big Brother watches? Trust me, Big Brother is watching and if it appears that you are playing the system, don’t be surprised to find yourself added to Twitter’s No Fly list, which will keep you from ever being Twitter certified. I’m just offering advice and the wise will heed my advice.

So yes, I have another pet peeve. Why in the world would you opt to not follow someone, but have the nerve to send a DM and say, “Hey, thanks for following me!” “Connect with me my FB page,” or words to that effect. The unfortunate, or fortunate in my case, about this, is that you cannot respond to the DM message because the user did not follow you back. It’s probably a good thing, for me anyway. I’m not an expletive type of gal, but DMs like the one I just used as an example can light a fire, depending on the day I’ve had. Are you tracking?

I like Twitter, and aside from the nuances I’ve addressed in this post, I enjoy the time I spend on Twitter. Like all social media, Twitter is time-consuming, but as a writer, I enjoy being challenged by the 140 character limit tweets. This provides me with the opportunity to play with words, and I love connecting words. I also enjoy interacting with like-minded people, sharing information and supporting published and unpublished authors, editors, publishers, readers, etc.. One Twitter user that I have become friendly with responded to one of my tweets with, “We are all in this together.” She’s right. If we are not following Twitter users that are part of who we are then we are abusing this social media venue. “We are all in this together,” we shouldn’t waste each other’s time. Be honest, tweet honest, follow honestly, retweet, support and be kind. Happy tweeting!

  5 comments for “The Nuances of Twitter

  1. January 12, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    Reblogged this on A Writer Writing and commented:

    I initially wrote “The Nuances of Twitter” in 2015, but after personally encountering, on several occasions during the last couple of weeks, the practice of Twitter users following and then unfollowing me to increase their number of Twitter followers while decreasing the number of Twitter users they follow I decided to reblog with an added message in an attempt of getting through to some of those who abuse Twitter.

    One of the quickest ways of having your account suspended is to play the follow/unfollow game on Twitter. To follow someone on Twitter only to unfollow them when they follow you back to grow your numbers is shameful. You have no interest in who you follow other than attempting to make yourselves look significant for the sake of Twitter. You believe the practice of accumulating a stupendous amount or followers is your ticket to being certified by Twitter. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your shamefully obtained numbers are not going to earn you the Twitter certification you so badly yearn for. It will, however, may and should get your Twitter account suspended. You are playing dirty and shame on you.

    There are multiple services available, both helpful to the honest and the dishonest to monitor the activity of your Twitter accounts. They are useful in notifying Twitter users without an agenda of those who have unfollowed them. However, using these services to unfollow a vast amount of Twitter users is going to get the attention of Twitter and when it does, adios! No one that’s on Twitter for the right reason wants to be a victim of the follow/unfollow scam.

    And then there are those who purchase their followers either to raise their numbers exponentially for the sole purpose of impressing Twitter. And let me say that the practice of buying followers is not necessarily a bad thing when purchasing followers through a legitimate company for your ‘targeted audience.’ However, I don’t understand why Twitter users would pay for followers, aside from advertising needs, if you have a commodity to advertise legitimately. But when you purchase followers through the cheap bot sellers this is a sure sign you don’t care about your followers, or who follows you. You are merely beating your chest to get the attention of Twitter, and that’s only going to lead to adios, see you when Twitter lifts their ban on your Twitter account.

    I find it easy enough to identify those that have unfollowed me by occasionally scrolling through the list of those I follow. Twitter has made it much easier and less time consuming by adding “Follows You” without having to open each follower’s page, as it once was. While scrolling through those you are following, if you don’t see “Follows You” then you’ve been unfollowed. I am in no way suggesting that every unfollow is part of the follow/unfollow scam played by those manipulating their numbers; however, in more cases than not, you are a victim of the follow/unfollow practice.

    I am selective of those I follow. I am a writer and therefore I follow those who write, edit, publish, read, blog, tweet writing advise or inspiring quotes by famous and upcoming authors. I also follow artists that are genuine in what they do and why they are on Twitter. Likewise, most of us appreciate humor, and therefore I follow some comedians and funny people. I also follow some advertising Tweeters. My point is, I follow a targeted audience that shares the same interests as I do. If someone follows me, I check their legitimacy before I follow back. I’ve been around a while, and I’ve seen the follow/unfollow game played, which is unfortunate for those of us who play by the rules.

    I’m not particularly fond of cliches, but I make exceptions from time to time, and this is one of those times. Remember, “It’s quality, not quantity” that gets the Twitter certification.

    Like

  2. April Ward
    May 11, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    LOL! Well written, my friend. I do not tweet. I must be a twit. But after reading this article I think maybe I’m pretty smart. Your foray into the nuances of the Twitter world have convinced me that my life is fine without it. My guess would be that you are not alone in your dislike of what goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. May 10, 2015 at 4:34 am

    The DMs by folks that don’t follow me make me want to perfect my cyberstalking skills so I can send them a reply directly to their email box.

    Liked by 1 person

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