Can I Keep Up With Everyone That is Following Me on Twitter, Do I Even Want To?

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While I may never completely remove myself from Twitter, I have to say that the service gets old quick. I got over my feelings about Facebook and eventually resurfaced, but I haven’t finished filling out my profile since I have returned. I do not have my picture on Facebook, and I do not want to have my picture on there, because I do not want to be found. I finally put my picture on Twitter, out of boredom, but I figured that the least I could do was give my readers a face to put with my articles.

I was ecstatic when I got to my first thousand followers on Twitter and while I was not as stoked when I got to my second thousand I still felt that it was an accomplishment. Right now I am sitting at over 2,500. I haven’t ascended with the rate that I was, but I do not use Twitter the way that I was back then. Twitter turns from a service that you have to log onto to see the same few people to one that, well, is more of a “I’ll see you whenever I see you” type of service.

This is of course consistent with my own relationships that I have in real life but I never thought that would ever be the case. A huge reason why I left Facebook the second time is that people just were not that interesting on the service. I would follow people, and all they were talking about is what they did in the games that they were playing. I am not a gamer so that would not interest me, and most of these people I did not know anyway so it wasn’t that big of a stretch to let go of those relationships.

What I could not comprehend is that these people were very interesting in real life and had a lot to say. What I often found is that they weren’t having those conversations with me personally, so I felt that I was privy to conversations that, while open ended, their interactions with their other friends was far more interesting than their own. As anonymous as Twitter is there are trending topics and a lot of open ended conversations here. People actually respond to you, because they do not have the prejudices and hang ups that people you know in real life have. You can talk to a stranger, and a stranger will talk back. I never had any of that on Facebook.

I like the noise that I see on Twitter. I will continue to follow those that follow me. But my sole criteria for following someone is not whether or not they are following me back. Unfollowing people is a lot of work. You have to utilize a third party application just to figure out who is not following you. Then you have to click on those that are not following you. Then you have to click on those that are following you that you are not following. Obsessing over who is following you and who is not is counterintuitive to the true value that Twitter offers.

Now I am following random people who are as uninteresting as those that I followed on Facebook. People do not talk to each other as exclusively as they do on Facebook but they still get on your nerves. Then I have to look at how interesting I am. Occasionally I will respond to something someone says or put out a random tweet into cyberspace but my timeline primarily consists of my articles. I have also been paid to tweet, which is less than one percent of what I do with my timeline. There is not enough money into tweeting for me to push out any more sponsored tweets than what I already have. 

At the end of the day I feel that social networking is a nice way to accidentally run into people and exchange a few words here and there. In the past that meant dating sites and complex profiles, or responding to people’s blogs or following message boards. People’s expectations were high and no one that was new to it really knew what to do but old timers had established rules of etiquette and a protocol for meeting people online. A lot of that has been thrown out of the window with social networks but at the same time a new generation of people are using the service. These are not the propeller heads from back in the day that ran their own bulletin boards and knew all of the nuances of Internet relay chat. This is a new school, with a new way of doing things.

The problem with the new school has always been that while some of the new adherents show even greater dexterity, creativity, and innovation with their rules of engagement many are lost in the crowd. So they get onto the social network, to complain about the social network. They aren’t expecting the Internet to turn against them. They quickly realize that online, a thousand people can tell you what to do with your thoughts and where you should go and how one should disappear from society before the end of the hour. Because the Internet is as huge as it is, and continues to grow everyday, that does not happen as often as it used to but it still happens from time to time.

I have found social networks to be fun spirited and everything that occurs there to be par for the course. Just as in real life, the less you actually care about the relationships you form there the more successful you will be and the easier you can move in and out of them. If your heart is on your sleeve you will retire by the end of the day but if you develop a thick skin you can stay around forever. I would like to tell you that I have learned something interesting about life through social networking but I honestly can stay that I have not. I have only re-learned, what I already knew about people in general. That is not a bad thing when I really think about it. The illusion that social networks could amplify and make it easier to form relationships was the only disappointing experience that social networking has ever presented before me …


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