Writers, bloggers, people in general are trying to make sense of the Social Networking tsunami. We’re all analysing our addiction to it; we’re all thinking about our reasons for using it; we’re all dissecting the nature of our reactions to activity on our networks. It’s quickly turning into another social anomaly that makes our interaction with others more complicated.
There’s a lot to try dissect about social networking, so I’ll try to separate each theory into different posts. Today, I have one issue in particular:
People who take it personally when you unfollow them on Twitter.
Now, I definitely ‘get’ the initial hurt. I get the instant, split-second of offense. But that should subside, and give way to reason. After all, Twitter’s a collection of selected thoughts you choose to publish. And even your best friend may not find those thoughts compelling.
But that is the exact reason people who ARE offended will give you, to explain their offense. It’s an archive of what they consider their most personal, most witty and most clever one-liners. Ipso facto, if you don’t like the tweets, you don’t like them.
And a lot of the time they would probably be right.
But not always. My friend, Tits McGee, loves her family. She says they are hilarious. Funnier than her. Which is hard, ‘cause she’s a fucking riot. But on twitter, they are a bunch of twats. In the gaping vagina sense, not as in term of endearment for Tweeps.
Some people I quite enjoy in person, irritate the tits out of me on Twitter. Some people I don’t know, who I’ve followed out of interest or, the worst, obligation, annoy the tits out me. The reasons vary. Either way, it’s nothing personal.
So the next question is, what makes these tweets annoying?
The agreed upon Twitter Commandments (below) apply. I agree wholeheartedly with them. (incidentally compiled by Tits McGee.) But an infrequent offender wont warrant an unfollow.
My personal peeves?
Your personal shit, all day long. Yes, this includes divulging every meal. It includes mentioning doctors appointments, gym sessions, how hot your trainer is, how hot your trainer says you are, the texture of your dog’s poop, how sweet your boyfriend is. How you feel every morning. Yes, if it’s a mind-blowing incident, a total rarity, totally got you by surprise - something other people will find interesting: BALLS TO THE WALLS, comrade! Go ahead. Of course Twitter has a personal element - it’s an opinion forum. But I don’t think anyone in a followers shoes, wants to know ‘what you’re up to’ via your Twitter platform. Jesus. Now stop it.
I must reiterate: retweeting compliments. Of any kind. Including Follow Fridays. The level of awesomery that needs to be present in a compliment-tweet needs to be scale-tipping before it’s acceptable. It makes you look like an insecure poes, who wants to show people who already kinda like you, that you are even more amazing than they thought - “LOOK! This guy said it!”
Very clearly trying to pretend to be shit cool on twitter is also very sad. Especially when I’ve met you in person, and already know who you are. You can tell those 200 people that you’re a total “bad ass bitch”, but I know you’re not. So, you see, I’m compelled, through a want of authenticity (or being better at faking it), to unfollow you.
Then there’s simply showing me your real personality through your tweets. If you’re a giant douchebag (without the irony and humour), or a snotty bitch, or an opionated bitch without the ability to form those opinions - chances are, I’ll unfollow you. But then you have every right to take it personally. Ha!
The Twitter Commandments (as written by Tits McGee) on Izandaba.com
Twitter – a social landmine of sexual innuendo, gratuitous swearing, political mockery and the wittiest banter one can revel in online. It is not without it’s obstacles though. One false move is all it takes to become a social media pariah. We’ve asked the people in the know -good ole-fashioned, red-blooded tweeters- for their pet hates and number one twitter rules. I give you the Twitter Commandments. And remember… get these wrong and we will be judging you. Ha! I’m kidding.
(… I’m not)
What Would Twitter Do?
1.) Thou shalt not RT your #FollowFridays nor thank every new follower – An incredibly valid point given that you’re retweeting reasons to follow you to people who already do. New comers don’t need a personalised hello, this is not the royal variety performance and you are not the Queen. (via @staceywest24 @mishtothed @real_maverick @stuarthobbs @liliradloff)
2.) Thou shalt not treat twitter as an instant message service, making idle chitchat as to how fellow tweeters are doing – We mainly join twitter to indulge in inappropriate banter. Polite conversation throws us off, like seeing your cousin at an orgy. (via @amg133 @brionyfickling @ncallegari)
3.) Thou shalt not request a follow nor sulk when it doesn’t come about – This is basically screaming into a crowded room “SOMEBODY PLEASE FIND ME INTERESTING.” (via @arcona68 @crustyww)
4.) Thou shalt not twitpic meals – Look, we all eat, and we mostly eat things we like so we’re very seldomly impressed that you, too, have managed to feed yourself. Unless you have both killed and prepared a unicorn, there’s very little draw here. (via @ncallegari @daring_dieter)
5.) Thou shalt not be self-righteous. Unfollowing is your twitter-given right – We’ve all been there. Something someone has said has called up the raging feminist/veggie/hippie/religious martyr inside of us and inspired us to start a public debate (read: lynching). Rather than rile yourself up and risk a serious backlash of abuse, glide on over to the unfollow button and calm the eff down. (via @PennyHaw)
6.) Thou shalt not RT compliments or simply mere mentions of one’s name – “Hi, I am self indulgent and like people to see that other people like me so as to reassure everyone that I am, in fact, fabulous.” (via @kimschulze @brionyfickling @ncallegari @bertiboy @jacquesafro)
7.) Thou shalt not use Twitlonger. 140 characters is what you get and 140 characters is what you will use. – Confining brilliance to 140 characters is seriously an art. Also, no one ever bothers to click through to see the rest of your ramble anyway. (via @MsFrankieB)
8.) Thou shalt not have an egg avatar – Well, thou shant. (via @Sourz22)
9.) Thou shalt not tweet someone else’s material without crediting – a douche move, and one that you’re most likely going to be called out on. (via @princess_dom @andreas_spath)
10.) Thou shalt not use text speak – no. seriously. NEVER use text speak. Replacing “th” with “d” is not a cunning save of characters but rather a display of grammatical retardation. (via @pixelslave10)
@BarryTuck: Thou shalt not use @CharlieSheen’s name in vain.
Twitter is a platform to express whatever you want in what ever way you want to express it. Just make sure you do it right.
(Thank you for all your feedback. #thoushaltnot was trending in South Africa at 11.30am on 29 March)