Twittering is a skill that needs practice, you guys. I’m going to admit that I’m not that concerned about my practical Twittering skills. Years ago, back in the Dark Ages, I used to have no followers and I’d write things on Twitter and no one would give a fuck and pr0n bots would try to show me their boobs, but all that’s changed. Now, I write things on Twitter and people are all like, “Yes! How clever and wise! I shall retweet this!” and sometimes I Twitter at people and they Twitter back to me, or they Twitter at me and I Twitter back to them, and then we Twitter at each other and look! Here we are using technology to avoid normal social interaction! How fun!
But, according to some online advice columnists, who I won’t link back to because I can’t find the article now and I’m lazy, but who are on Buzzfeed (and let’s face it, Buzzfeed doesn’t need more traffic), I am doing Twitter all wrong. Here are some of the ways I’ve been fucking up at Twitter:
Not Following People Back
That’s right, I don’t follow people back. For a long time on Twitter, I followed back everyone who followed me. Then I realized that my Twitter feed was clogged with the retweets, shared links, promotional posts and pr0n bot boobs of 1200 people that I didn’t know, like, or give a crap about. I found myself re-thinking my reasons for being on Twitter, and decided that they involved having fun, meeting new people and not going mad while working from home all day.
So, several months ago, I unfollowed everyone that I hadn’t engaged with and enjoyed, plus a few by accident, and that added up to more than a thousand people, so if I unfollowed you a few months ago, this would be why.
|Sorry, but you're boring and I don't care about your life.|
It took me about three hours to sit there and go through my “following” list and remove all the peeps that I didn’t want to follow anymore, but Twitter has been so much more fun for me since I did that. Sure, my remaining followers have been slowly trickling away now that they’re not getting the ego boost of reciprocal follow-cation. Twitter is a very “what’s in it for me” place, and everyone’s convinced that having a lot of followers means something. It does not.
According to this columnist on Buzzfeed whose name I forget, hashtags on Twitter serve a purpose. They allow disparate groups of people to Twitter about the same topics and see each other’s Twitterings, by looking them up with the hashtag. You knew that. Or, if you didn’t know that, now you do, and you’re welcome.
So, apparently, we’re all supposed to stick with using the hashtags that are already popular and circulating instead of “abusing” the hashtag privilege by creating our own random hashtags that mean nothing outside of the context of our silly little heads. I guess trending hashtags are handed down by The Almighty Hashtag Tribunal instead of being flippantly created by mere peons such as ourselves.
I abuse hashtags all the time. I use them to attach my tweets to a larger colony of similarly-themed tweets Twittered by other Twitterers that I don’t even know, to organize my own tweets under categories, or to express my thoughts about the tweet even as I Twitter it. I might even use them to let somebody I’m currently Twittering with know which tweets are about what topics, since I often carry on multiple conversations with the same person(s) simultaneously.
I don’t care what anyone thinks, it’s fun, like wearing skinny jeans and using Hotmail. Even as I wrote this blog post, my Twitter friend @evilmynx and I managed to get the hashtag #sluttycat trending. It was amazing, really made me feel like I’d made a difference. But the online advice gurus claim that this practice will annoy your followers and DRIVE THEM ALL AWAY.
|And here I thought they were being eaten by zombies.|
I’m definitely not the only person who does this. It’s beginning to look like, if the advice of people who are paid to come up with advice is to be believed, I shouldn’t be looking to the other Twitterers for examples of how to Twitter. They are doing it wrong too.
Turns out that retweeting mentions of people telling you you’re awesome makes you look stuck up. It makes you look stuck up even if you copy and paste the message into a new tweet in order to convey your thanks and appreciation to the giver of praise by sending it back to them. It’s definitely not a means of saying “Thank you for saying these nice things about me” in the most convenient way possible for the other person, who might by now be sitting there wondering “What did I say again?” No, it is SHOWING OFF and it will annoy your followers and DRIVE THEM ALL AWAY.
|STRAIGHT INTO THE ARMS OF THE ZOMBIES!|
I don’t get many insults, but when I do, I retweet them. The online advice people frown at this and tell me that I’m a big ol’ meanie for escalating things like that, because it’s encouraging my followers to attack the person and the best thing to do is ignore them. Yes, I know, my grandmother gave me that advice when I came home crying about bullies in the third grade.
Ignoring the bullies does have some value, but I don’t believe in letting people use the dwindling anonymity of the Internet as a shield to stand behind whilst attacking others. If you haven’t yet clued in that the Internet is a public space and that what you say there can have a way of biting you in the ass, well, guess what. Maybe retweeting that harassing tweet will serve as a reminder.
Besides, it’s not as if I’m going all “Hey guys look at this asshole, LET’S GET HIM” every time I do this. I’m not responsible for what other people decide to do. If some of my followers decide to give him a hard time, then it’s his fault for being a douchenozzle in the first place.