In Phil Baumanns‘s piece, “Why I Unfollowed Myself on Twitter — Not Your Daddy’s Unfollow Post”, for the blog Punk Views on Social Media, he talks about motivation to follow on Twitter in a very tongue-and-cheek way. I won’t recap his piece; because, I think it is worth reading in full and visiting the Punk Views on Social Media blog. But with any good writer and topic, Phil got me thinking.
Would you follow you on Twitter?
I posed that question on Twitter and I didn’t get a response. Maybe it was a bad time to pose a question; it was 6pm and folks could have been in transit home or eating dinner. Or maybe folks didn’t know the answer to the question or didn’t want to answer. But it does deserve some thought.
I’ve been contemplating recently my relationship with Twitter. I’ve found I’ve been missing something. And that is conversation. A connection with people. Don’t get me wrong I’ve made some great friends over the three years I’ve been on Twitter. In that time though, I’ve watched the conversation slowly die out. In back channels, I talked about this with friends and they feel the same way. It isn’t very social anymore. We can blame it on people wanting to get in on the action by marketing and selling by just broadcasting instead of building relationships. I’ve said this before and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last time either, but it has become all about collection not connection.
I looked at my Tweet stream. It was a good bit of sharing content I think is interesting and worthwhile as well as thoughts and observations about my daily life and the world around me. What I noticed was not a lot of interaction with others. While tweets were re-tweeted (and thank you for that to those who do), there wasn’t a whole lot of discussion or interaction. I miss that. The only word coming to mind is sad. It makes me sad.
So why do we chose to follow people on Twitter? We have some common ground. The content is interesting and useful. It is entertaining. There is some interaction and the willingness to have a two-way conversation. In other words, following this person gives you value or meets a need you have. If the interaction isn’t meeting any of the previously stated, then why are you following? And the answer shouldn’t be because everyone else is or that you’re chasing an elusive score.
I’m on the fence if I’d follow me. And I’m not happy about writing that sentence. How about you? Would you follow you on Twitter after reviewing your stream?
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Ann Marie van den Hurk, APR, is an accredited public relations professional with over a decade experience bridging the gap between traditional public relations and emerging technologies. Need help reaching your business’s customers, call 302.563.992 to schedule an initial consultation, or contact Mind The Gap Public Relations.
It’s a great question, Ann Marie. Obviously you know my answer. I guess everybody’s gotta figure out in their own way what they bring to their own table.
Thanks, Phil! So true, everyone does need to figure where they belong at the social media table and who they wish to “dine” with so to speak.
Love that and how Phil wrote about this, Ann Marie. Yours is a great question. Would I follow me? Only on certain days, if that were possible. I’m not certain if missing conversation – and I do – is pure nostalgia (what was it really like earlier on) or if the conversations have simply evolved or moved, spread out – taking place in other venues – Facebook walls and groups, and (shocker) Google+. 140 characters is wonderful brief exchanges, a catch-up, “Hello,” which may lead to a longer 1-to-1 folow-up conversation — elsewhere, by phone/skype for example. For group discussion, Twitter chats remain a favorite haunt of mine. Initially they were both a way of discovering people with common interests and exploring topics and issues in those areas together. When focused around an article or blog post shared in advance, their success in facilitating diverse perspectives in conversation is unique. Several I’ve helped start and participated in have been the source of off line friendships, trusted professional relationships and resources. As Phil remarked here earlier, Twitter is what we make of it. It evolves as do the ways we engage with each other on its platform.
I agree with you… I’d follow me on some day while others yawn if you know what I mean.
I think I would still follow me on Twitter, but I’ve been having similar conversations to yours with friends, too. Twitter has changed. It’s become quite predictable most days and I don’t spend the time there I used to.
I’ve been on Twitter for over 5 years, longer than most people. For a long time, it was like that special hole-in-the-wall pub or restaurant where you met close friends and could talk freely and socialize without care. Now it’s more like the mall, where you’re constantly assaulted with marketing and the coolness factor is nearly nil. It’s become mainstream, which has its pluses and minuses. Mostly minuses for me. Unlike years past, I now have to worry about what I say.
Also, I find I’m not seeing Twitter people in the flesh nearly as much. We used to have lots of tweetups and other kinds of social and networking gatherings. Then people started not showing up as much. And now, it’s petered out almost altogether where I live (CT).
I think it’s basically that the novelty has worn off. We need the Next Big Thing to come along and bring all the Cool Kids, the Early Adopters, back together.
Joe, you are spot on! I loved the hole in the wall pub feel of Twitter and it has become more like a mall food court. I miss that closeness and I too miss the tweet-up. They are non-existant where I currently live and the closest is an hour plus.
Perhaps Twitter will shift back once the shine has worn off. And we can return to the pub. I’ve made an effort return to conversation. And it is working for me. I’m actually enjoying Twitter again.