Thursday, January 8, 2009

Twitter Litter

Twitter Litter
noun
1. Scattered rubbish posted by tweeters on Twitter
2. A condition of disorder on Twitter caused by useless tweets
3. Propaganda spread on Twitter by egocentric tweeters


I follow a variety of people on Twitter. Some folks follow me in return, some don't. Some have thousands of followers, some have only a few. Some tweet often, others go days without tweets. I often find great links to much needed information or enjoy a friendly "hello" from someone I've met online.

As I perused tweets one evening, I came across a comment by someone ranking high in their number of followers. It seems they had gotten some unkind remarks from another tweeter and were goading more reaction. I followed links to responses and figured out the tiff between egos. Admittedly, I got voyeuristic pleasure from watching the public lobs yet I also realized I was following someone merely because they are a noted guru of social media. This person has not provided any useful information for me yet I follow because others continually comment on his popularity and knowledge.

Why are we compelled to follow the herd instead of our instincts? I suppose I fear missing some great epiphany from this almighty and powerful tweeter however if he did happen to drop a morsel worthy of nibbling, I'd miss it because I don't do anything to track his tweets. Maybe I follow, assuming that thousands of others must have a valid reason that I am overlooking.

Whether it's Twitter or other networking sites, we should consider our own needs and not those of popular opinion. If someone is leaving an abundance of Twitter litter on your page, toss them in the trash and avoid the litter bugs. Follow someone that is going to lead you in a positive direction.

8 comments:

  1. Interesting that you chose to articulate a sentiment that I had quasi-developed, but which had not been fully crystallized.

    I believe that I sent you a link to the Twitter subscriber who generated a paper on the marketing potential of Twitter. What I found most interesting was the reference to the manner in which the brain works and how Twitter simulates it.

    I find myself gravitating to certain tweets that provide instantaneous info of value, and not taking the time to view others. Just like in life.

    Nice piece. Very nice.

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  2. Thanks for the input! I too usually gravitate to tweets that have clarity, a useful link or a morsel of identifiable information. On occasion, I will pick up on a conversation if I am following both participants. Or, if one side is making unusual remarks, then I'll click the link to find out what they are talking about. Generally, I want it simple, I want it quick and it needs something to grab my attention. As you say, "just like in life" we all are so busy with so many things we don't have time (or allow ourselves the time) to chase obscure clouds.
    Which reminds me of another Twitter peeve - Some folks are using an application from FriendFeed (I believe) and they will make a statement "John wrote a great blog about yadda yadda" and there's a link. I click on the link hoping to find this great article but instead see the same post but on the tweeter's FriendFeed page. Without more info or a VALID link, the tweet is useless to me and becomes "Twitter Litter."

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  3. What I've learned is that those Tweeters who are saying, "hey follow this person" are usually doing it because they want that person to return the "hey follow this person" favor. It reminds me of the early days of blogging when we built each other up by blogging about each other and cross-linking to each other's blogs.

    I don't follow everyone who follows me. I don't follow MLMers who follow me and I don't follow people who do nothing but post links to their blog, but never actually engage anyone in conversation. I'll even block those people sometimes.

    I don't follow most of the self-proclaimed Twitter rockstars. They annoy me. It reminds me of men who walk around constantly bragging about their penis size. They rarely actually talk to their followers, unless you're another self-proclaimed rockstar. Most of the time, they're cross-promoting each other or tweetin' about whatever conference they're attending. And when a Tweeter really needs their help in gettin' the word out about an important cause, they almost never help with a retweet - unless you're another self-proclaimed rockstar.

    I blocked most of the Twitter Moms/Mommy bloggers who do nothing but pitch baby products all day. Let them preach to each other.

    I'm bothered by the Tweeters who claim there's a certain way you should use Twitter - and if you do anything other than that you're doing it wrong.

    What I DO like about Tweeter: meeting new people who have interests different than my own. I learn a lot from them. I also get a lot of my blogging ideas from the people I follow. I find a lot of my radio show guests through Twitter. Twitter has become an invaluable tool for me.

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  4. Iris and Genia:

    Iris, I found your original post to be interesting in that although I had some preferences among, and reactions to, various tweeters, I really had not thought of it in terms of annoyances or dislikes. As I indicated, I had not crystallized that.

    Upon reading Genia's comment, that notion of subjective appreciation gained even more depth. I guess that's why they refer to it as "social networking."

    Just read a book recently about the significance in society of these tools. Interesting stuff, how people perceive the use of technological tools.

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  5. Respect seems to be the bottom line here - respect for those you follow and respect for those that follow you. Social pleasantries apply in the technological atmosphere even though some would consider them archaic and would rather toss them aside like a rotary phone. The Twitter "rock stars" to use Genia's phrase, are like the people who talk loudly on cell phones in public - demanding attention, ignoring everyone around them and spouting useless blather! Thanks for following and for the comments!

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  6. Did you see many New Year Resolutions on Twitter? I do not recall seeing many, which is interesting in light of its social function.

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  7. So very true. As Walt Whitman once wrote, "Dismiss whatever insults your own soul".
    I follow who I feel enriches me on twitter, either by making me laugh, leading me towards knowledge, or offering reciprocal friendship.

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  8. Good points, Zed! I agree and appreciate your input. Good to have you here!

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