I’ve been feeling a bit guilty lately. It seems I have bad manners (on Twitter at least), and I’m a little worried I might have offended you.
You see, I’ve heard a lot – from people I really respect – about the importance of thanking people on Twitter. For following. For retweets. For Follow Friday nods.
And the thing is… I don’t do that.
It’s not that I’m grumpy or callous, you understand. It just never occurs to me.
You see, the way I use social media – and Twitter in particular – is mostly to gather, hoard and sometimes share good stuff. I follow people because they might have something interesting to tweet, and if I RT a tweet it’s because I think my followers might want to see it. And I forget that others don’t seem to use it the same way.
In short: I hope if you follow me on Twitter it’s because I’m worth following.
Not out of friendship or duty. But because I add a certain something to your timeline – whether it’s interest, amusement, raw sexual magnetism or (as with my intermittent following of @PiersMorgan) simply a healthy dose of JUST PLAIN WRONG to give a bit of balance.
That’s what I aim for, anyway. (Well, not so much the last one, but I’ll take what I can get.)
OK, OK. So occasionally I do go off on one. Sometimes I witter on about running or football, get caught up in a hashtag game or hurl random abuse at George Lucas. But overall I try to be good value (and now George has sold Star Wars I’ll have a bit less to rant at him about).
One of the (many) beauties of Twitter is the way you can cultivate your timeline like a garden – planting and pruning to give you whatever mix of opinion, insight, information and cute ninja kitten pictures you so desire. And if you fancy ringing the changes, it’s as easy as changing a few follows.
I guess what I’m saying is that IT’S NOTHING PERSONAL. If I don’t follow you, it doesn’t mean I don’t like you. And vice versa, actually.
If I retweeted you, it’s because I thought my followers might like your tweet. I’m doing them a favour, not you. So I always find it a bit confusing if you thank me for it.
There are a few exceptions, of course. Such as…
1. I’ll try to thank you if you’ve answered a particular question or request. Failing to say “thanks” for that is just plain churlish.
2. It’s a charity campaign, or otherwise something where an RT has been requested (for a good reason other than the kick-assness of the tweet itself).
3. I’m really bliddy starstruck by a follower (well hello, @MCHammer).
4. The Follow Friday mention said something really nice.
5. Conversations using @ mentions. Those are excluded from everything, especially the whole “being good value” thing. This is where social media gets social. You don’t have to watch them, you know.
In summary, I don’t expect to be thanked or followed back by every account I follow or retweet. But I’m afraid that means often I don’t think to thank or follow back either. And I’m aware that might make me seem rude. This is social media, after all.
So, I’m declaring open season.
If I’ve upset you with my callous disregard for your carefully crafted retweet; if you’re still seething at my high-handed arrogance in accepting your ringing #FF endorsement without comment; if my failure to follow back has left you feeling rejected and alone… you have my permission to leave your most inventive insults in the comment box below.