Twitter - Ur Doin' it wrong, or am I

I've been in a bit of a running feud with someone on Twitter lately that finally, hopefully came to a conclusion last night. I'm not gonna name names or anything, but I thought I'd share the story today and hopefully get some feedback from some of the folks in my "social media community," i.e. you.

When I first used Twitter I'm not sure I knew exactly what it was. What I did know was that it was helping to create or maybe even re-create a community. This is a community in which I've become quite active. It's a community I like to protect.

This is how my Twitter feud, (Twued?) started.

I noted one day that one of the folks I was following, (because he had followed me, but that's another discussion entirely) was posting the same information over and over and over. "Read my blog post here. Read my blog post there. Read my blog posts everywhere. Hey, you didn't read my blog posts yet. Read my blog post here. Read my blog post there. Read my blog posts everywhere..." ad-infinitum.

I also noted that he had almost no @replies in his tweet stream. I tried to interact with him. He answered me hours later, (I am not exaggerating) despite the fact that he continued to promote his blog posts.

I call folks like him, broadcasters.

While I think it's cool when folks share their blog posts on Twitter and I do it myself. I don't like to feel like their content is being shoved down my throat like a commercial, and when I interact with them, and know that they are still on as it were I don't like to feel like I'm in line for help with tech support.

If someone wants to share something and posts it a few times in a day to make sure all of their followers see it, that's one thing. To post it hourly or more - to me is just overkill.

The whole idea of social media is right there in the title - social.

So I sent this gentleman a direct message. I thought I was very polite.

"No offense, if I unfollow, but you tweet the same things over & over & you're not very interactive.Just have different purposes here I guess"

He replied, (almost two hours later) with back to back messages -

" offense Jim........i have a global audience so i try 2 accomodate all time zones......i will reduce my tweets ............and hopefully i won't have ppl asking where my content is............i will try : )"

I thought that sounded kinda egotistical, but hey we all have egos so I thought, "Well that's cool. I'll give it a chance."

I even replied to one of his tweets about his blog post on how to fix the shanks, (golf term). I paraphrased a line from the movie Tin Cup which I'm fairly certain most golfers have seen. Apparently, though he blogged about golf regularly he had not.

I didn't understand that, but I didn't hold it against him.

His tweet stream was lively with @replies for about a day. He cut his broadcasting to about half for about the same amount of time. That didn't last long though and after awhile he was right back to it.

A few days later I decided his content was clogging up my tweet stream enough so I sent him a message and unfollowed him. I'm not the social media police, and I realize that we all come to these tools with different purposes so I tried again, to remain polite.

"Thanks for trying. I'm going to leave it at that. Different purposes here. Take care."

Shortly thereafter, he unfollowed me. End of story right? Eh, not so fast.

Two days ago, he started following me again. This started this exchange.

Me: Following you just long enough to figure out why you are following me again. Some kind of "autofollow" tool?

Him: ..........yea i think so............but am not sure : )

Me: You're not sure if you use an autofollow tool? Really?

Him: ......Jim.....i've got a lot going on....if ur not interested in my tweets......just's just that simple : )

Me: I think people like you destroy social media. Nothing more than broadcasters, a detriment to the community & you know jack about golf.

When I had posted that reply I unfollowed him, and blocked him. How can you be so detached from these tools that you aren't even sure how you are connecting?

Within the hour he was following me again. No, I am not kidding. At this point - I was definitely finished with him, didn't want to engage in any further debate. I had expressed my opinion. He had shown his indifference. Whatever he was back for couldn't have been good.

In my regular tweet stream I said this:

@Him Not sure what your agenda is, but I'd really rather you stopped following me. Sooner rather than later would be nice. Thanks.

I have to say I'm coming away from this whole experience with some disappointment. I have discussed this with other Twitter users who I think "get it."

Twitter and all of these social media tools are used, and can be effective in a number of ways, but one thing I think we might all agree on is that social is the key word here. It's about building the community. It's about building relationships.

I was discussing this with RickWDavies on Twitter last week and he gave a fair assessment when he said

"I can send news, chat, make friends or even make sales with my social media accounts. I especially enjoy the chat (like ours)."

I thought that was pretty good, but my friend SethSimonds said something even better today.

"To me, a "follow" on twitter is an agreement to walk down the same street and genuinely smile when you look my way."

I've always liked Seth's take on Twitter. He puts so much emphasis on relationships in fact that he once unfollowed 45,000 folks so that he could reassess and make his follows count for something.

I couldn't agree more.

What do you think?


Fancy Nancy said...

Agreed! I unfollowed a slew of people that I wasn't "chatting" with semi-regularly. It is all about the social aspect for me. I only have 20 tweeters and like it that way. I am no longer going CRAZY trying to look at everything all the time. It is more fun to chat when I feel like it!

largesse said...

I'm with you--Twitter is about relating to people.

On the other hand, I do follow some news "broadcasters" like NPR and NYT (with whom I do not interact), just so I can see the headlines. But I follow those sites knowing that the conversation is going to be one way.

One thing I wondered about--how did your former follower manage to follow you again once you had blocked him? I thought that wouldn't work.

Nice post.

Cat said...

I left comments on this on FB, but I wanted to stop in a see the new layout. *looking around* very nice! Clean, easy to navigate - I give it 2 thumbs up!

Jim Brochowski said...

Fancy Nancy, Glad you are making the tools work for you and connecting on your terms. So much better than the forced follow system so many employ.

Largesse, I do follow some broadcasters, and a celebrity or two that I know I'm not going to hear much from if at all. As long as I identify those folks as people who can talk "at me," or broadcast I'm okay with that. I do think the greater emphasis should remain on the social aspect and connecting.

Cat! - Thanks for stopping by. Really appreciated the discussion on FB on this originally. And - thank you for jumping over so quickly to give the new layout a look. I am grateful for the feedback.

Hope you feel better. Good luck on Monday!

twitterscripts said...

Twitter is about whatever you want.

Those that tell you what it is are wrong because there is nothing to say I am right and you are wrong.

Nate Riggs said...

It's sad that everyone has experiences like this on Twitter. But then again, how many of us have received SPAM email or telemarketing calls? Probably ever single one of us, and more than once to boot.

With any new communication medium, there will be white hat and black hat practitioners. Nothing we can do about that except stick to our morals and personal communication philosophy, I guess.

What I do know is that the life span of these "black hat" communicators is MUCH shorter than those who are communicating with the the intention of adding value to the community and each and every relationship they develop...

Thanks for sharing the experience Jimmer. Great stuff! :)

Jim Brochowski said...

Nate - I'm pretty sure your summary was better than my blog post.

I'm very fortunate to have you to learn from.

Thank you!