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Dont Be That Guy: The Twitter Edition

January 28, 2011

Don’t Be That Follower Whore. Nobody likes a tweeter who asks, begs, bargains and trolls for more followers. Nobody cares how many followers you have. I promise you, nobody cares how many followers you have. They care whether you have something interesting to say. People are more likely to unfollow you rather than follow you if you keep begging for those 2, 5, 17 followers that will bring you up to a nice round number that again, nobody cares about. The only person that knows or cares how many followers you have is you, so stop wasting time asking for followers and think about whether your Twitter feed is of any value to the followers you actually have.

Don’t Be That Follower Observer. Everybody hates that person who worries about who unfollowed you and why. It’s needy, which is likely a reason why they unfollowed you in the first place. And nobody cares how many followers you have.

Don’t Be That Tweeter Who Asks For Links And Retweets. If someone thinks something is worth sharing, they’ll do it. If they don’t share it, they probably didn’t think it was worth sharing. The good news is, just like nobody cares how many followers you have, nobody cares how many times your recap of last night’s game got retweeted.

A couple of weeks ago I asked a friend to help share information about two cats that needed a home, and even though the end goal was to prevent the cats from having to be put down by the SPCA, I felt really disgusted with myself for asking. She happily obliged without a word, of course, and it was a great help to me, but I will never do it again. It’s just… ugh. Really, don’t be that guy.

Don’t Be That Twitter Ingrate. Nothing’s worse than someone who doesn’t appreciate links and retweets. I used to make it a point to personally thank everyone who shared my posts but with all the Tweet Buttons and different Twitter clients, I find it impossible to know who passed my ramblings on. However, a ‘thank you’ for people’s support will go a long way… a long way further than, “Dude, you crashed my server” for sure. If they took the time to share it, thank them.

Don’t Be That Tweeter Who Retweets Or Mentions Eklund. Twitter should have an auto-unfollow for this.

Don’t Be That Twitter Crazy. Look, we’re all busy, lazy people. If I interact with you but am taking my sweetass time following you, there’s no reason to lose your temper and freak out at everyone about it. It’s just Twitter, for Koivu’s sake. Be nice.

Don’t Be That Twitter Stalker. Every once in while you start following someone whose awesome Twitter feed you just discovered and you end up talking to them a lot for a couple of days. It happens. But everything they say does not need a response from you, I promise, especially after that Twitter honeymoon period is over. When you get compliments, appreciate them, but when someone responds to everything you say with how brilliant you are it’s either insincere or creepy.

Don’t Be That Live-Tweeter. Live tweets of anything are overwhelming and all they do is clog up people’s Twitter feeds. If it’s a sports game, the people who care about the score are probably following the official Twitter feed of one team or the other, so they know the score, they know who’s in the penalty box, they know what that dick Carcillo just did. No need to give them a play-by-play. Unless you have an opinion or joke to share, we all already know what happened. If it’s To Catch A Predator… seriously, why are you live-tweeting this?

Also, nobody cares how many followers you have.

This is a big one: Don’t Be That RTer. You know the one I am talking about. First of all, everybody is following Bob McKenzie. There is no need to retweet Bob McKenzie announcing a trade. Second, if you must do it, USE THE FUCKING RETWEET BUTTON IT’S THERE FOR A REASON. Nothing is more annoying that seeing the same tweet over and over and over and over again in your feed, and the only addition to it has been the letters ‘R’ and ‘T’.

Related: don’t tweet news you didn’t break. If Bob McKenzie said someone cleared waivers don’t tweet the same thing and pretend you’re the one that’s been watching the waiver wire all day.

Also, there’s a Reply button for a reason, and Twitter hides replies between people you’re not following for a reason. If someone specifically asks you if you’re going to the thing, don’t RT and add yes. Just reply. If someone tells Twitter they found the thing they’ve been looking for for the last four weeks, don’t RT it just to add WOOHOO. Just reply.

RT should be used in moderation. If I’m sharing somebody’s blog post I will often go that route and tell people it’s hilarious, or the must-read of the day, or informative, or whatever. If something’s funny on its own, I use the Retweet button. Sometimes I’ll RT someone’s tweet so I can add a joke or opinion.  That’s fine. But everything does not need to be RTed, I promise.

Oh, by the way, nobody cares how many followers you have.

Don’t Be That Twitter Egomaniac. Don’t ever retweet yourself or mentions of you. If I follow you but not your fake Tyler Bozak account, it’s because I don’t want to know what your fake Tyler Bozak account is up to, so stop retweeting it. If I read your food blog but not your fishing blog, it’s because I don’t care about fishing, so stop retweeting your fishing blog account. As for the mentions of you – unless you’re being made fun of and it’s funny and you want to share it with people don’t retweet mentions of you. When someone retweets compliments what they’re basically doing is waving their doucheflags.

And finally, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY (BY THAT I MEAN BACON AND HOCKEY), QUIT YOUR FUCKING TWITTER WHINING. Look, we all have bad days. My entire spring, summer and fall were an endless string of bad days. I have been guilty of Twitter whining, as has everyone else. Just yesterday I tweeted that I was having a bad day at work. But nobody likes a constant whiner. Nobody. Once in a while you lose it and tell Twitter you’re having a shitty week at work, or something, and we’re all fine with it. But everything you do every day doesn’t need to be dipped in whine then tweeted. Negativity is unsexy, pessimism is unsexy, whininess is unsexy, complaining is unsexy. You know what’s sexy? Intelligent opinions, sharp wit, friendly banter and brilliant humour. To recap: whining=unsexy.

There you have it. If I ever do any of the above, please call me on it. And remember. Nobody cares how many followers you have. Nobody cares how many followers you have. Nobody.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2011 11:02 am

    AMEN sister – thank you!

  2. January 28, 2011 11:12 am

    Simply outstanding.

    I think I’d reevaluate my twitter pet peeves to make your last point – whining – to the top of my list. Twitter is not a couch for you to lie on and tell the world your troubles. Like you said, once in a while is fine; we all have awful days or acute awful incidents worth getting off one’s chest. But there are FAR, FAR too many people who see it necessary to tell the world about every single bit of adversity they face.

    Begging for followers and RTing media are my new #2 and #3 peeves.

    Thank you for this.

    I’d give you another standing O, but frankly my feet hurt from applauding your posts so much. Just assume I’m standing and cheering, ok?

  3. January 28, 2011 11:12 am

    So very, very, tempted to write how many followers I have but I am holding back. LOL. Seriously though, I enjoyed the read. Good post.

  4. January 28, 2011 11:42 am

    You know, I still keep thinking about this list, and *shock*! I have another couple of thoughts!

    Another pet peeve of mine is people who chastize or slam other fellow twitterers, but don’t have the chutzpah to say it to the person in question. Some veiled swipes are so obvious at who they’re directed to that it’s embarrassing to the person doing the swiping. Get a spine and say it to the person’s “face”, or don’t say it at all.

    Secondly, I think for those of us who joined twitter a couple years ago, it was a lot easier to gain followers when twitter was a giant love-in and people had some vague notion of the “etiquette” of twitter. Now it’s as mainstream and the 6:00 news and 200 million people are on board. You’d think that would mean it would be easier to get followers with all these extra people, but I think it is harder for new people to build a following these days. Still, begging is a no-no.

  5. SensDew19 permalink
    January 28, 2011 11:52 am

    That Eklund line was pure gold and so glad my music posting aren’t bothering anyone :p Another great post

  6. January 28, 2011 12:02 pm

    Preach on.

  7. Chels permalink
    January 28, 2011 1:11 pm


  8. smalrus permalink
    January 28, 2011 6:22 pm

    Two weeks back, I developed a research idea that is based along much of what you’ve said. Don’t now have time to pursue the idea, but keep this post in mind when I come back in a few years asking for interviews on it.

  9. January 29, 2011 5:23 pm

    Laura, i told you i would comment on your blog so here we go.

    First of all, each and everyone of your followers can probably identify themselves in at least one of subjects you’ve mentioned above in your article above. Sure, so far, everyone has congratulated you on this post in the comments, but have you taken the time to stop and think at how many people you might have offended?

    Although I can truly and honestly say that I can sometimes be bothered by some of the subjects above, at the same time, I am guilty of others, and I really don’t see what the big deal of all of it is in the end.

    So what somebody retweeted Bob McKenzie? So what somebody mentioned Eklund? So what somebody has 595 followers and ask for a little help to get to 600? Are these things we really have to worry about today? Aren’t there other issues that require a lot more attention then these?

    I just find the tone a little condescending, as if there were a code of conduct everybody should employ on twitter. Aren’t we all taught at a young age to be ourselves in life? To not let others dictate to us how we should be? To tolerate and accept?

    I respect you all, but I would never impose expectations on you. I’ve chosen to follow you on twitter, I know how you are, and I respect you on your good and on your bad days.

    Kyle: I won’t tip toe around, i’ve had several people DM me to say “you had taken a shot at me in theactivestick’s post”. If that pet peeve in your second comment is about me, then please have the chutzpahs to tell it to my face as you so well put it. If it wasn’t about me, my apologies.

    You now have my opinion on the subject, as far as I’m concerned, we simply have different opinions on the subject in question, and I hope we can all still get along.

    • theactivestick permalink*
      January 30, 2011 9:12 pm

      Thanks for your comments, Steve.

      First of all, I identify MYSELF in each and every one of the things I mentioned. We all do these things at one time or another. What we’re saying is don’t make the above things pretty much the sole content you provide. As Kyle said, there is absolutely a “Twitter etiquette” – but a lot of people choose to ignore it, which is fine until the things that annoy people become the sole focus of your Twitter account.

      Whatever happened to sharing original thoughts and being part of the conversation? I chose to follow the people I follow for a reason and I just want that reason back.

      I’m not saying don’t be yourself, and I’m also not trying to impose anything on anyone. It’s not up to me to tell people how to behave. This is just my opinion, and a collection of complaints I’ve been seeing lately. All we’re saying is it’s possible to be yourself by hitting the retweet button instead of going the “RT” way, and I highly doubt that any of us in our real lives go around asking people to follow us.

      As for the issues that require a lot more attention than these, there are always issues that require more attention than whatever’s on our minds or whatever we’re talking about. Always. And to be honest, I find it way more condescending when people bring things like that up in the middle of a conversation about something that’s less important in the grand scheme of things.

      I’m not particularly a fan of unfollowing people I talk to or started following for a reason, which is why I’d just like some of the thoughts and ideas back in my Twitter timeline versus the “I WANT MOAR FOLLOWERS” stuff.

  10. January 29, 2011 6:18 pm

    Everyone has probably committed at least one of the mistakes above at one point or another.

    There is absolutely, unequivocally a “twitter etiquette”. There has been from the beginning and there are a zillion blog posts documenting it. Whether people choose to follow it, or even acknowledge its existence is another issue. Since there’s no regulated authority, it’s easy to flip the bird at the established guidelines and take a “it’s a free world, don’t tell me what to do” stance. At one point everyone that got on board took time to get acquainted with the do’s and don’ts. Not many do now.

    It doesn’t have to be stark black and white, but there is a balance to be found, and what people need to do is consider the time of others. I try to be selective about who I follow, and given that the number now approaches 1000 people, I’m drinking in a lot of content. I don’t think it’s out of line to be annoyed that 100 people retweet Bob McKenzie when everyone on twitter for hockey-related reasons follows Bob McKenzie. It doesn’t make one lick of common sense. This is one of the mistakes I made once upon a time, before realizing that everyone is seeing the same tweet from him as I am. I wasn’t doing anybody any favours; they had all seen the tweet themselves. Unless someone is adding something of value to the tweet, it should not be retweeted if somebody like McKenzie is saying it.

    As for begging for followers, why would anybody want followers that had to be rounded up like cattle? The purpose of “follow friday” is to, theoretically, introduce everyone to everyone so that we can all be one happy family, forever and ever, amen. I don’t understand why anybody would want follwers when they had to beg for them. It’s a bit like when your mom told your older brother to let you play with him. Why would you want to be somewhere that you weren’t wanted?

    These all seem like innocuous, innocent things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, and you’re right. If twitter disappeared tomorrow, I doubt any of us would lose a moment’s rest. But when you have a twitter stream that’s clogged with the same RT, people whining that they stepped in a puddle, or that they have a stinky co-worker, requests for RTs, and followers, what’s the point of the whole thing? The simple answer, some would suggest, is to unfollow all of those people. But that’s not smart. What is smart is to use twitter for what it is intended for: add value to conversations.

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