I’m not going to follow you on Twitter.
That is, unless you can tell my WHY I SHOULD.
I’ve never followed anyone with the hopes of getting a “follow back” and don’t whimper and cry for all of the unrequited Twitter love in my life. I simply don’t care. I don’t care if you follow me and you shouldn’t care if I follow you.
Because you’re an adult and you wear Big People Britches now.
Atherton Bartelby authored the point-blank post FOLLOW FAIL: The Top 10 Reasons I Will Not Follow You in Return on Twitter, but my rant today is going to go a little beyond the naked honesty of his concise enumeration.
My Twitter follow/follow-back equation is quite simple: if I find your content compelling, I’ll follow you or return the follow. If not, I’ll let you drive by my house every day but I’m not inviting you in for risotto.
Inviting you inside takes time and requires my attention.
My Twitter feed is my private space – my inner sanctum. I maintain it like a well-oiled machine and clean it regularly (aka – purging my follower list). I think this is good business practice and it works for me. I choose with whom I interact, whose information gets fed to me, and to whom I respond.
Twitter is the Thanksgiving spread of my social media world.
If you bite off more than you can chew on Twitter, you can get all Hollywood, go bulimic and purge anything you shouldn’t have digested in your stream. It’s the coolest, sickest social media-consumption disorder on the planet. The Purge. But unlike supermodels, we don’t all have to do it so often if we plan our Twitter streams wisely.
An analogy for you: The Dinner Party.
I’ve invited ten of my friends over for dinner. Ten folks with whom I’ll share time, wine, conversation and laughter and give of my home and my culinary labors. The menu for the evening holds risotto as part of the meal, and if you’ve ever cooked risotto you know it’s – well, it’s fussy. Well-executed, a delicious and hearty dish. The antithesis will have you executed in eateries across America.
I’m at the crucial “add broth” stage to my risotto – constant stirring is imperative,
and the phone rings.
And…the doorbell? Who the hell is at the door?
(DING!) Someone’s trying to reach me on Google Chat!
You’ve got to be kidding me. So, I answer the door with wooden spoon in one hand and cell phone in the crook of my neck…
And then the cat pukes on the living room rug.
*sigh* As if that weren’t enough, the apocalypse is apparently is nigh – my dogs have suddenly gone ape shit and there’s clawing at the back door.
At this point, I should just go ahead and give birth in the middle of my kitchen floor, because my risotto is straight fucked.
I HATE fucking up a perfectly good risotto.
My dinner party has been ruined, and all on the account of having to divide my attention between unwelcome distractions.
When I invite people into my Twitter feed, I’m offering to cook them risotto. My risotto is my brand of content, my personality, and whatever reason people have chosen to follow me. Unwanted distractions come from the feeling of obligation that rules so many on Twitter: FOLLOW ME! FOLLOW ME! I’LL FOLLOW YOUUUUUUU!
I say to hell with that.
As of the writing of this post, I follow 943 people and have 1318 followers. Not huge by any means compared to the social media giants like @chrisbrogan and @scobleizer – but enough to keep my risotto potentially Rice-a-Roni nasty. To keep my conversations on Twitter intimate (and allow ME the time to focus and produce the best risotto-like content I can), I use TweetDeck to sort my conversations. I group followers, sort by hash tag, and run searches by keyword for conversations/topics I find of interest. Throughout the day, I manage 2 Twitter accounts (one personal and one for my company) and I do the same with my company’s account as well.
The people I follow are worth my time. Shit, anyone can peep through my front drapes and see what I’m cooking for dinner but most don’t make it inside. And that’s OK – I’m betting you wouldn’t invite half your Twitter stream over for dinner, either.
So folks – really. Don’t take it personally if I don’t follow you on Twitter. Your time is as valuable as mine. Go through the people you follow – and ask yourself WHY you follow them. If there’s no more compelling a reason than purely to show the cute girl in the third row of math class that you’ve got the most crayons…maybe you’re on Twitter for the wrong reason.