Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
April 29, 2008 8:26 PM

The Trouble With Twitter - Confessions Of A Twitter Snob

"I actually had Mitch in my Twitter list, but he didn’t follow me, so I took him off. I might put him back though," says Ryan Deschamps from The Other Librarian Blog in a comment posted on the Open Stacks Blog entitled, Stepping Into Marketing. That's when it hit me: I've become a Twitter snob.

Currently, if you look at my Twitter profile page, there are 1577 followers, while I'm following only 545 people. It used to be the same number, but I've become a bit of a Twitter Snob. I found it increasingly difficult to follow many different topics of conversation from people I did not know, who were talking to (or about) other people I did not know on topics that were of no immediate interest to me.

I even removed a whackload that were in foreign languages.

Here's how I work: when someone adds me, I look to see who they are and, with the limited information or full name they provide, I try to decipher if I know them or not (some are, simply, "anonymous"). At that point, I'm checking to see if their tweets are the types of content and conversations that interests me, and then I look to see if it's someone who is following everybody, but has few (to no) followers before I pass my final judgement.

So, why did I become a Twitter Snob?

If you do, indeed, follow me on Twitter, you'll quickly realize that I only update a couple of times a day (if that), and that I hardly (more like never) respond back with the common @[inset your username here]. The reason is, if it's something directed to me, I see no reason to clog everyone else's Twitter feed, so I either direct message back or send an email. I like the idea of the open messaging and the micro-Blogging application of Twitter, but I don't kid myself into thinking that all 1577 followers care that I will indeed check out the link that someone sent me.

I also find it hard to follow every conversation. For the most part, I only really check my Twitter feed while I'm sitting in a cab or waiting for a flight. If you've tried to use Twitter off of a BlackBerry browser, you'll quickly realize how challenging that can be as well.

The trouble with Twitter (and why you can call me a "Twitter Snob") is that I'm judging whether or not to add someone based on their username, what their most recent tweets are, how many other people are following them and, if I'm lucky, maybe there's a link to a Blog which gives me more insight. I'm not sure adding in a level of authority is the solution. I am sure that if you wanted to invite me to a conversation in the real world, you would first drop me a line, let me know who you are and why it's important to connect. I'm not sure why people are offended if I don't add them, especially when they have a cryptic username, no photo, no external links, and the only tweet they have is, "have not updated yet."

I do love Twitter. I do see some amazing potential for this as a new Communication channel, but the only way to get my attention is to let me know who you really are and why we should connect. So Ryan, now I know who you are, and what you're about... look for me to be following you.

By Mitch Joel