twitter wars – the quality over quantity conundrum

I follow @darcytheflyinghedgehog on instagram, and one of my twitter feeds follows @common_squirrel. In spite of what logical conclusions one might draw when considering these two facts, I don’t actually have much of an interest in cute widdel animals. What I do have is an appreciation for whimsy done well, and a slight weakness for the humor borne of repetition and very little else. In a web that seems to reward narcissism before creativity, the hard sell before subtlety, it is rare to find someone doing something quietly, going about it their own way, and getting some recognition for it.

I (like every other published and other unpublished author in the world right now) am currently trying to build my twitter presence. I’m trying to do this in a high-quality way, following people whose tweets seem like they will interest me. But inevitably sometimes I choose wrong. I follow someone and their presence disrupts my feed, takes it over. When this happens, I unfollow that person. Why? Because I want to actually be able to absorb what the people I follow are posting. I want to try to connect on twitter, not just end up with bloated following and followers numbers.

Because I’ll tell you one thing: repetition is never humorous or interesting when it’s self-promotional. Since I actually try to read the tweets of the people I follow, there is nothing more annoying than reading the same tweet (buy my book! read by blog! love my product!) over and over.

Here is my short list of fatal twitter errors. These will cause me to click the unfollow button almost every time:

  • repetitive self-promotional tweets (as outlined above)
  • posting dozens of tweets in a row so that when I look at my feed, it’s all one person
  • tweets that have things in ALL CAPS – particularly when these tweets are selling something
  • frequent references to your religion and/or quotes from your holy book of choice
  • excessive re-tweeting or tweeting of links, and/or constant mundane updates (ie: I’m eating lunch!)

Some of the people I end up unfollowing have huge followers lists, numbers in the thousands. So do many of the people following them. At a glance, they are doing twitter ‘right.’ But here’s my question: How can you possibly absorb the tweets of 23,000 people? And if you’re not absorbing the tweets of the people you follow, do you think they’re paying attention to anything you say?

For me, it comes down to how I want to use twitter. It’s a platform that can so easily turn into a clamorous echo chamber of thousands of people, all trying to tweet the most and the loudest. I have no interest in this style of twittering. I am not a loud person. I know I can’t hold my own in that sort of twitter tribe.

I’ve always gone in for quality over quantity. That’s no different on twitter than anywhere else. I follow some people because their tweets are useful, others because their tweets are entertaining or interesting or thought-provoking. I follow @common_squirrel because their tweets slow me down and make me smile:

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