Thar Be Stalkers: Twitter

I got unfollowed by someone on Twitter yesterday and it was one of my [social media] week’s high-lights.

Every now and then, not too often thank God, someone comes along that crosses the boundaries of “social media chatty” and begins verging on “stalkerish.”

I’m lucky to have always had a pretty engaging audience. I usually have about 25 to 75 mentions or interactions a day, and have had way more periodically, which is quite flattering to me. A lot of folks will engage me regularly, several times a week, or even once/twice a day, and that’s awesome! I love to have those kinds of touching-base interactions.

Still, let’s face it. I’m definitely an acquired taste on The Twitter, and that’s fine by me and the folks who’ve acquired said taste. I get unfollowed daily by a lot of people, but the follows almost always outweigh the departed. Thank goodness! You LIKE me! Or someone does.

When, like me, you make a point of talking about your life’s minutiae and you put your foibles and foolishness out there for others to get a chuckle out of, it’s sort of natural to develop a friend-like bond with some of your followers.

People don’t turn to my feed for social media prowess, marketing tips, or news aggregating. They tune into my shit to see what I’m cooking, whose ass it is I’m tearing a strip off of, or where I’m cycling to, what I’m watching, and whatnot. They tune into the stupid, boring everyday things I do in my life. For some deluded reason, they think I’m interesting.

And it ain’t for everyone, thank god.

But for those whom it works for, it’s a fun two-way street when I get people reacting to things, sharing their take on my ridiculous happenings, and all that. It’s fun, and it’s probably the best part of Twitter.

Sometimes, though, it can be the worst part.

The fact is, unlike some real estate agent or marketing guru, I’m on Twitter for kicks. I’m there to record mini-me moments of my life, as much for my own sake as I do it for my followers.

And like I say, now and then a “stalkerish” type comes up. I’m sure they don’t perceive themselves as stalkers, but it can come off the wrong way when I’m getting 10 or 15 tweets from the same person on a daily basis. And I don’t mean in a conversational-type way. I mean, I tweet about eating spaghetti and the person will then tell me about their spaghetti, then in an hour I comment on a show, and the person then has a reaction to that too.

Whatever the marketing types are telling you about Twitter being an “ongoing conversation,” it’s ALL LIES, BITCH. It’s not a conversation! It’s zillions of one-liners flinging by in the night.

I’m not speaking to one person when I tweet, I’m throwing it out there into the cosmos for the world. I don’t want to have an ongoing everyday conversation with the same follower that I don’t even follow back.

It sounds cunty, but Twitter isn’t my JOB. Despite that, I’ve always prided myself on my level of engagement. I do try to reply to most people. I don’t answer stupid questions anymore, is one of the ways I’ve reduced the intrusion into “me time.” (Yes, Virginia, there are stupid questions. Google that shit!)

There are days, too, when I’m just too busy to be polite and responsive, and I never feel the need to apologize for it, because life happens and social media is just a thing we do in between moments of life. Or at least that’s how I do it, and if people have an issue with that, the unfollow button’s right there, man.

Imagine, though, if all 5,000 of my followers were to send me 15 tweets a day like Said Stalker was. That’d be 75,000 mentions a day. I like the 25–75 mentions better — from a variety of good souls. I like bantering with the odd folk who reply to my tweets with funny stories, interesting viewpoints, or even just to tell me I’m being a dork about something. Dialogue’s great.

What’s my point here?

Just remember that, for many of us, Twitter is a distraction, something fun we do for whatever demented reason we do it. When you expect things of us — or ask silly questions you could Google, or “demand” recipes, or do forced “Have a great week” tweets where you list 10 people you’re kissing ass of, including us — you’re taking the fun out of Twitter.

If you’re replying to the same people all the time and their interest or replies have waned, you may have crossed the line and become Twitter-clingy, something like the boyfriend or girlfriend who always texts you when you’re supposed to be playing with your other friends. This is a good time to look out in the world for OTHER people to follow AS WELL as that person you’ve found fascinating.

Fact is, there are zillions of amazing personalities with fantastic content on Twitter. Famous authors who actually have something to say, fascinating political minds, comics who put consistently funny material out there, and even just normal people with brilliant minds tweeting on all manner of topics.

Wanna have more fun with Twitter and be less of a stalker? Ditch your feeling of obligation when it comes to reading content. You don’t need to read EVERY tweet by someone in order to follow. Just add their stuff to your stream and skim it. Enjoy it when you have time.

But stop thinking that any one Twitter personality is there to be your friend. Stop believing that just because you like their content that you could be buddies in real life. Stop expecting more from the relationship.

Start realizing that it isn’t a “person” you’re getting attracted to or fascinated by — it’s their CONTENT. You have no right to their time. You simply have the privilege of enjoying their creations.

Enjoy the tweets, and comment now and then, and everyone will be happy.

NOTE: Pretty sure my “invasive stalker” count’s down around, oh, zero right now. That I know of. Which is preferred to actually knowing one is being stalked. Ignorance IS bliss!

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