So I sat there with this sick, sinking feeling in my stomach. I’m not sure exactly when or where this happened, but I remember the feeling well. I had a few minutes to break away from everything and think, and it was then that it dawned on me that I had become a total jerk.
Over the previous months, I had become so sick of all of the negatives of Twitter. The Twitter that I loved so dearly had been hijacked by selfish twitter whores, who had effectively taken the buzz word “conversation” and drilled it into a lowly grave. I was tired of looking on my feed and seeing 1-2 people dominating the front page with their incessant tweeting. And I had gotten so sick of my feed being dominated by Twitterers talking about Twitter and other social media. (No seriously, isn’t there anything else you can talk about? I mean besides promoting yourself shamelessly?) Twitter was losing its appeal fast.
So I took to the street about it – proclaiming that twitter was on its way out. I had coffee with other people who were so frustrated with the same problems that they were ready to jump on the Twitter-hate-bandwagon, too. It’s almost as if the cult of Twitter-hate was about to become a reality.
Then I stepped back for a minute. Twitter’s supposed to be good and fun. Remember when you first signed up and it was just cool to connect with people? What happened?! It turns out Twitter has had quite the polarizing effect on the online community at large.
Twitter Has Pheromones.
Here’s one fact that can’t be debated: People are passionate about Twitter. Some are quick to tell you how much they love it, and others are just as fast to tell you why it’s rotting the earth. Some praise the ingenuity of the service, while others complain of its constant failures. There are even apparel lines that love on Twitter, while others slit its throat.
I’m learning it’s important for everyone on Twitter to understand that there are other views and uses for the service. Once you box in your philosophy of what Twitter is for, that box becomes smaller and tighter. You begin to resent those on the outside of it. It’s good to be passionate about Twitter, and social media in general. It’s great to make friends with other people who are just as passionate with the same views as you. But don’t be deceived into thinking that you’ve got it all figured out; because you don’t. That, and you’re two steps away from being a Twitter whore.
The Happy Pie Lesson
I love Happy Pie. And their tag line “Love Pizza Again” says it all. We’re all tired of over-priced pizza, poor service, cardboard crust, and skimpy toppings. Happy Pie “gets it.” That’s why their pizza is probably the best in Greenville right now and they’re only going to get bigger and better.
So the million dollar question is this: Can I “Love Twitter Again”? Absolutely, here are a few ways how:
1) Don’t Mind the Static Noise. Seriously, these immature people who act like they are social media gods, but work in a small shop, shared space, or out of their home really aren’t worth debating and arguing with. Sure, they’re passionate about Twitter, same as you. But you don’t need to argue with them. They’re just static noise on the airwaves of Twitter. Focus instead on the conversations you like, with the conversationalists you want to talk to.
2) Don’t Be Afraid to Click ‘Unfollow.’ A unique culture has popped up on Twitter where people are actually afraid to unfollow others. I used to be afraid of it until I realized, “Who cares?” It’s not worth getting angry and frustrated when your Twitter feed is filled with annoying tweets you want no part of. I started unfollowing people I just didn’t want to hear from. And you know what?! I even got called out on one occasion! But that’s okay, you’ll laugh it off, and then have a Twitter-feed you can be happy with again. (NOTE: If I unfollow you, don’t get mad. It’s actually a good thing.)
3) You Don’t Have To Do It. Now this is very important. Don’t miss this! All of the Twitter whores will tell you that you have to be on Twitter, constantly. That’s really total bull. You dictate your schedule. If you get on 15 times a day and love it, great! If you can only get on once a week, that’s just as great. Don’t pressure yourself to tweet all the time if you don’t have anything worth tweeting.
4) Forget the Stats. It’s easy to get caught up in that # of followers and start playing the game, “I want more followers. Do I follow more people? And if I follow more people than I have followers, does that make me lame? I need to follow fewer than those who follow me, so I look cool, right?!” WRONG. Follow who YOU want to hear from and let the people who want to hear from you follow you. It’s that simple. Don’t make it any more complex than it needs to be. Look, Hubspot is cool, and their Twitter Grader is a cool app; but it can kiss it. Twitter rankings are worthless so ignore the people who sing them to the hills. Enjoy Twitter for what it is, don’t get lost trying to make it more, more, more.
Trust me, you’ll thank me!
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Twitter is a big world getting bigger. It’s a lot like the United States just after the Revolutionary War. There were a lot of people trying different ways to carve out a name for themselves in this new, not-so-sure-of-itself nation. We’re seeing that now on this little micro-blogging service. When I realized that, it dawned on me that these people will eventually float away as dust and likely none of them, save 1 or 2, will stand any test of time. So don’t let the negatives of Twitter upset you. They’ll pass.
On the flipside, those of you who can’t say no to Twitter: Learn to. Geesh, people, it’s not the end-all! Take a break. Step outside and get some air. And don’t take your cell phone! Be mindful of those who are getting negative vibes about Twitter. Consider them when you’re putting up your 10th tweet in the hour. Think outside of yourself, and you may come away the better for it.
Twitter will certainly be better for all of us.