Yesterday, someone on Twitter posed a question: What makes you unfollow people?
So, I compiled the top 10 types of tweets and peeps that make me click “Unfollow.” And I follow less than 100 handles, so believe me, I’m fickle with the clicking.
The meaningless Follow Friday tweet. Occasionally, I send out an FF tweet on Fridays to recognize the people whose writing and photography I really like, or whose ideas or approach to their work are particularly intriguing and inspiring. I tend to limit these tweets to one or two people, so as not to blind my followers with this kind of nonsense:
FF @name1 @name2 @name3 @name4 @name5 @name6 @name7 @name8 @name9 @name10 @name11 @name12 @name13 @name14 @name15 @name16 @name17 @name18 @name19 @name20 @name21
If you engage in this meaninglessness and waste of space and I’m still following you, I must find your other tweets valuable enough to overlook these ones.
The tweet that’s hashtagged to death. I can tolerate when you tweet something to participate in one of the more clever hashtag or trending topics. (During one Giants game when Darren Ford showed off his crazy base stealing, #darrenfordissofast became a cool @SFGiants hashtag). That aside, I find hashtag overload harsh on my eyes. I try to overlook this practice if you’re on a press trip or at a conference and such additions are compulsory—or if your hashtag is simply one of wit and obscurity—but excessive hashtagging is pointless:
I’m at a #marketing, #advertising, and #PR conference! All about #blogging and #SEO! #insertconferencenamehere2011
The retweet that taints a tweet with “LOL.” If I start using “LOL” (or something similar, like “LMAO”) in my written and online correspondence, you will know that something is mentally wrong and you can go ahead and kill me. (Most of you already know this, as it’s in my will.)
Oftentimes, an original tweet reinforced with “LOL” isn’t even funny:
LOL! RT @Twittername: I just [insert something unfunny here]. Can’t believe it. LMAO!
The tweet lacking punctuation and grammar savvy. I proofread for a living. So its really important for you’re image, as well as my sanity, to know the difference between its versus it’s and your versus you’re. Your going to make me think your stupid otherwise, and your going to make me pull my hair out. I’m your elitist friend that may have defriended you on Facebook if your posts were always full of errors. I know we’re not writing school essays here, and perhaps I take punctuation too seriously (I must tell you I can absorb myself in the Chicago Manual forum in my spare time). But unless it’s intentional, I’d rather not see that sloppiness in my stream.
The succession of tweets that smell of bot. If you always use a share button when tweeting a link and rarely add your own words to your tweets, I can tell. And I get bored. If you send numerous tweets in less than a minute, and they’re all structured the same way, I notice. And I get bored. If your tweets are always the same character length, whether really short or really long, I smell a lack of variety. And I get bored.
A tweet is like a miniature English comp essay. A string of tweets is like an ongoing piece. Syntax and rhythm are still important.
The messy, cluttered tweet. Tweets can be ugly, you know. Like this one:
in AntarcticA ? have fun.. rT @name: RT @2ndname: PHOTO of a cool iceberg!! >> http://bit.ly/blahblah <-OMG,thats2cool #Photography #antarctica ##travel
*That* makes me cringe. If you can tell me the correct number of errors in that tweet, I’ll bake you a cake.
The uber-clichéd tweet. I do use clichés when the mood strikes (see?), yet some words and phrases irritate me more than others. If you use them for a reason (sarcasm or criticism, for example), that’s fine. But none of the words or phrases in these tweets, for instance, mean anything:
Tweets that link to How-To and Top 10 posts are also on my shit list, so this post kills two birds with one stone (see again?).
Those who drown in self-deprecation. Yeah, yeah, I do it sometimes. But if you whine everyday, you make me wonder. And you make me want to slap you. Don’t lie: you’re better than you lead on and you know it. Stop complaining and go do something.
Those who are too-focused and niche-driven. Let’s use travel as an example. If you’re always travel-this-travel-that-travel-today-travel-tomorrow-travel-next-year, I get turned off. (I explained this in the spring, in my first post on virtual life.) This has little to do with you and more to do with my personal preference; the travel bloggers and writers I tend to follow are the ones who also reveal themselves in ways other than travel. I like people who go off on tangents; I like those who can be optimistic and professional one day but be ranty and emotional the next. Three-dimensional people with flaws and raw thoughts are more interesting to me.
Those who are too polite or perfect. To be honest, my favorite personas on Twitter are the ones who are the most offensive and irreverent (examples that immediately stick out are @Mike_FTW, @mat, and @TheBosha) but easily the most thought-provoking. I’m wary of individuals who are just too good. Why strive for virtual perfection? It acts as a glaze, coating the real person inside.
More posts on Twitter:
- Jarring & Juxtaposed: Digesting the Twitter Stream
- Notes on Social Media, Egypt, and My Pseudo Activism
More Posts on Virtual Life:
- Notes on Virtual Life, Part VI: Facebook Status Updates (And What I Could Have Said)
- Notes on Virtual Life, Part V: Proximity & Physical Space
- Notes on Virtual Life, Part IV: On Unplugging & Merging Virtual and Real
- Notes on Virtual Life, Part III: Nomadic Relationships
- Notes on Virtual Life, Part II: Facebook, Twitter & the Seeds of Compartmentalization
- Notes on Virtual Life, Part I: The Evolution of Friendship
Cheri Lucas Rowlands
Blogger at Writing Through the Fog. Story Wrangler at Automattic.