I love Twitter. I absolutely love it. I’m a big supporter of quick-witted one-liners, and as far as I’m concerned that’s the lifeblood of Twitter. Plus, it gives me a platform through which to convince myself that my arrogance is justified (which is invaluable for someone with an ego the size of LeBron James’ forehead).
That being said, there’s some room to make improvements. I’m not talking about the occasional crashes; I’m talking about the few users who go out of their way to annoy the general population. I’d like to identify three archetypes in hopes of creating a movement towards their eradication. If I’m unsuccessful in this venture, then at least I can get Kim Reyes off my back about the due date for my blog posts.
I should add this disclaimer: I think the majority of Twitter users are just delightful. This is truly a case of a few bad apples trying to spoil the bunch.
Insanely annoying Tweeter #1: The “follow me, I follow back” guy
Can someone please explain to me why there’s such an infatuation with inflating your follower count? Every day I get five new followers who don’t seem to have any value for me in their tweets, so I choose not to follow them back. The next day, all five of them have unfollowed me. Do these people get the point of Twitter? This emphasis on size seems a bit too similar with another measurement men like to take for self-validation.
Twitter gives everyone in the world an opportunity to be heard when they have something to say, but I can’t even count the number of people who are more interested in the size of the audience than the content of the speech. I spend so much of my time at work talking to brands about how engagement is more valuable than sheer community size, but I didn’t think that a million Joe Schmoe’s would need the same lesson.
On the other side of the coin, all those users with 100k followers (which amount to nothing more than a one and two zeros on the screen) are also following 100k people. What value are you getting out of Twitter your newsfeed is a mix of people, brands and services you don’t know or care about? When I follow someone, it’s because I want to hear what he or she has to say. And when that person starts tweeting self-promotional nonsense, I’m off their bandwagon. That’s why I love my Twitter experience; because it’s tailored to me, rather than some pointless goal.
Insanely annoying Tweeter #2: The automatic Direct Message dude
If I ever follow someone and immediately receive a direct message of this nature:
Hi! Thanks for the follow! Please check out this product or service you don’t care about!
I feel like Will Farrell jumping into the animal pit at the Zoo in Anchorman: “I IMMEDIATELY regret this decision!”
There’s no faster way to turn someone off than to try to sell them a service they don’t want through a medium that isn’t suited for salesmanship…in 160 characters or less. If you want to use Twitter to promote yourself or your brand, do it the right way, the way major brands across the globe are doing it: build a community of qualified followers, cultivate them through relevant, engaging content, and turn your service into part of their lifestyle.
Or, you can continue with the Direct Message thing. When that works, and you get a response such as “I was WAITING for someone to offer my consulting services through Twitter!” please let me know.
Insanely annoying Tweeter #3: The one who won’t shut up
If you tweet three times within your first hour of waking, announcing to the world that your slumber as ended, asking what you should have for breakfast, and immediately reporting the decision made on the subject, please put your computer and smartphone in a pillow case and slam it against a wall a few times.
I’m not trying to place a restriction on tweets/day. I follow a couple people that tweet a few times per hour, and I’m all for it because they provide me with either great insight, hilarious quips or links to content I wish I had found on my own. And even if a few pointless messages slip out here and there, Twitter has a distinct self-promotional quality to it, so not every word is going to be Pulitzer-prize quality. My issue is with folks who seemingly go out of their way to barrage the Internet with tweets that are impossible to care about. I implore that crowd to switch back to Friendster, so we can begin to sweep up the streets of Twitterville.
I’m sure you can think of some archetypes that I missed, so please use the comments field to educate the world on these criminal wrongdoings. Like I said, I love Twitter, and I hope that calling out some offenders might be a step towards making it even better.
Follow me @mikemikho. I won’t promise to follow back, but if you don’t fall into any of the three buckets above, you’ve got a good shot.