I don’t understand Team Followback.
In fact, that’s a lie. I completely understand the joy that is felt when you discover that someone you admire is following you back. Where I differ from Team Followback however is in one word I used in that previous sentence:
There is something to be said for discovering that someone follows you, rather than asking them to follow you. For one, it’s more likely that you are saying something that is worth being said. If someone follows me without my having asked them to, I would like to think that it’s because I add some value to their timeline… unless they have a blind policy of following anyone and everyone (which is just idiotic, for reasons I will explain shortly).
Of the last twenty people who asked me to follow them, I think I followed one of them. Maybe two. I tend to follow people who:
- Intelligently engage with an opinion I have expressed, or
- Whose interesting opinion has been retweeted by someone else on my timeline.
Thereafter, I go and check their timeline to see what else the new person has to say. If I’m still intrigued, I start following them. Doing this, I can honestly say that I value every single person I follow in some way, shape or form. Whenever someone tells me they don’t get anything out of Twitter, I tell them it says more about who they choose to follow than it says about Twitter.
Follow non-fa and don’t be surprised when you are bombarded with non-fa.
My problem with following just anyone is this: I enjoy looking at my Timeline. It is a lot more than just a cacophony of voices. I use it to follow people whose opinions interest me, people who retweet interesting things, people who are witty (not funny: witty. If you don’t know the difference, chances are you shouldn’t be asking me to follow you back), or friends, family members, colleagues or students who I want to keep tabs on. Call me snobbish, but I like to see wisdom, wit, pop culture, news, and – above all – opinions, observations and insight on my timeline.
As a result, I tend to it like a gardener tending to his garden. Weeds get pulled out.
- Bigoted ideas
- Using ‘text speak’ instead of decent English, Twi or pidgin
- So-so “praise Jesus…” with no critical comment
- Constant negativity
- Bullying (especially where you lack the cahones to reveal your identity)
- Argumentativeness for the sake of winning an argument
- Vanity tweets & constant pictures of yourself
All weeds. All things that get weeded out, unless the person responsible regularly makes up for it somehow (and even then, they may find themselves muted on the regular).
My timeline is sacrosanct. So before you ask me to followback, please look at the last ten things you tweeted and ask yourself exactly what value you will be adding to my timeline.
If all your tweets have been conversations with friends of yours I do not know (and you weren’t even discussing anything of particular importance to anyone outside of your set of friends), why should anyone other than your friends be interested?
If you have something to say though, chances are I will eventually come across you anyway. If not, then just engage with something that I have said, whether you disagree with it or not. Chances are you may ending up teaching me something I don’t know, for which I’ll be eternally in your debt.
You should never have to ask.