16 06 2009

I don’t ever respond to new people who follow me! Is it rude? Does it equate to  antiquated rules of sending thank you cards whenever a person attended an event at your home or gave you a gift? I don’t think so. Thank you DM’s on Twitter have all the trappings of calling cards and thank you cards (in bygone eras they were enfolded in silk envelopes with wax seals) which fell by the way-side many decades ago – much to the chagrin of many traditionalists out there.  Let me emphasize, however, that I would never profess to know the socially acceptable mores  of the day. What I do know is what works for me.

On Twitter I follow a lot of people for the pure, unadulterated purpose of gaining followers. BLASPHEME!  Maybe, but that is what I do.  The reasons for it may not be those that the aesthetically oriented critics of Twitter would choose to acclaim – I just want to make the acquaintance of a large swath of the world’s population. I will mine the mountain to find the gems. And, quite frankly, I have found many, many gems through this method. They are more multitudinous than some Twitter observers would have us believe. I have previously  lamented the socially stratifying criticism that has been sewn on the hoards by the elite of Twitter for following more people than follow them. I don’t get the criticism. I never have and never will. It would seem that they assume that any real value in Twitter communication only arises through the celebrity ability to attract followers while following literally no one back. Rather than seeing this as just another platform for some PR programme, they have been duped into believing that this is what makes certain Tweeters special.

What does it really matter to these people if I follow more people than follow me? I have always lived my life like that. Reaching out to people with the hope of making a friendship, a communication, a thread of humanity.  And I have always treasured that connection (as much as I hate to use the word “connection”  nowadays due to its overuse on reality dating shows).

In any case, I have strayed off course, I don’t respond to my new followers because I rarely read the DM’s I get (most of them are automated) from the people I have newly followed.  Yes, I scroll down the DM’s, scouring for something unique, something meaningful. Rarely do I find it. This does not mean, however, that I believe the people who have sent them aren’t worthwhile. We all know that most of these DM’s are automated. Just like the thank you cards sent out decades ago. It’s an expectation that is easily met by using automated responses. And yes, I do agree that automated response are,  largely,  ignorable which is why I don’t send any. For that very same reason I rarely pay attention to the DM’s I get.  I don’t think there has ever been one person who has followed me who chose to unfollow simply because I didn’t send them a thank you note. Essentially, that is why thank you notes fell out of use. They became redundant. In the end we all know that the next person appreciates what you did whether it was to follow them on Twitter, send them a birthday card or give them a present. Normally we express our gratitude through every day communication – maybe some antiquated medium like the telephone or in person exchange – not through some formal thank you medium.

So let me just take this opportunity to thank all of my followers for following me. Let me also take this moment to stake my place amongst the legions of Twitterers who choose to buck the elitist system which pre-defines the value of people through a statistical sleight of numbers and which seems to be enveloping this wonderful new means of communication. BUCK IT!




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