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Monday, July 30, 2012

Cleaning Out the Cobwebs

Over the weekend I cleaned out my Twitter list. It's all Facebook's fault. All of a sudden I gained like twenty-five new friends. I don't know who they are. They just showed up. I never received any notification, but that doesn't surprise me. My email notifications have never been reliable.

But seeing that giant leap in friends startled me and I decided to check out Twitter and my blog to see who was still there and who just showed up for the cookies.

I get very annoyed with people who follow you on Twitter just to get a follow-back. It takes me forever to check out new followers. Twitter has always been last on my list of haunts. As much as I like visiting, I rarely have time for chit chat.

So over the weekend, I used one of those apps that checks to see who follows me and more importantly, who UNfollowed me. (the cads!)

I don't expect everyone to follow me just because I follow them, but if we're supposed to be chums, I expect them not to kiss-up and then dump me.

I cleaned house on Twitter and unfollowed everyone who unceremoniously dumped me. Then I unfollowed everyone who hadn't tweeted in more than four months. Finally, I unfollowed anyone whose tweets seemed offensive or dull. 

Hint: Look at your last five tweets. Would you follow you?

Some people are worth following even if they didn't follow me. I absolutely adore @ReneeMJ. I laugh so hard at her slice of REAL life moments that I'm in peril of wetting myself. And it must be a Canada thing because @kristadb1 has left me in stitches too--especially late at night when she churns one-liners like spitballs.

Oddly enough, I see more tweets on Facebook than I do on Twitter so I'm grateful when they funnel their tweets through FB.

I do not follow blindly. Yes, I check you out. I will not follow people if I see by their tweets or posts that we have nothing in common. This isn't high school. In order to earn a 'follow' your tweets have to entertain, inspire, educate, or save me money. These are the things that are important to me.

According to the app, there are a little over a hundred people I'm not following. So now comes the tedious part of checking each person's history to see if we're simpatico. Even though I don't spend much time on Twitter, I do visit occasionally so I don't want to be swamped by spammy people. I'm selective with whose tweets I want to see in my stream.

When I started networking I was always afraid of not reciprocating. I finally realized that my time is important and it was time I started respecting it. If you don't find me interesting, don't follow me. I'm not going to be mad at you. Your time is important too.

Do you feel obligated to accept every 'friend' invitation and 'follow'?


Shirley Wells said...

I have spells on Twitter when I follow everyone who's followed me. I can never be bothered to check if they 'unfollow'. Then I have other phases when I don't follow back. I thank new followers and ask them to say Hi. They rarely do. Ha. I think most people follow in order to be followed back and I really don't see the point. :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

It depends. I feel more obligated to follow people who are wrtiers since we all want to connect and network. But I always take a peek at tweets before I accept or decline anyone.
Every month or so I clean house too and unfollow people who've unfollowed me or haven't tweeted in months.

Renee Miller said...

Aw, thanks Maria. I try to entertain, although lately I've been slacking when it comes to Twitter.

I clean out my Twitter list periodically as well because I've found that now and then Twitter just randomly follows people for me, or it drops people I really like.

I do not follow out of obligation though. I did initially, and I'm still working on cleaning that mess up. I usually base my "follows" on a few things:

- Are they interesting
- Do they make me laugh
- Are they in the industry
- Do they offer something I need

If the answer isn't yes to at least two of those, I don't usually follow back. Sounds snotty, but if I didn't do this my feed would be more of a nightmare than it is already.

When I clean up, I look at recent tweets. If it's the same link all the time, or they tweet nonsense 500 times a day, I unfollow. You can't get to the good tweets when those morons are clogging the feed with bullshit. On the other hand, if they don't tweet at least once a month, then I unfollow.(Exception: friends I love who I know hate Twitter but stay on there hoping one day they'll figure it out)

Maria Zannini said...

Shirley: If someone 'speaks' to me directly on Twitter, I'll respond. (This is if I get the email notification at all.) But I try not to get involved in lengthy or personal conversations. That's what email is for.

Jennifer: Every month? Wow. It never occurred to me to check out who was following (or not) until I saw that jump in 'friends'.

But now that I see that carousel of people who get on and off to see if I'll follow back, I'll do it more often.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: I love your tweets! I'm glad I catch them on FB regularly.

I had no idea there was a whole legion of people who just follow for reciprocation. I'm not into that numbers thing. Maybe that'll hurt me in the long run, but I'd rather hang with people I enjoy rather than someone looking for another notch on their Twitter list.

I'm one of those people who believes that we truly are judged by the company we keep.

If we hang with offensive, dull, and spammy people, we get locked into their world, instead of the other way around.

Angelina Rain said...

I'm sure I made it into your unfollow list on twitter as I haven't tweeted in like over a year. I just don't understand the concept of that place. I know it's supposed to be great for socializing and marketing and ect, ect, but it just bores me to death. I feel like I'm talking to myself there. However, a friend did say she got a lot of clients through twitter (she's a cover artist) so I don't know, I might give it another try as I could use some too.

As for facebook, I look at the amount of mutual friends before accepting. If it's a big number like 100 or something, I accept. Otherwise, I check out their profiles. Sometimes, I accept people with low mutual friend counts or no mutual friends on the off chance that maybe that's a reader, although none have actually come forward to say they read my work. I am careful about accepting friends with low mutual friend counts. I've accepted a few over the last year and many then started spamming me with porno site links. Someone actually started posting nudie pics of themselves and tagged me and a few other erotic romance authors in those pictures. I didn't like that one bit so I've been careful not to accept people whose friends list includes only erotic romance authors as most real non-spamming people have friends outside of that one book genre.

Cate Masters said...

I have terrible guilt about Twitter. I never follow back because it would imply I read others' posts, but I never see them. Twitter gives me hives!
And I have about 40 friend requests on Facebook pending. I do check them out because now spammers are pretending to be real people. They don't know they're wasting their time trying to sell me shoes, but that's beside the point. :)

Nadja Notariani said...

I do not have a twitter. (Talk about your I have no plans to get a twitter.

It's not that I don't think it's pretty neat - I simply do not have the time. I rarely utilize my facebook account (which I should be more active about). Honestly, I want to write. All the social medias are nice, but I find they can be a time steal from what I really want to accomplish.

Krista D. Ball said...

Hey wait a minute! I totally follow you on Twitter, missy. *shakes a rolling pin*

I find that I can't maintain my interactions if I follow more than 300 people (and I try to have people in different time zones, too). So I don't follow everyone back. However, I try to reply to everything, except when you're uber creepy and asking where I live and what my bra size is.

Melissa McClone said...

What is the name of the app? I'll reread your post in case I missed it because I'm pretty wiped out over the conference.

I do follow back unless I for some reason miss a person due to not checking soon enough, but I try my best. What I've found is often people follow me then once I follow them they unfollow me. Very rude, IMHO. But I don't know how to check that so perked up when I saw there was an app for that!

I've been thinking about culling my personal FB list unless we interact on a semi-regular basis. I've never heard from many folks and it just seems odd when I do share lots there. And I do have a books page!

Maria Zannini said...

Angelina: I try to keep my friends on the list even if they're not regular tweeters.

Ref: Facebook
I've had a few creeps too. Why can't these people get a life?

Cate: Well, you just made me feel better. LOL. I thought I was the only person who let these things sit on the back burner.

Nadja: If I were to do it over, I probably wouldn't have Twitter either. But I like the passive networking of allowing my Facebook and blog feeds stream through Twitter.

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: Ref: ...asking where I live and what my bra size is.

Now there's a question burning in my mind. LOL. Wouldn't it be nice to put all the creepy people in one box? That way they can mentally fondle each other and leave the rest of us alone.

Melissa: Rats! I knew should've kept the link. All I did was Google for an 'unfollow app". This is the first one that came up. I think it's the one I used. It was very easy.

PS. Welcome back!!

James Garcia Jr. said...

Hello, Maria. I just emerged from my writer's cave, as they say. I'm on a two-week vacay, too. How about that, huh? Very awesome!
In regard to following, it depends. If it's Google plus or Goodreads, I pretty much follow. If it's FB, I usually like their page unless offensive. It does feel weird accepting friend requests from folks I don't know, but I typically will. Twitter, however, I usually wait for a connection of some sort.
Good luck with the social network spring cleaning.

Shelley Munro said...

I don't always follow back. It depends on if I have time to check them out. I don't get the unfollowing because they're not following you thing. That reminds me of school days.

What app did you use, Maria? Oops, I see you've answered this already. Thanks!

Darke Conteur said...

I'm with you on this one. I follow people who are interesting to me, for whatever reason. I don't expect them to follow me back, and if they do, wonderful, but I won't drop them if they don't.

Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: I agree. I'm more likely to accept an FB friend if they're at least writers, but on Twitter, they have to be more interesting because I don't want spammy tweets clogging my twitter stream.

Shelley: It was a pretty easy app to use. I was surprised how unobtrusive it was.

Darke: Although I use Twitter for passive networking, when I do get on there, I'd much rather follow interesting people rather than inflate my numbers artificially. I'm not out to impress anyone. --obviously. LOL.

Dru said...

That's what I need because it's so hard to follow tweets.

Thanks for the link.

charlee said...

Oh no, now I'm worried about being dull (pretty sure I'm not offensive)!

I don't follow back always, but I'll follow anyone who has books or reading in their mini bio.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: Pretty easy to use too. You just click on the buttons and the info pops up.


Charlee: You, boring? Peshaw!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I also made some early mistakes by following back anyone who followed me. I haven't taken the time to clean out my lists. One of these days.

Angela Brown said...

Interesting. I started off following back because I was under the impression that what you did. But then I started realizing some of the folks had nothing to do with writing or the publishing industry at all and have since been more selective regarding my follows and follow-backs.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: I did the same thing. Then one day I started getting DMs from a couple of creeps and that cured me.

Angela: I used to feel it would be impolite not to follow, but when I started reading tweets that were rambling monologues or trashing this person or that and I thought, no, I can't be a party to someone that mean.

Between the trash talkers and the pervs, they made my decisions a lot easier.

Jenny Schwartz said...

I try to follow back people who are somehow connected to interests I pursue via Twitter -- so steampunk, romance writing, reading/reviewing, Australian (hey, patriotism!), stuff like that. Otherwise, I've learned to harden my heart and not follow back. I'm just too close to that 2000 limit where Twitter starts limiting the number of people you can follow.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Exactly! If we have nothing in common, why should I follow? And more puzzling, why is that person following me--if not to artificially inflate his numbers?

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I admit, I'll blindly follow fellow writers for a little while, but once I've seen their tweets for about a week or so, I'll decide whether or not to stick with them.

I will not follow spammers or "ask me how I sold 100 million copies!" people. I will unfollow anyone who tweets CONSTANTLY, no matter what they're tweeting about. If my feed is all one person, I unfollow them immediately.

Raelyn Barclay said...

I so need to do this. In the beginning I followed everyone back who followed me. I'm more selective now but still need to trim the lists.

I'll have to set aside some time when the wee beasties go back to school and get her done :)

I'm with you, Maria, on liking the blog feeding through Twitter and when people link their accounts to FB.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: Aside from the pervs, what really turns me off are people who do nothing but retweet. Any machine can do that. --or maybe that's what they are...

Raelyn: I recommend it. It made me feel a hundred people lighter. :)

Mike Keyton said...

The big mistake I made was 'friending' organisations like NPR or the Drudge report, or the Onion. Best of intentions.I thought they'd give me some insight into what's happening across the pond. Problem is their tweets fill my inbox and swamp the tweets of friends. I think the orgs will be the first to go in my clearout...sometime this side of the apocolypse

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I deleted several orgs too. Most were just pushing their products, usually authors, books, etc. The difference between a single person pimping and an org is quantity. The orgs churn out spam like a sausage factory.