Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You are all special! That's why you ride the short bus to school!

Don't you just love these little notifications from twitter when you have a "new follower"?
Doesn't it make you feel all fuzzy and warm inside?

That's cool.

Are you starting to asses your self-worth by the number of followers you have?

Do you "follow" people just so they might follow you?

Do you "follow" people just because they follow you?

That's retarded.

And if you have a script in place that does the automatic "follow who follows me" for you...
that makes you the retard that pees in the public pool.

Here's why:

The number of followers is not a score. It's a statistic. Like "minutes used on your phone plan" or "number of claimed dependents". Changing that number doesn't make you more or less cool. Changing your behavior just to change the number is stupid.

The entire "Reason D’ĂȘtre" is to post status messages. So that people who think you are interesting can see what you are doing or thinking. So they "follow" you. But: there is a limited amount of information that a human can possibly read and comprehend, at any given 24h period.

Ergo: With every additional person you "follow" the average "attention value per followed person" decreases.

In other words:
If you follow more than a few dozen people at the same time, you are a fraud.

What else would you call promising people to give attention, and then ignoring them ?

Of course, the auto-follow is evil squared.

This is telling people "You are so special to me, I will subscribe to everything you say. But I can't be bothered to read it. Or even click a button to send this message. Also, here's my affiliate link to herbal viagra."

Yes, this is my new pet peeve, because it destroys the emerging ecosystem. I have seen spam bots with dozens to thousands of followers, and interesting people with only a handful of followers. Do you see what going on here?

I do find some enjoyment in the fact that the people who are complaining most about receiving twitter spam are those who are at the root cause of it. Karma can be a bitch.

"Why so serious?" ? Because I am one of those old geeks who remembers the days that you could actually post an email address online without it being spammed to death in hours. These days, spam traffic is the bulk of all email. Can we learn from mistakes, please?


Jeff said...

Brilliantly stated, Jan. Thanks for doing this. I'll amplify over at JeffMolander.com which is slowly but surely re-launching.

Thanks to Wayne for tipping me off on your post. I need to be paying more attention :)

Hope today finds you well.

Jon said...

Thanks. I'll play the "cranky old geek" any day. Good luck with your relaunch!

Jon said...

Apparently, this post started (or at lest contributed to) quite a storm. Read some of fallout over at Porter or Molander.