Please be real. Don’t be lazy. Why I unfollow on Twitter

Everybody has issues.

Among mine, I’ve got Twitter issues 🙂  No, seriously!  I do!  I know I should be more tolerant.  I think it’s being a communicator, maybe, or just being who I am.  To my credit, my threshold for irritability is really high for crying babies and waiting in lines.  It’s just fairly low for poorly crafted communications from communicators who, frankly, should know better.

When a communicator has clearly tried his or her best, all is forgiven.  I would never fault someone for that.  It’s the lazy or phony stuff that gets to me.  And there is all kinds of lazy and phony on Twitter these days.

On this blog,  I usually talk about the “right” way to do things.  I’m a mom; I know that teaching approach works best.  But, today, I thought I would share some of the reasons why I “unfollow” people and brands on Twitter. It boils down to this, if I follow YOU or YOUR BRAND on Twitter, it’s because I want to get to know YOU and what you KNOW and DO.  In a word, authenticity. That’s what I want.

It’s like any other relationship.  You want to know the other person knows you, and cares.  And that it’s reciprocal.  Accomplishing that takes time and intention.  Everything else is just pointless.  Noise.

I hate to say this, because I really like to champion experienced communicators (self included) who work in social media.  But I will say — in my personal experience — it is the communicators with 15-20 years of experience — who should KNOW better — who appear to be the worst offenders on Twitter.

That’s just another reason why I like following students, recent grads, and young professionals on Twitter. They are refreshingly authentic and original.  Many times, I say younger pros can learn from veteran communicators, but this is one instance I observe where the reverse is definitely true.  You just don’t catch a lot of young communicators doing these tremendously irritating things on Twitter.

So be forewarned, I will unfollow you on Twitter if…

1) You post inspirational quotes.  I am not inspired by your filler content.  You want to inspire me?  Say something original that you made up yourself.

2) You post too many links, to stuff you didn’t create yourself.  You know how to blog, don’t you?  Create your own dang content.  I do not need a curator, thank you.  I know where Mashable lives.  I’m not following you on Twitter to see what you read.  I’m following you on Twitter to see what you create, to get the value of your insights, to hear your point of view.  Not somebody else’s, please.

3) You retweet too doggone much.  Some of you are just too nice, and some of you retweeters are just too lazy.  A retweet here and there is cordial, but don’t go overboard.  More than a couple a day is overboard for me.  If I want to know about THEM, I would follow THEM, capisce?  It’s like going on a date with a guy and listening to him talk about all his former girlfriends; I’m just not interested!  Tell me about your experiences, insights, and ideas.

4) You publish a paper.li daily.  I still can’t believe any self-respecting communicator would auto-publish content they did not even curate themselves.  That is the nadir of online communication.

5) You use Twitter to complain about a major brand.  It is human to whine.  But come on!  Did you actually call customer service first?  If you have tried all ways to rectify your problem, and they didn’t work, then fine, take it to Twitter and embarrass the brand, if that’s what floats your boat.  But don’t just default to complaint-tweeting every time you have to wait in line for something for a few minutes, or get put on hold.  You come across as a black-mailing crybaby, and what’s more, WE DON’T CARE.  I don’t think you will get a free iPad or flight out of your tweet, by the way.  Brands are getting smart about that.

6) You at-mention me in a completely irrelevant way.  For example, you make a comment to me that reveals you have absolutely no idea who I am or what I do. Or worse, you bestow a compliment and I check your stream, and you’ve made the same compliment in the past hour to oodles of others.  How vain do you think people are?  This will not win you followers, but it will get a big ol’ block and spam report from me.

7) You stopped being relevant to me.  I appreciate that Twitter is a global thing.  But some accounts are truly local.  I just don’t have an interest in Oklahoma real estate, or  in a restaurant that’s 500 miles away in a city I will never visit.  That’s no reflection on you; we just are not a good match.  I have to wonder why you started following me, anyway, since you never connect with me about who I am or what I do.  So, if all I am is a follower to you, I will divorce you on Twitter.

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About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on June 11, 2011, in Twitter Tips and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. By the way, I know bloggers love to be retweeted, self included. But retweeting is not the only option for responding to online content you like or want to share with others. If you want to do yourself a favor, leave a comment on the blog, or mention the blog post in your own commentary. Comments not only showcase your insights and subject matter expertise (which adds value to your personal brand) but they also create back-links to YOUR website or blog. That’s much more valuable to you than a retweet could ever be.

  2. The irony that I found your post through a paper.li daily…I enjoyed reading this, it highlighted for me how twitter is such a truly personal experience and confirmed that you probably should not spend much time worrying about why some-one unfollows . For example, I really appreciate smart people sharing what they are reading — it saves me time, and give me a handle on what’s got digital currency. Each to their own I guess…

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