I’m not giving up on Twitter. Yet. There are still a handful of people whose Tweets are interesting and useful to me.
But it’s a stupid game.
It has nothing to do with how much you have to say or how often you say it. It has everything to do with how many people you follow. I recently attended a webcast on how to build a social network on Twitter. The basic advice: follow a lot of people and they’ll follow you back. And if they don’t follow you back, unfollow them.
The rest of the session was inside ball: what rules Twitter uses to prevent such inanity and how to get around them (wait 24 hours before unfollowing anyone); how to identify non-followers quickly using Twitter’s minimalist interface (if you don’t have a direct-message option next to their name, they aren’t following you); and which tools you can use (Hummingbird, $197.00) to automatically follow people and then unfollow them if they fail to reciprocate.
By using this advice (not the software; just the advice) I tripled the number of people following me (from about 100 people after 4 months of thoughtful tweeting to 300 people after another day and just one tweet). Time spent in the effort: 15 minutes.
The etiquette at Twitter is simple: Someone follows you, you follow them back. And vice versa.
How this does anyone any good is beyond me; it assures that you have an audience of people who don’t give a wit about anything you have to say. And vice versa.
To prove the point, I just got a follow from someone whose list of followers and followees at this moment is in the range of 34,000. She has 14 tweets since May (4 months).
Fourteen? Really? That’s 1,960 characters, which isn’t even a respectable dependent clause to William Faulkner. That’s like 17 followers per word. If Jesus had a ratio like that, would Islam even exist?
When in history have so many people lined up to listen to so many people with so little to say?