Why I suck at Twitter (750)

I love Twit­ter, but I fear my love for it remains unrequited.

I’ve been prop­erly on Twit­ter for about two and a half years. To be more pre­cise, as of this writ­ing, I have been using Twit­ter since the 31st of Jan­u­ary 2009, which works out to 931 days. I used howlongontwitter.com to cal­cu­late that, I didn’t count it up myself.

In that time, I’ve found Twit­ter to be indis­pens­able and addic­tive and while I am not the most pro­lific tweeter you will meet, I con­stantly read my time­line. I must dip in and out of it a thou­sand times a day.

What I don’t do is tweet or inter­act with other peo­ple enough. That’s why I suck at Twitter.

My tweets tend towards fee­ble and offen­sive (but orig­i­nal) jokes that prob­a­bly make peo­ple laugh uncom­fort­ably, if at all.

I also tweet, or rather retweet stuff about legal­is­ing cannabis and other drugs, because that is my pet cause.

Occa­sion­ally I may tweet some­thing that I feel strongly about, like the recent riots in London.

I tweet about what I’m watch­ing on TV some­times and the weather occa­sion­ally and even the odd food-related tweet too.

In other words, I’m not unpleas­ant or rude, just prob­a­bly not that inter­est­ing. That’s why I suck at Twitter.

I’m anony­mous online, by choice, mainly because I am so open about my own cannabis use and as its sta­tus is cur­rently ille­gal, anonymity allows me the lux­ury of hon­esty. I like to pre­tend this stance fur­thers the cause of legal­i­sa­tion, but I’m not always con­vinced it does and that’s a sub­ject best explored another day. This post is about Twitter.

The other rea­son I remain anony­mous is I pre­fer to be unknown. I am not seek­ing atten­tion for myself. If you Googled my real name, you wouldn’t find me any­where online; I’m not on Face­book, Linked-In, noth­ing. And while I have worked in the media for more than two decades, I’ve man­aged to avoid hav­ing a byline, screen credit, nor any men­tion of my real name and that has been intentional.

What it means on Twit­ter is I don’t use my real name or a pho­to­graph of myself as my avatar. That is why I suck at Twit­ter too.

I’ve come to the con­clu­sion that I suck at Twit­ter for the rather silly rea­son that I have been sucked into think­ing about fol­lower num­bers, some­thing I have man­aged to avoid until now.

I’ve never really been both­ered by how many peo­ple are fol­low­ing me, I haven’t done any­thing ever to inten­tion­ally gain them, never asked for them, begged for them, noth­ing like that. I’ve just tweeted when I felt like it, fol­lowed peo­ple (and accounts) that have inter­ested me and that’s about it.

I’ve always found it a bit dis­taste­ful when peo­ple tweet about the num­ber of fol­low­ers they have, in what­ever context.

I need 27 more fol­low­ers to reach 500, help!”

Please RT this [insert celebrity here] I really need more fol­low­ers urgently!”

I gained 57 fol­low­ers today, all because [insert celebrity here] retweeted me.”

Worse, is see­ing celebri­ties tweet­ing each other and exag­ger­at­ing their worth by brag­ging they have the most fol­low­ers. I find this rather tragic.

Wor­ry­ing about fol­lower num­bers is a mug’s game and sadly in the last week or so, I have become that mug. Here’s why: I’ve recently noticed a few peo­ple I know online, who started on Twit­ter when I did, now have dou­ble or tre­ble the fol­low­ers I have. I am a vic­tim of com­par­a­tive maths.

I know its silly, I know its mean­ing­less, but its been on my mind recently

This is not meant to be a moan or a com­plaint, every­thing I’m telling you is obser­va­tional and self-critical, but not a whinge or back­handed plea for more peo­ple to fol­low me. I’m just try­ing to under­stand what I am doing wrong on Twitter.

What am I doing wrong on Twit­ter? Loads, it would seem.

There are quite a few peo­ple I fol­low on Twit­ter, who don’t fol­low me back. I don’t mean celebri­ties, but nor­mal peo­ple, like you and me. Well, more like you prob­a­bly as I don’t come any­where near being normal.

The lack of follow-backs from peo­ple I like per­plexes me.

Some­times, I scroll through my own tweets and read them back, to see if there’s some­thing in them that makes peo­ple not want to fol­low me. Noth­ing leaps out.

I think I’m fairly pleas­ant, thought­ful and I’m true to myself. So what could it be?

The lack of a photo and a name is off-putting, but my anonymity pol­icy is not going to change until weed is legal. End of, as the kids today say. Its a rea­son, but that alone can’t be the only reason.

I don’t inter­act or tweet enough, but guess what? I’m prob­a­bly the same in real life, being mostly a loner and mis­an­thropic with it.

If you’re shit at life, you are going to be shit at Twit­ter. This shouldn’t come as a sur­prise to me, but it does.

How can I be more socially suc­cess­ful on Twit­ter than I am in real life? Answer: I can’t.

Quite oddly, I think I am prob­a­bly more shy on Twit­ter than I am in real life.

Often I do think about respond­ing to other people’s tweets, then I think bet­ter of it and don’t. I don’t like tweet­ing neg­a­tively, if I dis­agree with some­one, how­ever strongly, I tend not to say any­thing. And if I do agree with some­one, I don’t want to seem syco­phan­tic, so I don’t tweet.

On the rare occa­sion when I do tweet some­one and they don’t respond, even with the sim­plest of acknowl­edge­ment, then I am crest­fallen and I think the fear of that often pre­vents me from inter­act­ing with peo­ple too. Maybe you know what I mean, maybe you think that’s a lame rea­son, but its true.

When­ever any­one tweets me and they are polite, I always make a point of respond­ing. I always try to thank peo­ple for RTs too, as long as I’ve noticed they’ve done so. I guess I just try to treat peo­ple on Twit­ter as I would like to be treated.

I suck at Twit­ter because I suck at life. I’m start­ing to believe I’m not par­tic­u­larly good with either pur­suit. That’s not a happy conclusion.

Or, I could take the tack that I’m not unpop­u­lar on Twit­ter, I’m just undiscovered.

The best lies I tell, are the ones I tell myself.

If you do fol­low me, well done you for find­ing Twitter’s best kept secret!

You are truly a per­son of excel­lent taste! You have keen, dis­cern­ing eye for the hippest and coolest, that your aver­age nobody tends to pass on by with­out a sec­ond thought! You’re a trend spot­ter and a trend setter!

Ah-hem.

I’ve pretty much accepted that I will con­tinue to exist in Twit­ter obscu­rity, while oth­ers around me zoom ever higher. I’m ok with that.

I take a lot from Twit­ter, I’m quite greedy in my quest for knowl­edge, I just feel guilty some­times that I don’t put enough back into it. I’d like to enter­tain and inform more peo­ple, but that’s not who I am, not in real life, not online. So it goes.

These truths should be self-evident, but its taken me nearly 1,300 words to get here.

So now you know why I suck at Twit­ter, and now I do too.

3 thoughts on “Why I suck at Twitter (750)”

  1. On the rare occa­sion when I do tweet some­one and they don’t respond, even with the sim­plest of acknowl­edge­ment, then I am crest­fallen and I think the fear of that often pre­vents me from inter­act­ing with peo­ple too.”

    I know exactly what you mean!
    Your post speaks words to me, as I too strug­gle at both real life and online inter­ac­tion.
    Even if I throw myself out there and try to inter­act it just hor­ri­bly fails as I get ignored.

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