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!
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.