I’ve been ‘using’ Twitter for a while now. I’m not the most prolific tweeter, but I get on there from time to time. I share some thoughts, I respond to the thoughts of others. I’ve even connected with a few fun people who I converse with on a fairly regular basis.
But – you knew there was going to be a ‘but’, didn’t you? – but I sometimes wonder what it is that drives people to Twitter.
One of the most confusing tweets I see is the ‘how to get 1000 more followers on Twitter‘ or ‘my friend @XXXX is almost at 1000 followers. Please help by following him/her.’ My question is:
Why would I want to follow someone just to make up their numbers? And, similarly, why are they so eager to have 1000’s of followers? I mean, what difference does it make? Does it make them feel popular? More important? Better? Do they have something important to say that everybody needs to hear? Or is it the inherent collector in their personality that makes them collect followers instead of, say, stamps or thimbles or toby jugs? Or is it because – and this leads me to the second type of tweet that confuses me – they have something to sell?
Yep, I’m looking at you. You at the front. The one with your hand in the air shouting ‘Me! Me! Pick me!‘ The one whose every second tweet is ‘My book is avilable on kindle for $99,’ or ‘so-and-so loved my book, buy it here,‘ or . . . well, you get the idea.
I’m an author. I write books. I want to sell my books. Of course, I do. Occasionally I might tweet a link to where you can buy my books or, if I spot a review online I’ll link to it. I link to my blogposts a couple of times or tweet if I’m doing a library event but that’s pretty much it. I can’t imagine anyone would want to follow me just to read a constant barrage telling them where to buy the latest Dan Smith novel. The spam-sell approach just doesn’t feel right to me and I have deep reservations about whether that kind of sales tactic works. If you kept seeing the same advert on the telly what would you do? You’d switch off or change the channel.
No one likes a hard sell and bombarding the Twitter stream with links to your latest book makes it boring to read. And this is, perhaps, where the two types of tweet meet. If you have 1000’s of followers and you follow 1000’s back, then you probably need to spam the stream to stop your tweets from becoming lost in the cacophony of other tweeters doing exactly the same thing. It’s one of those vicious circle thingummies.
Anyway, if I’m following someone who only tweets about what they have to sell, I unfollow them. I don’t use Twitter to read people’s sales pitches, I use it to connect with people. To converse with them. To laugh or share ideas. I use it for a bit of fun, not for the hard sell.
What about you? What drew you to Twitter? What repels you from it?
Oh, and as an experiment, I’m going to give this blog post a tempting title and see how many hits I get.