How To Deal With Twitter Slander

16 Feb

I signed on to my Twitter account over the weekend to be confronted with this message:

unfollow twitter message

This is not the first time I’ve seen a message that called me out for unfollowing someone.  The first time it happened I was immediately ashamed and quickly refollowed the person.  The next time I tried to defend myself by pointing out that I had never engaged in a conversation with the person.  We then spoke more in 1 minute than we had the entire time I had followed his account. This time, it seems, I have been auto-dissed which must be the Twitter equivalent of breaking up with someone over a post-it note.

I’ve said before that one of the rules you should know before joining Twitter is to not fear the unfollow. It’s really ok, despite what automated responses may say about you.  This man and his followers probably think I’m a spambot or some heartless bitch who just follows & unfollows to increase her Klout score.  If there wasn’t a lesson here I wouldn’t have bothered to write a post at all.

Before I get to the moral of my story, here are a few facts you should know about my Twitter account.

  1. I tweet. A lot. I realize that a lot of people find this annoying, but if you ever met me in real life you wouldn’t be surprise.  I talk really fast, have a lot of interests and I suffer from insomnia.  If I didn’t keep myself to one-cup of coffee I’m sure that I would NEVER shut up.
  2. I follow people who don’t follow me back.  Celebrities, news feeds, social media stars, journalists. I follow these accounts for reasons as varied as why I hang out with acquaintances. This feed is full of great links about my industry, this feed makes me giggle, and this one is a friend of a friend that I want to support.
  3. I’ll pretty much follow anyone who has a witty bio.  If you took the time to write something clever in 140 characters I’m willing to give you a chance.
  4. I’m quick to follow and slow to unfollow.  If a tweet catches my eye it’s not hard to hit follow and add to one of my lists.  There’s no set time for an unfollow but I like to give my new follows at least a week.  I can get an idea of their feed, follow their conversations and ask the most important question that you need to ask before you click unfollow.  Is this feed going to enchance my experience or just make twitter.
  5. I’m slow to followback.  If you’re following me and I haven’t followed back, don’t get insulted.  I actually go through my follower accounts individually and I’m usually behind.  Also a great way to get rid of spammers who unfollow after a day.

Pop quiz time! Now that you know me, how do you think I would respond to that tweet calling me a quitter?

    A. Cry
    B. Swear revenge
    C. Not give a shit
    D. All of the Above

If you chose D then you know me IRL. My first reaction to most situations tends to be irrationally emotional.  After that subsides, however, I chose option C.  I don’t give a shit if this guy thinks I’m a quitter.  I don’t give a shit if that tweet gets archived on Google and that’s the first impression that people have of my Twitter account.  Want to know why? I don’t know who the hell he is or why I followed him in the first place; which is likely the reason I unfollowed him in the first place.

I don’t regret the decision because this is how I use Twitter.  It feels natural and I’ve come to find a rhythm that works for me.  When I feel there’s a time for a change then that’s when it will happen.

Today’s Takeaways:

  1. Don’t engage with someone who takes the low road on Twitter. Engagement is the reward of social media and you don’t want to reward a douchebag.
  2. Do unfollow users for your own reasons.  Maybe there’s too many tweets or too few.  Maybe they want to talk all the time and you’re more interested in checking in daily for news. In the end it doesn’t matter what the reason is, all that matters is that you’re using Twitter the way you want to not the way someone has dictated to you.
  3. Don’t take it personally when you are unfollowed.
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9 Responses to “How To Deal With Twitter Slander”

  1. Lyz 02/16/2011 at 8:38 am #

    Love it! Twitter is too big and too busy a place to get bogged down in needless drama with people you don’t know.

    • Nixie 02/16/2011 at 8:59 am #

      Love that you stopped by and left a comment. Everyone make sure to follow @lyzl.

  2. Patricia Beaudin 02/16/2011 at 10:55 am #

    Lovely post. I never really got why people felt the need to tweet who unfollowed them. Why should their followers care???? I think it looks petty too. Get over yourself.

    • Nixie 02/22/2011 at 5:19 pm #

      Obviously agree. I do like to call out spammers who mention me so maybe there’s some of that. Although I feel a quick scan of my account will show that I’m an active account.

  3. Ronni 02/27/2011 at 7:23 pm #

    Goodness. I have no idea WHO unfollows me on Twitter. It’s too big and busy!

  4. Imogenery 04/28/2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Wow. It’s incredible how some people feel the need to stir up drama on sites like Twitter. I try to avoid drama in “real life,” never mind the interwebs!

    • Nixie 08/18/2011 at 3:56 pm #

      Agree 100% – not just about Twitter. The whole idea of comments and blogs has created this subculture of people who feel free to say things that they would never say in a face-to-face situation. The idea that they can be “anonymous” somehow gives them liscene to be mean and hurtful.

      I suppose you could make the argument that we’re seeing a general breakdown in society of manners/courtesy/respect. RealityTV glorifies people behaving badly. People record fights on their cell phones and upload to YouTube instead of getting help. I would like to think that the presence of these networks and the ability to share information so easily has just amplified the actions of a few bad people as opposed to contributing to a general decline in society.

  5. Andrew Burnett 06/28/2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Very well put Nixie. I, for my part, found this post after a very kind comment you prefixed an RT of @AmyVernon with 🙂

    My own feelings on following (and or unfollowing) are that it’s ultimately an individual’s choice who they listen to and who they ignore, offline as it is online. That’s the way it works.  The emotions involved are often another thing altogether, but that’s the way it works. 

    • Nixie 08/18/2011 at 3:46 pm #

      Thank you Andrew! I’ve been surprised by how often I see these posts pop up on Twitter. Makes me think if I really set my mind to it this blog could help out a lot of people.

      It’s not the unfollow I mind, nor would I mind if this person had personally engaged with me when I unfollowed. I’ve had that happen before and I can’t argue with how a real person feels in that moment. It’s the automated nature of that tweet that I was so bothered by and the fact that when I followed up with the user via public replies there was no engagement. He didn’t care enough to respond but he cared enough to use some bot to shame users when they choose not to follow him.

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