Follow by Email

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Definitive FF Rant & Musings

I not only believe in Twitter, it's changed my life, no exaggeration.

I am so grateful to @ev for what he and his associates have accomplished here, and enabled people to do. I have MET PEOPLE on here I will literally be friends with for the forseeable future, possibly the rest of my life. No kidding. The wonderful thing ABOUT Twitter, which is so hard to explain to folks you "want to jump on the train" is that it can be anything you WANT it to be. It can be a closed intranet of friends, all with locked accounts. It can be a purelynewsfeed situation replacing television; I have several feeds and in 5 minutes can get more news from the world than sitting through half an hour of local news, 12 minutes of which is commercials, 4 minutes spent on Mrs.Nesbitt's lost cat, and then "Well, Bill how's the weather gonna be?" In the Desert in August, I'm guessing "warm." Bill can take the night off.

Although I'll be discussing several aspects of Twitter as they arise, the main focus of THIS blog entry, and the reason I want to tie people up in chairs and have them die in a fire (I'm a little upset) - is this "parenting thing." You know parents, right? They get you through the early stages, then set you free to be your own horrid little creature and breed with your future ex wife and make children you hope turn out better than you. OK, we've all grasped that magical concept.

One of the first things I "discovered" on Twitter was Follow Friday. And a lot of people discovered me, apparently, twice now after only 10 weeks on Twitter, I placed in the top 100
of all Follow Friday recommendations - beating out some celebrities. I actually got a little upset, in a happy way; it is both exciting and touching for me to read EVERY single at reply containing my name and some sort of praise. I'm not talking those infernal "RT's" of someone ELSE'S FFs - those are annoying and considered spam. I'm talking about where people TOOK THE TIME to mention me and others they are happy to follow, in the hopes that someone else would feel the same way. So here we now have the first "parenting issue" of several - I'll start here so we're not bouncing around topics. I will not be told how to "#FF" any more than I'll be told how to undo a bra with one hand, or make a sandwich. You kinda know or you don't. It's not like you're "sort of pregnant." As long as the hashtags are right (I use BOTH #FF AND #FollowFriday) the rest should be up to you. Having a reason is nice, but I recommend roughly ONE EIGHTH of my followers for #FF based on 4 important criteria:
  1. They have to engage with me,
  2. They have to have RT'd me,
  3. They can't use API, Twitterfeed or some other "feeder" (with rare exceptions) and
  4. They have to be NICE.
They don't have to agree with me on much, or anything for that matter - but they have to be civil and respond to courtesy. Not a lot to ask. I'm proud I recommend so many, it's nice that so many meet all that criteria. So it's now being suggested that "FF is spam," or "FF is too clogged," or "I have a better way," or "recommend just a handful and make afriggin' video." The last one killed me, although I do admire that person greatly. Imagine... "Pardon me Mr. Spielberg, could you be a love and hold off on Jaws 9 for a sec ... I've got this Twitter video I need to make, and ..... " Who the Christ is gonnawa tch a VIDEO? And who sees the link? And where do you click to get to the person's page? The WHOLE reason for an FF list is that the names are .... you guess it ...clickable @ links! See how it works is, you click on that and it takes you to their page, and you can read if they "blast," or just dismembered a transient, or pick on women, or are boring, - whatever. If you like them, click "Follow," and I immediately WRITE them an @ reply saying how I feel ... "I'm following you, follow me back, best regards from Palm Springs / Paul." I do this for 2 reasons ... first, you let them know you're a person who has taken an interest in them, and 2) you let them know in a nice way that if you're going to read their stuff, they should read yours.

I CAN ASSURE YOU that if you have 1,000+ followers, engage with 1/3 of them, and recommend only 5 ... you'll upset far more than you congratulate. And if you don't get to them pretty soon, and they're recommending YOU .... they'll UNFOLLOW you. Gonna pick only 5? Better off not bothering at all. It would be more damaging than constructive.

On the subject of "followbacks are fair" or "you're selfish if you expect a followback" (one jerk actually proclaimed that!) ... by all means follow celebs if you want. They normally don't follow back. I follow many newsfeeds and there's NO reason they should be reading my drivel. However, I think it's courtesy for "most tweeps you follow" to follow you back. It has become a common practice now for people to follow you, have you follow them, then unfollow YOU to boost their numbers. That is ... uhhh.... shitty. There's an easy fix though - go to, sign in with Twitter, and let it work its magic. Never had a "false positive" there, great tool. "ManageFlitter" (dot com) is also wonderful for more "control."

Here's where it gets interesting ... I have a special little fun way of doing my FollowFridays which MANY MANY people have complimented me on. Someone did just that recently, I told her she was welcome, and then she wrote back "of course, tweeps need to know it's not a popularity contest." I was puzzled, especially since her VERY NEXT tweet, among DOZENS she put out, was to go to a site and VOTE for someone in a "top 50 contest." You checked boxes to vote. That strikes me as "popularity." Someone else wrote early on a Friday morning that "if you send out 20 tweets of 10 names each, you SUCK." So I wrote her and said "sorry u feel that way, bye." She won't have to worry about getting one from me again or my reading her drivel posts either, usually about airplane food or some such crap. Or worse, meetups with other of her "kind." Yet another, with GOBS of followers, demanded in a tweet that NO ONE ask him to RT anything. Funny ... because dozens of people RT his junk, to gain favor I'm sure, and he never thanks them. After about 50 (I tracked 'em) - he says "oh, thanks for all the RTs." Wow ... appreciative considering he won't do one - and can't even thank people who RT'd him. Ya see a pattern here? "Do as I say, don't recommend people, don't have me spread your word, I'll define popularity, I'll insult you if you recommend people." Well KISS MY DICK.

I've got a little secret for all you folks, perhaps new to Twitter or struggling to get 50 followers or 500 or on the verge of 5,000 ... these Self Proclaimed Mavens of Twitterati DO NOT WANT YOU TO HAVE MORE FOLLOWERS. Because THEY already have a lot of followers. And if you catch up, they "lose power" in their mind. There are even sites that rate how much "influence" any one person "has." No popularity contest, huh? Don't you believe it. From the first caveman getting the biggest carcass to window monitor in grade school to Twitter .. it's ALL ABOUT popularity and especially to those who already have it. The prom queen aint givin' up her crown THAT easily, there's too much "schmoozin, crushin' and BS'in" to do. Here's the plain truth: YOU are Twitter. Your FRIENDS and TWEEPS are Twitter. ENGAGING is Twitter. Playing some songs for your friends is Twitter. Telling your pal you keep all the shoe boxes is Twitter. Having people pray for a nephew, or a father, or in my case my MOTHER ... is Twitter. What is NOT Twitter is a bunch of arrogant, self absorbed business failures masquerading as "yourTwitBoss" blowing crap in endless tirades of "guised help." Twitter belongs to Everyone. #TB2E.

So - perhaps use my criteria above to narrow down your tweeps to people who really deserve recognition; ask yourself would you follow them if someone ELSE sent them to you - and make your recommendations. DO NOT just RT someone else's labor, that benefits no one and frankly promotes spambots and junk. But when you have your list, don't be shy about praising them YOUR way, on YOUR Twitter, to YOUR other friends. Leave the lectures in the wastebasket where they belong and let's continue the great practice of not only developing relationships, but sharing those great folks we have relationships with - with others, especially newcomers as Twitter continues to grow.

Until next time ... thanks again to Twitter for absolutely changing my life and introducing me to friends I will probably have forever. God Bless /p