Follow Me….Or Else!

Anyone with a computer and passing knowledge of the internet knows social media is sweeping the world, changing our lives, and giving a voice to many who have been muzzled for far too long. This is a positive thing. We’re already living in the world of tomorrow and more connected than ever.

But…. There’s always a but.

There’s this new thing I’m seeing lately on Twitter. For the uninitiated, Twitter is a social media site that allows anyone with an account to air their thoughts, stories, news, and anything else in 140 characters or less. The glitch is that only the people who choose to “follow” you will see what you have to say. Since we all want to be heard, we need followers to hear us or what’s the point of tweeting at all? (The whole tree falls in the forest thing.)

I didn’t like Twitter for a long time, but eventually grew to enjoy it. You really have to figure out how to make it work for you. I cannot stay on the site all day and that means I rarely take part in active discussions. However, if there is breaking national or international news, I will log in as the details almost always show up there first.

I check in a few times during the day, if I think of it. Promote blogs and try to mention now and then about my newsletter contest and book up for preorder, but for me Twitter is not a promotional tool. It’s a place I go to find something interesting about the world or the publishing industry or just to laugh at someone’s funny observations. The tweets that flew during the blackout at the Super Bowl were the best part of the evening.

So here’s my but. The new trick seems to be to follow people only to get them to follow you back. And if they don’t follow you back within a few days, you unfollow them, as if that’s some punishment. You just cannot be expected to keep that ungrateful tweeter on your list if he/she isn’t going to return the favor.

Here’s why this bothers me. I follow people I think will say or share something I find interesting. If they don’t follow me back, that’s fine. If your stream is nothing but “Buy my book!” then I’m not following. I get enough ads on every other site, I’m not purposely going to follow someone to have more ads thrown my way. And that’s what those are—ADS.

To be fair, I do not want anyone to follow me unless they’re genuinely interested in what I have to say. Admittedly, I don’t say much, but I try. I retweet things I find pertinent. An open call for submissions, an article about the ever sweeping changes in publishing, or sharing word that a really good book is out now or on sale. Yes, that could be construed as an ad, but I gain no benefit from sharing the link. It’s not for me, it’s for the readers who might like the book. That, to me, is fair.

I’ve signed up for a service that alerts me every day to who followed me and unfollowed me in the last 24 hours. Many use this, I think, so they can go unfollow people who unfollow them. For me, I just wanted to see who was unfollowing me because my numbers were fluctuating so much. What it’s revealed has been enlightening.

If you’re following random people with the sole purpose of getting them to follow you and boost your numbers, that’s your right. But I don’t believe that’s how the site was intended, and I will not be taking part in that game. Have something interesting/funny/informative to say? Count me in. If you expect me to click FOLLOW out of obligation, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Are you on Twitter? Do you like social media? Has it gotten to be too much? What sites are your favorites and have you found any new ones lately? (I know MySpace is back, but I just cannot handle one more site.) As a reader, do you use social media to find new authors and books?

13 thoughts on “Follow Me….Or Else!”

  1. Ah, twitter… I keep having people opt to follow me and I read their tag line and wonder…why? Do I follow back? Seldom. But I am seldom on twitter. It’s like watching a NASCAR race and trying to stay on track with one car, one a roadrace, with a new sponsor… I just get lost.

    I can just sit back and enjoy the comments, I’m good. Follow them? Understand it all? Want to jump into it?


    1. Terri says:

      It’s truly not for everyone. Seems one person is a FB person and someone else might be a Twitter person and many times they do not cross migrate. 🙂

  2. Irisheyes says:

    I’ve always considered myself a person who kept abrest of the latest technology. We used to joke about having to help my parents work the TV, cable box and VCR! Then answering machines came along and I remember watching my parents try to conquer that one. I think our first greeting went something like… {silence} then “Is it recording? I don’t know. What does the green light mean? I don’t know. Should we just say leave a messa…”

    Now the shoe is on the other foot and it’s kind of uncomfortable. *LOL* As with anything out there, it has it’s good points and bad points. The only reason I joined Facebook was to keep tabs on my 2 teens. I’m a pretty private person and have always been of the opinion that most people could care less what I have to say on any given subject. So, posting my ideas, thoughts, opinions just doesn’t sit well with me. And, of course, as soon as I joined I got friend requests in abundance. Should I friend them? Should I not? Will they be offended? Do I really want to know what my cousin’s husband’s brother is up to 24/7? Not particularly.

    I actually had people come up to me at family parties and ask why I hadn’t friended them yet. Yikes! Too much pressure. I friended all of my siblings, my nieces and nephews (most of them are out of state and it was a good way to keep up with them), and a few friends that are out of state and that’s it. I told everyone that I hardly ever go on FB and only got an account to keep tabs on the kids. That seemed to smooth over a lot of ruffled feathers. And actually there are only a handful that post regularly. I think the rest of them are kind of like me and just got it because it was the thing to do at the time.

    So, my social media connection is kind of thin (on purpose). I go on FB every day and check to see what’s been posted but that’s about it. I’ve creeped a time or two when one of my kids has gone on and on about a potential boyfriend/girlfriend. What I’ve seen over the past year or so is unbelievable, though. I’m still of the opinion that the very last person you want to give access to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or Instagram is a teenager (or an adult who hasn’t matured past their teens)! My word, absolutely no filters in place a lot of the time and a lot of TMI going on.

    I know it has it’s uses and I do use the internet A LOT! I’m on the computer 3-4 times throughout the day. I’m a huge fan of author websites and blogs. I’m just unsure about all the friending and following and stuff with certain sites. Sometimes it just feels like everyone is re-living high school and it’s a big popularity contest and I’m definitely not into that. And then you get to the stuff you’re dealing with. Grown adults being passive aggressive on the internet. It boggles the mind. *LOL*

  3. Irisheyes says:

    Wow, that was long! Guess I’ve got an opinion I’d like to share after all! *LOL*

    1. Terri says:

      I love long comments! I got on FB way back before it was a “thing”. Someone from EJ’s board suggested it and I remember saying, “But that’s for college kids.” LOL! Not anymore!

      I joined for the writing stuff and then in the last couple years, family and other friends found me. I’ll friend them, but they have to know I mostly talk about writing and books. If they’re not interested, they can unfriend. I won’t be offended. 🙂

      Twitter I use to keep up with the industry. If you’re a writer trying to sell, Twitter is a great place to be. Follow agents, editors, and publishers. You’ll learn so much and it all comes in handy.

  4. Irisheyes says:

    I love the cover for MEANT TO BE!

    1. Terri says:

      Thanks. Me too! LOL!

  5. I like twitter and facebook for different reasons! I don’t have a lot of time to be on twitter for discussions or talking to people, fb either sometimes, but I’m there and tweet as much as I can and I always talk to whoever answers me back 🙂

    1. Terri says:

      They are very different animals, Kellie. I don’t imagine using Twitter much for connecting with readers, but it’s a must to stay up on the industry. They serve totally different purposes for me. And I have no idea how people stay on Twitter so much throughout the day, but I think it has to do with how smart your phone is. LOL!

  6. Marnee Bailey says:

    I told you this last night, but I’m like you. I follow the same kinds of folks. Mostly writers, comedians. Some celebrity personalities if they’re funny (Stephen Colbert. Seth McFarlane, etc).

    I don’t know why some of my followers are following me.

    And I am the same as far as promo. If most of your twitterfeed is promo, I’m probably not going to follow you back.

    But I like Twitter, for the most part. Some cool people say some cool stuff. 🙂

    1. Terri says:

      Lots of Tweeters are definitely good for a chuckle. But then sometimes it feels like everyone else is in the cool club and I’m just watching the convo from the geek table. 🙂

      I started following some of the bands that Kiddo and I listen to, so now other fans and even new bands are following me. Seems weird, but they can see my description to know I’m a Romance writer. Maybe we can cross promote the music and the books!

  7. Hellion says:

    This makes me even more glad that my interaction with Twitter is minimal. I enjoy tweets when I read them in newspaper articles as part of the “research” because they can be funny and add something, but otherwise, I think it’s a lot of nothing. I much prefer Facebook since I have a medium attention span.

    That said, I prefer to follow odd things on Twitter. Like the Bronx Zoo Cobra–she’s always good for a giggle. Or Lord Voldemort or Snape. I find Twitter to be rather…banal so I don’t look at it for actual marketing or knowledge seeking. *shrugs* But I’m not the age group Twitter was made for.

    1. Terri says:

      Oddly enough, I don’t think Twitter is aimed at a young demographic. It can serve many purposes and my bet is that it’s yet to reach its full potential. When large, breaking stories happen – like shootings or national uprisings in other countries – I almost always see it on Twitter first. Even before that Breaking News line appears on my homepage.

      Again, you have to figure out why you’re on there and then manipulate you’re stream to suit your needs. I recently heard a PR person say you want to make sure you always have more followers than the number you follow. Which is just crazy to me. It’s not a popularity contest and that kind of thinking is what brings in the HS attitude that Marn mentions above.

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