Okay, what just happened to Twitter? In the last week it has slowly grown into some kind of pseudo-MySpace where everyone is following everyone and not one of these people is actually posting genuine content. And you know what? I'm not the only one who's noticed. At 11:55AM, Nov. 12th I tweeted this:
Why do people think Twitter is Myspace? I'm not going to follow you just because you follow me. You still have to be interesting.
On Nov. 13th, John Dale wrote a blog post entitled "Why Guy Kawasaki is Wrong about Twitter (or Why I Don't Follow Everyone that Follows Me and You Shouldn't Either)" which expresses his disdain for Guy Kawasaki's approach to Twitter, namely, use it like MySpace - follow everyone who follows you and pretend you're cooler than you actually are. Here's a choice quote from the John's post:
Let's not treat Twitter like MySpace. Please, only follow the folks that are actually interesting to you, that you actually care about...and remember, if we see that you're following thousands of people...we don't believe you.
John's post then inspired a blog post by Steven Bristol of LessEverything.com entitled "Guy Kawasaki is an Idiot" who concludes:
The days are numbered for these types of tricks. I think everyone will agree that the world is changing into a more transparent place. ... Be honest. Be yourself. Be genuine in thought, word and deed. We will be drawn to you and love you for it.
Now I'd like to think that my tweet started this whole Twitter != MySpace thing (because I said it first) but I know that's not the case because John doesn't follow me. But what I have realized is that this influx of "follow-you-follow-me" is happening to everyone, not just me. And it must be happening across the board because I'm not even remotely popular enough to garner the kind of attention I'm getting. What started it, however, is a mystery to me. And I know it wasn't Guy's post because it all started two days before his post web live.
I honestly don't know how the people who've started following me found me in the first place. I can only assume they follow someone famous and then go through that person's list of followers. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T DO THIS! You will come across as a disingenuine attention whore, especially if we have absolutely nothing in common. It's one thing for some web designer / programmer to follow me - at least I can pretend that they've looked at my tweets - but if you're an author or a geologist or just some guy with no self-respect, don't follow me because I won't follow you. Oh sure, I'll check you out, see that all your tweets are about reaching some bullshit Number of Followers mark in the thousands and then write you off as a self-aggrandizing moron.
Here's the thing though: I want to follow more people; but I want is for them to be funny, have similar interests and not just post links to shit that they write on their blog. If I want to read your blog, I'll subscribe to your feed - that's why RSS/Atom was invented.
Twitter is supposed to be about connecting to individuals in a way that you normally wouldn't be able to. It's supposed to be about hearing @gilesgoatboy complain about how cold it is in his new place, about how @schwarzwald can't wait for WoWLK, about how @lessallan is delusional in [his] self-evaluation and about how @padillac thinks Merb 1.0 is the new Rails. If you can't be genuine, can't be yourself, can't be honest and can't figure out what the people I follow are talking about, don't bother following me, because I sure as hell won't be following you.