I found a spot-on post on Mark Schaeffer’s excellent blog on snobbish Twitter behavior. Like Mark, I have to hear way too often that “Being a Twitter Snob is a Good Thing”, referring to the fact that some Twitterati think that not following back on Twitter is a good thing, a thing that makes them stand out. A thing that puts them on an intellectual pedestal. You know, creating a sense of an elite cast. Indulge people to follow you, do not follow back. Maintain distance with those ugly plebeian tweeps.
Schaeffer points out three often cited reasons not to follow back:
* It is a way to de-clutter a cluttered social media world.
* Having selected Twitter followers reflects better on your taste in connections
* Having an appearance of exclusivity adds to your credibility
And, I agree with Mark: it’s rubbish.
First of all: it’s rude. It’s like giving people your business card, but not accepting the return card. It’s Neanderthal behavior. Seriously. It tells a lot about how you are: absolutely not interested in your Twitter followers. It tells a lot about your attitude (bad), it tells a lot about your willingness to socially engage (not).
Secondly, not following back will make you miss out on some very valuable people. They may not be A-listed, they may not have a gazillion followers… but they might be smart, funny, interesting … why are you closing the door to knowing them better, hurting their feelings along the way?
Don’t give me the usual crap like “I’m social because I respond to @replies”. That is like saying “I’ll be listening to you only if you send me a registered letter”.
My personal Twitter rules are simple. I follow everybody back by default. Mind you, with 22.000 followers, that does not mean I read every tweet. I have a preferred list of highly interesting tweeps, a list of highly amusing tweeps, and a series of lists on selected keywords that grab my interest.
I kick out bots, spammers, annoying tweeps, people who try to sell me stuff I do not want, and those ladies that will get me into deep trouble with my lovely wife. I kick out PEOPLE WHO TWEET IN CAPITALS ALL THE FREEKIN’TIME, etc etc… I kick out tweeps who have not tweeted in 100 days (are they gone to a galaxy far far away?). I kick out tweeps with sandals and white socks.
To the Twitter snobberati, let me paraphrase Voltaire: “I disapprove of your Twitter behaviour, but I will defend to the death your right to be wrong” :-).