Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Thanks for Following?

22nd October, 2009

It had been in the past that there had been a lot of discussion around “Twetiquette” - for the uninitiated, this is a combination of Twitter + Etiquette. It surrounded questions like “Should you follow people back who follow you?”, “What style of writing should I use when composing Tweets?”, and “Is it acceptable to be using liberal abbreviations in Tweets or is it best to be succinct?”.

You don’t hear so much about that these days, as I think Twitter users have gradually come round to realising that Twitter is exactly what you make it, entirely flexible, and what you want it to be.

For the first time in a long while I have come up with another question of Twetiquette, and I thought it was probably time to get it out again to have another go.

A few days ago I started following someone who had cropped up in one of the searches I have open in Digsby (my new Twitter client of choice). Seemed like a nice enough person, their tweets (or at least their English ones) were nice enough to justify following them.

Once I started following them, within a few hours I had received a Direct Message from them saying thanks for following, what they tweet about (in 140 characters? I tweet about a lot more than I can fit into 140 characters!!) and that they’re “hoping to hear a lot from me”.

I was going to send a nice DM to reciprocate but I found that they were no longer following me.

Now this isn’t an opportunity for me to feel bad that this person felt the need to immediately unfollow me, but more that upon this discover I immediately asked myself if this was an automated Direct Message or not.

If it was not automated, then the person had gone to the trouble of checking their list of followers for new ones, following me, sending me the DM, all to then just unfollow me again. If it had been a DM then I just felt a bit like I’d been ripped off.

One way or the other, it doesn’t really matter - despite this person’s best efforts I am left wondering if they actually value their social media acquaintances or not. Once again, this depends on what you want Twitter for, but I would think that is somewhat defeating the whole point.

I was spoilt for choice choosing LOLs for this post, so here’s the best of the rest that didn’t make it in.