“…and thus, if someone shall follow thee on Twitter, thee must also follow back in return, within twenty-four hours, or thee shall be smote with the fated curse of Twitter Isle.”
I’ve lost count of how many times I see rants about “I followed someone, and they didn’t immediately follow me back! I unfollowed that jerk!” or “My Magical Unfollower app told me that this person unfollowed me yesterday, so I unfollowed them! Hmmph!”
A few weeks ago, I went through my social media feeds, unfriending and unfollowing people I’ve never interacted with. Because honestly, why? If I haven’t interacted with someone in two years, why do we need to follow each other? I don’t know them, I’m not interested in what they are posting. They obviously don’t know me, and aren’t interested in what I’m doing. We aren’t family. We aren’t friends. I’m trying to clean my feeds up, get rid of spammers and those god-awful Twitter pyramid scheme posters.
Within hours, I started getting messages about “Oh my God, why did you delete me? Do you hate me? What have I done wrong? “
Which is bizarre, right? Because why are people so obsessed about this? People unfollow me all the time, and I only know that because I see my follower number fluctuate. And you know what? If you aren’t interested in what I’m doing, what I’m posting, then go. That’s fine. You are a human being with limited time, I expect that you want to have people in your feeds that you’re interested in seeing and keeping up with. Just like me. If I’m not what you’re looking for, please feel free to unfollow me. I’m not going to stalk you, spamming you with messages, begging you to follow me back. You are a person. You know what you like.
I realize I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Dude, I don’t even LIKE tea.
And I don’t have eleventy bajillion followers. Last time I looked, I had seven hundred and some odd. I’m a newish author, and still figuring out what I’m doing. But I know for certain that I’d rather have seven hundred legitimate followers, people who actually care about what I’m doing, who are interested in my writing news, or enjoy bantering with me on Twitter, than eleventy bajillion followers who are only there because they felt trapped into some weird “I followed you first and now you’re obligated” blood oath, or worse, because we’ve all signed up for some nightmare Twitter service that promises to RT my book sixty million times as long as I RT their porn and sunglasses. WHAT EVEN IS THAT.
I get that people maybe get excited seeing lots of numbers, but if nobody is actually interested in your book, what does it matter how many shares it gets? It’s just becoming a piece of spam, your book, your little baby you nurtured for so long, staying up late at night, getting up early to work on, because you believed so hard in it.
Look at the “big” authors, the ones who have absolutely made it. The ones we talk about only by last name.
They act like people on social media, right? They aren’t auto DMing, they aren’t RTing porn and sunglasses. They are writing, talking, joking, laughing, and writing.
I think the real key here is to be a person, not a bot.
Nobody wants to interact with a bot.
So I’ll be straight with you here: If you follow me, I might not follow you back. And the reverse is also true. I might follow you, with no expectation of reciprocation.
If I think you are funny, if I like your work, if I think we share common interests, if you like Outlander or the Walking Dead, if your books are on my TBR or my already read list, or if you are, say, for instance, Norman Reedus or Tobias Menzies, heck yes, Imma follow you.
That doesn’t obligate you in any way to follow me.
Let’s all put forth some effort into behaving like grown ups, shall we?
Even though it may seem like it is sometimes, Twitter, or any other social media is not the elementary school playground.
We are not five year olds, so we don’t demand things like, “Meet me by the swings at recess or I won’t be your friend anymore!” and we don’t throw temper tantrums over Twitter follows or send demanding messages asking why people have unfollowed us.
I ain’t no follow back girl.
I don’t expect you are, either.
Can we begin rewriting the “rules” of following on social media?
“…and the light shined down, and thus the Social Media goddess said unto us, “Thee is free to follow whoever thine heart wishes, because thee has free will, and the Immediate Follow Back law is no more.”