I’ve been getting these announcements that So and So is following me on Twitter.
Initially, I treated these the way I do friend requests here at Xanga or at Facebook: I make sure that it’s not a request from a bad neighborhood, and then I say yes.
I don’t invite friends at either place, because as you know I’m a) not that friendly and b) too busy to be seeking out virtual friends. But I also don’t say no, because — well, I’m not that unfriendly. I really like my Xanga friends, and my Facebook friends are mostly people I know IRL. I eagerly read the new developments in your lives, and I’m happy to throw the occasional snowball, too. I work and teach and live in cyberspace, so it’s very nice to have friends here.
Twitter is different.
First, there are people at Twitter who tweet ten or twenty times a day. I make a quick visit on most mornings.
I’m not saying that my way is better. It’s like email. I know all these people who firmly check their email at Email Time, and rave about how much time that saves them. I respond to every email chime when I’m at the computer, because there are so many people with whom I use email as real-time communication. I get messages like “please start on the project” or “I need to talk to you about these revisions before I shoot them off to the guys. Are you available by phone now?”
But since I am only an occasional visitor at Twitter and don’t have tweets forwarded to me, following one of those frequent tweeter means that my whole Twitter page will be filled with their tweets, and I’ll have no idea what Alissa is cooking or whether Tom ever found those library books.
Also, the sad truth is that some of my followers don’t really want to be friends. Some of them have thousands of followers and are really using Twitter for marketing purposes alone. I don’t mind following a company under those circumstances — I mean, I want to know what SitePoint is up to. We have a relationship, if my buying their books and their letting me download free chapters is a relationship. But that dog breeder isn’t contacting me because she found my tweets compelling and wants to be friends, and I’m not in the market for yet another dog, either.
So I’m ignoring some of my followers and feeling a little bit uncomfortable about it, socially.
New technology creates new quandaries.
Today I have a lot of domestic stuff to do, and a date to work on that book proposal. Lolling, walking, and knitting may be features of the day.
But cooking and cleaning and shopping are unavoidable. I suggested last night that the whole family get together and clean this morning. There was a signal lack of enthusiasm.