You have a new follower!
So, off you go to find out more about this stranger who must have impeccable taste.
And you feel your enthusiasm shrivel and your posture slowly die as you browse your new follower’s Twitter timeline.
Maybe it’s full of pithy phrases you’ve seen thousands of times before. So many times your eye-muscles resent it when you encounter them again, because, darnit, they can only roll so many times in the course of a day without pulling something.
Maybe it’s full of comments like, “I want you to be happy, but I want to be the reason,” or “My soul aches when you’re not near me.”
I’m going with my impulse on this one. Creepy.
Or maybe it’s full of snark-bombs leveled at people at the opposite end of the political spectrum. Doesn’t matter whether it’s liberals snark-bombing conservatives or conservatives snark-bombing liberals. I unfollowed someone recently who re-tweeted the following comment: “Babies should have the right to abort their skanky liberal mommas.”
Really? Does anyone really think that’s funny? Because it isn’t. It’s disgusting and pathetic. The person who re-tweeted this was a mother herself, so I couldn’t help but wonder, “Do you just stop putting yourself in other people’s shoes when they happen to think differently? Because if you do, what’s the point of even trying to see things from other people’s perspectives? Or is it only worth it if that other person’s perspective is identical to your own?”
The Nazis weren’t the first or last to dehumanize others who didn’t look or think as they did. Don’t spread that shit around.
Maybe you’re looking at your new follower’s Twitter timeline and thinking, “I’m already following someone who tweets pictures of babies / cute animals / natural wonders, or quotes from [name of author / philosopher / saint]. I don’t need another one.”
Fair enough. Only you know how much time you can devote to Twitter each day, and what content you’re more inclined to share with your followers. If you don’t want your favorite content drowning in an ocean of less inspiring material, you’ll probably end up culling the list of tweeps you follow, eliminating those whose content you find yourself skimming past automatically, since they haven’t tweeted or retweeted anything of interest for a long time.
Those who follow me now have every right to unfollow me without explaining themselves. I reserve the same right, though I don’t exercise it lightly. I don’t follow everyone who follows me, either — nor do I decide to unfollow someone simply because he or she hasn’t followed me back. If I like the content someone is sharing — well enough to even share it with those who follow me — I’ll keep following.
Some I follow just because their content is fun. Some I follow for the helpful information they share. Some because they’re fellow writers, fellow bloggers, fellow something-or-others.
Some I follow just because their content makes me laugh.
And some I follow because I find them and their words inspiring and encouraging.
Now, it’s your turn. What makes you follow or not follow someone?
Have you ever followed someone and later unfollowed him or her because of a tweet or retweet that made you angry?