This year I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with social media as a whole, but in particular Twitter.
I’m not really sure when it happened, but at some point last year I had a moment of enlightenment, an epiphany if you will. It came through Timehop, you know that app that kindly reminds you of all those light-hearted and funny status’ you’ve published since the beginning of social media time? Well maybe in an ideal world that would be the situation, but actually what happened was that it cruelly showed me the negativity that I was spewing out onto my timelines on a daily basis. So at the beginning of this year I made a conscious decision not to post just whatever came into my head, especially if I was having a bad day!
Anyone who knows me in real life will know I’m a talker. Not just an idle chit-chat sort of talker, but I like to get deep and into the nitty gritty. Nothing stokes my fire more than having a good old deep and meaningful. When I first came to social media, I read over and over that it was a conversation. And I think in the beginning it was. I was in my element talking to lots of different people from all walks of life. Hell even Richard Madeley tweeted me once! I have dipped my toe into many social media platforms over the years, but I have now settled on three.
I use Facebook for personal friends and family mostly. I do have a page for my blog, but if I’m honest I don’t invest much time or effort into it. I also have Instagram, I have one profile which is a mixture of both personal and blog sort of stuff. And then there is Twitter. Truth be told I have a bit of a love/hate thing going on with Twitter. In the beginning I did what everyone else did and followed lots of well-known people. Maybe hoping to have a some kind of fleeting meaningful connection somewhere along the way. Maybe to catch a glimpse of the real person behind the facade that is celebrity. Very quickly it became obvious that this was never going to be the case. Twitter, for some well-known people was just another cog in the PR machine. Some of them attaching their names to an account but never actually tweeting themselves. That’s ok, but it’s not what I want. There are other well-known people who tweet, but don’t want a conversation and only follow other blue ticks. You never see them interact or reply to anyone. Finally there are the well-known people like Katy Perry, Rihanna who just have so many followers it would be impossible to have a conversation. It’s all ok, people use Twitter as they want to, but I want something else from it.
One thing that really gets on my nerves, is those people who always respond to well-known people with a meme or “ILY.” . A perfectly good tweet, that could be the start of an intelligent conversation, is responded to with an avalanche of vapid shite. Pictures of the person, memes of the person, marriage proposals, it goes on and on. Come on people, seriously?! Because of this I don’t hit the follow button on many high-profile people at all. There are a few whose account I might visit from time to time, but I won’t actually follow them.
I follow lots of people from the blogging and writing communities. Most of them use Twitter to promote blogs and books as you’d expect. When I first came to the blogging community, there was lots of chatter. I don’t see it as much anymore. Don’t get me wrong there a few out there, some of them don’t float my boat and others do. I find I get a lot more conversation now from the blogging community on Instagram. I’m fairly new to the writing community, so don’t really have an opinion but I have had a lot of follows with not much interaction…yet.
Because I follow quite a few people from the blogging, writing and nursing communities I collate my feed with the use of Lists. That means I can see all tweets that are particular to one of these communities. A few days ago I added someone to one of my lists and after they had followed me back, they immediately asked me why I’d added them to this list. I tried to explain that it’s so I can breakdown my tweets and not miss any. Suffice to say they didn’t like it, unfollowed and then blocked me. Not sure I totally understand why that happened, it seemed a bit of an over reaction. On looking for more people to follow this last few days, I’ve now seen this several times in biogs asking people not to add them to lists. I really don’t understand, I can’t see the evil in creating lists to organise your feed. I feel like I might be missing something.
Auto dm’s are a complete pain the a&*e though aren’t they? Thankfully over the last year they seem to have stopped in the main, I believe there was a change in Twitter rules about them. I do still get them occasionally, and I have to say that those are the people I do tend to unfollow straight away.
The long and short of it is that I’m just really not sure how we are supposed to use Twitter these days. It seems to me that it’s purpose is no longer to have a conversation. It’s for people to promote “stuff”, it’s for political comment and for high-profile people to make statements that they don’t respond to, or have little squabbles with each other. From what I can see on my own timeline Twitter is no longer a conversation., it’s one big advert. Don’t get me wrong, maybe it’s the people I’m following, maybe my own content just doesn’t encourage people to communicate with me, I’m willing to consider all options especially the latter!
So I’ll keep reading and liking for now. I’ll keep hesitating whether my response will be appreciated, seen or indeed appropriate. I have a special talent for inappropriate humour. I also like sarcastic humour which goes over some heads. And I’ll keep hoping for that fleeting connection with a random person that I’ll probably never meet!!
Do you have any thoughts on Twitter? Has it changed for you? Do you think it’s just one long advert these days? Let me know, let’s have a conversation 😉