Bless me Twitter for I have sinned.
*Pulls curtain closed* It has been years since my last confession…
I have used the bluebird’s name in vein, I have unfollowed people, coveted another’s tweet and retweeted a post from my timeline without reading it. There, I said it. I am a social media sinner.
Let me back up a moment and explain how I got here. My experience with social media began a few years ago at the demand of my publisher – “Go forth and connect.” And so I did. There were actual people out there in the digital dark, people with common interests, other authors and some who accepted me for what I was, a fledgling little Twitterer. I mentioned this journey on an earlier post, Teaching An Old Dog Social Media Tricks. Every so often, I’d get a message, to kindly remind me, “Hey numb nuts, don’t forget the @ before the Twitter handle,” or, “Put a ‘.’ in front of your tweet for greater distribution, but most often, “Thanks for the RT.” The fun of it was connecting and interacting with the people behind the funky little avatars.But, I didn’t understand what Twitter was supposed to do to help me market my book. The constant spam tweets demanding everyone to buy some author’s book, were a viral smallpox in the Twitterverse. After a few hundred identical posts from the same author, there was no way in Hell that I would ever buy that book. Ever. These messages littered the path and made it harder to find the people with whom I wanted to connect. Click – Unfollow.
Then I stumbled on the automated tweet. Tweets, pushed out with nobody home. The content might be interesting, but all attempts at connecting with intelligent life go unanswered. Automation has a role, but a human presence is required, too. A dormant Internet probe bouncing around the web with no place to call home, is not interaction. Contact with this empty shell was frustrating and pointless. Click – Unfollow.Twitter was a flooded cow pasture and with each step, you weren’t sure if you landed in mud, or Twitter cow poop. I was determined not to become a Twitter cow, smelling up someone else’s timeline.
I didn’t want to fall into the book spam trap so I experimented with automated tweets through Hootsuite. I noticed how some writer folks got caught in a trap of automation, scheduling a tweet ahead of time and then the real world happens. The content of the innocent tweet, taken in context of breaking news, changes the meaning of their well intended message. A Bill Cosby joke, suddenly isn’t funny anymore. So, when I use Hootsuite, I’m only teeing up a tweet for a #MondayBlogs, #ArchivesDay, or #WeekendBlogHop, and I’m ready to pull the plug if the blog topic blows a social gasket.The basic idea of the “Gatherings,” like #MondayBlogs (Created by Rachel Thompson, Author and Social Media Consultant at BadRedHeadMedia.com) is a forum where bloggers can post, read and retweet content from participants. A key component is the READ part. I try to read every one of the blogs that pop up on #MondayBlogs and there are some dandies. My intentions are good, I like the WordPress blogs, comment on some, share on Google+ and naturally, retweet blogs I enjoy. But, there may have been an occasion where I have Retweeted before I read the post. *Hangs head in Twitter shame*
The Twitterverse is infested with followers who find your account and are “Willing” to give you 10,000 new followers for a nickel and a few beads. WTF? Is the point of social media to collect numbers, or interact? Number envy has become a thing.
Twitter, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee.
For my penance, I will recite five Act of Social Media Contritions, which basically says: “I will not blindly retweet, I will not send DM’s begging for likes on another platform, I will not troll for numbers, I will not copy and paste another’s tweet as my own, not pick up another account on yet one more twisted social media platform, and most importantly, I promise to be genuine.”
Off to a Twitter Re-Education Center…