Forgive Me Twitter, For I Have Sinned

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.

please feed me Image by slava maurava kiss, via flickr creative commons

please feed me
Image by slava maurava kiss, via flickr creative commons

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.

In the spamuverse image by sebastian johnson, via flickr creative commons

In the spamuverse
image by sebastian johnson, via flickr creative commons

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.

Somehow this image is creepier now!

Somehow this image is creepier now!

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.”

Amen.

Off to a Twitter Re-Education Center…

Monitored Social Media Training image by emilio labrador, vía flickr creative commons

Monitored Social Media Training
image by emilio labrador, vía flickr creative commons

 

 

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6 comments

  1. I had no idea ‘.’ meant that. Nor did I understand what the blog #s stood for. So, thank you, oh great Twitter sinner. Seriously, though, I can’t stand “Buy my book”, the endless DMs from people I don’t know, or “Hey, now you can buy followers with one click.” I’ve always used Twitter as a social place mainly because I’ve never taken the time to figure out Hootsuite, Tweet Deck, or any other automation. I’m not sure if that makes me a Twitter moron or genuine. Are you saying these automations are not good to use? Because they seem like time-savers. Though I would still use Twitter how I always have as well. I have too much fun interacting with like-minded folks to stop now.

    1. The DM’s with all the buy my book nonsense are like a clingy girlfriend (or boyfriend) – I just met you and I’m not ready for that commitment. Some folks swear by automation to make sure their message hits at different times, for a different audience. I can see the time savings if applied thoughtfully. And yes, you are genuine – one of a kind.

  2. You’re so right! Nowadays those social gaskets keep on blowing up! I had one of those automated twitter things on my machine and it started doing some really strange things like pretending to be me and sending out drunken rants (oh yeah, that totally was not me ; ) )

    1. Everyone has gotten so uptight and sensitive to boot. Oh, and as far as your automated Twitter thingy sending out drunk tweets, they say admitting you have a problem is the first step. 😇

  3. stephanie710 · · Reply

    I am also guilty of crimes against Twitter. There is quite a learning curve but my biggest mistake was allowing someone else to manage my account. This, of course, landed me in Twitter jail where I was quickly schooled on the error of my ways (or his). Having my account suspended for the crimes of my then web designer was the final straw. I have since learned all the Twitter lingo, rules, and etiquette…but it does take some time. This was a great post, which I am sure will help many. I only wish I read this three years ago. 🙂

    1. Hard time in Twitter jail, huh? The ‘ol bread and water routine for violating the sanctity of the retweet. I bumped around in the dark for a long time, but good folks out there (you included in that gathering, Stephanie) made sure I was on the straight and narrow. Thanks Stephanie and for your penance, please say Two Acts of Social Contrition, and three Our Twitters.

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