So, I moved my earlier version into the trash bin because in retrospect I kind of approached this on two fronts: first with a a super condensed version on Twitter, and then in post format here. However, I wanted to be clear about the impetus behind my statement:
Year end Twitter cleanup is under way. Because it always seems to feel needed at the end of the year.
— Scopique (@Scopique) November 2, 2015
First and foremost, this “need” isn’t about other people. That sounds dangerously close to “it’s not you, it’s me”, which I guess it really is. Yeah, when it comes down to it, that statement is basically a circuitous way of saying that “I need to focus on what makes me happy, and you’re not helping to make me happy”. Further examination shows that such a breakdown doesn’t really sound much better, but I want to say that this is not the only reason for my “need” to clean up my Twitter stream. It’s certainly part of it, but it’s not the only part of it.
Some people don’t tweet all that much. I guess leaving them on there is just as good as not having them on there at all, since the volume of tweets received is about the same. I’m not OCD by any stretch (if you could see my house, that would be apparent), but when I have absolute and utter control over an aspect of elective interaction, I do tend to pay more attention to keeping everything nice and tidy. At the end of the day, I want a comfortable stream that reflects my need for what I want to get out of social media, and unfollowing people who really don’t use it that often to interact doesn’t seem like a big deal. Certainly in cases like this, it’s absolutely, 100% not a personality judgement. People who don’t communicate drift apart. It’s been like that since people started grunting at one another as a way to communicate, and I expect it will continue until humanity grunts its last grunt between two individuals.
Some people really don’t bother to interact. They tweet out, but rarely between. These people tend to have some kind of personal enrichment agenda, like promoting their Twitch/YouTube channel, or just auto-post from their blog. Ping them on something, and you rarely get a response. If these people have something I want to hear about on a regular basis, I put them in a list with all other “broadcast” accounts. I don’t feel that I need to be following them in my main timeline, which I reserve for people who want to interact with other people.
Some people don’t bother to interact with me, and since the door swings both ways, I can’t always blame them since I was following a lot of people I almost never interacted with myself. This is a kind of “ships passing in the night” situation. Maybe I followed someone because they were primarily concerned with a game I was really into at the time, as a way of trying to feel like I was part of their community. I didn’t really have much to say to them, but I’d frequently see those people chatting with others about a topic of interest. If my interest in those topics wane, or if I attempt to interact with people and only receive a modicum of a response, then I guess we’re not compatible enough to maintain the relationship. Again, no foul; we’re just not right for one another and my interest in them doesn’t seem to be returned when I do want to interact.
I’m not concerned with “follow backs” since social media is 100% about what I want to get from you. If you’re interesting, talk about things I want to hear about, and seem like a nice person, than I’ll follow, but reciprocation is not expected. However, if a person seems to fall into one of the above categories, then there comes a time when I simply re-evaluate what I’m getting from a person. Am I regularly riveted by what they tweet? Are they engaging with anyone and everyone who tries to converse with them? Or are they one-way streets, pimping their projects and only talking with a select group of other people who aren’t me, if they bother to tweet at all? If they fall into the later category, then they’re part of the year end clean-up. Again, nothing personal, but it’s my stream that I stare at all day (and part of the night), so I want to feel that my timeline is represented by the kinds of people who share my interests, are entertaining, and who value me as a follower of theirs.
And The Rest of Them
There are very few people I unfollow due to a severe difference of opinion. Few, but not none. Some folks I continued to follow out of historical fealty, but in the end that’s not a reason to maintain a “relationship”. My earlier post talked about how I have found myself becoming increasingly agitated by online behavior. It’s been affecting me more and more during my offline hours by compounding other stimuli that have been annoying me. Some of those annoyances are really petty, some are intensely personal, but I increasingly managed to find representations of those annoyances among some of the people I followed on the medias. Other aspects in my life may be more difficult to deal with, but having absolute control over who I see in my timeline means I don’t have to allow those people to continue to contribute behaviors that I don’t care to observe. 98% of the behavior of those people was not personal, but sometimes I see people following other people that I really like, so I figure that me and this third party must have something in common. I’ve hung on to a few people over the years simply because I was waiting to see what attracted others to these folks, and it seems to be around this time of year when I finally decide that if I can’t put my finger on it with certainty, then maybe there’s nothing about this person which explains why I should bother to subject myself to their personalities when all they do is blunder through my timeline with their self-centered projections.
I just wanted to let the majority of folks know that my unfollowing isn’t because I think you’re an asshole or because you’ve got nothing of worth to offer me. I’m always on the lookout for interesting people who want to interact, because I prefer to use social media as a way to find interesting people. Interesting, to me, is a person who shares his or her ideas, but who also likes to interact around common interests, to help one another out, to boost morale, and to be a positive influence on other people. I realize that not everyone views social media that way. Some people use it to promote themselves, to listen in on others, and sadly to continuously vent their anger and annoyance or flaunt their centrism in a public setting. And hey, listen: you’re totally in the right to use these vehicles in those ways if it’s what you want to do, but it doesn’t mean I have to sit around and listen to it, especially when my job is to cultivate a positive, forward-thinking, enjoyable group of people that I want to hear from.