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I’m going to comment on something I read that I have no clue about. (Why preface it with that when I comment on things I know nothing about all the fucking time?  I have no idea, except that I feel it exempts me from a whole host of things.)  I don’t even follow either of the people on Twitter.

But it fascinated me nonetheless.

Serena Williams started tweeting that she was crying, heartbroken and hurt because someone she was following on Twitter wasn’t following her back.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/serenawilliams/status/41582378342297600″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/serenawilliams/status/41587178316238848″]

Which wouldn’t be that strange except that Serena Williams has almost 2 million followers and follows only 102 people.

Couldn’t nearly 2 million people tweet the same thing — cry about the same thing?  That she is following 102 people and they aren’t one of them?  What the hell do we owe Twitter followers?

There are many reasons why I don’t follow someone who is following me, and none of them are malicious.  It may be as simple as the fact that I can go days without signing into Twitter on a desktop (vs my phone), therefore, I sometimes miss that someone has followed me that I do have every intention of following because the Twitter email is now buried somewhere in my account.

I’ve certainly experienced not being followed back or not having a Facebook request accepted, and I usually chalk it up to the fact that I don’t know what the hell is going on in the other person’s mind, but I believe that unless they tell me otherwise, it was never done maliciously.  Maybe their Facebook account is only for family.  Maybe they think I curse too much in my tweets.  Maybe they think I’m boring.  I usually don’t want to know why someone isn’t following me.  I mean, do I really want the person to tell me that I’m boring?

But Serena is saying that she’s crying, that she’s hurt, that she’s sad and needs to be comforted.  Maybe it’s the middle-child-keeping-peace side of me, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on another person… over Twitter.  I think it would be inappropriate to tell someone that I’m upset that they’re not following my Tweets in a private manner, therefore, I think it’s even more bizarre to Tweet about it.

What are we Twit-owed?  Especially when you semi-know the person following you (vs. someone who follows you at random with no prior contact)? Should we follow someone for the sake of keeping peace?  Or should our Twitter stream solely be what we want to read without regard to anyone else’s feelings?

And yes, I really do give these things way too much thought.


1 HereWeGoAJen { 02.27.11 at 8:39 am }

Huh? Really? I follow loads of people who don’t follow me back and lots of people follow me that I don’t follow back. And yes, I probably ought to follow a lot of those people back and a lot of them I actually mean to follow back, but for some reason or another, I just haven’t. Truly, not malicious. My main reason is that I mostly use Twitter through an app that doesn’t let me follow people without signing in to actual Twitter and I am kind of lazy.

2 Pam/Wordgirl { 02.27.11 at 9:41 am }

This is really on my mind too Mel — not necessarily the following/unfollowing business — but the nature of connection in this digital world. I’ve been increasingly unsettled somehow — not sure why — but the very nature of social media is, just that, social — and in my mind I think it also then follows some of the weirdness that’s involved in trying to maintain and nurture social connections for the sake of, what? Social-ness? A quantitative measure of how interesting or accepted you are?

I’m sort of flummoxed by who to follow –initially it was people who just clicked on me to follow me randomly and then I realized they were commercial interests (duh!!) — but a few were early on connections via the blog world — and I have met some really sincere, interesting, kind people — Sometimes I feel like I’m an acquaintance party — standing my the food table listening to other people’s conversation.

I feel so weird about “unfollowing” that I had those random ad/commerical spam stuff up until just recently.

We live in a weird world right now — at least I’m feeling that way — there’s so much connectivity — and it does bring true intimacy — I’ve certainly felt that — but there’s also this other undercurrent I can’t quite pinpoint.


Thanks, as always, for the food for thought…

BTW I just started Life From Scratch before G absconded with the iPad — and I find myself wanting to know what’s happening with Rachel — that’s a good sign in my mind…xo

3 N { 02.27.11 at 10:08 am }

I actually think about this stuff a LOT, and have a lot of thoughts on them, but this must act as a placeholder, as my brain is useless right now.

4 Lollipopgoldstein { 02.27.11 at 10:32 am }

Is some of it though our own expectations of what we want out of social media being placed on the other person? For instance, I am always going to be letting people down who use Twitter and FB a lot because I’m rarely on it. If people have high expectations of me seeing all their Tweets, I am — by default — going to be a disappointment. But I’m being judged based on what THEY want out of social media vs. the reality of who I am. Does that make sense?

5 Stimey { 02.27.11 at 11:10 am }

I follow people who I feel won’t annoy me as their tweets go through my tweetstream. Sometimes I choose poorly. 🙂 If I don’t know the person, I judge them based on their last few tweets, which can be completely misleading, but is all I really have at my disposal. I figure that if someone doesn’t follow me, they are probably just keeping their tweetstream pared down. If I follow someone first, I don’t wait to see if they follow me back. I figure that if they were interesting enough for me to want to follow them, then they are still interesting enough even if they don’t follow me back. But I know that not being followed back really bothers a lot of people. It’s an interesting thing to watch.

6 Lollipopgoldstein { 02.27.11 at 11:25 am }

Stimey–I am literally in word-for-word agreement. The only thing I’d add is that even when I choose poorly, I rarely unfollow because that feels like a lot of work. Though I did unfollow one person who changed their Twitter picture to something that scared the crap out of me and I finally decided (after avoiding Twitter for several days) that I needed to unfollow so I could stop seeing the picture. I am a wimp.

7 Esperanza { 02.27.11 at 11:36 am }

I’m not actually on Twitter and know so little about it that the second “tweet” you showed up there took me several minutes to decipher. I’m a late adopter of social media. I wasn’t on Facebook until people’s grandparents were on Facebook and even then I only went on to help my friend organize our 10 year reunion.

What this did get me thinking about, though, was blog following. I have felt slighted by people who don’t bother to read or comment on my blog when I’ve been reading and commenting on every post they’ve ever written for well over a year. Of course I would never expect someone who is still trying to get pregnant or feeling hesitant in their pregnancy to follow my blog (as I have a daughter now), but I do feel hurt when other mom-bloggers don’t follow me, especially when I’ve been following them for ages, since before they had their babies. I’ve really had to sit back and decide what I wanted from those blogs. Was I reading in hopes of a mutual “friendship” of some sort? If so, and I’m not getting that, I stop. If I decide I just want to read what they have to say, I keep reading but usually scale back my comments, sometimes not commenting at all.

I also follow EVERYONE who comments on my blog. Of course, I don’t get many comments, so that is not saying much. Still, I practice the courtesy I hope others would show to me. I know that people with insane numbers of followers, like you for instance, could never follow all the blogs of her followers. I totally get that. And some of the people I wish would follow me do have lots of followers. Maybe I just want to be “friends” with the “popular” bloggers and they don’t have time to be “friends” with me!

So I guess my question is not what we owe our Twitter followers, but what do we owe our blog followers? And what should we expect when we follow their blogs?

8 Queenie { 02.27.11 at 11:45 am }

I think the Serena stuff is weird.

I am using Twitter for work, and therefore rarely sign into my personal account. I have FB, but rarely use that, either. Honestly, I am technologied out. With just work email, work Twitter, work blog (yes, I have a work blog) and personal email, I feel like I’m at the max. It’s definitely led to a decline of me using my personal blog. So when it comes to follow-etiquette. . .forget it. I do what I gotta do, and that’s all I can manage. I assume that I’m not the only one who feels that way.

9 loribeth { 02.27.11 at 1:47 pm }

I don’t Twitter, but re: Esperanza’s comment above — I don’t “follow” ANYONE’s blogs. Maybe I’m a dunce, but I’ve never quite understood what the “Follow” function was all about. I’m already subscribed to more blogs than I really have time for on my Google Reader. What would be the advantage of “following” a blog vs subbing to one in my reader (aside from letting the blogger know that I read them regularly)?

That said, I’m always surprised & humbled by how many people regularly “follow” MY blog. I do try to visit their blogs once in awhile, if not add them as a regular to my Google Reader. I may or may not comment. As Queenie says above, it’s a matter of time. I’ve had a busy week, & I have almost 800 posts backlogged in my reader. I do my best to keep up, especially with my favourites (like here, lol), but there is just no way I can comment on every blog, all of the time.

10 Chickenpig { 02.27.11 at 1:49 pm }

I’m still waiting for you to friend me on Facebook. And I just want you to know that I’m hurt. I’m sooooo hurt. 😉

11 sushigirl { 02.27.11 at 2:14 pm }

Bizarre. I’ve been a bit pissed off that some of my ‘friends’ haven’t been in touch after my ep. But I wouldn’t start putting up status updates saying I was in tears about it.

Maybe there’s some sort of explanation, like she’d had one too many shandies, or just in a weird mood, or had her account hacked.

Anyway, I try and comment on people’s blogs who have commented on mine, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it – blogging is meant to be fun, not a chore. And having a massive hissy fit over a twitter feed is just bonkers.

If not, I’m intrigued to know how she manages wh

12 Leah { 02.27.11 at 3:09 pm }

She was surely just joking!

13 Tonggu Momma { 02.27.11 at 3:31 pm }

I have a Twitter account, but I’m on it *maybe* once a month. So I don’t really follow too many people or pay attention to who is following me because I don’t even know why I have a Twitter account in the first place. Heh.

As for blog following, I just don’t comment on blogs all that often, and I do my “following” via Goggle Reader, so I’m pretty invisible. I’m a freaky stalker. There, I admitted it.

And – totally unrelated and irrelevant to your lives – can I just throw out there that after an almost five year wait, we are NEXT NEXT NEXT to receive an adoption referral from China. Needed to share. Five years is a long wait, y’all. And I just feel like shouting it into the blogosphere.

14 BigP's Heather { 02.27.11 at 6:01 pm }

I go hot and cold with Twitter, but I view it like blogging…there are some blogs I have in my reader because I want to read them, I don’t assume that just because I read/comment there that they OWE it to me to read my blog – especially when their blog isn’t IF…

I follow people I want to follow and most of them don’t follow me back – also, for me, it is overwhelming to follow 2,000 people so I don’t follow everyone I would like to just because it becomes too much…

15 Betsy { 02.27.11 at 7:16 pm }

I don’t use Twitter, but there are plenty of people I follow on blogger that don’t follow me back, and I don’t particularly WANT them following me back, because my blog is about pregnancy loss and theirs isn’t. I squee inside every time I get a new follower or comment, but unless you’re going through IF, there’s pretty much nothing for you on my particular blog, if you know what I mean. It might be awkward for fertiles to read and think I’m too incredibly bitter or something. So I get what you said, I don’t take it personal at all.

16 aisha { 02.27.11 at 10:51 pm }

This happens all the time to me- I don’t get on twitter much- and I’ll get ten follows one day and then lose 8 the day after- and i presume its because I didn’t automatically follow back- its very bizarre the way twitter works. I keep wondering if I’m not following proper twitter protocol- but I can’t seem to find any information on any protocol on following or not?

17 Bumpy Journey { 03.05.11 at 12:22 am }

I have thought about these things too. A while back a lot of people were checking the website “Who Unfollowed Me”.com to see who unfollowed them, and who doesn’t follow them back.
I did it one time to see what it was about, but I am not going to make a habit of it. Most of my unfollowers are spammers or people that really had no reason to follow me in the first place (Personal Trainers in San Francisco?).

I also see a lot of people excited that they are about to hit a number of followers- 200, 300, etc. I don’t really care. I could have 10 followers or 1000- as long as we all get a little something from each other. If not- I don’t care.
I figure if I get unfollowed then what do I care if they followed me anyways?

Perhaps it is an IF sister or brother that doesn’t want to hear of my pregnancy (TOTALLY UNDERSTAND THAT!!) or someone that saw me Tweet about the Steelers, only to find out I talk about my uterus a lot. 🙂

Sometimes I THINK I am following people b/c I see replies from someone else I follow and I check the thread only to see the 403 forbidden from viewing thread. Then I follow and think “DOH”

Sometimes I have conversations with people that follow me, only to realize I don’t follow them back when they aren’t on my feed at all.

It is hard to keep up with at times, but it is SUCH a huge support system to me. One of the girls calls us all Internet Aunties- what a perfect term.

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