Who the Tweet are you?

21 January, 2009

I was told I had a new follower by Twitter today (I’m JenWilsonSydney if you weren’t across this).

 In the good manners of reciprocal social, I clicked on their link to see who they were so I could chose what I would do. Generally, if I’m being followed by a real person, who has any shared interests with me or who has shared friends with me, or who has some interesting posts (even if a newbie) – I’ll follow them. If they are a marketing scam, spam or zealot of any persuasion – I will block them (so they can’t follow me any longer). If they are in between – such as a blog update I am not sure I want, a newbie who doesn’t yet step up to the mark or a product – I will often ignore them (and hopefully review this status later). My particular gripe is with people who sign up to Twitter, start looking for people to follow, but don’t both to tell me who they are by leaving the description field blank.

 This morning, I had two new followers who were heading for the ‘ignore’ category. One was what looked like an application or service wanting to following me (what? So I’ll follow back and get spammed by product updates?) and the other was someone with about 20 followers, but absolutely zero description of who they were or where they lived.

 In the case of the product – it was interesting enough for me to head to the blog site listed as part of their description (an excellent start) and check them out. It was an interesting product and the blog was broader than just product updates – including a post on them trying to get Twitter to deliver more for them. (Yes, dear reader, I did leave a constructive comment – setting the brain cells off and leading to this post). So I am now following Mapanui.

 In the case of the individual, I was about to ignore them when I noticed, in their Tweet stream, a reply to someone I follow. So, mutual friends criteria met – I followed this newbie (five posts to date). But it did really bring up the importance of the description we supply to these states.

 Laurel Papworth rightly (and obliquely) criticised me a while ago for using Digg, but not using Digg. Basically, I went there at Laurel’s prompting to help Digg something she has written which was rocking up the ranks, but when Laurel went there and checked out who was supporting her – she found no description, no image and no activity from me. (I’ve since fixed that – but as confess, as minimally as possible.) My only excuse was that Delicious and StumbleUpon are more home to me that Digg, for some reason. But consistency says that if I am going to use social media (even to advance a friend), I need to play fully.

 So, if any of you are thinking about signing up to Twitter or extending your online identities to any other social forums – please, please, please make sure that you take the time to identify yourself a little, to say why we should be interested in you and provide something about the individual behind the handle.



  1. Heh Jennifer, I don’t remember that conversation. Very likely I genuinely didn’t know who a few ppl were on Digg and messaged saying ‘ok, fess up, who are you??’. But if you used JenWilsonSydney, I think I would’ve guessed *puzzled*. I hope you don’t think I was rude. 😦

    Anyway, thanks for linking to me, and yeppers, that first time of checking out a new follower are critical aren’t they? We really DO make decisions on people in the first few seconds, online OR offline! 🙂

  2. Hey Laurel,

    No problems and you were right to take issue. I’m sure you knew who I was onSydney), but as you rightly pointed out – amazing how many theoretically social media types had no image, no description and no update – so not really participating, just using.

    It’s like the reciprocal following – give if you want to get!

  3. Oh hell I’m just as guilty – I think I have about 300 social networks that I have joined and then not filled in. Just checking them out. Sometimes I go to join up and it says “That email address is in use” > I forgot I joined! Sometimes I do it cos I got an invite from someone in my social network and I’m checking it out, connecting to only them.

    And yes you are right, we get back what we put in. If we don’t trust, and add a picture and some personal detail, we won’t get trust back. Funny no?

    PS if you go to gravatar.com (owned by Automattic, wordpress makers) you can have a gravatar (globally recognised avatar) across the ‘net. Just don’t upload a pink grumpy pixie 😛

  4. […] Mike might listen to me, but if not, AIMIA in general will take advice from Jennifer Wilson of Leanforward on Twitter profiles.  Though this is probably not a post she wants me linking to her from *laughs*  If I was a fan, I […]

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