Lately, I've had some people I've never met add me to their lists of people they're following on Twitter. Some of those "people" aren't really people at all, but are commercial ventures, start-ups mostly. Like @ignighter which is a group-to-group dating service that's come out of TechStars, and probably started following me because of People's Software or @ideablob which is a really cool "community of ideas" that hands out funding prizes for ideas their community votes worthy....
Or they're something I don't fully get: like Cavenger. And I'm not totally sure why Cavenger is following me.
Some, like @ignighter and @ideablob, I'm following, while others I've decided not to follow.
As for the real people, I wonder whether what they are doing is some form of personal-brand marketing. Some post only their links, while others re-tweet their Brightkite info. There doesn't seem to be a clear way to communicate with these people, even through Twitter, as they're not really responsive to direct or "@" messaging.
So, I wonder about the value of these marketing-based Twitterers and Vanity-Tweeters (that's what I'd call the folks whose tweets are along the lines of "look at me! look what I did! look where I am! aren't I cool!") What do these people mean to me in my network? I am I on one of those tracks to boasting 1,000-plus followers, just to say that I have them?
I don't need to be the Girl With the Most Cake, if most of the cake consists of stale Hostess Twinkies.
Now, I hadn't thought about this too much before I read Liz Strauss' 10 Reasons Why Twitter Folks Unfriend You where she makes some very good points about why people do and probably should un-friend. Twittering should be a social pursuit--not where I'm following someone like a fangirl (one of the reasons to un-follow someone.)
Although I'm sure there are lots of people who are following big-names in the hopes of one day having a small Twitter conversation with them. Yes, I have a couple of them in my list, but not many. If I don't think the bigwigs will answer me if I "@" them, then I'm really not all that interested in following them. I can keep up with them in my RSS reader, too.
Liz's list got me thinking more seriously about the people who are following me and why I might be following them as well. I pruned my list of followers yesterday, as some appeared to be using my list to tweet about links to their blogs. In some ways, I'm territorial of my "space" on Twitter, and don't want wholesale advertising or "personal marketing" there. I'm glad that you think that I might find your blog posts cool, but if that's your only reason for following me, then maybe we don't need to be following each other. My page is not a place for you to advertise your coolness.
That sounds an awful lot like a break-up statement, doesn't it? How funny!
Perhaps, in the world of social networking, maybe I'll end up saying the equivalent of "It's not me, it's something you did" in order to end something that's wholly unsatisfying for me.
But what do you do when you find that one of the people who's following you is *only* following you? Maybe this is flattering--like the whole "secret admirer" thing. To me, it felt creepy. So, I blocked this person. Sorry if it was a "secret admirer." Again, like in dating, I'm just not into that kind of thing any more than I'm into personal-brand marketing messages.