Or rather…how to use Twitter poorly. This post will initiate a series discussing the things one should and should not do when using Twitter…or if you like, Social Media etiquette. I am specifically addressing people involved with historical inquiry and education – teachers, students, scholars, and everyone else. But this can just as easily apply to anyone.
I am on Twitter constantly. My students think it is funny that the old guy has a Twitter account, but I assure them that I am not interested in the Kardashians or any of the other Internet sensations out there, but rather the pursuit of knowledge and – here it is folks….INTERACTION with others who are doing the same thing.
Interaction means real conversation with real people. Note the message on the left I received from a radio host who does a show on the Constitution. I initially followed him to perhaps get a little insight on this foundational document – maybe engage in some conversation. But then I received his stupid, impersonal, meaningless automated message.
I’ll admit my response was a little snarky (I’m the king of snark). But honestly…an automated message? This is my Twitter pet peeve. I have such an unfavorable reaction to these because they serve to undermine the very best application of the platform. Here is what an automated message says: “Hi, thanks for following me. I am far too important to personally introduce myself to a peon like you (did you notice, I have 57k followers!) – but I would still like you to follow my other shit – and buy stuff too.”
Now normally I would publicly call this person out. But seeing that the message was intended to be private (fake or not), I respect that person’s privacy and thus blacked out their handle and website. But none of that really matters. The image simply serves as an example of what NOT to do. A very good example…I might add. Full disclosure: I used to employ one of these automated systems until I realized how obnoxious they were. Friends, if you want to reach out to a new follower then send them a personal message. Sheesh. If you don’t, you just look like a bot. And NOBODY likes a bot.