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Twitter: Why are You Following Me?

Occasionally on Twitter I will receive an @ reply from someone either asking me why I am following them, or if I am following them by mistake.

This strikes me as strange. Sometimes the person asking the question is relatively new to Twitter and only follows a few people, or only has a few followers. Still, it seems odd. It isn't something I would think would happen via some other media. For instance, I can't imagine a web site, newspaper, magazine or TV network would take the time (perhaps because they are so large) to point out that you really aren't the type of person who would be interested in what they have to offer.

It seems that people make snap judgments, unsurprisingly, about who would want to follow them, or who they would want to follow.

However that just seems very narrow. Not that I do it all the time, but I do enjoy learning about other points of view that differ from my own. With all of the push in praise of diversity, it is interesting that diversity of opinion doesn't seem to be the kind of diversity many are interested in.

Some people are actually offended that I would have the temerity to follow them. How dare I read what they write! It's almost as if the idea that someone with a differing opinion is out there reading their stuff is a threat to them.

A simple way for people really offended by someone following them would be to block them. It is not something I do very often. More often than not, I block someone who over a period of time has shown no willingness to have a dialog. I like to have an open and vigorous debate on the issues, but I will only stand for so many attacks or mindless rants before I lose interest. I am also not a fan of people making negative Twitter Lists. Certainly they have every right to do so and I have a right – at least at present – to not be on those lists. It just seems childish to me and rather than waste the time thinking about it I will block those who want to put me on their nasty list. I might reconsider if those people at least tried to engage in a conversation first, but none ever has.

Another point missed by those who ask why I follow them is that as the number of people I follow on Twitter grows larger, I only really have time to "dip my toe in" the Twitter stream. There are far too many Tweets to read. I find that when I do read the Tweets of those who ask why I am following them, that I often am interested in what they have to say. Sometimes I am not. If I am not interested, it isn't because they have a different point of view. Usually, I am not interested in Tweets that are very conversational with lots of different people. Something like:

@blahblahblah What's up.
@yadayadayada Drinking a beer and mowing my lawn.
@nyucknyucknyuck Touchdown!
@zzzzzzzzzzzz Breaking big rocks into little rocks.

I am sure the people they are Tweeting this stuff too are interested, but I am merely lost. I'm interested in finding out what is going on in the world, what people are thinking, what is news, etc. I'm not as interested in the more mundane details like where someone is hanging out right now and what kind of sandwich they are eating. I'm not saying those aren't acceptable topics of conversation. I'm just not geared in to those kinds of details.

So, if I am following you, it is more than likely because I either saw something interesting you Tweeted, or you follow someone who follows me. What better people to meet than friends of friends. Often you have something in common. If not, no big deal. It's not as if I am standing over your shoulder reading everything you're Tweeting. 
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