Why I Unfollowed You on Twitter

A friend dragged me onto twitter, and I’m now finding I like it better than facebook – it’s simpler – facebook has so many bells and whistles, and it’s constantly changing it’s policies and auto-unsecuring things that you wanted to not be public. I’m at the point where I just don’t believe that anything you put up on facebook is not public. The only place I dare put anything that I don’t want public is my dropbox account – they seem to know what they’re doing, and they publish their TOS in fairly simple layman’s terms. (I don’t get legalese, and I don’t think I should have to or have to hire a lawyer to interpret it, but that’s another rant.)

I’ve found some cool people on twitter – I keep up with some of my favourite authors there, and I’ve discovered some new ones, or been convinced to try new ones I was uncertain of. I also keep up with political stuff on there – my more informed friends post things and keep me up to date.

Then there’s the more random people – people who aren’t published yet, or who are self publishing and using twitter to publicize. I’ve followed a few of those and noticed a rather annoying practice. People using twitter to self-promote will follow you, and expect you to follow them back. They dutifully retweet any blog post that anyone on their list posts tweets, and often have little or no content of their own. And if I don’t follow them – say, I glance at their feed and don’t see anything but retweets of someone more interesting (that I already follow) and lists of people this person is recommending I follow – then they un-follow me a week or so later.

Then there’s the ones I’ve followed, who are self promoting, but aren’t being all that subtle about it. Tweets that are basically, “Hey check out my book if you like (insert selling points)” are fine…the day your book is released. Maybe even another “for the evening crowd in case you missed it,” later in the day – that wouldn’t bother me. Twice a day for the entire week, and then once a week afterward, is just annoying. Seriously.I don’t need to see the same tweet over and over.

I mean come on, entice me to your website – write a post that I might find interesting, and I’ll click on it. Make it relevant to your novel, and have a link to info on your novel easy to find, and I might buy your book. But spamming your twitter feed with please-buy-my-book is shooting yourself in the foot. There’s too many people doing it, and a twitter post isn’t enough room to make yourself stand out.

And the whole, you follow me and I’ll follow you thing? I don’t get what you’re trying to accomplish there. That’s no different than two authors agreeing to buy one anothers’ books thinking that’s going to keep one another afloat. The math doesn’t work out. You need to generate content that is going to draw interest in your own work – content that will attract your intended audience, and that audience is not other authors desperate to market their own books. That tactic is terribly limiting.

It’s just my two cents, but this is how I use twitter, and while it’s a great platform for author promotion, I don’t think it helps to look desperate.

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14 responses to “Why I Unfollowed You on Twitter

  1. Seems that I agree with you about Twitter as well as about self-publishing! Twitter is incredibly useful for finding out about submitting opportunities, writing competitions etc and I’ve found it helpful for publicising what I’m doing, for instance I ran a series of writing workshops recently and tweeted the BBC who interviewed me on local radio – and it all happened so quickly and easily. Like you, I hate being bombarded with the same message. It’s even worse when some people set up multiple twitter accounts so they can re-tweet their own tweets! It’s also addictive and distracting. But that’s more to do with my personal discipline and less to do with a genius social networking system. Like so much new(ish) technology, we need to learn to use it to our advantage and maintain control. Thanks for another thought-provoking post!

    • Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ It drives me nuts to see people shooting themselves in the foot by annoying their potential customers and sounding desperate. It doesn’t help differentiate them from the unedited crap that much of self published fiction is. But perhaps that’s another reason why traditional publishing may still be the way to go – they have a level of professionalism you often see lacking in someone promoting their own book. But then, traditionally published authors still have to do self promotion too, and a publisher can only do so much to save authors from themselves. *sigh*

        • I wholeheartedly agree there. It’s very difficult to get completely objective about your own work, and know for certain that what’s in your head is getting down on paper, without someone reading it who doesn’t know what’s in your head. That, and it’s too easy to miss typos when you know what you meant to write ๐Ÿ˜›

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