I once compared bloggers to the Sun City of the internet. Facebook would be the burbs, forums are like gyms, community centers, and coffee shops. Strip malls abound, of course, with a million little shops through Etsy and Cafe Press and Red Bubble, and internet magazines are like convention floors you just mill through gawking at all the things. I could keep breaking it down, but you all know these things.
Twitter is a glorious street mess that feels like under the table swaps and deals. It feels like getting ripped off and walked on but too glammy to walk away from. It bedazzles when you avoid getting caught in the alleys, or even pulled into the buildings you never meant to go near in the first place.
I dumped most of my lists. They were pretty awesome at first, a way to keep track of an overload of hop ons organically building numbers via legit follow backs, and then who.unfollowed.me helped keep track of drop offs, and over time it got ridiculous because the hardcore follows weren't accounts I cared to follow back but did anyway to retain my own numbers, and before too long my account became associated with South American politics, Arab bots, European travel bloggers, drug and porn accounts, and slews of filmmakers and musicians and authors crawling up that human ladder without regard to whose shoulders and even faces they step on doing it, and finally, the underbelly of actual human trafficking. Don't even ask. People become markers along a highway they don't even know they're on, but I do know, and because I dabbled just to see who watches, I quickly became marked for passing on questionable merch of every conceivable kind. I stopped the follow back game months ago because it became so incredibly obvious.
Merch is your key to knowing what's really going on in the world. Surface politics are just a distraction. Taking sides and drawing boundaries have a way of backfiring, and I don't mean painting big targets. The most famous faces will say things for cheers while they hand off under tables, and the only difference between them and us sort of regular people is they use their faces to play the game deeper and harder than most of us realize is even possible.
All that aside for now- I'm simply swamped and needing to get my own direction back. Other people clamoring for attention and growing numbers is their own thing, it's not mine. I've never been about winning the numbers. I know how it looks sometimes, I talk numbers a lot. Numbers are just a way to keep track of trending, and trending is what tells me I'm reaching the people I want to reach. I don't need thousands of followers ignoring me to make this happen, so I made the decision to start trimming.
I'd been sorting into lists and ignoring my raw feed for so long that I didn't realize just how bad it's gotten. It's only fair to follow back, and if they hang on, I do too, out of politeness. Once in awhile I have to remove someone from a list feed when they go down a porn or spam hole, but that is out of consideration for list subs. Anyone following me to get a business listing pointing to luxury food around the world, for example, probably doesn't want an eyeful of butt next to their food pix coming through my list. But now that lists are gone and I'm scrolling through raw feed again, I'm discovering how many truly sucky accounts flood the twitters with absolute crap. After some reflection, I concluded the time I invested in sorting feeds out of politeness was a ridiculous waste, albeit an excellent lesson learned. Turns out I'm pretty awesome at filtering, but hey, not getting paid for it.
Follow backs aren't binding. Twitter handshakes mean nothing more than I'm giving someone else the right to attach my account to their trash. I don't care who you are out there, if your crap burns my eyes, you're gone. I have followers I don't care for that I keep because they actually care about me as a person and I have come to care back for them as people, so I glance past the continual junk. Sadly, I also have followers who don't give a crap about who I am and what I'm doing, and I'm done glancing past miles of pushpushpush that merch/ideology. Most of my followers followed me first. I didn't go out looking. I've got some pretty sweet followers, but if I listed the legit followers I've dumped for simply being irritating, some of you would fall over.
I. do. not. care. who. you. are. If you are crap, I'm not following back any more. If all you can do is dump and froth and spam and completely ignore my existence after the follow, see ya. I've got real places to go, real people to meet, real things to say.
I don't play those games like on facebook where people say "pipe up if you don't want me to unfollow". Anyone can see I don't play the follow game on facebook. Following isn't required to see what I'm doing. People don't have to mark themselves to me, I don't need to know the names behind who's watching and clicking. That's not how I win games. I'm out there, I'm established, and the right people are finding me. I'll do favors for real friends, and my real friends know that. Some of the hashtaggers know that. I'm an above the table swapper. If you've got a tomato on a table and I like it, I'll pick it up and retweet it. Doesn't mean you owe me anything. No more games on twitter. You either legitimately like Lexx or Pinky blog or whatever else I'm doing, really do care what's going on and maybe about to happen and what I'll share next, or you don't.
I'll be trimming pretty slowly over time. I truly appreciate the solid followers I've had around the world in big business, entire corporate boardroom in another country followed me at one point, but we all know we don't read each other's tweets and that the only reason that happened was a twitter handshake to make numbers happen for each other. You don't really need me, I don't really need you. But it was still pretty cool and I'll never forget it.
Oh wait, something more fun. Here we go.