Following back is for fools…

Our nonexistent readership may or may not have noticed that the site hasn’t been updated in months. I can’t speak for the others who post here, but for my part, my absence is due to focusing what little productivity I have on writing another book. (See my stuff here.)

While I haven’t been able to muster the energy to write regular blog posts, I have found the time to get into Twitter a little bit, both as an outlet for random thoughts and as a way to market my books.

Like anyone, I have about a million things to say about this incredibly frustrating and beautiful social network, but in the interest of finishing this post, I’m going to focus only on the idea of “following back.”

If you aren’t aware, this is the idea that there is some sort of rule in the book of Twitter etiquette that says if someone follows you, you are obligated to follow them back. To not do so is rude.

I’m just going to come out and say it. This is absolute bullshit and a complete and utter distortion of not just what Twitter is about, but also etiquette in general.

Here’s my personal code of etiquette for this: When someone follows me on Twitter, I take a look at their account. If they seem interesting, I follow them. That’s it.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people have started saying some varation of “I always follow back!” right in their Twitter profile. To me, this statement, which I’m sure is meant to make people seem polite and respectful, actually conveys the exact opposite. If you literally follow everyone who follows you, your follow is essentially worthless.

One such person who recently showed up in my follewers was following well over 10,000 other Twitter users. As I’m writing this, I’m following 192 people and I already have trouble keeping up with all the tweets. Am I honestly expected to believe that this person is actually paying any attention to all these people? How is that even possible?

I’m not on Twitter to try to get as many followers as I possibly can. I’m there to: a) Read tweets from people who interest me, and b) tweet at people who are interested in what I have to say.

To imply that there is some sort of twisted etiquette to blindly clicking the “follow” button every time someone follows you is laughable.

So feel free to follow me if you want. Maybe I’ll follow you back, maybe I won’t, but if you go into it with that expectation, just know that it’s you, not me, that’s being a dick.

David Warkentin is a Toronto-based writer whose work can be found on his Amazon author page. If you do twitter,


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