Several months ago, my colleague and genetically-engineered super soldier, Chris Bucholz, wrote a column giving six reasons he is no longer your Facebook friend. Personally, I found it a bit overlong as the simplest answer was that the Canadian scientists who created him (by splicing Chupacabra and Cthulhu DNA) had a strict policy against anyone showing Chris compassion. I'm joking, of course. Canada doesn't have scientists.
In any event, because Chris will be hibernating for the next three months while his offspring of 500 razor-toothed tiger prawns are gestating inside him, I thought now would be a good time to steal his title and apply it to Twitter. Below are nine things that will get me to unfollow someone.
Awww, it has Chris' eyes!
Now, I know you might be saying: "Who are YOU to tell ME who YOU'RE not gonna follow? What makes YOU so great?" Well, first off, I think it's really weird that you occasionally speak in all capital letters. I mean, why would you do that? But more importantly, it's just easier for me to write in the first person. I'm still speaking for all people on Twitter. Well, not all. I'm certainly not speaking for these jackasses below.
#9. People Who Think 140 Characters Is More of a Guideline Than a Rule
I don't know how Twitter settled on 140 characters. I don't know why Twitter settled on 140 characters. 140 characters often just isn't enough. But the thing is, Twitter has a 140 character limit. It's not your diary, your text message service or your dream journal for writing sad stories about magic penguins. If what you want to convey doesn't fit, then odds are Twitter is not the right place for it. If you want to write a rock opera, you shouldn't pick haikus as your medium.
Also, you probably shouldn't write rock operas either. They tend to get silly.
Yes, there are exceptions. Sometimes, you have something important to say -- perhaps in response to a legitimate question. I saw my old hero Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall once tweet about Canadian law and child support payments in response to a follower. He threw in a dash and responded over two tweets. I'm not talking about that (although, seriously Dave, not as funny as the goblin in the cabinet skit). I'm talking about people who tell stories over a series of tweets.
Oh, and I don't mean periodically dropping tweets over the course of the day, updating some fictitious adventure. I'm talking about deciding the best way to convey your 1,000-word story is to deliver it in 140-character bites like some neurologically-impaired 21st century serialized Dickens. It clogs up the feed and, of course, it tells the story in reverse order which is a bit of a problem as non-insane humans have a nasty habit of reading from the top down. I can't imagine how this could ever be appropriate. Well maybe if all communication in your home had been shut off and your computer is somehow locked on Twitter when a tiger attacks. I'll make an exception for that.
But how often does this happen?
#8. People Who Start Tweets with "OMG, you guys!" and/or End Tweets with "Ugh!"
You might be wondering why this isn't two separate categories. Well, it could be, but it's not necessary. Based on completely anecdotal, unreliable research, I have proven conclusively that these things always go together. Just find someone who tweets:
And it won't be long until you see them tweet:
There is a certain actress celebrity/cewebrity nerd Goddess who I had to unfollow months ago because it seemed she had 1-50 tweets like this every day. Who is that celebrity? I won't tell you. There's still a chance she'll have sex with me if I craft a sexy enough tweet, and I don't want to ruin that! (Also, I'm sure you've figured it out. Hint. See #6. Sssh! Or see Cheese's last column where, once again, he somehow read my unconscious mind and plagiarized me before I even published, that magical dirty bastard.)
Also, this is a bit of a giveaway.
I understand Twitter is a place for brevity, but it's just not humanly possible that "OMG, you guys" is the perfect opening to any level of pleasant surprise from a plate of gift muffins to a lifetime membership in the multiple orgasm of the month club. (I'm running for CEO of that later this month, btw, and would appreciate your support.) And "Ugh?" That's the verbal equivalent of making that face where you scrunch up your brow and pout out your lower lip while blowing up at your bangs. How often is that face really worth making?
#7. Saying Good Morning and Goodnight To Your Followers
Holy Crap. Whoever you are, please stop doing this. WWW stands for the "World Wide Web." Time zones a-plenty. Night and morning are kind of relative terms. I don't care what clock you're on. It's morning for me whenever I first click on Twitter and it's night when I pass out in a pool of scotch and misery.
But more importantly, your followers don't give a crap when you're going to bed. Do you view Twitter as the balcony to your palace and your followers as your loyal subjects below? Do you think we're really so ravenous that we'll say, "What the fuck? No tweets for six hours. Is our favorite Twitter celebrity dead? What could have possibly happened to him?"
There may be some followers out there who want to know exactly when you sleep and wake, but they're the ones who also masturbate to photoshopped pics of your head on a dog's body.
You have no idea how happy this makes some people.