I started tweeting because someone told me to. Seriously. The teacher in charge of the EdTech committee in my district said that getting on twitter was the most important move she had made in the last year of professional development. So I asked a few students to show me the ropes, and then I tried to find teachers to follow.
I started with those "Top Educators To Follow" lists. I have since unfollowed most of those people. Here are some of the reasons I unfollowed them, and why I STILL hesitate to follow people now:
- They tweet too many uninteresting automated messages. Things like "Your Daily Tweeted Times" type of things. I don't mind a few of those, but when you do 4-7 a day...ugh.
- They don't engage with people regularly. I don't need to be the one engaged with, but if they spend the majority of their time sharing instead of interacting, I'm the product, not the audience. Conversations are the entire point.
- Over 75% of their tweets are about pimping their own work.
I want to focus on the third point, because it's the most nuanced. I do share my own blog posts, my donorschoose project (funded in 6 days! eff yeah!), the book I co-wrote, and the chat I moderate. I also will occasionally tweet or write about products I've used, like the iPEVO review I posted this week.
However, the majority of my tweets are engaging with others. I've slowed down on the tweeting lately bc reasons (commuting 3 hours a day, increased weekend responsibility, etc.) but when I am tweeting, I focus on the people, not all of the things I've done in my twitter absence.
Recently, I have noticed that some people with whom I used to interact frequently have moved above the 75% self-promotion line. They post the link to their home page, not to the new post they've written. They solicit people to come to webinars but don't share the ideas that make their webinar worth attending. They post #HumbleBrags about awards they received, successes they've had, and all of the projects they're working on.
Basically it comes down to this: If these people were sitting at a dinner party with me, they would be talking about themselves so much that they didn't notice others sitting at the table. I don't have time for that kind of person in my real life, and they are not adding anything to my twitter life either.
If getting more followers is more important than meaningfully engaging with the followers you DO have, then I am not interested. It also reminds me to keep engaging with my PLN beyond the small concentric circles to which I normally turn.
I'd like to know your thoughts.
Why do YOU engage with social media? Why do you follow or unfollow someone? Are you spending more time learning and listening than talking?