The thing about Twitter is…

You don’t know the people on it.

Twitter has taken social networking to a new level. Wheras on Facebook, Google+ and similar, you add the people you know, on Twitter, you actively search for people you don’t know.

On Facebook, you know your boundaries. Theyre the same as in real life. Easy to work out and adhere to, because you know the people in real life. Would you reply sarcastically to them in a group? Great, then it’s okay to do the same on their wall. Would you wish them happy birthday? Go ahead then. The advent of the ‘like’ on Facebook means that we can do the equivalent of smiling at something someone said, which means we interact more with acquaintances who we wouldnt normally ‘talk’ to, either online or in real.

But on Twitter, we have no social guidelines to stick to. People can talk to us, and we need not reply. People share what we say without our permission, we are suddenly allowed to pester celebrities with our every unhilarious thought, and worse than celebrities, real people. It’s kind of like entering a party in the middle, where you don’t know anyone at all. But you have to speak to people, or why are you there?

It is so easy to overstep the mark when you dont know someone and they dont know you. Recently, I made a flippant comment to a new follower, which evidently not only upset but also offended. I apologized, and was forgiven, but was then basically made fun of by them and a friend of theirs for about 2 hours. 2 hours on Twitter, unlike in life, is like 2 hours at a party. I tried to ignore, but when a conversation is sent directly to your Activity tab, it is much like two bullies following you round the party throwing mini sausage rolls at your head. It was horrible. Now I don’t think they meant much harm, and to be honest I started the problem myself, and I’ve seen at least one of them to be lovely, (in the Twitterverse at least) but I was thrown back to the geekiest version of myself. Nervous that everyone was watching and laughing, in the equivalent of a room full of strangers.

Up until now, I’ve only seen the benefits of using Twitter. For my business, it drives traffic to my website, tells people succinctly what I do, and helps me find potential authors and businesses to work with. Personally, it’s a fun way to network with new people, be introduced to great books and blogs, and as all internet resources, an invaluable procrastination tool.

But beware. When people dont know you, they can’t hear your voice when reading your comments. They don’t see your facial expressions, and someone seriously needs to invent a sarcasm font. Twitter forces you to be fun, flippant and quick, as you only have those all important 140c. But at the end of the day, you’re talking to strangers, and I don’t know about you, but introducing myself generally needs more than that.

(anti)Social Media.

1. When people #hashtag on Facebook. What? Are you confused? Do you think you’re on Twitter? Do you think your status is worth being searched for at a later date? Are you so involved in your social media that you cant tell them apart any longer? Worse still, when done by people who dont even use Twitter. I get it, you heard Neil Patrick Harris do it, and now you think it’s cool. But you’re not him, so it isnt. Stop it. #muppet

2. Hi Facebook. You know me, I’m the one you send fifteen notifications to when people I dont know comment on something I vaguely looked at on a forum once upon a time. Just a quick question, why are you not therefore telling me when I get a direct message in my inbox? Why am I being left to discover the emboldened message about three weeks after it was sent? It’s not all the messages. Oh no. Then I would just make it part of my ‘facebook routine’ to check. Do you have grudges against certain friends of mine?

3. Chain statuses. If you have ANY humanity at all, you will post this as your status for just FIVE minutes and show the world that you CARE. Evidently I dont care about (among other things) Cancer, Poverty, Gender Discrimination, The environment, God, My friends and family, Your dog, Whatever chain is currently going around..  You get the idea.
3b. It’s a Hoax. Missing child? Free money? Free anything for that matter? Hoaxxxx…

4. Events. There should be a countries setting. I know, you dont want to scroll through all the non friends on your list to find the few that might actually be interested in your bake sale, but at the very least, I shouldnt be being invited to the ones on different continents.. Surely that’s not too much to ask. Impression of me when recieving an event invite. “oOo what’s this..? Oh…”
Added treat? Once I’ve clicked not attending? It still appears on my upcoming events. Why would I want a list of things I am not attending?

5. The Profile Glitch. “Sorry, your post cannot be sent at this time, please try again.” I’m wise to you Facebook, you just want me to click send again 5 times angrily so that my post appears a million times and makes me look like an idiot and clogs up everyones newsfeed so they hate me.

In fact, thinking about it now- the newsfeed take over, the irritating reply all’s, the not giving me every message, the millions of annoying notifications.. Is it possible that Facebook is actually conspiring to lose us friends?! Oh so clever. You start off as an easy to follow networking site, luring us all in with promises of keeping in touch with far away buddies and reconnecting with old school friends. You then add more and more layers of nonsense until we’re desperate to never see or communicate with anyone ever again.

Additions anyone?