Human hand touching an android hand. Digital illustration.

I am a huge fan of Twitter. It’s my jam, although, granted, most often I’m more of a lurker than a talker. Which is why I get really cranky whenever someone messes with my enjoyment of it.

While Twitter can be good for marketing, it’s mostly supposed to be for connecting with people. Shouting “buy my book” is not connecting with people. I especially hate it when they seem like nice normal people when they follow you; no “hey go buy my book” filling their feeds or such. Then you follow them back and instantly you get a prewritten “hey go buy my book” direct message. I usually unfollow those people on sight of the message.

The most egregious example of this came in the past year with a person I’m not going to name. They followed me, I noted the lack of “hey go buy my book”-messages in their feed so I followed back. Immediate “hey go buy my book” direct message. But I had a group in common with them and some of my friends were following them so I figured I’d give them another chance. Boy howdy was that a stupid decision.

Later on, it might have been that same day or a later one we were at the same event and they came over as I was talking to my friend because they knew said friend. I recognized their name and told them so. They proceed to ignore me completely in favor of explaining to my friend that they do regular Twitter blasts in order to have a good pool of dupes following them when their next book comes out. It was among the rudest things I have ever experienced coming from someone who was completely sober at the time.

So many people seem to have entirely forgotten the social component of social media. I think that’s at least part of what’s behind the excoriations of social media and people being “addicted” to their smartphones, eschewing “real human contact” in favor of what’s on their screens. But here’s the thing; I have five best friends. Two of them live in Helsinki. One lives in Boston, another in New Jersey, another in Baltimore. If I don’t have the smartphone, I don’t talk to my best friends. Twitter is one of the ways I keep in touch with my friends, best and not so best. Don’t you dare sully that by trying to make it into a marketplace for spam.