Twitter is wonderful, as many of us know. But Twitter is hard, also, The barrier of entry is high, and one of the most difficult things is finding people to follow (here are some tips).
So Twitter and Twitter users have introduced a couple of ways to overcome this difficulty: #FollowFriday and, most recently, Twitter lists.
The tools are meant to help people find people to follow. The problem is, every time someone recommends you should follow person X, either in #FF or by placing her on a list, person X is flattered. Her ego gets a boost. Now, depending on the psychological perspective we use to look at this (Western or Eastern), the ego boost may or may not be a good thing for person X himself. But what makes it annoying for all of us is that person X cannot keep it to himself. He has to count the number of lists he’s on, the number of times she’s been recommended, and let all her followers know – usually, this is done in the form of thanks: “Thank you everyone for putting me on 500 lists!” It is annoying, because along with the sincere thanks we see an overinflated ego that cannot be contained within oneself.
So, #FF and Twitter lists become ego-inflating tools, and many of us find them annoying. The question is, even though annoying, do they help newcomers find people to follow?
Unfortunately, Twitter got rid of what I thought was the best way of finding people to follow: Seeing all @replies enabled one to identify new people connected to the people she was already following. Now, you can only see @replies if you follow both people in a conversation. As Twitter adds capacity, I hope they’ll come back to the old model – it will help newcomers build their social network slowly and organically.
Now, back to the annoying part, should we blame the tool or the people? Or, is this not a problem, and no one needs to be blamed?
Personally, I would like to see a bit of humbleness… What’s your take?