Why I Tell My Friends Not to Follow Me on Twitter

There are a lot of different types of Twitter users. There are voyeurs, the people who follow and follow but hardly ever tweet. There are shouters, the people who blast their opinions (often radical or one-sided) into the darkness expecting people to give a care (and trying to stir up the water). There are casual, occasional users, who tweet periodically and may or may not engage in conversation occasionally. There are chatterbugs (me) who tweet frequently and use Twitter as a conversation platform more than as a one-way stream.

More and more, people that I’ve known prior to my social media career have begun joining the ranks of the Twitter users.

This terrifies me.

For starters, most of these people know me, but don’t really “get” what I do. They know I work in social media and digital communications, and they know that I “like farmers.” (Their words. I’m not sure what it means to simply “like farmers” but I’ll agree that yes, I indeed enjoy working with and being surrounded by the agriculture community.) So, these folks join Twitter. They say something on Facebook along the lines of, “omg i cant believe i joined the twitters” or “Well, I drank the Kool-Aid. I’m now part of the Twitter cult.” They often treat it like some sort of sacrifice, then they go on a mission to hunt out other people that they know who use Twitter.

Thumbs up for farmers!

Recently, one of my close friends created a Twitter account. I saw it on Facebook, but didn’t follow right away. I knew what would happen if I did. He’d follow me back, he’d be fine with it for a few days (he’d probably send me a text message or a mention to tell me I’m an addict), then the first Tuesday night would come and he’d be horror-struck by the amount of #agvodate tweets he’d see.

So, we saw each other a few days after he created the account. He knows that I spend a lot of time on social media and that it’s a part of my various jobs. Our conversation went something like this (not verbatim):

Him: Oh, by the way, I created a Twitter.
Me: I saw. I didn’t follow you, though.
Him: Why? I tweet good stuff!
Me: Because you would have followed me back. Don’t follow me.
Him: ………why?
Me: Because you will hate me if you do.
Him: I don’t get it.
Me: I tweet non-stop and I participate in Twitter chats. _______ tried following me for a while even though I told him not to and he unfollowed me because I tweet too much. And most of it was about farmers…or trying to date farmers.
Him: Oh. Okay. Uh, good luck with that.

This is the face he would have given me after a few days of following me on Twitter.

I have a very conversational presence on Twitter. I send out tweets. If someone responds, I try to maintain a dialogue. Or, if I see a tweet worth responding to, I use it as a platform to lead into a conversation. A lot of it is either related to agriculture, marketing/communications, or rural development. These aren’t things that most of my peers from my everyday life (primarily, college and people I grew up with) care to hear about, especially in the volume with which I tweet about these things.

It’s been a very strange experience. Up until recently, I felt I led something of a double life; I had my Twitter world, and my “real life” world. People on Twitter tend to see a much more confident, outgoing, grounded side of me. The people who deal with me in person more regularly often see someone who has bouts of social awkwardness, occasionally bordering on shy. They also see someone who works hard, but have no real understanding of what I do or what drives me. These two worlds very, very rarely ever intersected, and now they’re becoming closer and closer.

Just the other night, I had a fun conversation via Twitter with someone from my hometown. She was in my FFA chapter in high school and we interacted a lot through 4-H despite being in different clubs. Now, we hardly ever talk. She’s attending Texas Tech for agricultural communications, and joined Twitter shortly after she started there. She randomly responded to a tweet I sent out, and we talked about meeting up and catching up over break. (Come to find out, we’ll be sitting on a panel together for an English class at our old high school.) We also talked about the fact that I need to visit Texas, because I have a ton of friends there and, as this specific friend said, “There are lots of attractive cowboys.”

But, the title to this post is mildly misleading.

I have a lot – a LOT – of friends that I met via social media, especially Twitter. Many of these people are like family to me. They happen to be another reason for my excessive tweeting. It’s easy to be chatty when you’re surrounded by people you love conversing with. So, I suppose a more fitting title for this blog post would be, “Why I Tell My Friends From College and High School Not to Follow Me on Twitter Unless They Like Farmers.”

That would have been getting a little too lengthy, though.

In other news…

I survived the term with decent grades, I think. They haven’t been posted yet, though, so I’m still sweating it until they do go online. I’m home on break, and the trip I had planned to Iowa and Minnesota has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. I’m bummed about it, but I know that there will be more opportunities later on to do these sort of things.

Be sure to join us for #agvodate tonight, starting at 9 p.m. CST. We’ll be hosted by Natalie, who goes by @AgGirl86. Also, I’ll be tag-team hosting the Rockin’ Rural Women chat on Facebook and Twitter Thursday night, complete with some giveaways and awesomeness. My co-host will be Tara Litzenbrger, also known as @JohnDeereTara.

Life is hectic, yo.

Until the next time I eek out a blog post…peace out.


4 thoughts on “Why I Tell My Friends Not to Follow Me on Twitter

  1. My Twitter account is a bizarre blend of personal friends, professional contacts, and random interesting people I stumbled across. Sometimes this freaks me out…my professional life and my personal life are often very different, and I’m uncomfortable with the crossover. So, yeah. I get it.

    • See, my professional life on Twitter has become more personal to me because of the strong relationships that started on Twitter. It’s still my “personal life” but in a very different way. The side of me that folks see on social media is both professional and personal. I don’t know if that made any sense.

  2. I feel for ya Kelly, but approached the situation differently. I kinda have a one-sided life, which can sometimes be a downfall, and generally talk mostly about Ag both online and in life. So when someone in life joins twitter, I invite em to follow me, but suggest not subscribing to all of my tweets. My sister found that out the hard way, but she still has to love me.
    And it was interesting to meet all my twitter friends at ACFC this year. I loved the comments that it was surprising how quiet I am in person.
    Guess it’s why we love the Twitterverse!

    • I was definitely shocked at how quiet you were, but you were still fun! And Twitter is a place where the quiet folks can have as big of a voice as they want! Because I go to school is a suburban setting, there isn’t a lot of ag influence. So, my friends generally indulge in my agnerdery, but there isn’t a whole lot of active discussion about it beyond what I bring up. So, Twitter is a good outlet for it. In return, the people at my school don’t realize how much I really DO talk about ag.

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