@robblightfoot – To buy Robb’s books in either print or eBook format, visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Sony Store, or any other major retail outlet.
I learned last weekend that I’M AMERICA’S NEWEST CYBER THREAT!
How do I know? Twitter was so kind to tell me when they suspended my account for “aggressive behavior.”
HELLO! I WAS FOLLOWING PEOPLE. That’s what you do on Twitter, right? In fact, most of the people I’d clicked on were one’s THEY’D RECOMMEDED!
How does one become a Twitter-stalker? In my case, I’d been looking under the #humor hashtag. Dozens of tweets popped up, and I began following the authors. As I did, other names popped up. Twitter suggested them and invited me to follow them.
So I did.
For every one I clicked, they offered another two or three. I was in a state of bliss. “Look at all these funny people I’m following!” I chuckled. “Why haven’t I done this before?”
A half hour passed…. And then my account froze up.
I got a terse line of text bathed in blue–the sort of cryptic warning I used to see on Windows 98.
What? I wasn’t direct-messaging because sending unsolicited notes to people is a NO-NO. Likewise, I hadn’t over-Tweeted because I wanted to see what others had to say.
SO WHAT DID I DO WRONG??
Check them out.
You’ll learn that you CAN follow people in Twitter, just not that many.
You CAN send messages, just not that often.
You CAN use #hashtags, just not the wrong ones.
But, you ask, what is “too many,” “too often” or “the wrong ones?” They won’t say. But violate Twitter’s vague rules, and you become a “Twit.” You’re sent to sit in the corner with a silicone dunce cap on your head. Any of your contacts that come looking for you during this detention get an ominous message:
“This account has been suspended.”
How charming—a digital “kick me” sign tacked to your butt.
So I asked again. “But WHAT DID ID DO?” A while later, I got another form letter saying, I “violated Twitter’s terms of service.”
Once more I asked, “BUT HOW?”
Answer… and you’re probably way ahead of me on this: “By being aggressive.”
Kafka is alive, well, and working for Twitter.
The ironic part is that these automated responses also included a warning not to automate YOUR responses.
This experience reminds me of my adolescence when I longed to learn about females and their mysterious ways. Sharon was my first girlfriend, a petite redhead and the object of my rapt attention. But I hadn’t a clue how to proceed. Where do you look—or touch—when sitting next to a girl? How much was too much? How fast is too fast. How high or low can you go? Alas, Sharon had no instruction manual.
So I sought advice from my older, more experienced classmates.
My buddy Chris offered tips that compared the “rules” of dating to baseball. He talked of his method of leading off and then stealing second base. He boasted of long afternoons of extra-innings.
I THOUGHT I KNEW what he meant, but I wasn’t about to be uncool and admit my ignorance. Worse yet, his rules seemed to apply to him but not to me.
As for Sharon, I was a nice guy and never really put any big moves on her. Partly because we were usually sitting in either the church youth group or her parents’ front room. So I never made MVP—instead, I was the “good boy” who was never shown the door.
I’d like to think I’m still the same, decent person.
And that’s why I found my electronic excommunication for violating the “Terms” so puzzling. When I got Twitter-slapped, I sulked. But then I decided to wise up to the ways of micro-blogging. I turned again to those with more experience, the Big Boys. I searched with the phrase “who has the most followers on Twitter,” and here’s what I found.
According to Mediabistro.com, Justin “As Long As You Love Me” Beiber is adored by more than 44 MILLION TWITTER FANS—just less than the head-count of Spain—and he’s GAINING 45,000 FOLLOWERS A DAY.
Clearly scads of people are playing follow-the-Beiber, and Twitter doesn’t seem to mind. This is good news. It means that you and 43,999,999 of your friends can follow me @RobbItSeems, and I won’t get in trouble.
But would you? After all, what got me into hot water was following.
To find out, I Googled the $64 million question: WHO IS FOLLOWING THE MOST PEOPLE ON TWITTER? Clearly, this person has to be worse than me, a real bad-apple and a menace to society? The answer surprised me….
It’s Barack Obama.
Mediabistro says our President uses Twitter to follow over 720,000 people—more than the populations of Vermont, Wyoming or Washington DC.
I’m assuming this number doesn’t count the people he follows with the NSA.
And how does Barack’s stats compare to the 700 folks I follow? I did the math, and Obama must have added them at more than my paltry 50 a day. In fact, at that rate, working five-days-a-week, and allowing time off for campaigning and Federal Holidays, it would take him 23,000 weeks, or roughly 460 years to get where he is today.
This doesn’t include days lost to account suspension.
So what’s the take-away here? Clearly, there are TWO sets of rules at Twitter.com, one for Beiber and Barack… and another set for “aggressive” people like me.
But I’m not bitter. I’d just like to know what Twitter wants. They’ve put me on notice, and that’s worrisome because I’m a decent guy.
If you don’t believe me, you can ask Sharon.
To buy Robb’s books in either print or eBook format, visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Sony Store, or any other major retail outlet.