Is Twitter only for the thick-skinned?

2 11 2009

I was reading The Mirror’s account of Stephen Fry’s mortification at being branded a Twitter bore and it made me think about the delicate desire for approval and appreciation that, I think, we all harbour in relation to our contribution on Twitter.  For what it’s worth, I don’t think Stephen is at all boring and, come on, the man’s busy enough being fabulous without having to be sparkling, 24/7, in only 140 characters!

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry

A few months ago, when I left my job, rather than finding myself with acres of time to Tweet, I spent most of my days looking for work and building my business.  What had become a daily and constant ritual was relegated to the ‘nice to have’ section of the priority list; once the need to apply myself in the hunt for work really kicked in.  At the end of the first month, I had spent (according to the stats) 60% less time Tweeting than the previous month and around 80% less than the month before.

Naturally, I lost a few followers – understandable really – why would you follow someone who never says anything?  But more interesting is how the level of interaction that I previously had with some Tweeps had changed once I started engaging properly again – and how that made me feel.  Whereas when I was most active and, possibly, a bit more interesting (redundancy can stifle your enthusiasm for most things!), my discussion and interaction was richer.  Once other priorities got in the way, I Tweeted less and, as a result, have lost some of those closer connections that I once had.

I could take it personally, and the thing with Twitter is that you do get out what you put in, but it’s important to remember that  it really isn’t easy to remain effervescent, 7 days a week, especially when life gets in the way.  I think the secret is to make every Tweet count, not to Tweet inanely (god, I am so guilty of that), and to maintain contact with your followers as often as possible and hope they remain interested.

If they don’t, and perhaps this is the point, that’s fine!  My contribution to Twitter is as much, if not more, about me learning from others as it is about others listening to what I have to say.  As my life and its challenges change, so my interaction with Twitter will change and, doubtless my interests and, therefore, followers.

Rather than feeling upset every time I lose a follower, or perhaps am not quite as interesting as I should be, I think I’ll accept that for what it is.  Life’s too short.