July 24, 2008

The Hubris of the Twitterati and Twitterati Wannabes

Guest Post By Cyndy Aleo-Carreira (E-mail / Twitter)

Twitter fails yet again. After a huge site outage, U.S. users woke up this morning to discover what other users already knew: the database was hosed, and subscriptions were a wreck. I appear to be one of the only people with a single concern, however: what happened to the people I was following? I don't remember all of them. I certainly didn't keep a list of the people I was subscribed to. Nor would I want to page through all of them to figure out who is missing if I did.

However, the majority of users are more upset with their follower count. Yes, that's right. People are up in arms over who was following THEM. In this increasingly ridiculous echo chamber, the loss of followers means that a number is lower; a potential audience gone missing.

The tech blogosphere isn't Hollywood, and even Hollywood is pathetic in its idolization of people who work at a particular craft. I don't mind missing followers; if someone finds my 140-characters-max blathering entertaining, then that person will find me again. I don't use Twitter for an audience. To whine about having a few people taken away that follow you is so depressing I can't even manage to put it into words properly.

The functionality of Twitter is useful to me only in how I use it to learn. The majority of my Tweets are conversation, often replies to questions others pose. But I'm depressed at the hubris of what seems to be a number of users, who find the loss of followers damaging to their egos. Social media is supposed to be about conversation. Not pumping up self-importance. I don't know how many followers I had. But I definitely know how many people I'm following are missing.