Several months ago, my colleague and genetically-engineered super soldier, Chris Bucholz, wrote a column giving six reasons he is no longer your Facebook friend. Personally, I found it a bit overlong as the simplest answer was that the Canadian scientists who created him (by splicing Chupacabra and Cthulhu DNA) had a strict policy against anyone showing Chris compassion. I’m joking, of course. Canada doesn’t have scientists.
In any event, because Chris will be hibernating for the next three months while his offspring of 500 razor-toothed tiger prawns are gestating inside him, I thought now would be a good time to steal his title and apply it to Twitter. Below are nine things that will get me to unfollow someone.
Awww, it has Chris’ eyes!
Now, I know you might be saying: “Who are YOU to tell ME who YOU’RE not gonna follow? What makes YOU so great?” Well, first off, I think it’s really weird that you occasionally speak in all capital letters. I mean, why would you do that? But more importantly, it’s just easier for me to write in the first person. I’m still speaking for all people on Twitter. Well, not all. I’m certainly not speaking for these jackasses below.
#9. People Who Think 140 Characters Is More of a Guideline Than a Rule
I don’t know how Twitter settled on 140 characters. I don’t know why Twitter settled on 140 characters. 140 characters often just isn’t enough. But the thing is, Twitter has a 140 character limit. It’s not your diary, your text message service or your dream journal for writing sad stories about magic penguins. If what you want to convey doesn’t fit, then odds are Twitter is not the right place for it. If you want to write a rock opera, you shouldn’t pick haikus as your medium.
Also, you probably shouldn’t write rock operas either. They tend to get silly.
Yes, there are exceptions. Sometimes, you have something important to say — perhaps in response to a legitimate question. I saw my old hero Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall once tweet about Canadian law and child support payments in response to a follower. He threw in a dash and responded over two tweets. I’m not talking about that (although, seriously Dave, not as funny as the goblin in the cabinet skit). I’m talking about people who tell stories over a series of tweets.
Oh, and I don’t mean periodically dropping tweets over the course of the day, updating some fictitious adventure. I’m talking about deciding the best way to convey your 1,000-word story is to deliver it in 140-character bites like some neurologically-impaired 21st century serialized Dickens. It clogs up the feed and, of course, it tells the story in reverse order which is a bit of a problem as non-insane humans have a nasty habit of reading from the top down. I can’t imagine how this could ever be appropriate. Well maybe if all communication in your home had been shut off and your computer is somehow locked on Twitter when a tiger attacks. I’ll make an exception for that.
But how often does this happen?
#8. People Who Start Tweets with “OMG, you guys!” and/or End Tweets with “Ugh!”
You might be wondering why this isn’t two separate categories. Well, it could be, but it’s not necessary. Based on completely anecdotal, unreliable research, I have proven conclusively that these things always go together. Just find someone who tweets:
And it won’t be long until you see them tweet:
There is a certain actress celebrity/cewebrity nerd Goddess who I had to unfollow months ago because it seemed she had 1-50 tweets like this every day. Who is that celebrity? I won’t tell you. There’s still a chance she’ll have sex with me if I craft a sexy enough tweet, and I don’t want to ruin that! (Also, I’m sure you’ve figured it out. Hint. See #6. Sssh! Or see Cheese’s last column where, once again, he somehow read my unconscious mind and plagiarized me before I even published, that magical dirty bastard.)
Also, this is a bit of a giveaway.
I understand Twitter is a place for brevity, but it’s just not humanly possible that “OMG, you guys” is the perfect opening to any level of pleasant surprise from a plate of gift muffins to a lifetime membership in the multiple orgasm of the month club. (I’m running for CEO of that later this month, btw, and would appreciate your support.) And “Ugh?” That’s the verbal equivalent of making that face where you scrunch up your brow and pout out your lower lip while blowing up at your bangs. How often is that face really worth making?
#7. Saying Good Morning and Goodnight To Your Followers
Holy Crap. Whoever you are, please stop doing this. WWW stands for the “World Wide Web.” Time zones a-plenty. Night and morning are kind of relative terms. I don’t care what clock you’re on. It’s morning for me whenever I first click on Twitter and it’s night when I pass out in a pool of scotch and misery.
But more importantly, your followers don’t give a crap when you’re going to bed. Do you view Twitter as the balcony to your palace and your followers as your loyal subjects below? Do you think we’re really so ravenous that we’ll say, “What the fuck? No tweets for six hours. Is our favorite Twitter celebrity dead? What could have possibly happened to him?”
There may be some followers out there who want to know exactly when you sleep and wake, but they’re the ones who also masturbate to photoshopped pics of your head on a dog’s body.
You have no idea how happy this makes some people.
#6. Stealing Jokes Instead of Retweeting Them
Twitter has this lovely little function called the retweet button. If you see something you enjoy, then you just click it and — presto magic — it spreads to all your followers, complete with instant author attribution without all the fuss of a properly formatted footnote. On those rare occasions when my fleeting sobriety allows me to form both full sentences and comedy, I’d like to think my followers spread that joy the way the Twitter gods intended. Yet, I’m told tweet-stealing is rampant among today’s youth, and must be stopped. Me? I’ve just been lucky, I guess. With the exception of Michael Ian Black, Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day, no one’s ripped off my stuff.*
*OK, so none of these people ripped me off or even follow me on Twitter. This was really just for illustrative purposes — illustrating how one would get sued for libel.
#5. Dropping Daily Links to Multiple Causes
Because I’m so incredibly cool and everyone wants to have sex with me all the time, you might be surprised to learn that I was on the debate team in high school. I know. Crazy. Where did I find the time between all the cocaine and groupies? But it’s true. It was the ’90s and my band was on hiatus from opening up for Roxette. Debate seemed like a good use of my time.
In any event, like all super cool guys, I was practicing my opening statement for my mom, stridently spewing forth my arguments. After telling me to wipe the blow off my nose and straighten my mullet, my mom gave me some really good advice: “If you’re screaming about everything, then no one will hear anything.”
An excellent point. In debate and in life, you have to pick your battles. If everything is important then, somehow, nothing is. And it’s the same with supporting causes on Twitter.
BAM. HOW’S THAT FOR A TRANSITION? JUDGES?
Scoring may have been affected by some of these judges being related to me.
So many people litter your timeline with links to charitable events. That’s fine. That’s great, but the cumulative effect of tweeting charitable links over and over is that we ignore you. Suddenly, everything’s a good cause. Everyone needs help. Everyone deserves money. All could be true, but we’ll never know if you’re right or wrong because we couldn’t keep up with the clicks and we stopped following you.
#4. People Who Tweet About Glee
I don’t like it when people tweet about Glee.
I don’t know who this guy from our photo library is, but if he’s tweeting about Glee, I don’t like him.
#3. Celebrities Using Twitter For Career Advancement/Social Networking
As someone who is not famous, I like to pretend that one day — when I obtain obscene wealth writing both dick and fart jokes — things will be different. That people in Hollywood or the publishing industry won’t still worry about office politics, being friends with the right people and, most of all, sucking ass all the time. Of course, that’s foolish. (Not the part about me becoming a fart joke billionaire — that’s only a matter of time — but that bit about people behaving differently.) Of course, celebs are needy, pathetic, game-playing dbags just like the rest of us.
Still, when I see some B-list actor tweet compliments to some comic or celeb who is “hot right now” in a transparent attempt to curry favor and possibly inclusion in this person’s next big project, I die a little. I’d love to tell you the most recent example I’m thinking of, but I hope to exchange super lame, sycophantic tweets with either of these dudes some day when I’m a big celeb sell out!
Yep. Just me and Louis C.K. kicking it in my horribly photoshopped imagination.
Sometimes, the politics are a little more subtle. Like when celebs tweet about the great time they had on the Tonight Show or the Late Show or Live with Regis(?) and Kelly. You could say they’re just being polite, but then why not send an email or text. We don’t need to see it. When I thank Dairy Queen for interviewing me for an overnight position, I just send my email to the regional manager, not all my Twitter followers.
#2. Making Hilarious Jokes Varying The Word “Twitter”
I cannot believe how many (amazingly funny and talented) celebrities I follow who think it’s somehow amusing to make Twitter puns. They’ll call their followers Twonkers and Twatters and Twonkettes and all sorts of really uncomfortable variations on Twitter. The kind of a “joke” a child would make. A child destined to grow up to write jokes for some Disney channel sitcom. Are stupid Twitter puns enough to make me not follow you? Maybe. I’m hard to love.
“Say, what are you Twonkettes up to on the old Twatter!”
#1. Tweeting Nonstop About What a Nerd You Are In a Flirty Way
Back in my day, if a girl wanted a lot of attention, but she wasn’t that attractive, there was a simple remedy: She’d just blow everyone. But somewhere in the 21st century, women realized that if they donned ginormous glasses and mixed their Dr. Who tweets up with references to sodomy, they could really generate a lot of buzz.
“Without these glasses and my love of Firefly, I’m only slightly too hot to have sex with you.”
And, hey, I’m a huge fan of both those things, but it’s gotten out of hand. So go ahead and tweet your tweets like, “I had a dream I was in the TARDIS, but I couldn’t find my fishnets. #sexynerdgirlproblems,” but we’re on to you. And just because we’ll probably keep following you on the off chance we get a direct message inviting us to a naked Battlestar Galactica sleepover doesn’t mean we don’t hate you. We totally hate you. And just so you know, we’ve masturbated to girls like three times hotter than you. So there!