To Unfollow or not to Unfollow?

To the best of my knowledge, unfollow is not a real word.

On Twitter, it is. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that anyone really understands the importance (if any) of the word. I include myself in that statement.

To the uninitiated, when you follow someone on Twitter it means that everything they tweet (except for their replies to other people) shows up on your timeline. It doesn’t mean that they see anything you have to say. They can (of course) choose to follow you and then they will.

Unfollowing on the other hand is simply the reverse. For whatever reason (and there are many) you decide you don’t want to see that person’s tweets any more. You tell that to Twitter and no more unwanted tweets on your screen.

One of the great things about Twitter (as opposed to something like Facebook) is that it can be as one-sided as you like (the term asynchronous gets used). If I’m interested in what @williamshatner has to say, I can follow him. I’m sure he has no interest in my self-obsessed tweets, so he is not following me. He could if he wanted to, but he has almost 190,000 followers so he’d probably get a bit lost if he followed them all back. And The Shat is a minnow of the Twitter world.

So here I get to the dilemma. If I am following someone and they are following me, I can unfollow them. And I have done on a number of occasions. But not without a great deal of thought. When there is a two-way follow going on, normally that means you have some sort of relationship with that other person. Even just a virtual one. And breaking it on one side only is one of those yet-to-be-defined areas of etiquette.

Here’s a few examples (names change to protect… well, me. Mostly):

  • Daniel, who I met through twitter. Saw one of his tweets in a search in an area of interest and started to follow him. Through @replies he noticed me and followed back. We shared a number of interesting conversations. But eventually I realised that he was taking up half of my timeline and most of his tweets were retweets. With some hesitation, I unfollowed. The world has not ended.
  • Alison, who I knew pre-twitter through another online forum. Unfortunately, her behaviour on Twitter was much different to that on the other forum. Couldn’t go two tweets without badmouthing someone. Unfollowed.
  • Davy, another Tweep who I share a common interest with. Only recently hooked up on Twitter, but unfollowed already. A rabid anti-Christian with a selection of tweets that really made me want to fight back. The last thing I need is to start a flame war. Unfollow.
  • And just to show my lack of bias: Acme Christian Ministry. Only followed for a short time before realising that they kept using a URL shortener that pulled up all sorts of annoying ads. Sent them a couple of @replies to ask them to change to something less obnoxious which were not even acknowledged. Too annoying. Unfollowed.

A little disclaimer: I did not write the above to show everyone how bad the above are. They’re not. I was trying to illustrate the reasons why Twitter users might not want to follow others any longer. Some are personal, some are important, some aren’t.

Since I discovered Twitter last year, I have regularly commented that it is fun. If you have people in your timeline that are interfering with your fun, then quietly let them go.

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auTAKU: An Australian Otaku Blog [tilt review]

To start my TILT (Things I Like Thursday) series, I thought I would point you in the direction of a relatively new blog run by my friend Steve McKenzie.

I make a point of following all the blogs run by RL friends and family and when I found Steve’s old blog “Steve Likes…” I added it to Google Reader and read the articles as they came off the press. To be honest, a lot of the things that Steve Likes I don’t have as much interest in as I might earlier have (but that probably says more about me than anything else) but Steve writes well and inspires interest in the things He Likes.

Which brings me to the successor blog, auTAKU. The name itself is a play on the term otaku with the “au” replacing the “o” because he’s an Aussie. Apparently, an otaku is a “person with obsessive interests, particularly anime, manga, and video games.” (thanks Wikipedia) and once you understand that, you’ll get an idea of the content over at auTAKU.

There’s reviews of computer games, movies, collectable figures, anime/manga, technology and all sorts of Japan-related stuff. Like I said earlier, most of this means very little to me but if he can keep the interest of an unbeliever like myself I can imagine that the site would be of particular interest to anyone who shares the things Steve Likes (are you listening @starconstant?)

I am particularly impressed with the way Steve has branded his blog. He’s set a target of what he wants to write about, picked a really cool and clever name (which he really needs to pick up the domain for before he loses the chance) and posts regularly with well-written posts.

Anyone with an interest in popular Japanese culture or anyone who just wants to see a well-done startup blog should go visit Steve now. And if you’ve missed all my links hidden in the text and images above, here it is again: http://autaku.wordpress.com/.

(Don’t take this the wrong way Steve, but I rushed this post so I could get started on my Project52 challenge and my TILT series. Doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your work any less.)

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NaNoWriMo nag page…

I’ve been talking about my participation in NaNoWriMo 2008 for a couple of months now. I’ve posted a few posts since then and hopefully made my intentions clear. There is no backing out now.

I’m asking anyone who reads this (and cares) to come onside and nag the life out of me. Leave a comment here, send me an email, a text message or give me a ring (if you know those details) and ask me how I’m going. Especially if you look at the charts on my sidebar and see that I’m not doing so well. If you really want to know how bad is bad, the NaNoWriMo crew have generated these detailed Progress Reports… click if you dare.

I really don’t want to have to start making up justifications for poor performance. It will all just be too embarrassing and will therefore be my incentive to write.

Thanks in advance.

Edit… (no longer available) I’ve decided not to keep all my charts on the sidebar. The NaNo site seems to be having a bit of a problem with a heavy workload now. No need for me to be adding to that every time someone hits my site (like it really makes a difference!).
Instead, they can stay on this page.
Country vs City Word War, Elsewhere in Australia vs Perth, North
North vs South Word War, Me in Esperance vs Kamu in Port Hedland:

Edit 2…: I should have just kept everything here, but I’m posting regular (milestone) updates here.

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Straight Edge

I have been friended once on last.fm. I had no idea why, and I accepted the request at first because I thought it was my brother, Jason (turned out to be a completely different Jason).

I was playing with my last.fm profile last night and I thought I would have a look at Jason’s. In his profile, he says “I am straight edge.”. I said “???”.

Google and Wikipedia to the rescue. It turns out ‘straight edge’ is a sub-sub-culture of the punk movement. From wikipedia:

Straight edge refers to a lifestyle and scene within the hardcore punk subculture whose adherents abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, as well as promiscuous sex.

I thought, hey that’s me… Hold on, take out the agro, the tendency towards veganism, the haircuts, the piercings, the X tattoos (and perhaps I might be on the outer with my spirituality too… Profanity warning if you follow that link)

So maybe not.

But surely Straight Edge sounds cooler than teetotaller.

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