This morning, Michael Arrington, co-editor of TechCrunch.com, started his blogging day by complaining and mixing up the meaning of “interest into someone’s content” and “friendship” on a post. He claims the need to fake being someone’s friend to better use Twitter. Not to worry, this is very common in online social networking, especially with egocentric personalities. The website talked about is the popular Twitter (www.twitter.com), which provides a way for people to express themselves about anything, as long as the message fits into 140 characters maximum. You can choose to follow anyone and monitor all of their messages. So what Arrington complains about happens a lot in social networking sites. It’s when “following” someone or “subscribing” to someone’s list equals for a lot of people the same thing as being “friends” with this person, taking the true meaning of friendship to the bottom level. If it is not reciprocated, frustration and pressure come into
Along with the so-called pressure and stress that some ego-social users claim to have when given the choice to follow someone back or not, there is the true issue regarding the amount of content to monitor and how to reduce what we call “the noise” on social networking sites. For instance, Arrington says that he follows on Twitter 466 people that he finds interesting. Although he only monitors messages specifically directed at him. So, in his case, there’s no real point of following that many individuals if it’s to not look at the content they produce.
Anyway, Michael Arrington now claims the urgent need of a so-called “Fake Follow” feature, for Web sites such as Twitter and FriendFeed. Here’s what he needs: “The Fake Follow looks like a normal follow to the other person, but to me it’s like I didn’t follow them at all.”. “Let me group friends somehow and let me watch just some of them if I like”.
I don’t believe in this made-up Fake Follow. If you are a Twitter user, why would you make people believe that you are following them if you are not? You do NOT have to follow everyone just because they chose to follow you. There’s no favor made when following someone on Twitter.
Simply target and choose people you are interested in and watch their content. Otherwise you’ll simply miss the whole point of the service. There’s no reason to feel guilty for not following someone back, at all. Arrington talks about a certain “pressure” when deciding to follow someone or not. There’s no such pressure. A comment on his blog about his post says well that “Anyone who was offended by something so trivial needs a better sense of perspective”.
Like the article I wrote back several months ago about collecting friends on Facebook, there was just a little confusion here on the use of Twitter and the meaning of friendship.