Quick Scalzi/Twitter FAQ

While (vaguely) on the subject of Twitter, a very quick FAQ on my presence on that service, since people have been peppering me with questions about it, and it’ll be good to have something to refer folks to later.

1. Are you on Twitter?


2.How often do you Twitter?

A couple of times a day, usually; sometimes more, sometimes less.

3. Can I follow you on Twitter?

Sure. Also, you don’t have to ask.

4. Why are you following only one person on Twitter?

Because she was the person who sent me the invite and I never got around to following other folks. Then I got written up in the Wall Street Journal on the subject of Twitter and the fact I followed only one person became news of a sort, and now I kind of feel obliged. That said, I cheat a bit since I follow a few hundred Twitter feeds via Twitter’s list function. Adding the Twitter feeds there was the most convenient way to do it.

5. It’s rude not to follow the people following you on Twitter.

Oh well.

Update, 10/28/11: I decided it’s time to let go of following just one person and have moved the people on the list I read the most into the “follow” column.

Cool, will you follow me?

Generally speaking, I follow people I know in real life. Do I know you in real life? If so, then possibly. If not, then probably not.

6. Do you respond to responses from your Twitter followers?

I respond to some but not all. I get a fair number of responses.

7. Do you mind if I ReTweet something you twittered?

Not at all; please do.

8. Do you twitter from your browser or do you use special software?

I tend to use TweetDeck, since it has a lot of features I like. On my Blackberry I use the Twitter mobile web interface; I’m aware there are standalone Twitter programs for the phone but I haven’t liked them so far.

9. Do you have any deep thoughts about Twitter as a communication medium?

Sure; they’re here.

10. Hey, did you know your cat is on Twitter?

Yes, and no, I don’t write that Twitter feed. I have no idea who does. Pretty sure it’s not the actual cat.

Any additional Scalzi/Twitter questions, leave them in the comment thread and I’ll get around to answering them.

33 Comments on “Quick Scalzi/Twitter FAQ”

  1. Comment/question #5: seriously? So if you’re the king of all Twitters (that would be Mr. Fry, no?) you’re supposed to follow all of these gazillions of people you don’t know? Because to do otherwise is *rude*? Ugh.

    Now I’m gonna go get offa my own lawn.

  2. Not actually related to Twitter, but I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your writing, Mr Scalzi. Hope you had/have a happy Easter.

    Now, back to watching Halloween 2.

  3. Out of curiosity: as a writer/blogger, have you found Twitter to be useful to you at all in a professional capacity? Or is it still at the “just for fun” stage?

  4. The whole “It’s rude to not follow people who are following you” thing bugs me. What about “It’s rude to friend people with the sole expectation that they will friend you back and then HAVE to read you.” Because that seems ruder.

    And Twitter–while I’m on it–just doesn’t do much for me. I mean, I read the blogs of people who interest me, and even the REALLY interesting people who are on Twitter, guess what….I still tend not to read them. Because it’s twitter. And my attention span needs something longer. (Which is weird, because I have NO attention span….until it comes time to read. I will read shampoo bottles and cereal boxes if there is nothing else, but if there is something else, I’d rather read that. Ditto Twitter. It’s like the shampoo bottle of ordinary people’s lives. I’d rather read your online journal than your random thoughts. Or a journal entry about your random thoughts, because it will probably have a slightly more coherent narrative than just the random thoughs alone.)

  5. Re: Question 5

    I don’t buy that it’s rude not to follow someone who’s following you. That feels like one of those icky social marketing “rules” that jackholes following twenty thousand people in order to get them to read said jackholes’ blog posts about their brilliant Web 2.7 business plans say.

  6. I wasn’t aware it was rude not to follow people who follow you. Oh well, sucks to be me, I guess. I only follow people you interest me. I’m not to follow someone whom I have no idea of who they are.

  7. Twitter isn’t about friends. If you want to reciprocal “friend” connection, you should use facebook.

    Twitter is about getting a feed of others that you find interesting.

  8. The correct answer to “It’s rude not to follow the people following you on Twitter.” would be “That’s unfug.” (“Unfug”, of course, being a German word for “nonsense”.)

    As Adam said, if you blindly follow everyone following you, you’re fully embracing your role as prey to every “Twitter marketing expert” on the intertrons. Which means you’re doing it wrong.

    On a related note, I’d love to see the word “Unfug” used more often in the English language. Seriously, you guys use “Schadenfreude” and “Kindergarten”, so why not “Unfug”? I know you got “poppycock”, which is nice, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it. Just saying.

    Cheers from Munich.

  9. I don’t think that Wil Wheaton, for ex., could possibly “follow” everyone who follows him on Twitter. He has 400,000+ followers. He follows, sensibly, only about 100.

    You really only should follow people you find interesting. I (along with 4691 others, as of this writing), follow Scalzi because I find him interesting. It doesn’t necessarily follow (heh) that he finds me, or any of the other 4691, similarly fascinating.

  10. I sort of admire the people who follow huge numbers of people. But I think they’re a wee bit nuts at the same time. The information overload on that would be immense. And the stream would fly by, with very little opportunity to actually interact with others.
    I don’t automatically follow everyone who follows me, nor do I expect that everyone I follow will follow me.
    That said, I was tickled to see you response to me show up in my infostream.

  11. In passing: we all need to be using Colbert’s past tense of Tweet, of course.

  12. @ 15. Steve Burnap:

    It depends how you use it. I only follow people that I already know from somewhere else – i.e. they’re already friends. (And I also follow Scalzi, but he’s the only one that’s not a friend-friend.)
    And some days we have extremely entertaining conversations with each other as a result. ;)

    I also use Facebook, but it turns out that I’m mainly interested in playing games on it (with people who are already friends or friends-of-friends). The only other thing I use is the status message thing, and Twitter is better for that than Facebook.

  13. You don’t write the cat’s twitter feed?

    How do you feel about having the internet’s first public domain feline?

  14. I would like someday to meet whoever it was who came up with the “proper” rules of Twitter etiquette, such as following people simply because they follow you. I think it would be enjoyable to stab this person in the face.

  15. I must be super rude then, because not only do I not follow everyone who follows me, but i actually block people who I don’t want following me.

  16. I want to be a Twitter user who follows no one. I’m also one of those people who question anyone over 25 who uses Twitter. At best, I’d probably use Twitter to monitor the temperature in my house or something…

    Myself, I’m waiting for the roll out of Flutter, the Twitter killer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeLZCy-_m3s

  17. I completely don’t get Twitter. I don’t get Face book/My Space either.

    I have a hard time keeping in touch with folks I actually care about and want to spend time with. I don’t have time to try to keep up with strangers – no matter how amusing.

    I also leave my cell phone turned off most of the time unless I’m making an outgoing call. I don’t want everyone in the world to be able to take up my time and energy 24/7.

    Does this make me a hopeless Luddite? Is this just the side effect of being almost half a century old? Does it mean I just need better time managemnet skills?

  18. isn’t twitter all about banality anyhow?

    Just seem excessively self centered to me.

    oooh I just took a poo inn case you were wondering.
    I shaved my cat and went on a 50 state graffiti spree.
    or something silly like that but hey as you have said that is texting at it’s blog on cell

  19. Mary Fitz: “Does this make me a hopeless Luddite?”

    No. “Productive individual” is the phrase I’d use.

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