A letter from someone named Itsall Aboutme: Narcissism in social media

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Dear Kate,

I’ve noticed recently that I’ve had a drastic drop in my Twitter follower count (I already checked and there was no Twitter spam cleaning). I just don’t understand why people aren’t loving me and everything I have to say. I tweet about the things I do, what I eat, what kind of decorative head ornament my Chihuahua is wearing each day. I talk about how awesome I am, tweet my new blog posts (every day) and generally radiate hotness. So, Kate, why have I lost so many followers?

Thanks for any help.

Best,
Itsall Aboutme

Dear Itsall Aboutme,

I’m so glad you wrote! I will try, but am not sure how much I can help you. Here are a few pointers for not #failing so horribly at life . . . erm on Twitter:

  1. I don’t, and nor does anyone else care about what you ate for any meal. And please, no photos of the food you are eating.
  2. I don’t care what you are wearing unless you are Donna Karan herself and are dripping in Couture, tweeting from a fashion blog account.
  3. I don’t think you are witty. And neither does anyone else. Try being slightly more self-deprecating when writing about yourself.
  4. Snark is an art. You don’t posses the skill. Please stop trying to be snarky.
  5. No, I will not become a fan of your cool “underground” social media group on Facebook. Seriously, there’s a fan page for everything nowadays.
  6. Credit where it’s due. Everyone you associate yourself with is not brilliant, masterful, genius (ok, I’m guilty of this one, but I am genuinely in awe of many people I find via SM).
  7. Try to authentically engage with people via @ reply or Direct Message at least once a day. Pushing it? Ok, fine three times a week.
  8. STOP tweeting your follower count.
  9. Continuously tweeting the same blog post you wrote throughout the day, multiple times, will not make me want to read it any more. I already ignored it the first time.
  10. Direct Message me asking for a RT or a comment will automatically put you in a category called “not reading, not commenting, not RT-ing.”
  11. Please don’t friend me on Facebook because we had one semi-relevant conversation on Twitter.
  12. Please stop blatantly flirting with other Twitter users. I tweet at the office for my job and don’t need to see such rubbish.

To send my message home, I found a fitting quote for you to mull over: “Be modest! It is the kind of pride least likely to offend.” –Jules Renard, French writer

Here’s to your success! Best of luck.

Best,
Kate

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  • Hmph… a lot of good buried under a call to eliminate food tweeting… i do not support this call.

    That said, my fav is #6 because of the dichotomy of meeting brilliant people and social media brown-nosing.

    Oh Kate, i kid because i love…

    AA

  • @jaykeith

    Could not have said it better myself.

  • Let's designate cool and exotic food ok to tweet, yeah? Some food is like an artistic masterpiece. Just no like, oatmeal…or icecream…

    Haha! Thanks, Alex.

  • That's really messed up Kate…

    I sent you that email because I trusted you. I can't believe you would just post it up here.

    David
    Scribnia.com

    (email me if you want to join our exclusive 2k followers or more facebook page)

  • rachelakay

    Kate,

    Great post and great reminders (very funny too!) I think we can all read this post and go “I was thinking the same thing.” The points that resonate the most for me are about engaging in conversation rather than just broadcasting. I also love your thoughts about Facebook – when someone tries to bulk up all their social networks with the same people they don't really know it begins to feel incredibly un-authentic. 🙂

    I actually will disagree with you (just a little :P) on your first couple of points though. I'm not sure if it's fair to broadly say people shouldn't talk about personal things like what they are wearing. So what becomes fair in terms of conversation outside of professional banter (or is there any?) For example, a lot of the people I follow on Twitter tweet about sports, especially on Sundays, but I've come to expect it and it's cool, because I see some fun conversations going back and forth about what's happening on the field. That said, I try desperately hard not to tweet about food, but sometimes I can't help but give kudos to an awesome salad. In addition, no one's going to stop me from sharing my pictures of my cats, or talking about my latest deal at Bloomingdales. Those are things that make me, well, me, just like public relations. I think it's key to remember that we all have different agendas and interests on our social networks, so we can't always have a one-size-fits-all set of rules. 🙂

    Again great post! Love the thoughts here.

    Rachel Kay

  • Hi Rachel,

    Your comment is much appreciated! I will admit all faults and say I'm guilty of committing a few (or more) of the acts above 🙂

    Regardless as this post was all meant in fun, you have great points about being a human on Twitter. We can't all be “PR Robots” for instance only tweeting that which applies to PR or media. What makes us interesting is sharing all of our facets.

    Thanks!!

  • RK

    Are you just “meforming” on Twitter?Most Twitter users are “meformers,” people who talk just about themselves, according to a study by professors at Rutgers Uni…versity. Only about 20% of users are posting to the site with informational content, they note, though these users tend to have more followers. “Although the meformers' self focus might be characterized by some as self-indulgent, these messages may play an important role in helping others maintain relationships,” the study notes. The Miami Herald (11/23)See More
    SmartBrief – B2B Newsletters for Trade Associations
    http://www.smartbrief.com
    SmartBrief – B2B Newsletters for Trade Associations
    November 23, 2009 at 12:44pm Friends and Networks ·

  • Personally, I don't see a big difference in value with tweets about food, flight details or spammy location updates.

    People have had a tendency to fill up the silence with meaningless chatter for ages, now the same people just have much better coverage.

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