It's always nice to get an email saying that "You're Somebody's newest friend!". It makes me just want to add them back, but recently I've been rethinking this.
As with MySpace and LiveJournal and Vox, Twitter uses the word "friend" to describe the act of choosing to follow somebody's journal or whatever, and I wish they didn't. Friend is a very loaded word. It has connotations, that if I choose not to friend somebody in Twitter that I am therefore choosing to be unfriendly to that person, or that by friending somebody, I am asking them to be my friend. Of course, at one level most people don't think like this and realize that friend in Twitter is not the same as friend in RL, but all the same, using "friend" is not helpful.
Here's what I've decided regarding friending in Twitter:
- If you're a RL friend, acquaintance or relative, I'll add you back.
- If it seems like we have something in common, be it it libraries, blogging, living in Sydney, living in Minnesota, working in a university, whatever, I'll add you back.
- If it doesn't seem like we have much in common, but your tweets look interesting and you don't have hundreds/thousands of friends already, I'll add you back. I don't like the zillion friends pissing contest and I'm not going to enable that by cluttering my Twitter with that kind of person.
- I have never removed someone from my f-list except someone whom I wouldn't have added if I had been following point 3. I'm not going to go into all the reasons why I might do this, except to say that if you tweet too often - every 5 minutes of every waking hour for a few days would certainly qualify - I will probably remove you from my f-list. It's nothing personal. I might really like you, but I can't deal with that volume. I may check back in a few days to see if things have quietened down and then add you back.
Like everything, this is subject to change. At this stage, I would prefer to err on the side of inclusion, but later on, I may go the other way.
I don't want this post to sound that I don't want new friends on Twitter. I do, but for me it's not a numbers game. Here's my Twitter, and if you feel like adding me after reading all the above, I'll most likely add you right back.