It’s been an up and down relationship over the past few years with a certain, very social, entity. I grew to love, hate, and now grudgingly accept what seems to be everyone’s new favorite form of social media: Twitter and all of its related imperfections. Twitter is widely known as the place where celebrities go to be ‘normal’ and, interestingly, where normal people go to be ‘celebrities’.
Unlike social networking sites of the past, to follow someone is a one-way street on Twitter, meaning that both parties have to follow each other independently to exist in the same digital realm. The number of followers equates to those that are interested in what they have to say. But lately the desire for more or famous followers on Twitter has taken a simple network used to share information in a totally new direction that is shedding light on the many shades of insecurities.
For some, there seems to be a direct correlation between the number of followers one has and their self-esteem. The #TeamFollowBack phenomenon for example, where people proclaim their eagerness to follow you only if you do the same in return. I have even seen tweets where people complain about their lack of followers. When I see tweets where people promote, pressure, and pontificate about “1000th Follower Twitter parties.” All I can ask is, “Really?!?!” Many do not have a $1,000 to their name but are far more concerned with getting their number of follows to pass the amount in their bank account.
I recently asked someone what having a large number of followers means to them. He responded, “It means you’re popular.” I then asked, “Popular online or offline?”
He replied, “Both.”
I laughed to myself at how far-fetched his thinking was. There are numerous users on Twitter that are extremely popular within the parameters of the digital site, however, offline lead mediocre social lives. Twitter has enabled users to be übersocial and outspoken digitally, but in face-to-face interactions, many lack the same boldness. You know what I’m talking about; you see someone with whom you communicate on Twitter in the club and don’t speak. Yet, once you get home you mention them in a message.
The fishermen are out all day on Twitter harbor, fishing for compliments. These are the types that say “I look a mess today,” with a freshly beaten face worthy of a MAC endorsement. Only to seek out mentions like, “You look good girl, what are you talking about?” or “If that’s what a mess look like, then I want to look like that too.” I understand that we all like compliments but why hunt for them? A compliment is best served without encouragement. While we are on the topic, I’m still baffled as to why people retweet their compliments for the rest of their world to see.
When I log onto Twitter, I always feel like I am reading the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll. I know many of the people I follow personally, and some of the things they tweet are pure comedy. You have the “homo thugs” that are always ready to fight online. Then there are the “video vixens” always selling sex in the nude with a fitted or a snapback over their family jewels, minus the face. Please let’s not forget those who are “too busy,” and have to constantly remind their adoring public. Apparently, you can’t be too busy if you’re tweeting. We get it. We all have lives.
Finally, I have respect for labels as much as the next fashionisto but there is a difference between being interested in fashion and in being shallow. Enough of the kids perfectly seated, with their foot at the precise angle for their “fans” to get a glimpse of their Louboutins. Cheers for the side profiles with their Beats by Dre headphones! With all of this promotion, you would think people were getting paid from the actual companies. Let’s not forget that the man makes the label and not the other way around. Also, save your receipts for your accountant, no one is checking for you.
Twitter is definitely not reality. You always have the option to unfollow, block, or mute users to your liking. No matter how many followers you collect, compliments you receive or retweets you publish, internally you are still the same person. Ask yourself; would any of my followers show up at my funeral? The answer is most likely no, but for what it’s worth I bet you will get a lot of #RIP in your mentions.