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What if Twitter Were ‘Real’ Life?

By 16/10/2012writing

Twitter. I love Twitter but it’s only as good as the people frequenting it. After an automated DM tonight from a person I followed, who hasn’t yet followed me, I decided to vent (although I’m giggling too). Some of the scenarios on Twitter are annoying but would be even worse if it were equated to something that could happen in our physical ‘real’ lives.

The automatic DM came through straight after I followed this person (as they do) and it politely said “nice to meet you, blah, blah, blah” I responded with “Nice to meet you too” but my message was blocked because, of course, they weren’t following me so I couldn’t respond. How stupid. It made me feel like someone ‘special’, maybe a famous actor or singer, had yelled hello at me from across the street and when I went to answer, the minders surrounded me, their beefcake, black-clad arms pushing me away, shutting me down, “No talking to the celebrity. They can talk to you but you can’t talk to them. You’re not special enough. You’re a ‘follower’ they’re the ‘followee’. I would of course say “But, what…?” They would put their hand over my mouth and threaten to take me to the Justin Bieber concert that’s playing down the street, all while the celebrity in question walks away and says hello to the next unsuspecting follower.

The person who follows you. You follow back. They unfollow. This happens because people want to appear to be one of ‘the special ones’ heretofore knows as TSOs. They end up with a ridiculous follower/followee ratio. I weed these people out with Yes, I’m petty and I’m watching you; all of you. So don’t act like you’re better than me cause that just gives me the shits. The scenario, if played out in real life, would go something like this: there’s a large group of friends, they all take turns hosting a dinner. TSO turns up to all the dinners and drinks the most, vomits on your carpet, pisses on your toilet seat and goes home. When it’s their turn to host the dinner, a postcard turns up in your letterbox. It’s a photo of TSO, who’s waving from a camel while riding past some pyramid or other. Bastard.

People who aren’t even following you tweet you a “Hello, nice to meet you” with a link to their book attached. WTF? I don’t know you, I don’t give a shit about your book. I want to write this, and I also want to say piss off, but I don’t because I’m too polite. This is like being accosted in the street by someone asking for a donation or wanting to tell me about the end of the world while shoving some colourful brochure up my nose. While the paper is attacking my face like a swarm of moths looking for the nearest light bulb, I’m politely backing away while holding my hand up in a gesture of defeat. I smile and run. That’s what I’m doing to you on Twitter, I’m running away and you know how I said I’ll check out your book? I won’t.

Hmm, the alcohol’s wearing off now so I’d best go. Hmm, here I come.


Post syndicated with permission from Dionne Lister.

(Amberr Meadows just told me I could syndicate posts, so here’s a high-five for her — go read her fab blog!)

Since I agree with each syllable of Dionne’s post and have had exactly the same things happen to me on Twitter, I asked her, and she was fine with the re-post.

Are you on Twitter? Do you have peeves about followers? Unfollowers? Auto- DMers?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • I enjoyed this post. nicely done 🙂

  • Emily says:

    Agh, yes, this makes me mad, too! I actually find any kind of thanks for following a bit strange – it reminds me of the days when everyone was on MySpace and you’d thank people for adding you, particularly celebrities. And the constant ads for books annoys me, too. I think it’s high time for me to do a clean-out as well.

  • Damyanti says:

    I mostly love twitter, but like with all things, I sometimes get frustrated. Dionne put it in the words I would have used, and then let me borrow the post!

  • Nutschell says:

    haha! I can definitely relate to your frustrations. twitter can be annoying at times. I really need to make time for a twitter clean up. 😀 BTW, I tagged you on a meme, Damyanti. Hope you don’t mind :)D


  • Last time I did a tidy-up on Twitter, it took a couple of hours with me getting more and more annoyed. Thanks for this time-saver and, possibly, temper-saver (although not sure about the latter, until I get some feedback about who’s dumped me). Just running the non followers scan at the moment.

  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks, Janet, me too!

  • Dionne says:

    Thanks for sharing my blog post! It’s nice to know you enjoyed it so much 🙂

  • Priya Kanaparti says:

    Reblogged this on Live, Love, Laugh and commented:
    The Twitter Life by Damyanti from

  • I’ve had the same experience. Therefore I’ve made it a rule only to follow people who actually tweet something meaningful and use twitter properly. I hate it when some think it’s cool to ‘collect’ followers. You can’t collect people and you are totally right, twitter is only as good as the people who actually use it. Well said.

  • LOL! Your post is refreshing! Glad you posted before the alcohol wore off :O)

  • Haha. I just used unfollow and sent out an automated note that I would unfollow those who didn’t follow and someone thought I was rude. It’s a crazy twitter world.

  • John Holton says:

    A lot of the people I follow on Twitter are people that I don’t expect to follow me back (baseball people, sportswriters, local news and weather sources, etc.), but I’m getting careful not to automatically follow everyone who follows me, because many of them are only interested in filling my feed with ads for their book. I’m starting to unfollow those, and check a couple of weeks’ worth of tweets before following them in the first place. If it’s someone I’m familiar with (bloggers like you, for example), I’ll follow and won’t mind if you promote your blog or your book, but the people that use it solely as an advertising medium, forget it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to tweet this…

  • I chuckled while reading this because I know just what you mean! I use to keep track of those who follow then dump. And if someone follows me and their following is huge but they don’t follow many, I don’t even return the follow. (I’d just end up unfollowing them next time I pulled up anyway.)

    • Damyanti says:

      Alex, I think these folks who follow/unfollow are ridiculous. I only unfollow folks who spam me, or haven’t tweeted in an year or something. Oh, and those who send me an auto-DM asking me to follow them on facebook, buy their book, take care of their trip to Timbuktoo etc.

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