Kathleen Ndongmo: Follow back… or else! (YNaija Frontpage)

I accepted long time ago that Twitter is for narcissists.  Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is an actual thing, and I suspect that, to a certain extent, each of us Twitter fans suffers from it.

Imagine a conversation between Chika and Ronke:

“Hi Ronke, I really like your dress”

“Thank you, Chika.  What a lovely thing to say”

“Ok, now you tell me how much you like the dress I’m wearing.”

I accepted long time ago that Twitter is for narcissists.  Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is an actual thing, and I suspect that, to a certain extent, each of us Twitter fans suffers from it.  Otherwise, how else would you explain the certain conviction that our deconstruction of current affairs, our instagram photo of the evening’s 9th cocktail, our links to our blogs with our thoughts… How else would you explain the fact that we are sure that there are hundreds of people dying to join the Cult of Me?  Hello Followers.  Peace be with you.

But, narcissism is hardly a sin.  Do you know what is a sin?  The seldom mentioned 8th deadly sin?  It’s the follow back prompt.

It is needy.

It is unnecessary.

And it is beyond annoying.

In the same way Ronke is not entitled to a reciprocal compliment from Chika – get over yourself, Ronke – so Twitter users shouldn’t expect to be automatically “followed back”.  I am not Justin Bieber.  And you are not a prepubescent girl.  So Stop it.  And go away.

Why should I follow you back?

What value does one more Follower add to your life?

What value do you promise to add to mine?

If I do not follow you back, how will this negatively impact your existence?

Before you respond: NONE of these questions should even have answers!  If you don’t see that, step away from the computer, rush over to your parents’ and DEMAND an explanation for why they didn’t instil you with a better sense of perspective.

I follow fewer people than follow me.  Not by design – it just happened that way.  At first, when I really got into the swing of Twitter, I did follow everyone back.  In the old days, it was only a couple of dozen people, the majority of whom I interacted with.  And it was fun.

Then Gaga joined. Or maybe it was Oprah?  And suddenly everyone was on Twitter and I realized that the vast majority of the people I automatically followed back either tweeted about subjects of no interest to me, or they barely tweeted at all.  So I became a little pickier.

It is not rude to forego the counter-follow.  If you are desperate to up your follower count, try this: be interesting. At least.

Don’t want to be interesting?  Or you can’t?  Ok, then.  Be whiny and desperate instead.  That might work too.

The recent plight of Jonah Lehrer is interesting.  On July 27, Mashable, the internet news blog, ran a piece titled ‘25 Twitter Accounts That Will Make You Smarter.’

Lehrer made it into this list at number 5, gaining numerous new followers in the process.  Three days later, he was exposed for having fabricated quotes in his bestselling book.  Cue a very embarrassing fall from grace which, I suspect, would have been a lot less public had he had far fewer followers on Twitter and not already been in the foreground of the social media conversation.

Let me tell you a little secret: high Follower counts are not real social media currency.  They do not signify influence or engagement (RTs do that).  You could have just 10 followers, but if every one of those retweeted your comments to their own networks, you’d reach way more people than someone with 1,000 followers whose tweets are almost completely ignored.

So if you are a follow back prompter.  Be engaging.  Or, better yet: relax.  In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter.  I promise.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (11)

  1. @Angela you people look at number of followers and that's dumb. I'll give you an example. DonJazzy is influential in music. Everyone on the mohits crew has thousands of followers. They tried selling a phone. It didn't work. Why? They're not tech influential musicians. Eldee on the other hand is one. When there was an upgrade to Mac OSX a few months ago, eldee upgraded and lost all his files. Then he warned everyone not to. All my friends didn't upgrade because we know eldee to tweet tech stuff. Influence isn't about numbers, it's about topics.

  2. I'm glad that I see follow backs as something that should be earned not enforced. Someone asks for a follow back, you refuse; next thing is they get upset and rant at you, then unfollow you. Like its a must! This is a perfect piece, I hope tweeps learn from this.

  3. Good day Kathleen.

    To start with, you were great on yesterday's episode of rubbing minds. Vowed not to miss it when I got to know you'll be on the show.

    I recently became a follower of yours on twitter,(when you were mobilising for the families of the victims of the DANA crash),but never asked for a follow back. Reading this now makes me glad I dint and I'm in total agreement with Jamjam's comment: if you are not interesting,"quietly enjoy other tweeps comments",a category I happen to gladly fall under.

    However, after reading your tweets on mentoring recently, I considered getting in touch with you because I needed to talk more about it with you and probably as a result of my late exposure to the use of the computer, the only way I thought of was to ask for a follow from you, which I was reluctant about for fear of this kind of reaction.

    Not everyone that asks for a follow back intends to be a nuisance.Some just dont know how else to go about it.

    Thank you and have a good day.

  4. I disagree with you. I work in PR. If you do something interesting in life, follower counts are a media strategy that the big shots look out for, and we mean real followers not random faceless Russian names;. so if you are upcoming with the interesting thing you do and are trying to create a fan base let the #followback requests roll, there might just be something the requesters are trying to get at while they keep being interesting (that part I agree with). Their followership increases and they reach their goal, while you sit around complaining of their request for follow back.

  5. Awesome. I captured this as one of my twitter tips here http://bit.ly/TwitterCeleb some months ago…

    Tip 4: When you follow folks, do not ask for a follow back. It makes one seem desperate.

  6. OMG! I can't stop laffing. I have NEVER asked for a follow, unless to people I actually know. I thought I may be odd as I have been called snobbish. I persoonally think asking for a follow is crazy.

    Like you said, if you are interestting, you would actually get noticed and won't need to ask. If not, quietly enjoy other tweeps comments.

  7. Quite interesting and insightful. Addresses the much needed moderation in the crazy twitter-fame and follower-ship craving. I admit I seldom ask for a follow back, but only from people I admire and expect a mutually beneficial twitter friendship with.

    I have been followed and didn't wait for a follow back prompt to reciprocate, I simply check the Bio. If I find it interesting I follow otherwise he/she can un-follow me, which oftentimes happen

    By and large, Kathy has said it all, be interesting, re tweets earns more follower-ship, a great number of tweeps have come to know this.

  8. Interestingly, but honesty if twitter would be a place where leadership skills are taught then people need some sense of followership without discrimination.

  9. Interesting to note that those who are dedicated to asking for a follow, and need to read this to know why they are getting none, are those who wont read this when I share it on my timelime. Like I said earlier this week, followership on twitter is over-rated.

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