Groucho Marx and Twitter

Groucho“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”  – Groucho Marx

I think that pretty much sums up my scepticism of my fellow tweeters. Not that I don’t love each and every one of you… it’s just that I know what hard work it is building up a profile and a following. And when somebody wants to bypass the hard work and go straight into the hard sell my defences go up and you’re no longer a human I can interact with, but rather a big corporate robot painted an unappealing shade of PMS 402 Gray.

I don’t actually have many of these conversations with my own Twitter crowd, as I try to follow the “no nutters” rule on Twitter as in life. But you see it often with the newbies. They spend an hour lunching with their social media guru and they burst into the Twittersphere full of joy and energy, just itching to get tweeting about their business. They seek Twitter folk with thousands of followers, and tweet to them politely demanding to be followed. They seek Twitter folk who have vaguely mentioned a product that their company may sell and politely demand a visit to their website. Every Tweet from them reminds you to join their mailing list, to like their Facebook page, to give them feedback on their website design, to book now, to buy this, to go here, to do that. After a couple of weeks they realise that no one has clicked on any of their links and they slink off into the darkness again, throwing their toys out of the metaphorical Twitter cot, mad that no one wants to play with them.

What has this got to do with Groucho? Well, it’s just that I don’t understand the mentality of a company that sets up a social media marketing department prepared to put a hard sell on me. Sure, my money is as good as anyone else’s, I get that. But I’m not cool. Really, I’m not. I happily wear clothes I bought 8 years ago. I drink house wine. I don’t remortgage my purebred cat to buy headphones. I dance like I’m angry at my own feet. One time I considered thinking about doing something impulsive, but I changed my mind. If you think you need me in your restaurant/wearing your jewellery/critiquing your website so badly that you’re prepared to yell at me about it over Twitter after barely any conversational foreplay, then I think I ought to question your sanity. There is absolutely no way that I’ll turn up 12 deep in a posse of hipsters, iphones at the ready, desperate to Instagam all the fabulous that tends to just happen when I’m around. If your company is that desperate for people like me then I don’t want to be a part of it. I know how much of a dork I am. I don’t want to pay to be reminded of it and surrounded by the rest of the dorkasaurus community.

I want to chat to humans. To gawk at photos of lusty macarons. To take a sneak peek inside the world of the fashionable places that are always busy that I might not be cool enough to visit. I want to look forward to your tweets appearing in my feed. Sell that image of your company on Twitter. Not the desperate “buy now because nobody loves me because I’m really annoying and won’t be in business much longer” image. We all know you’ve got a business and you’d like to make some money from it. If you’re pleasant and passionate and competent at what you do that will shine through and the Twitterati will be glad to send more people in your direction. You wouldn’t demand that people waiting at a bus stop all pull out their smart phones and visit your website. That would make you look like a maniacal dictator. Virtual you shouldn’t be doing anything that real life you wouldn’t do.

By the way, if you do like to harass people at bus stops until they look at your website, please refrain from travelling on the 188. You’ll be violating my ‘no nutters’ code.

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