I know that sounds selfish. It isn’t really. What I mean by that statement is that my account and who I follow reflect my interests. I enjoy music, politics, the paranormal and health related information so those I follow fall mostly into those categories. I also enjoy a good laugh so I follow people with great senses of humor who post just plain silliness.
Since I find it easier to keep up with my account by keeping it small rather than add a client to manage it, I don’t follow everyone who follows me. I also don’t demand that anyone return my follow. I don’t intend to ever get anywhere near that magical 2000 figure where I have to unfollow those who didn’t return the favor in order to follow someone else. Important to me is who I follow, not the other way around.
When I unfollow someone it’s because I have found that person engaging in what I feel is unethical behavior. I don’t take someone else’s word for it, I read the tweets in question. If I see accusations without substantiation then I assume that person’s motive is to smear someone else’s reputation. I know I’m not alone in that due to the number of people who have taken the time to read and find, through other archival sites, the tweets that were deleted. Everything we say online is archived somewhere, including the Library of Congress where they have been archiving all of our tweets for the past year. Including Direct Messages.
I don’t understand some people’s need to smear the reputation of others through false accusations, but I am aware it happens and take steps to insure that I don’t become part of the problem. What others do is their business. What concerns me is what I do. Since my account is all about me, I make sure that I don’t publish something that is intentionally false.
Given the number of ways tweets are being preserved for posterity, I would think people would want those tweets to reflect the positive aspects of their personality. Schoolyard behavior isn’t positive, and if you engage in it, the only reputation you truly damage is your own.
Smear campaigns will get you noticed and the evidence will be there for your children, and your children’s children to read long past the time that you have on this earth. The next time you feel the need to smear someone, maybe you should think about the legacy you’re leaving for future generations to judge you by. You should leave behind something they can be proud of. Learning that Great Grandma or Great Granddad was an internet bully isn’t going to be something I imagine they’ll brag about.