Some people on Twitter helpfully post links, all day, to the things on the Internet I need to know. Some people make me laugh. Some people I follow because they’re famous, particularly if they are train wrecks and/or cast members of Jersey Shore. But there are others — people I once looked up to, and thought were interesting and smart — who I have been forced to unfollow with extreme prejudice, because Twitter made me hate them. What Twitter has laid bare in a rather uncomfortable way is that people you may like and admire in real life can be total idiots when they are allowed to write anything, anytime in 140 characters or less.
The ambiguous status of the Twitter relationship among people I know in real life — a mix of not-quite-BFFs, slightly more-than-professional relationships, and people who I sometimes get drunk with — makes it a bit awkward to sever things completely. But I have been repeatedly pushed to the breaking point.
There was the writer whose articles I always found insightful and engaging; when I met him in person, even more so. But when I started following him on Twitter I was immediately repulsed: His latest unlikely yoga achievements were a dominant theme.
Or the acquaintance who is constantly at-replying to celebrities she doesn’t know. Even worse, the acquaintance who at-replies to celebrities she does know, thereby demonstrating to the world how cool she is.
Or the author whose books I enjoy, who posts constant updates about the progress of her next novel. Don’t people understand that such tweets are best kept to oneself? Even worse are authors whose books have just come out, as their feeds become overwhelmed by links to reviews, at-replies to people who have reviewed them, tiresome reminders to buy their book, etc.
Or the friend who expresses such surprise at being able to fit into a size 4, or the editor who’s frustrated because he can only get to his summer place one weekend this month, or all the social-media consultant douchebags who are constantly flying off to conferences in amazing places who complain that their plane is delayed (on second thought, amend that to all social-media consultants, everywhere).
Or anyone who tweets about the iPhone or the iPad more than once. Once, I’ll give you. More than that, you’re cut off.
Or especially, people whose Foursquare accounts are linked to their Twitter feeds. Please, everyone, stop this.
I am not a perfect Twitter citizen myself, I’ll admit. I tweeted perhaps more than necessary from my last vacation, including something about a bikini that I immediately took down upon my return to reality. But there is an easy way to know when I am being really annoying: Qwitter sends an e-mail every day listing the people who have stopped following me.
Then again, sometimes that emboldens me to ruthlessly unfollow others in turn. Heeb magazine, farewell! You were on the cusp anyway.