I’m not bugging your phone

First off, an apology. Sorry if you were reading my Twitters and I’ve now banned you from doing so by making my Tweets private. Like, I expect, most of you, I’ve started getting several emails a day from people wanting to follow me. Often these are wankers who are wasting all our time by using Twitter to spam, and who we can only hope will one day be found in the deepest circle of Hell. Other times these are complete strangers who apparently follow hundreds or thousands of people solely because, presumably, they have nothing better to do with their lives than click their mouse in an attempt to make the pretty number on their screen increase by one with each click, like some laboratory animal with half its brain replaced by citrus fruit.

I could just turn off the emails, but then I wouldn’t find out about the tiny proportion of people starting to follow me who I know and who I’d like to follow in return. So, in an attempt to reduce the emails I’ve made my tweets private. I don’t like doing this, as I never tweet anything I wouldn’t say in public and I like the openness of it all.

This wouldn’t be a huge deal, but because of Twitter’s permissions model I’ve had to stop some people from reading my Twitters. Apparently there’s no way for me to let certain people read my Twitters but for me not to have to read theirs. If I don’t want to read their Twitters I have to cut them off entirely. For all those spammers and brain dead strangers this isn’t a problem, but I feel very rude in just turning my back on people I know.

If I’ve done this to you then it’s for one of two reasons:

  • We’ve met a few times over the years but we’re not best mates. With my limited attention for keeping up with Twitters from my 74 other friends, I’ve had to draw the line somewhere. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you, it just means I don’t care enough about what your child is eating for breakfast to have the information interrupt me at random moments. Hopefully I’ll see you in real life again soon and we’ll have a lovely chat.

  • You use Twitter like a chatroom and I don’t know the people you’re chatting to. If many of your Twitters are @replies to people I don’t know then I probably stopped following you some time ago. Again, I still love you dearly but I don’t feel the need to hear one side of your conversations, in the same way I’m not bugging your phone.

It’s a shame Twitter’s permissions force me to do this; many of the @replies sent to me have been from people I’m not following. This ability to broadcast further than my closest friends has been a useful delight, and I’m humbled that such people apparently wanted to read my sporadic Twitterings. But for now I’m afraid it’s goodbye, and sorry.

Comments

  • Hey Phil,
    Jesus, you’ve got 74 friends? Where do you find the time? I’ve got three, that includes my brother and he hates me. (The other two put up with me because they’re too polite to tell me to bugger off.) Sorry, I’ve never heard of this Twitters thing, Luddite that I am, but I thought I’d tell you that I’ll be in London all this August with my family for a holiday so if you’d like to meet up for dinner or lunch give us a shout and we’ll sort something out.
    P.S. I’m joking about my brother, of course.
    I hate him.

  • ‘This wouldn’t be a huge deal, but because of Twitter’s permissions model I’ve had to stop some people from reading my Twitters. Apparently there’s no way for me to let certain people read my Twitters but for me not to have to read theirs. If I don’t want to read their Twitters I have to cut them off entirely.’

    Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound? Read this back to yourself in another decade, once you’ve gotten round to living ‘real’ life. It sounds like you need a holiday, leave your phone and laptop at home and watch your life change for the better.

  • Thanks for your comment David Shields, much appreciated. I’m surprised you think I’m not living a “real” life. I don’t know you, so I’m not sure how you know what I’m doing with the 99% of my time that isn’t spent writing things on my website. If you could expand, and tell me what aspects of my “real” life don’t match up to what you feel is correct, that would be most useful. Many thanks, Phil.

21 Apr 2008 at Twitter

  • 03:45pm: Struggling with the process of making my Twitters private... how do I let someone see my Twitters but stop following them myself?
  • 03:51pm: @blech Grrr, that does suck hugely. Sorry lots of people, time to say bye bye because I only have limited attention for Twitters...
  • 04:04pm: Wondering how come I'm now following 74 people, have 72 followers, but have 97 icons displayed under "People". Go away!