Friendship Is More Than 140 Characters

Paul OFlaherty 9 days after I posted about reducing the number of shared links I was posting to Twitter, I received this from a friend via a series of direct messages:

Hey Paul, I just wanted to let you know why I am unfollowing before I do so. I followed you to follow *You* not your blog, and it seems that is all you do on Twitter (for the most part), now. I’d recommend going back to this being your personal Twitter and having a separate account for your blog posts, especially since you post so often. Let me know when you’ve reduced the linkspam in your Twitter stream as Twitter doesn’t give me the ability to filter your many links out like Facebook does.

While keeping my friends name private, I wanted to respond to this publicly as it is very much an important matter to me and I believe, something which faces everyone who runs their own site and builds their brand around themselves rather than a domain or company name.

First let me point out that I am my blog and for all intents and purposes, my blog is me.

PaulOFlaherty.com contains content covering my blogging on several different domains going back to the beginning of 2004. Prior to that I blogged on a number of proprietary platforms from which I could not export my content.

I have always promoted by blogs, vidcasts and podcasts through my social media accounts. I actively encourage readers of this blog to follow my blog and personal updates by subscribing to my Twitter account.

You say that you signed up to follow me, well I am what I write. I am what I produce. My posts and netcasts are as much a part of me, hell more a part of me, than a lot of the inane chatter and babble I engage in on Twitter.

In other words, when people followed me on Twitter they were following my blog. It has never been any different.

I converse with my friends and audience on Twitter but my blog is where you will find the real me and I use tools such as Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to draw people in to where I can actually express my opinions. To draw people into my blog where I can vocalize (yeah I know it’s written) my opinions without the restrictions of 140 characters that reduce even the most simple of ideas to little more than monosyllabic grunts.

I guess some people are more involved with the day to day minutiae of my life but I am not my Twitter messages. No more than I am my SMS messages and following my Twitter account will never give you an accurate picture of me.

If you’re interested in “following me” then links to my blog posts, the things which truly demonstrate my opinion and how I think, should not be a problem going through my twitter stream.

With regards to the statement of linkspam. How do my own links, to my own content on my account qualify as spam? I post 7 (sometimes 8 ) links a day on my account, to my own content. 6 links to Daily Shite content which go out approximately 1 every 2 and a half to 3 hours (although sometimes they get clumped together depending on how Twitterfeed is feeling) and 1 (2 if it’s a day like today) to my personal blog.

Quite frankly I find having my content, in my stream called “linkspam” offensive. I am not selling anything, pitching anything, trying to get you on a pyramid scheme or any such crap. Yet you call my content linkspam?

Take a look at other peoples twitter streams. Take a look at your own stream. The average stream consists of hundreds of posts which are little more than nonsensical babble describing what they’re having for breakfast, where they are, who they’re meeting and weighing in on exactly what type of douchebag Kanye West is.  Hundreds of posts, every single day, but no content. No substance.

I talk with people on Twitter most days. Some days I don’t. Some days I’m just not in the mood. But not being in the mood doesn’t stop me producing content. It doesn’t preclude me from being me and it doesn’t preclude me from wanting to share what I have created, my opinions and what I feel passionate about, with the rest of the world.

If you don’t want to see my content, then quite frankly, tough. Unsubscribe or unfollow. For everyone person that unfollows because I post my own content to my stream, there will be others who are looking for intelligent discussion and are actually interested in what I have to say rather than just where I am going or what I had for dinner tonight.

It’s times like this that make me realize the fallacy of the term “friend” in social media circles. It is something so shallow as to be discarded because your “friend” has thoughts that require more than 140 characters to express?

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