It is no secret that 17% of Twitter users post updates weekly. When you add in spammers and broadcasters who may tweet a lot but are frequently blocked for their nonexistent interactive rate, I’ll argue the number of active users is much less.
Twitter is a harvester of inactive accounts, spawned by the urging of so-called celebrities and aided by the unfriendliness of its web interface. Is it a stretch to suggest that Twitter causes people to join and quit?
If you want to follow me, click that link and press the applicable button. I don’t need to approve your following status and if you want to quit tweeting tomorrow, go ahead. You don’t even have to close your account. Yet, therein lies the point: If you don’t cancel your Twitter account, then you continue following me — and my influence is higher than reality suggests.
But Twitter is a many-to-one social networking site. What of Facebook and LinkedIn, where online friendships require mutuality?
I sent a series of LinkedIn messages 18 days ago to 67% of my electronic rolodex connections. Cognizant who I was already actively communicating with on the site, I asked each person (in eight differently-written bulk messages) to respond to my request and to schedule a telephone or Skype call, or in-person lunch. Over the past two-and-a-half weeks, I’ve received about 50 responses (from 352 requested).
I thank Kellye Crane, Thom Singer, Ari Adler, Maureen Cotton, and others for the fruitful telephone conversations that subsequently occurred. I appreciate Pam Broviak asking to interview me on her government radio show. I’m also glad that there are a dozen or so people who are in various phases with me of scheduling or rescheduling times to talk and meet.
But where’s everyone else? Could it be — as I suspect — that someone with a LinkedIn account who doesn’t respond to a message be analogous to that Twitter user who is inactive? Raise your hand if you have a LinkedIn or Facebook account but never, if ever, check messages? It’s a good thing I sent people a generic message and not a request for a referral; I’d hate to count on a referral and not receive it.
If you don’t actively use your accounts on social networking sites, why not? Why did you create that account in the first place? Perhaps it is time to take a breath and ask yourself why you have the account and why you follow Twitter users or mutually befriend Facebook and LinkedIn users. If you don’t want to use your account, that’s an acceptable response. It’s okay if you choose to cancel your account. By keeping it open and deceiving people that you’re there when you’re not, you’re essentially a fake. Are you?