Friday, November 6, 2009

unfollow, unfriend, turn the damn thing OFF!

You very often can't control what other people say. And sometimes, you can't control the fact that you HAVE to listen to them. But there are other situations where you have direct control over what you have to be subjected to.

Some people don't understand Twitter, don't get what it's for, don't get why they're supposed to be interested in what someone has for lunch, or when someone is headed to the airport, or any manner of other things that people tweet. Ummm, ok, well, no one says that any particular person HAS to be interested in that sort of thing, coming from anyone. "Why do they tweet about such mundane things? Why can't they tweet interesting things? Why would I want to read that?" Well, if you don't want to read that, then there's a really simple solution. DON'T FOLLOW THAT PERSON'S TWITTER FEED!!!! As far as I know, no one is forcing anyone else to be on Twitter or to follow anyone in particular. I personally enjoy knowing that kind of information about my friends because it keeps me connected to what they're up to. I also enjoy that kind of information from the "celebrities" that I follow (to differentiate them from the people I actually know). Anthony Daniels is currently traveling around with the "Star Wars in Concert" tour, so it's been really interesting to read his tweets as he travels to different cities.

I am going to assume that the majority of what I tweet is interesting enough to the people who follow me since none of them have unfollowed me. I'm not crazy enough to think that *everything* I tweet is interesting to them. There are particular topics that I tweet about often - Disney, restaurants, movies - whether my attendance at one of those or news about one of those. If they were annoyed by any of those things, I'd figured they'd be long gone by now, because I tweet about those A LOT. And I sometimes tweet song lyrics from whatever I'm listening to. Just because. I'm not really trying to "entertain" my followers, though I will sometimes tweet or re-tweet something that I'm not necessarily interested in but that I think someone on my followers list might be interested in based on what I know about them. I tend to be a lot more flippant and snarky on my Twitter feed than anywhere else online because it's protected and I'm very careful about who I allow to have access to my feed. Some of the things I tweet about are definitely NOT for public consumption.

So what if someone doesn't like what I'm tweeting about or doesn't like the attitudes or thoughts or feelings that I express on Twitter? Well, I suppose they could respond with their opinions about that, but ultimately, it's my choice to tweet what I feel like tweeting, and if the consequences are that someone is going to unfollow me, so be it. There are people I've tested out following and then ultimately decided that it didn't suit me to continue to follow them. One example is the actor Greg Grunberg, most notably from "Heroes" fame. He does have some really interesting things to say - but he also has a lot of chatter and he's very prolific in responding to those who direct tweets at him, and the volume of his tweets was just overwhelming my feed. For me, it was too hard to pick out the gems in the feed that I really liked, so I decided that it wasn't worth it to continue following him.

I rarely tweet about politics because it's not my thing. I don't follow any of the plethora of political Twitter accounts out there. For the most part, the people that I do follow only tweet political things on occasion. But what if some of them started tweeting about political things on a regular basis, as much as they tweet about what they're having for lunch or what they're doing at any given time? Then, I'd have to decide if I was willing to put up with the political tweets to still be able to read the personal ones, or if I was too bothered by the political tweets and would therefore have to forego being able to see the personal ones that I like.

I also follow actors Wil Wheaton and Brent Spiner, and from the stuff that they tweet, it amazes me that people are APPARENTLY tweeting them to tell them to stop talking about this or that thing, and that they really want them to tweet about THIS thing instead. Umm, ok, you can make requests or ask questions, but if you don't like the majority of what they're tweeting about, it's really easy to just unfollow them rather than to bitch at them that you don't like what they're talking about or to try to control what they say, tailored to what YOU want, the "you" of course being a billion people who all want different things. OK, so they don't have a billion followers, but you get the idea.

The same goes for Facebook. There are structural changes going on with what information you're given about what your friended people are doing, but there are ways to manage the flow of that information, and if it really becomes an issue, there's also the option to unfriend that person. But telling someone that they should stop posting about something or that they should post more about something else? Why would someone think they have the right to tell someone else what to talk about on their own page?

And why do people think they can tell other people what they can listen to or watch? I get if someone isn't interested in a particular show or whatever. Over the course of the past however many years, I've spent time listening to radio shows by Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura Schlesinger and Tom Leykis, all of whom have very vocal fans and detractors. There were bits from each that I found interesting to listen to, but for various reasons, I stopped listening to each of them. In the case of Tom Leykis, I always found it interesting that people, usually women, would call up and tell Tom how awful he was and how much they hated him and his viewpoints and such and that he shouldn't be on the air. Ummm, ok, if you hate him so much, why the foxtrot are you listening to him, are you continuing to listen to him, to be listening to him so much that you can mention very specific things about his program? I enjoyed listening to him for a while, but eventually, I started to get annoyed with him more than I was being entertained by him. So I turned the channel. WOW! Isn't that amazing? What a brilliant discovery I made! It seems that no one else has ever figured out that turning the channel or turning off the radio works, that it then prevents that particular person's voice from coming over the device anymore.

I see the same thing happening with television shows. "I don't want to watch that kind of show." OK, idiot, then don't. Turn the channel to something else or turn the TV off. "I don't want my kids to watch that kind of show." OK, douchebag, then exercise some control over your kids and monitor what they watch and don't let them watch shows that you don't feel are appropriate for them. But if you plop them down in front of the television all day and expect that EVERYTHING that comes over the airwaves is going to meet with your approval, then you're a bad parent and a flippin' idiot all rolled into one. Rather than trying to control what a total stranger who's an adult can watch, why don't you actually pay some attention to your own kids instead?

There are plenty of things I'm not interested in. But I'm APPARENTLY a genius in being able to figure out how to not listen to radio shows I don't like, not watch television shows I don't like, not read books I don't like and not read what people write on Twitter or Facebook if I have no interest in them. Where's my medal?


Sherry said...

The medal you are looking for is the Freedom of Choice medal. Everyone has it in America, but few actually use it. Congratulations on finding it in your Citizenship box. :)

Dodie said...

Well said to both Cindy and Sherry! Changing the channel...what a concept.