The Selfish Networker

What I’m reading upstairs: Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
What’s on the iPod: Floating in the Forth by Frightened Rabbit

Twitter has become a really effective tool for more reasons than you realize. It connects us to our colleagues, introduces us to new ones, helps us find work, and helps us weed out the jerks.

Let me explain that last bit. Since joining Twitter, I’ve received countless followers who probably think I’m reciprocating. Many times I do. But plenty of times I don’t because the followers show their true stripes. They tweet only about themselves and oftentimes the same thing endlessly. They’re what I call Twitterers With Inclinations Toward Selfishness, or TWITS.

TWITS aren’t networkers – their idea of social interaction is browbeating people into visiting their links and retweeting their advertisements. They use phrases like “core competencies” and “value proposition” to impress you with how much jargon they can collect. And they think you’re there to be used, and that you like it.

How to spot TWITS:

1. They never ask how you are.
2. They expect you to help them make connections.
3. They never offer to, nor will they ever return the favor.
4. They don’t make personal connections – you’re a potential sale, not a person.
5. Retweet you? What? Are you crazy?
6. They fill up the Tweet space with a dozen messages in a row, often the same bloody tweet.
7. They talk about themselves exclusively.
8. They enjoy bragging about their number of followers (and dude, I unfollowed you instantly after that).
9. They post a link with some sensational headline – the link goes right to their affiliate sales website.

TWITS are not limited to Twitter. No no, they’ve existed long before 140-character messages. TWITS expect you to make their work easy for them – introduce them to your network, schmooze people in order to pave the way for them to shake hands and ask for immediate favors. They meet you and start pitching right after “hello” (or in some cases, in place of it). They think if you have knowledge, your duty is to share it. For free. Always.

How many TWITS do you know?

About the author




  • Cathy June 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

    It's the TWITS that are customers that are real pains-especially that "if you have knowledge, your duty is to share it. For free. Always." πŸ™‚

    I don't have a very large Twitter following nor do I follow a lot. I'm still building it. I'm so skeptical of just the TWITS you describe, I'm afraid I am missing some good people to follow.

    I try to see if there's a connection with someone I know or read their tweets before following. It's not a perfect system, for sure.

    But, I won't ask for free advice. πŸ™‚

  • Lori June 24, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Cathy, I won't follow anyone who doesn't retweet. It's easy to see on their page if they're repeating the same message, spewing forth ads constantly, or just taking up space without interacting. That's my personal rule – you want me to follow?Show me you care about your followers.

  • Kimberly Ben June 24, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    I started to realize that many of the Internet marketers that were following me were so hungry to increase their follower numbers that they will follow you hoping that you follow them in return only to "unfollow" you again to keep their "followers" numbers higher than the number of people they are "following." Not to mention the fact that many will repeatedly tweet the same self-serving info throughout the day. No time to entertain those shenanigans.

  • Wendy June 24, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I kind of lost my desire to use Twitter because of the persistent Marketers and the ones who only tweet what they're doing every few seconds. (Turned on computer to work, I started article #2, First sentence done, misspelled three words so far) I'm sorry, but what is the point of Twitter again? I once heard it was to socialize with a community of like-minded people. Apparently some people's idea of socialization is different than mine.

    If I were to chat face to face with my friends,telling them only about my bathroom breaks, what time it is every couple of minutes and my breakfast menu then I wouldn't have those friends anymore. Nor would they put up with me saying the same sales pitch 12 times in a 30 minute period. I have a twitter account, but I haven't done anything with it yet. It just seems like there's too many β€œrules” for me to keep up with. Just give me a good ol' fashioned chat without the politics of marketing a business.

  • Ruthibelle June 24, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    twits and spammers are synonymous, yes?

  • Paula June 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I'm not even on Twitter and know a couple of Twits. How? LinkedIn now allows people to post updates via twitter. A couple "marketing gurus" often post five or six updates in less than one day, all via Twitter.


    So, Lori, what Twitter Tips would you give someone still soliloquizing about whether To Tweet or not to Tweet?

    That is the question.

    (Storms and torrential rain here yesterday but thankfully no tornadoes in my town. Not far away – both slightly south of here all the way from from Iowa to Indiana, and throughout Chicago proper – got slammed. Tornado warnings all over the place.)

  • BJ June 24, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I figure TWITS can follow me, as long as they don't spam me. I won't follow them unless they offer me something — usually good information — in exchange. That's rare, though.

    You can add another way to spot TWITS: they won't respond. If I respond to something someone's said, it would be nice if they'd respond to my response. If I retweet someone, I like being thanked. This is all part of being 'human' on Twitter.

    TWITS are nothing more than robots, no matter how healthy their pulse.

    And Wendy:

    You were following the wrong people. You need to find people who are talking about what you want to talk about. There are lists out there to help you.

    And, there really are no rules. The 'you have to follow someone who follows you' rule was developed by marketers, and is a piece of you-know-what. You only need to follow the people who give you what you're looking for.

    One place to find the people you're looking for is Twibes:

    There, you can go by subject, and find people. You can even click through to 'Tweet Threads' to see what the folks in that Twibe talk about.

    Once you follow those people, you can usually find others through them.

    I hope you find this useful.

  • Lori June 24, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I use to get to groups of folks I want to be associating with. And I check out who my friends are following.

  • Milton June 24, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Ah, Muttie's just started Twitter. She reckoned she'd better cos she's promised to use it for a client. She's not really 'into' it tho, prefers Facebook.

    And by the way, Muttie has just discovered Willa Cather and can't get enough of this woman!

    Milt x

  • Helen June 25, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Great post, Lori! I think I will ReTweet this one!! Helen : )

  • Lori June 25, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Thanks, Helen. Good seeing you! Loved your post over on Anne's site. πŸ™‚

    Milton, great seeing you again. Tell Muttie I want to be her follower any time. πŸ™‚