twitter lists

Well, how fun was that? Aspie rocking out several hours obsessing over twitter lists, and it felt gooooood.


Here’s the thing. I’ve been listing incoming followers on twitter just to keep people straight because I’m a compulsive sort who actually likes checking out bios and compartmentalizing tweeps into rows and groups. Twitter is a funny place, so easy to lose people. I find I can keep up with about 30, remember who another 20 are beyond that, maybe even touch base once in a blue moon with 15 more, but around 70 is where the rest become a blur, which is sad because I really like checking in on some of them because they are so unique and fresh.

I’ve got some sweet followers waving me down to get them listed. I’m quite surprised to see nearly everything from posh resorts, dining, and wineries to best selling authors and editors, from CEOs of world marketing to health care and gaming merchandisers, from parody squirrel and turtle accounts to professional actors and film producers, all showing up in my followers list. But twitter is like that, a smorgasbord of everyone mishmashing around in real time together, and the boundaries are so different from all other social media that it’s actually quite common. Twitter is the mosh pit of the social media world.


I’ve noticed they come in bunches. I list a Japanese restaurant, a couple more Asian restaurants hop on almost immediately. I list an author, boom, 5 more authors suddenly follow me. I’m still not sure what to do with my ‘websites and marketing’ list, but apparently Targit takes my list seriously enough for half the staff to follow me. And of course I checked out their services because I’m a curious sort, very sleek. If I ever need help with a got rich quick problem, I might be tweeting with those guys.

It gets a little annoying, though, when ‘big’ people follow me and then immediately unfollow after I’ve listed them. That’s like they expect me to give them a free piggyback ride, right? The least they could do is keep following me so my numbers will look cool. It’s not like they actually try to wade through an onslaught of incoming feed themselves if they follow only a few people, and most rarely tweet anything but business. It would be a courtesy if they continued to follow me, sort of like a ‘thank you for listing me’ gesture.


So yesterday when a Forbes exec unfollowed me within 24 hours of me listing him, I decided I’ve had enough. I’ve been walked on by film producers, music artists, a number of authors and self described CEOs, and the gall that all of them have to assume free advertising services from me while I’m bogging through my own empire building challenges is about as rude as it gets. To immediately unfollow me without so much as a thank you for the listing, to walk away as uncaring as if I were a pole they just tacked a paper to is so selfish and dehumanizing that it’s all I can do not to run after them protesting that their bios touting ‘leadership’ and ‘growing your business’ and whatever other nonsense runs counterintuitive to the shameful kind of networking they’re doing. These people know better. And they make way more money than me.

I’ve decided to restructure my lists. One day I’ll have too many followers to keep up with listing them, so I will necessarily have to close the lists to new followers. That will make those lists exclusive, especially if I’m successful growing my twitter the way I hope. I know people who sell ad space on their blogs because they can. Maybe they have a bestseller on their hands and are kind enough to hobnob with followers on a blog, and help boost them with special promos, right? I mean, if you run a blog that averages 500 comments, a lot of people see those ads. I know some of you aren’t aware of this, but premium space sharing easily goes for $200 a month per person. On a blog. So for a Forbes exec to abruptly unfollow me right after I graciously list him, yes, that is extremely ~rude~.


I’m about at the place on my main twitter where I can still just keep my balance. It won’t be long until there is no way I can keep grooming my lists and weeding out accounts that go dormant or wildly skew into new lifestyles, or maybe even get hacked. I run into other people’s lists and have to laugh when I see more than 2000 on a list that’s basically there just so that person can keep track of who retweets them or something. That’s way too obsessive, and a full time job no one is being paid for, if they ever take the time to check on the accounts they list to make sure they’re still viable.

I’m trimming my own lists back while I can- carrying out the trash, making sure everyone’s in the right place, sweeping the corners, as it were. No sense filling lists up with accounts that go dormant or suddenly veer off into depressive bouts of porn spam. I’m no longer surprised by what start out seeming to be solid accounts turning into lewd jokes and pictures of cats and bongs, although I’ve been surprised several times by ‘nice’ people suddenly retweeting shocking things into my list feeds. It’s a little ridiculous to, say, push pictures of the food you serve in your business all day and suddenly veer into political hate or sex pix. Very teenagery kind of behavior, in my opinion, to not consider the consequences of abruptly filling list feeds with one’s angsty emotional problems. I’m usually pretty quiet about it, but when someone has a breakdown of any kind in my lists, I just take them off the list.


If I ever reach the point where I could conceivably ask people for money to feature them on my blogs (which I’ve stated I’ll never do, but you get the point), it will be a big deal who already has prime real estate on my twitter lists. For free. Lists are mostly there to cheat the following limits and organize feeds, but several keen minds are noticing lists are also an awesome way to wind up being seen more in searches. I’ve actually run into marketing articles that instruct professional motivational speakers how to play the follow/unfollow game, how to use media tools to keep their own numbers trim while they grow fat accounts on the free rides they get from silly TV watchers who are too busy with kids and jobs and life in general to notice they are being used. Well, they don’t say it quite like that, but yeah, I’m sure they’re snickering. I think that’s a shameful and ridiculous way to network. What’s even sadder is how many rising film and music producers and authors are copying this strategy thinking they are being clever because they are too lazy to create their own list feeds to sort out incoming. Just because celebrities regularly tout a severely imbalanced following to follower ratio doesn’t mean that is a good way to do business. When I see accounts like that I automatically think ‘lazy’ and ‘easy to brush off the public’.

Everyone I list is hand picked and rechecked several times a year. I’ve been bumping people off right and left off several different lists this week for misleading bios, spam tweets, and abandonment, and I don’t intend to continue this dizzying level of activity trying to keep up with incoming followers waiting to be listed. From now on, some of my lists will have this in the description- “if you follow 2 get listed & then unfollow, I unlist”, and maybe soon that will turn into “this list is closed to new accounts” or something.


I have some pretty cool twitter accounts following me. I have friends who have some really impressive people following them too. This is part of the twitter game, but that kind of stuff gets lost in the jumble so quickly, and unless you actually check once in awhile you have no idea if a celebrity still follows or jumped into a different account name, and you might even forget one day that ever happened. I’m the sort of person who doesn’t need to hang on every word my favorite celebrities say, but I do allow a handful to exist in my twitter lists without having to follow me back, Weird Al being my favorite. I also put JK Rowling in my author list because I like her, but God help the authors that follow me to get listed and then unfollow, because I show no mercy, no matter what they’ve written. I don’t expect anyone in my science list to follow me back, but you better believe everyone in my marketing list has to stay following or go poof.

If you guys have twitter accounts and have no idea how lists work or whether you are on one, you really need to click around. I was surprised the first time I did that and found out I’m a member in over 60 lists. Are you list worthy? If someone listed you, would you feel good that they thought your timeline was worth channeling into a special feed?


Sadly, this includes the CEOs *cough*Forbesexec*cough*.

being #aspie

One of my favorite things to hate about the human race is the way people automatically tend to anthropomorphize, ascribe, and project their own feelings and points of view on others around them. I suppose it’s an adaptive trait of some kind that might even be functional somehow, but I find it extremely annoying when it points my direction.

I generally blog in a more positive fashion nowadays, so that lead-in probably sounded bitter. Believe it or not, I’ve worked very hard for many years to sound positive because flatly making global statements like that one does a couple of things I don’t intend, like put the listener on the defensive, and put personal feelings I’m not even having into the listener’s mind. I’ve been seeing a psychologist regularly since 2007 for exactly these kinds of mixups because of my Asperger’s, and it has taken this long for me to reach the point of finally being able to verbalize them.

When I first started blogging, I was terrified. I learned very quickly to mask who I really was because of the repercussion of being discovered by my coworkers. I was not savvy enough at first to know how to avoid creating very complicated awkward situations simply by writing down something as innocuous (I felt) as I couldn’t believe the little dog who lived in the hotel was allowed to poop all over the lobby carpet when there was a $7000 one-off sculpture in the front window. I wrote it because it was my job to clean up the stupid poop and then apologize to guests as they checked in and out of the hotel. Well, the dog won, I had to leave that job because the relationships with my coworkers became unbearable, and by my next job I had learned to at least fake my name online while I entertained my readers with crazy stories about being a late night hotel desk clerk.

I guess I’m getting really good at pretending. That’s the goal, isn’t it, to pretend I’m normal like everyone else? I’ve been practicing for years how to pass off as less annoying (that’s not the normal part, sadly, but I have a special way of being annoying that apparently shines like neon). Sometimes it helps to pretend I’m a Vulcan in Star Fleet, just stuffing down what I really feel in order to get along, using rules and regs as a sort of shield. That actually backfires a lot, mostly because people don’t know I’m using a pretend world to help monitor my behavior, which overly complicates things suddenly veering off course until I find myself in yet another unfixable social mess. Attempts to logically lay out the order of events that preceded the cataclysm have always epic failed, so I have given up trying to communicate after ‘splosions go off. Something about that making it worse, although I don’t understand how or why studying the causes of a problem in order to avoid it the next time can make things worse.

In my experience, the more emotion-driven a person is that I’m interacting with, the more catastrophic the explosion at the end, and then I’m left torn and ragged with sadness and bewilderment. Honestly, these unbalanced relationships are doomed to fail from the beginning, I have the track record to prove it. As far as I can understand what goes wrong, it starts with people expecting me to ‘behave’ (in my mind I’m expected to perform on demand), and then they ascribe or project what they think I’m feeling into the relationship based on my performance of the expected behavior, and then when I try to interject a little to correct the misconceptions, all kinds of feelings get hurt and all that is left to do (if I want to continue in the relationship) is put my pretend face back on. I hate, I loathe being a fake. But when I am openly myself, I get super popular very quickly and attract people from several different points of view that don’t mesh well, and then to my horror and shock they start obliterating each other, effectively turning me into an undesired focal point of hostile territory. I might genuinely like all the people I stay in touch with on social media, but when I cross the streams, bad stuff starts happening that I can’t control. It wouldn’t be so bad if all I had to do was sit back and watch, but when people expect me to take sides, I tend to bail on the friendships. I hate taking sides.

Even more than that, I hate having to explain to people what is going on (especially since I’ve been baited a few times and stabbed later). Why did I say this, why is someone doing that, all I have to do is talk to a bunch of different people and next thing I know, arguments are dragging out with my name tagged all over them, feelings are being dumped all over public media with my name tagged all over them… More and more people project what must be in MY head based on how my friends are behaving. It’s probably noteworthy that I have a history of abruptly deleting accounts over things like this, never to be seen again. I especially dislike the feeling of being owned. What’s really nerve wracking is having a close friend who excels in starting trubbas, throwing me into a facepalm spotlight without much warning- that was a cute one to extricate myself from a few years ago.

I’m maxed out again. I’ve been able to keep most of this stuff off public media for several months now. I could list the people who will contact me privately apologizing, and it’s not them. I’m not trying to prompt a discussion, in fact, maybe I should close comments on this post. (Or maybe not.) I’m very close to being a professional blogger now. I’ve been blogging for ten years solid. I’ve seen it all, been wildly popular among particular groups and completely anonymous among others. One thing I’ve seen happen consistently- people project feelings onto other people and stuff goes boom.

I understand that people get mood swings and go through depressions and menopause and losses and scary illnesses and whatever. I have loads of experience interacting with terminals, spoonies, people with mental illness, religious and political zealots, and buttholes who make everyone else more miserable with whatever problem they have with other people being open and honest. There’s a lot of discipline behind not allowing people to drag me into negative stuff, and that’s actually the coolest thing I’ve ever learned. But I’m not cool enough yet, certainly not professional enough yet to not write this out.

I love social media. I hate communication problems. The defining hurtle for me as an aspie is emotion-fraught misconceptions. Some people I have met who are geniuses of social media have learned how to master the train wreck, as it were. Their social skills at creating problems and using negativity to draw crowds borders on the power of the Dark Side. I admire that. But I will never do that, because I don’t like stepping on other people to get attention for myself. A couple of people who have quietly watched me tick on blogs and facebook and twitter have nailed me as the person behind the curtain, promoting others before myself, pumping their traffic and followers before my own, and I’m very very good at it. I play this game of blogs where it looks like I really don’t get a lot of attention, but what I see behind the curtains is who still checks on everything I’m doing in the last eight years, who watched for me to come back out public, who for God knows why still seem curious where I’m really going with my stuff. This would be happening even if I didn’t link blog posts on twitter. It used to spook me. Now I feel like those are the real friends who truly respect my boundaries and just stay back, whether they understand me being aspie or not. And they may not even be my friends, they might be crazy obsessed fans or people waiting to make money off me or maybe even people terrified I’ll disappear again or spill the truth about something. I don’t even care. As long as people don’t show up at my house, fine. That has really happened, it got weird.

If I really wanted to rock an aspie blog like other aspies are doing, it would probably get pretty popular, because I am the bluntest evil villain I know when I don’t bite my tongue in half and swallow it. But that’s not who I want to be ‘famous’ as. I don’t want the kind of popularity where followers turn and group hate on anyone who defies me. I’ve watched this happen in every venue from big time celebrities down to basic anonymous nobodies. What gets really scary is when a celebrity or author or somebody with a lot of followers has to come out with a statement about depression, because they get wind of someone committing suicide in response to online bullying. What a catch-22, inciting to riot like it’s a game and then flipping over asking people to be compassionate and forgiving. It’s so easy to walk away and not respond to that crap, and yet so hard, and the crux is when people who did the inciting admit they have the depression or the suicidal family member. They know better.

I’m struggling. I’ve been mentioning for several weeks now I’m having challenges staying public. I’m not going to say why or who or what is going on. I’m not going to discuss it in private. I will talk to who I feel like talking to on public media. I’m a public aspie being pulled in multiple directions by several different interests, and if I wanna cross streams on my own turf, that is my business. Side taking and favoritism is not a service I have to render, jealousy or freaking out about who I talk to will no longer be tolerated, and before anyone thinks this post is going to a single person, don’t give yourself so much credit, because I’ve been doing this balancing act with a number of people. If you haven’t noticed, then I’ve been doing a good job handling it. I would never have wasted this much time blogging about a single person, which would actually be a passive-aggressive way to deal with a personal problem. Speaking as an aspie, this has become an overwhelming challenge from several directions. I suppose one answer would be to block or unfollow, but past experience says that only means I wind up shutting everything down again. Simply not responding and keeping it off my timeline is preferable.

I am aspie. Mask off. I want to stand up for what I like and believe in, and not cave to pressure to behave certain ways just because someone thinks I’m stepping out of line if I don’t. If I don’t feel like condoning something, I’m not going to just because a friend tags me. (Many people tag me, few get retweeted.) If some of you out there are still too scared to tweet with me because it might upset a few other people, I’m sorry stuff happens, but time passes and we’re all still human. I interact on multiple lists, I can’t be catering to each one exclusively, especially if I’m being ascribed or projected feelings based on expected behaviors. I could be just another aspie doing a public balancing act but I’d rather not be typecast and lumped into *just* aspie, because there is so much more I’m trying to do. People talk about glass ceilings- I’m working very hard toward my biggest explosion yet. I want it to be fun this time, not sad like the last time was.

I’m sorry, but that means I have to kill you all now.