It’s so funny how we don’t talk any more…

morning coffee

Monday to Friday, my day follows a familiar routine.

The alarm goes off optimistically at 7.45am. I hit snooze repeatedly until it’s 8.20am, at which point I call to Flea and tell her she has to get up. At 8.40am, I roll out of bed, pull on some clothes, and take Flea to school.

On the way home, I drive past the coffee shop. If there’s a parking space I stop to pick up a take-out coffee, then head home and sit down at my desk to check out Twitter and Facebook.

It’s usually an easy introduction to the working day. Catch up with some friends, clients, bloggers, brands… then get down to real work.

Lately, though, Twitter feels different.

I look at my feed and it’s 50% automated. At least.

Someone posted on Instagram. Someone posted on Pinterest. Someone’s published a blog post (these often appear two or three times as the various automated systems all compete to tell me about your latest post). Someone that someone knows did any of the above, and Buffer and Triberr can’t wait to tell me about it.

I’ll be honest. I’ve unfollowed quite a few people I really like on Twitter lately, because they don’t talk to me. Hell, they don’t talk to anyone. It’s all automated updates about what they’re doing on social media and – guess what – I don’t really care that you just added a Pin to this board or that board.

Does that make me a bad person? I hope not, because it’s really nothing personal. I would unfollow my own mother if she flooded my Twitter timeline with updates about how someone I never met has made/crafted/baked something I’m never going to be able to replicate in a thousand lifetimes.

At this stage, I should add a great big huge, hulking caveat – I do know it’s not my Internet. I get to say how I use it, but how you use it? That’s entirely your business. And I’m certainly not going to claim I don’t share my blog posts on social media, or that I’m guilty of occasionally sharing Instagram pics to Facebook or Twitter.

But still… this whole automated link sharing; it’s just a bit sad, isn’t it? Am I the only one who’s noticed?

Pathetic as it may be, when you work from home, social media really is a lifeline. I miss my virtual morning coffee break where we chat about telly, and the newspaper headlines, and whether it’s really seeing Take That if there’s only three of them. So, here’s my suggestion – if you’re a talker, talk to me on Twitter. I promise I’ll talk back. Let’s bring chat back. Who’s with me?

72 thoughts on “It’s so funny how we don’t talk any more…”

  1. I don’t find social media remotely social anymore. Rarely anyone actually online. I schedule promotional tweets but I do also tweet to spark conversation or ask for help and advice. Largely met with silence.

  2. Great post Sally, and I agree that it’s time to bring back chat. Using social media to promote posts is something everyone does, but without moderation it seems to defeat the aim of being social. I also get companionship and value out of social media as it can break up a day while working alone at home. For me, that chat is the point of it. I wonder too, how effective is link-dropping? Perhaps (or hopefully) it’s something that will naturally taper off if it’s something fewer of us respond to. On another note – I’m torn about whether to RT this post. I want people to read it and I want to show my agreement with it. If not by link-dropping – what’s the answer?

  3. I agree with you, so much of twitter in recent months has been automated updates. My personal bugbear is those that come from FB onto twitter and are too long for twitter. Weekend evenings seem to be good for chat but I do miss chatting during the day.

    1. Yes, what’s funny about automating content across multiple networks isn’t even very effective – like you say, you get the FB update that’s too long, or the IG update where the photo won’t show up on a Twitter timeline. It’s counter-productive, surely?

  4. I have started to feel stupid when tweeting as I like to chat and tweet about everyday things…..I started to feel like I was doing something wrong with all the automated updates and haven’t tweeted so much! Thank you for this post….It’s reassuring to know that people still like to chat!

    1. Oh, me too! The number of times I’ve Tweeted something and had nothing back and thought, Oh God, was that boring? Am I totally boring? Of course, now I know I’m obviously FASCINATING *cough* and it’s everyone else’s fault 😉

  5. No, you’re not alone in thinking this! I’ve often felt lately that there is a tumbleweed blowing across my twitter, and I have no one to talk to *wails*. I must do as you have and start feeling sorting through my account and unfollowing etc, plus make lists so I know who is good to follow. Hope the latter isn’t too weird?!

    1. Yes, I think it’s good to make lists and streamline accounts – why not, if it makes it more fun for you? After all, most of us started using social media for fun, right?

  6. Mea culpa – not about posting pinterest activities but about not chatting. I haven’t chatted on twitter for ages. I use it to post my blog posts and share articles I think are important or of interest. Part of it is that I’m on fb a lot and that’s all chatting. Maybe if my twitter feed could be part of my fb account I’d be more involved? Tbh, I find fb more relevant as I don’t see UK tv, never go to the cinema, and am not up on the details of UK current affairs. I do miss some of the relationships I built up on twitter though. Maybe I should go back and make more effort.

    1. I think that it’s fine if it works for you – If FB is where you enjoy chatting then I don’t see an issue with that, but similarly, I probably wouldn’t follow you on Twitter long-term because if you’re not engaging, then to me, it’s not especially fun. But then people get offended if you don’t follow them sometimes, and you end up following out of a weird sense of obligation, which is horrible!

  7. So so so so true! Sadly, I think people are forgetting how to chat, and how to be social. Technology is amazing but it is becoming a place where people can hide. Social skills are disappearing and people are retreating to the safety of not having to think! Opening up and being a part of each other’s lives is such an important part of being people, so let’s talk!!!

  8. This is very true. I have actually realised I have also maybe to many automated updates as most other people. it is annoying for me too, need to get rid of them. The best chat I get is in the evenings or early mornings. Let’s chat more!

  9. Great post. I have Hootsuite set up to push posts at various times of the day and I do post my IG photos to both FB and Twitter but I do try and chat in between although I hardly get time to catch up with my TL – It’s overflowing with all those automated posts I have to wade through 😉 I’ll make a point of conversation next time I have 5 minutes and you’re having your morning coffee 🙂

    1. I will be totally honest and say, in all likelihood, I don’t follow many people on Twitter who do what you do – and that’s absolutely NOT something personal but I find IG photos on Twitter a real turn-off, or seeing the same photo on Twitter AND Facebook AND Instagram. I suppose I am less likely to mind if that person is also super chatty but if they’re not? Well, I sort of just feel I’m being advertised to, and who needs that? And as I said in the post, this applies to some really good friends and I don’t judge them for doing what they do to promote their sites, it’s just not personally for me.

        1. I suppose for three reasons (I like to be thorough). First, chances are that if I follow you on Twitter, I follow you on IG, so it’s duplication of content. Second, often the caption on IG is longer than 140 characters so the text on Twitter is truncated and doesn’t make sense. Third, because Twitter isn’t really a platform for picture sharing so auto-sharing every single IG photo, asking me to click on a link to see a picture, even those that aren’t especially timely or which don’t promote conversation feels inappropriate to me, perhaps even spammy sometimes. As I say though, it’s all down to personal preference, I’m sure some people love seeing lots of photo links in their timeline.

    2. Domestic Goddesque

      I’m the same: I share photos over from IG. I do that because I am not at a laptop and able to share that way but often am reviewing something, or want to share an experience or idea with my followers. I also share a lot of content from others via Hootsuite or Buffer that I think people will enjoy. I certainly don’t set out to be automated, and spend some time every day on twitter, but if the internet goes down, or I am away, I do think that at least the auto/IG stuff will show people that I am trying to interact.

      At least that is my logic.

      1. As I always say, if it works for you and makes you happy, then go for it – and you’re well known for being very generous in the content you share, and it’s almost always interesting. But you’re exceptional in that – and so many other ways, natch.

  10. I had the same convo this morning but for slightly different reasons on Twitter.I think I may have offended a few, but it got them thinking and it even bagged me a few new followers in the process.I’ll be writing something similar myself tomorrow.

  11. Hold on a minute…you don’t get out of bed until 8.40am??? We are already on our way to school by then!

    As for the Twitter, and whole social media thing, I’ve always spent most of my time chatting to myself. In fact I get a bit jittery when someone actually speaks back!

  12. I know this is me, Sally – and I sometimes wish that I could go back to the good old days when I was on Twitter and I talked more to people, I do try now to be more present, as I miss it too, but I just don’t seem to find the time for it anymore; some would say I need to make time for it I suppose. Case in point is that I am writing this at 1.22am when I should be in bed, but I am a) working b) messing about on a new social media channel that just sucked 30mins out of my life that I won’t get back. I am so aware I need to focus, but I just haven’t a bloody clue where to start. Twitter isn’t what it once was, but are any of them….

    1. I think for me some of the best advice I’ve had about social media is, “You can’t be everywhere”. Focus on one or two channels that are effective and which, crucially, you enjoy using, and do those well. So for me, I focus on Twitter and Facebook. Google+ never accounted for more than 1-2% of my traffic and I made the decision not to bother, because I’m personally not that keen on it, so why waste time? And I always figure from a business point of view, if I get the channels I want to focus on working really well and the business grows, heck, I can always pay someone to do the other stuff if it turns out to be important 😉

    1. I think it happens to all of us sometimes. I’m amazed by how often in the past year I post something on Twitter and get zero responses – and I’m no more boring than I was a year ago, surely?

  13. I agree and thick it’s tied in to all this external content blogged about it last month:

    I see the same content promoted on Twitter, FB, G+ and I think why? We criticise brands for not engaging with their audiences but the never ending quest for personal branding means an awful lot of bloggers are guilty of exactly the same thing.

    I’ve even had long established bloggers tell me they’re setting up new blogs to focus on their family- they’ve comoditised their blog to the point there’s no room for them.

    Its sad 🙁

    1. I think what brands (smart brands at least) have learned is that you share different content to each platform in a way that’s appropriate for that platform and the way that audience consumes content. I’m not sure bloggers have made the same leap and it’s tempting – you’re busy, blogging takes time, and promotion can just seem like a chore sometimes, so why not automate it all across everywhere – but I suspect what smart bloggers will learn is that SMART sharing gets you more engagement and thus more readers in the long term.

  14. I hear you. And for some people its like that on Facebook too. I LOVE instagram and do often share photos to Twitter from there but not all of them and not to Facebook very often. But others do and it makes my timeline so annoying. I don;t mind the sharing when it is followed up with a conversation and if I tweet someone to say I like their post etc I want them to reply! Not retweet. Retweets annoy me the most. Haha! Fab post though

    1. Luckily, the ‘unfollow’ option on FB means I don’t see a great deal of it there, but on Twitter I really notice that people just don’t reply or respond any more – which I still get a lot of on FB. Of course, it’s entirely possible I’m just a lot less interesting than I used to be 😉

  15. So true. My posts automatically share to twitter but other than one tweet per post, none of my twitter posts are automated. I have Buffer but haven’t worked out how to use it yet and I do love chatting on twitter as well as sharing links. I think with all social media, there has to be that balance of sharing links and actually interacting as well. It’s a balance that I still think I don’t always get right but I do try and interact as well as promote. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

  16. Absolutely! I’m an early bird and always on Twitter from 6am. There used to be a community of like-minded insomniacs, but now there’s only a couple of people on there and I’m madly scrolling through looking for conversation. I hate it when someone posts something new and you get told three or four times by different means. My blog posts automatically to Twitter when it publishes and every other tweet you read from me will have been written there and then by my own fair hand!

  17. I find twitter full of automated tweets, but Facebook more for chat. I also work from home and for myself, so apart from clients and journalists I talk to friends on FB – but more often than not I get snarky comments about “You’re always on FB” from folks I know at the kids schools or from associates to which I feel I have to justify by saying that FB is my equivalent “water cooler” or coffee break like they take at the office. Subsequently its made me feel I need to post less. Or perhaps I just to be review the “friends” list.

    Sad but true.

    1. I do agree, I find FB and especially a FB group I run, to be a good source of chat. I just find Twitter so salesy these days and it really wasn’t always like that. I suppose what I wonder is whether all this promotion actually works, though?

  18. Apart from totally agreeing with your post (whilst also being guilty of a little automatic link / Instagram sharing) I’m now singing Cliff Richard & holding you responsible!

  19. I love this idea and I for one, am with you. However Twitter is still a very new area for me, and I rarely post about random goings on because the feed goes down and away so quickly I think “Is there a point? Whose going to see it?” sort of response. But seeing this post maybe I should make more of an effort! 😉 x

  20. Very interesting post Sally.
    I’m guilty of auto tweeting my blog posts, but seeing as I’m lucky if I post one blog post a week I’m hoping I’m not spamming too many feeds!!
    I find the mornings are quite good for socialising on Twitter. Personally, Facebook seems to be a barren land but Twitter in the mornings can be lovely.
    I’m going to make an active effort to talk to people in my feed much more, though I think I interact more than I schedule.

    Really interesting blog post though Sally x

    1. I’m not opposed to automated sharing of new posts, per se – but when automation is most of your online activity, then it’s not really what I want to see on Twitter (and I say, it’s not my Internet, so if it works for you, then more power to you). But I’ve noticed a real trend towards people using multiple automation tools where automation is the major part of their Twitter strategy – effectively making it a broadcast platform not a social platform, if you see what I mean?

  21. I find automated tweets that don’t tell you anything and the link they’re tweeting about are beyond annoying. Especially the “I just posted to facebook…”
    And Twitter can be such a great resource. I was laughing the other day that I get my news from Twitter though I sometimes don’t know exactly what happened, just that something big happened.
    There is a space for automated tweets but yes, I agree, there needs to be more human-ness behind many accounts.

  22. I actually made a Twitter list of people who do talk to me for this reason. I need to sort out who I am following (and into more lists) but it’s such a massive job now. I do tend to tweet my instagram pics sometimes mind :$

  23. Now I’ve read your post I’ve just realised the comment I left on your Facebook page is irrelevant. I love Twitter chats. That’s how I’ve really got to know a handful of people I was reading regularly and really started real conversations, regular exchanges, tips… I don’t mind people sharing their posts, but when you keep seeing the same automated tweets again and again, it is incredibly irritating. Feels like someone loosing their mind and repeating themselves over and over (and over) again.

  24. I totally see where you are coming from here Sally, although i must admit that at times i feel i am guilty of just this. Sometimes i am so short of time that i only have time to tweet out a post and not properly chat, the thing with twitter i find is that once you start it’s sometimes very difficult to find your way out and i do like to reply to everyone.

    More hours in the day i think is the answer 🙂 x

    1. As I say, it’s not my Internet and people use it in different ways – for some bloggers, for whatever reason (time, preference, effectiveness) it’s a broadcast platform where they promote their sites. If it works for you and makes you happy, then 100% keep doing what works – but it’s nothing personal if I don’t follow you, because that’s not what *I* read Twitter for. I’m all about the stupid jokes and conversations.

  25. I stopped using Twitter a while back because I felt the same way. Just tried to jump back in this week and whilst I don’t follow that many people I already think that I need to take a few off my list, because of just the issue you mention. (Whether I will actually get around to that, mind you, is anyone’s guess)

  26. Great post Sally. I try and make sure I only have two automated tweets going out per day and the rest of the time it’s just me prattling on. Don’t hate me, but I’ve started using SnapChat and I REALLY like it, it’s much more personal and (for the moment anyway) can’t be automated, plus as the videos only last 24 hours, the content is always fresh!

  27. I keep dipping in and out of social media. I went on a full-on digital detox for 2 weeks during our summer holiday to France and it was heaven, then I really struggled to get back into it. So I go online in waves, sometimes being very chatty (which is totally like me) and then going very quiet (most unlike me). I am very sad though when my feed is just scheduled tweet after scheduled tweet or RTs of brands to win something. I am probably as guilty as the next person though, so this is a good wake-up call to think about what I’m putting out there too, so thanks for that x

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *