Are Tweetsnobs Worth The Aggravation?

By Alexis Rodrigo | Social Media

Jun 25

Today I'd like to ask you about a phenomenon we've been seeing on Twitter recently.

sleepy, tired.

It's when you send somebody more popular than you–you know, the one with a gazillion followers on Twitter–a question by sending them an @ message… and they completely ignore you.

My Twitter friends and I have come up with a term for this person: tweetsnob

Does It Affect You?

Some of the people I know online feel personally hurt by this. I've seen a few complain about it openly on Twitter.

Others, though, think more along the lines of, “It's my Twitter, I'll reply IF I want to!”

They believe that nobody owes anybody anything, and everybody is entitled to not respond to messages, even inquiries specifically addressed to them.

While I don't take tweetsnobbing personally, it does bother me.

The Problem With Tweetsnobs

First of all, it's common courtesy to respond when spoken to. Tweetsnobbing is like ignoring the person, albeit a stranger, who says “hi” to you on the street.

Now maybe, I'm a small-town girl who doesn't know that you don't say “hi” back in places like New York City. (Do you? I haven't been to NY, so I honestly don't know. In Manila, it's still perfectly fine to say hi back, although you may find yourself being mugged in the next five seconds. In Windsor, you ALWAYS smile and say hello back.)

Where I come from, you don't lose anything by being a nice person. And tweetsnobbing is NOT nice.

Secondly, most of the tweetsnobs position themselves as social media experts. Heck, most of them even have a paid product about Twitter marketing, social networking, and the rest of social media.

All of them say that social media is all about engagement, conversation and community.

If that's so, then they should model engagement, conversation, and community. Ignoring somebody who sends you a question negates all that.

But I'm So Big Now That I'm Too Busy For You!

The number one reason for tweetsnobbing is because some people have gotten so many Twitter followers, that they get a barrage of @ messages.

I'm hardly big on Twitter and yet I know I've missed a message now and again because of the sheer number of them. How much more the social networking A-lister?

Should they outsource their Twitter engagement? Should they just accept that they have a responsibility and devote a couple of hours a day responding to everyone?

Well, I don't have any answers for them.

Unfortunately, Ms. Manners hasn't written the book yet on Twitter etiquette.

I do know that many A-listers do manage to respond authentically. How do they do it? I don't think it's actually their VAs doing it. I suspect they simply set aside a few minutes a day to engage with others.

What Do You Think?

Is tweetsnobbing even an issue? Or am I being a whiner for no reason at all?

Have you ever been tweetsnobbed? How did that make you feel?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Raleene


About the Author

Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

  • As one of those avid Twitter users (and there are some far more avid than I am), I know this situation is one of those debates that’ll live forever. We all think that OUR way of using Twitter is THE way, with maybe a few exceptions.

    (I know you’re open minded about this, Lexi – I’m thinking of other people.)

    Truthfully, there really is no ONE way to use it right, and there will always be people who use it differently than we do. That’s cool. And even if Twitter did put out a rulebook on how to use it, everyone would get indignant and go around breaking the rules, because who likes limitations?

    Back to snobbery.

    I have +/- 5,000 followers at the time of writing. I like to @ and DM as many as I can, whether it’s Mr. BigA or Mr. Joe Schmoe. I like people, in general.

    But I’ve had to place boundaries around what I can feasibly manage. Some call me a snob for only following about 150 people – they think you have to be elite to get in the special group – but it’s not snobbery; it’s simply managing my time and my comfort level of how much I can communicate and share with people. I do the best I can with the resources I have.

    I think it’s important to remember that our reaction and feelings about other people’s behaviors say far more about us than it does about anyone else. So for those who do get upset at not having their @ answered… well, my first question is, “Why does that bother you?”


    • Alexis says:

      @James Chartrand – Thanks for the thoughtful comment! I know we’ll never see the end of this debate. I just wanted to get people thinking. What are our expectations when we participate in social networking sites? I’m sure there are as many as there are users.

  • Kelly says:

    There have been a few instances where I ignored someone.

    Every so often someone asks a nosey or just plain inappropriate question on Twitter. Rather than telling them to mind their own business, I just ignore the tweet.

    I’m sure they think I’m being a snob when I don’t reply but what is the alternative? Publicly telling them their question is inappropriate? Privately telling them so? I’d probably still be labeled a snob in either case LOL!

    But most times – if someone doesn’t get a reply from me I just plain didn’t see it or didn’t realize they wanted a reply. (Does every reply need a reply?)

    • Alexis says:

      @Kelly – Thanks for sharing your thoughts! In the post, I was referring to honest-to-goodness questions. Inappropriate messages and obvious spam messages don’t deserve any of our time and attention. In fact, I don’t just ignore those; I block users who send me inappropriate messages, and report as spam those who send me, well, spam. And no, not every reply needs a reply. We’re talking about a reply that’s a question and obviously expecting an answer 🙂

  • Honestly, I think you’re taking Twitter a bit too seriously. I follow around 1200 people and have 2200 followers. Many times I miss tweets, and I don’t always search for what’s been directed to me. I’ll respond to DMs which are intended directly for me, but otherwise, an @ just signifies to me that someone is talking about me (in which case I don’t need to respond) not necessarily at me (in which case, I should try to respond)

  • I actually had this very conversation last night with a friend. We couldn’t come up with a definitive solution. We know we have been “snubbed” and we know we have done the “snubbing,” however inadvertant it may have been. As cynical as this sounds, I think of the playground. If after trying to befriend someone they still don’t reciprocate, then move on. Just know you made a genuine attempt to connect with them. Sometimes, that’s all you can do.

    Love this post!

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