[Editor updated post six hours after publishing to clarify that the issue of "followership" originated here. The editor (me) is the one failing to follow best practise. Screen shot removed from post.]
I THINK IT'S GOOD form to listen before speaking, to consider before expounding and to follow threads of discussion long after contributing to them. In relatively new communications systems like Jaiku and Twitter, some people
are throttling might miss part of the conversation by limiting the synergy that unfolds during short give and takes. This happens to me several times a month. I've missed parts of conversations when I jumped in the deep end and accepted the text messaging component of microblogs directly onto my mobile phone. It proved unmanageable. In the middle of a Twitter conversation today concerning the State monitoring people who have not committed crimes, the part of the conversation most likely to contain a learned legal perspective got parked in a cul de sac because one of the respondents had shut down followers to the conversation. When you don't follow anyone, you have to look at a public timeline to spot comments made back to you because most other methods fail to get the information flow since Twitter often stagnates. Not following people is tantamount to closing comments on a web site. Not following the conversation is not connecting with people. More significantly, I have seen dozens of people doing this and while I understand some of the rationale, I also wonder if they know they're cutting out the response side--the most important slice--of social media. It does not seem to be normal to cut out people who want to add relevant thoughts to an engaging conversation.
In Jaiku, when you join a thread by adding a comment to a previous text message, you are automatically enrolled in that thread and you start seeing comments from other people, often those you have not subscribed to hear. That's fair use of social media but a manner of operation not followed by Twitter's architects. I think that's a fatal flaw of Twitter's configuration, one remedied if the lead developers were to read Jyri Engestrom's presentation on social media. Jaiku's threaded conversations, better SMS services, and quieter channels have proven valuable assets for Irish OpenCoffee, Podcamp Ireland, and technical production team members. In those microblog spaces, people listen, learn, and contribute. They connect in real time, without waiting for an aggregator to serve up information or without depending upon an ego-search alert to point them to relevant content.
Jyri Engestrom -- "Tiny Social Objects" as seen during Reboot 9.
New word: "twickering" as coined by Conn O Muineachain. It means "to bicker senselessly in 140 characters or less.
Another new word: "Twurking" as coined by Keola Donaghy. It means "to follow many but tweet not."
Cross-ref: Bernie Goldbach on Jaiku and the emergence of Irish micromedia.