Silence isn't disapproval


One of the things that’s really great about services like Twitter and App.net is the asynchronous way that connections function. This allows you to cater the content you see pretty specifically — anyone can follow anyone, it doesn’t have to be a two-way relationship with approval from both parties.

Because of this level of control over what you see, however, it can tend to make the metric of “who’s following me” assume a lot more importance. Someone following you implies a lot of implicit approval… someone unfollowing can feel like a smack in the face. I’ve been followed by people who I really respect, and sometimes I’ve been unfollowed by them, too. Every so often I find myself slipping into over-analysis of what that means.

How often have you judged someone based more on how many Twitter followers they have rather than the quality of what they’ve made? How often have you felt slightly annoyed that someone hasn’t faved your funny tweet directed at them?

This post on App.net by Shawn Blanc, soon after almost everyone on the internet was talking about his new project The Sweet Setup, really snapped things into perspective for me:

I had to laugh. I emailed Shawn the other day, and he hadn’t got back to me yet. I’d already started to feel the tuggings of that insistent inner voice telling me that silence is disapproval. And here was the guy himself — the man of the hour, really — with the exact same thought.

It made me consider: how often have I been silent, and caused someone else to think I didn’t like ‘em?

Life is really far too short to concoct imaginary slights in your mind. There are plenty of solid, concrete real slights waiting to ruin your day. If you let them.