How NOT to handle yourself on Twitter

A while back I started following @astrospace on Twitter -the official account for Space and Astronautics News. This shouldn't surprise anyone - I love space! And science! Yay! However, whoever running the account almost never tweeted about space! Or science! Very disappointing. Often it was about how many followers they had, and no real news. But I kept following them anyway, mostly because I'm too lazy to unfollow people.

ANYHOW.

Last night the person behind this account had some sort of crazy emotional breakdown, and I was there to witness the whole thing. Somehow, in a short period of time, @astrospace lost 8000 followers, and FLIPPED OUT about it. They started talking about how horrible of a company Twitter was, and how they were fed up and deleting their account. @jonathanstark posted this awesome screen shot of the whole mess. Minutes after that last tweet, the account was changed over to @zx152 - as of today, this account is completely gone, and the @astrospace account only has a few tweets, with the latest one actually being about space news. But last night it linked to a blog post which they claimed "this will be syndicated internationally on major news sites" and was basically a huge post of nothing but slanderous nonsense about Twitter and how the company is "scum" and should be shut down. Not surprisingly, this post is now nowhere to be found, which leaves me to believe they are full of crap.

So what's the lesson here? Don't be a dick on Twitter - simple as that. Sure, maybe it was Twitter's fault that @astrospace lost that many followers, but come on! There is no need to be an unprofessional, whiny, ignorant dolt when you don't get your way. The idea of perpetual beta online means that sometimes things get messed up, and you need to chill and go with the flow. Twitter didn't even have a chance to respond to this jerk, and I'm glad they didn't. The kinds of mean and hateful things that @astrospace wrote in that blog post don't deserve a response. The person behind this account only made themself look like a fool to all of their followers.

Check out this posting on the Get Satisfaction customer service site, and great post about the whole mess can be found here.

5 Responses to "How NOT to handle yourself on Twitter"

Lee Ann responded on 1/24/2009 1:22 AM #

I had followed him initially because he had some interesting tweets and I like outerspace.

I completely missed the meltdown and was really shocked by the whole thing.

I have a feeling, he'll go down in Twitter history...

Maggie the Librarian responded on 1/25/2009 2:05 PM #

This was good comic relief for me!

Morning Toast responded on 2/04/2009 2:42 PM #

The one way to get unfollowed in my view is to over-Twitter. Being personal is great to tweet but there's a point where it just gets in the way. I've unfollowed many people who seem to tweet every other minute. At that point it just reads like spam, especially when many of those tweets are short replies like: "@slomojoe I agree!"

But on the flip side, you don't want to under tweet either. Then when you do tweet people think you're just looking for something particular. Local celebrity people seem to do this a lot.

People need to remember that Twitter is NOT instant messenger. But it is also NOT a blog.

Anonymous responded on 8/20/2009 3:13 PM #

Since you have written your article the @astrospace nut has gone through more mental meltdowns and name changes. After a huge breakdown on @astronautics he switched to his third and current name @spaceastro. His behavior is abusive, unprofessional and it is clear he is not who he claims to be.

There is now a petition to have him removed from twitter. http://act.ly/fo

Ashlar responded on 8/22/2009 4:56 AM #

The guy is still trashing Twitter while doing what he can to get as many followers as possible who know nothing yet of his history, encouraging them to migrate to another social network.

The fact that when actually mentioning some astronomical or weather event, quoting NASA or NOAA, etc., he directs his followers to his own site and not the original site, makes me think his main purpose is to ask for donations in addition to self-promoting himself and moaning about his sad life.

This guy is living his fantasy life entirely on the web, dreaming he was an astronaut maybe or at least American!