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Friday Philosophy – Inspirational Tweets: Why Do They Annoy Me so Much? December 11, 2015

Posted by mwidlake in Friday Philosophy, humour, Perceptions.
Tags: , ,

A few weeks ago I saw this on the Twit Sphere:

A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.

Wow. Deep. Meaningful. Let me follow that twitter account.

No. Let me not. I looked at the account and it was just an endless stream of “Inspirational Tweets” and very little comment or content. For some reason I can’t quite understand, this sort of thing gets on my nerves. No, that’s is not strong enough. It makes me unreasonably bad-tempered and angry. The first draft I wrote on this topic was a ranting diatribe of swear-words and invective {I love that word} that was completely beyond acceptable.

So I’ve been wondering, why do twitter accounts that put out lots of Inspirational Tweets annoy me so much? We have all seen them. In fact I have a couple of friends I follow on twitter who at times put out half a dozen Inspirational Tweets a day. I have to sometimes mute or “unfollow” them for a while. I think part of it is that if an account puts out half a dozen Inspirational Tweets a day, they can’t really mean them very much can they? If I had a set of short phrases that summed up important aspects of my life, such as “Always be nice to cats” then I can’t help but feel that they should be few in number and really mean something to me. They can’t really mean something to me if I have 200 of them.

Another reason is that so many of these Inspirational Tweets are actually just trite such as “when you listen, it’s amazing what you can learn” or even asinine such as “I love dramatically looking out windows on public transportation”. Yes, that is a real one. Of course, most of us put out some stupid tweets and we all have different tastes or interpretations of what is worth saying.

So I am not sure why I find them annoying – but I do. If you put out such tweets and I follow you & then unfollow you, follow you etc or I seem to go quiet (you might be on temporary mute) then just ignore it. I think it’s more my problem than yours. But you have annoyed me.

Why? Why follow me?

Why? Why follow me?

As a secondary rant of the day, I get really annoyed with these fake accounts that follow you or like a tweet of yours but having no connection to your world. Some of course are just another way of advertising something (usually soft porn it would seem – I usually spot them from the start as the account picture is some young women who can’t stop buying clothes 2 sizes too small and describes themselves as “bisexual and always follows back”…Yeah, I’m convinced). But recently I’ve had a lot of follows or likes from accounts, again apparently from young ladies, but now there are often two of them in the picture. Their tweet streams are just an endless flow of retweets, “clever” lines, the inspirational ones of course and nothing, not a thing where there is a conversation with someone else. But no soft porn. I can’t work out what these ones are actually aimed at. They don’t seem to be selling or promoting a specific thing, though they often have some films or makeup adverts retweeted, but if this is what they are selling, the content is drowned out by the stupid stuff and they are missing their audience. I’m pretty sure the content is generated though as I looked at a couple of them and the same quotes and “humorous” utterances seemed to make appearances across accounts.

If anyone could tell me if this is some type of advertising or it really is some attempt by teenage girls to increase they number of twitter friends just as a “look how many followers I have” (though I thought twitter was more an older persons thing) then I’m curious to know. It’s got to be sales, hasn’t it?

Perhaps I should stop worrying about these things and either mute or block them as them come up. Oh, I do 🙂



1. Neil Chandler - December 11, 2015

You may wish to read this realted scientific study: http://journal.sjdm.org/15/15923a/jdm15923a.pdf

Here’s a populist summary of that. Easier quotes leave the mind free for deeper thinking: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/science/people-who-post-inspirational-quotes-6951571

mwidlake - December 11, 2015

Thanks for that! I have to say, that is about the best abstract for a scientific paper I have every come across. As I read the body of it I constantly had the the term “pseudoscience” running through my head. Pseudoscience is of course bullshit based on scientific terms or principles where there is no desire to tell you the truth or lie, but just make you buy a product or accept a belief {I don’t mean a religious belief by that but something like deciding global warming is not true as I want to have a massive car and not think it is in any way my fault}

2. jgarry - December 11, 2015

Lately I’ve noticed more followbots with pictures of pretty ladies in skimpy outfits, and the content of their feeds appear to be a reasonable stream of technical content retweets. All I can guess is they are some second-order targeted follower building, as built by lonely young men in India aspiring to be social media gurus. They do seem to disappear quickly.

I do share your disdain of the inspirationals. For me it seems to be related to the mass hypocrisy I’ve seen around these things. That’s kind of sad, of course, since so many are probably completely sincere and not hypocritical. But it doesn’t take a large percentage of boneheads to poison it all, so we become cynical.

Which means I love Jack Handey.

3. David Harper - December 18, 2015

You might enjoy these “de-motivational” messages. They certainly appeal to my twisted and cynical sense of humour.


There’s even a special one for consultants 😉

mwidlake - December 18, 2015

Oh I do so like the demotivational posters! Thanks for the link David

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