New York City is one of the worlds most crowded cities with the worlds most crowded streets. We walk those streets together engaging in certain social norms. Some make eye contact with each other or pass a quick semi-smile to acknowledge the presence of the other. Some completely ignore each other. Some may act like they own the street, and some take things a step further by making sure you know they are in a rush and to stay clear of their way. Others may show interest in you in some way and then poof; suddenly two strangers are in the middle of a conversation. At this point both of you make a decision whether you like one another and feel the need to continue talking or go on your merry way. Maybe you'll become life long friends and paradoxically maybe you'll never see each other again. Either way there is a social process already established that we intuitively know to practice while engaging each other and if we deviate we're flustered and taken back. The World Wide Web, more specifically the land of Twitter is a fun and interesting place to virtually walk the crowded streets. So what are the virtual social norms we should and should not follow? Is the process of social engagement any different from the rules we practice in person? We chose the people we want to engage with on Twitter in a number of ways. Here are a few:
- Profile scan - We look at their profile and are either interested or not in what they have to say.
- Referral - We look to see who our friends are following because if they're following someone, then I must want to follow that individual.
- Work - They'll provide some connections you wouldn't otherwise be privileged to and vice versa.
- Popularity - You are indifferent about someone and just want to increase the number of followers you have.
- Promote - Essentially you believe it's a good way to advertise yourself.