I’ve set up this page to be linked to from my social media profiles so I can field common questions people might have, stuff that’s too long for a bio.

What’s the one rule you have on who you follow on Twitter?

This one generally applies to my students and fellow Lehigh U people, but not always: I do not follow locked accounts, even if you follow me. Twitter has generally been considered an open network for those of us who adopted it early, and I tend to follow that ethic. I also respect your privacy and think it’s awkward to ask to view something that’s closed.

Generally I won’t block a locked account unless I sense from your profile you’re a spammer or I have no idea who you are (i.e. you have an egg avatar and a screen name that offers no hint. One bit of education here: if you’re locked, I can’t see your replies to me since I’m not linked to you. Not everyone knows this.

I followed you on Twitter, why didn’t you follow me back?

Generally I look for common interests. If your bio shows that, I’ll take a look at your most recent tweets and get a flavor for who you are and decide whether to follow. The exception I make is for marketers, gurus, ninjas, B2B solutions people, and so forth. I look for good curators and conversationalists, people who point me to interesting things. Believe it or not that usually goes outside my field. I’m a communication scholar, but I have a ton of interest in science, sports, environmental issues, social justice religion, politics, and a bunch of other things. Don’t take it personally if I don’t follow; I follow 1300 folks as of this writing and that feed goes fast as it is. I do use Twitter lists though and will often add you to that if I want to see your stuff when I’m looking for voices on a particular topic. I realize my system is subjective, so I won’t be offended if you unfollow me. In fact, I’m never offended by that.

Why do you tweet so much?

I communicate in a lot of modes on Twitter. I have conversations about stories (those are replies hidden from most of your feeds unless you’re following the person I’m talking to as well), I teach on Twitter with my students, and I’m a voracious reader who curates a lot of material. Please don’t ask me to tweet less, because I won’t. The beauty of social media is it’s opt-in. Just unfollow me or list me to isolate me out of your feed. Or follow more people so that I’m spaced out!

Do you really teach with Twitter?

Yep. I occasionally livetweet classes, and sometimes my students will be out on campus and I’ll use Twitter to give instructions. Sometimes I even tweet out reading assignments to my classes using the class hashtag. Again, this is part of the deal that comes with following me and I’m cool if you cut me loose.

Not true! I unfollowed you and then you unfollowed me out of retaliation. You’re a jerk!

Probably not the way it went down. I do get notifications of unfollows and I will in turn unfollow people if that name pops up and it jogs my memory that I can’t think of anything useful they’ve added to my stream in a while. It’s sort of a way to keep my stream sane. Sometimes it’s bad to remind me you exist (joking!). But I don’t unfollow out of spite. I’m not 12 years old, after all. But if you wonder why I unfollowed you, you can always ask. I’ve done it on accident more than a few times. And Twitter has manifested an unfollow bug more than once so it might have been the internetz.

On that note, why did you block me?

Believe it or not, I’ve done that on accident a few times too. I blame my mobile app. Generally I only block spammers and trolls. Spammers are the people offering me 10,000 free followers or something equally useless. Trolls are people just wanting to pick a fight. Neither are my speed. If you’re not either, chances are I did it on accident.

What’s your recipe for cranberry chicken?

Preheat the oven to 400. Mix 3/4 of a large bottle of french dressing with one onion soup mix packet and a can of whole cranberry sauce. Place chicken skin down in a large metal baking pan. Pour the dressing mix over the chicken. Cover with aluminum foil, bake for 45 minutes. Turn chicken over, bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 so it “candies” up the skin. Remove and serve. I recommend serving with long grain rice and green beans. (By the way, that recipe rocks for wings but you’ll have to adjust the cook time, obviously)

You seem to be really liberal/conservative and religious/atheist. Why do you hate/love the things I care about?

I read a ton, and with an open mind. I tend to tweet critically via stories about social/political maneuvers of movements even though I agree with their overall goals. I don’t toe party lines very well. I also try to see the good in people I disagree with and I love sharing positive stories even if it doesn’t fit the narrative that X person or idea is evil. I do find it fascinating when people think they know my politics or beliefs. I can assure you you’re likely more wrong than you’re right. I’d characterize most of what I believe in as …. complicated. Hell, I even criticize journalists a lot. I’m pretty equal opportunity.

But why do you tweet about such sensitive things given your journalism background?

Because objectivity is dumb and I want to be transparent about what I think. And again, if you hate politics, sports, and religion then maybe following me isn’t for you. Totally fine with that.

But kid photos, really? What are you, a daddy tweeter?

Sorry about that, but I do post them. I’m a scholar and educator, but I’m also a dad and husband. I consider the latter two to be my most important ventures in life. Plus my kid is adorbs.

Please stop tweeting conferences

I do a lot less than I used to, and I try to focus on the essential things that matter (this is a skill that took time to develop). But I do want to share knowledge with followers who aren’t able to be at my conference, and I benefit when my followers do it for me. There are some fantastic mute tools that let you silence me in your feed for an inputed amount of time. I would encourage you to try those.