I don’t believe in reciprocation for reciprocation’s sake.

If you follow me on Twitter or Flickr, I won’t follow back. Unless I want to. Likewise, I fully understand that, if I follow someone I admire on Twitter, I shouldn’t expect them to reciprocate – especially if they have no idea who I am.

Yeah. We went to school together. But it doesn’t mean I am required to answer your Facebook request.

I’m sorry to have to say this out loud, but I thought the idea of reciprocation was clear: if what you are giving to me is worth repaying, I will repay it. Otherwise, please do not assume I have enough time in my life to follow, link and friend every person I’ve ever come in contact with.

Do you guys remember when blogrolls were a big deal? There were two ways of making it onto someone’s blogroll.

  1. Write or curate a blog that’s worth reading.
  2. Add the blogroll’s site to YOUR blogroll, then hint that, since YOU have blogrolled THEM, THEY should reciprocate.

Number two? That’s a passive aggressive form of assumed reciprocation, and it used to run rampant. Even little ol’ Black Marks on Wood Pulp fell victim to the constant haranguing of blogroll link collectors.

Then, there’s the “I’ll follow you if you follow me” form of assumed reciprocation (let’s call it what it really is: RANSOM) that forces a disingenuous and false sense of shared admiration. And, it puts the recipient in an awkward spot.

These things occur without regard to my preferences on recommendations or relationships. I simply may not have time to offer correspondence. Or, I may be impossibly strict on who I offer praise and recommendation. But now I’ve been pigeonholed. I can ignore and be labeled as a jerk. Or I can accept and undermine my principles.

I don’t like that.

So, if you want to go ahead and recommend me, or follow me, or offer me some kind of praise, or make my life better, you need to go ahead and do it.

Just, please, don’t expect anything in return.

This was lovingly handwritten on July 28th, 2010