The Twitter experience is a good one (actually, it’s awesome!)…and being unfollowed should never negate that. Here are some reasons why I think you shouldn’t care when someone strikes that pesky little “unfollow” key.
Firstly, this post was inspired by a comment I started to make on a blog where the writer outlines the futility of fretting over followers (sorry, alliteration…I DID warn you of this tendency in my “About” page). I had also been contemplating certain aspects of the unfollow scenario and was getting too long-winded (what else is new?) and I forwent (is that a word?!) the soap-box rant. So, here are my thoughts on why people might unfollow, and why you might wish to focus your anxieties on more important things, like who IS @joeygiggles and what is this #JGF thingy?
I find that when people unfollow me they tend to fit into one of two main categories:
1) Teens who tweet incessantly about @JustinBieber and I’m pretty sure get completely disillusioned and devastated when they realize, to their horror, that I don’t share this particular obsession…and,
2) People who are following fewer than 100 people. I cringe-I really do!-when newbie Tweeps follow me and they innocently and naively believe I might add a lil something to their stream, and I see it coming from the moment I follow them back. I sigh wistfully at the connections we might have made were they not about to be overwhelmed by my effusive and prolific tweets. Then – EGADS! They discover I am a uber floody Twitterer type person and they…well…they just can’t hack having one person monopolize their stream. No hard feelings when they unfollow me. In fact, I think maybe we’ll meet again when the bulk of my blather gets diluted by other blathering Twitter-maniacs!
3) [Update as of 12/3/2010 - there is a third reason I have found for the unfollow: Stoopid Strategy. It's an official Twitter term; look it up More and more I find there is a breed of Twitter user who follows en masse and then after you've given the courtesy of a follow back, they promptly UNfollow you. One would scratch their heads and wonder why would people do this? Well, back in the early days - when I wrote this post - I was naive and thought everyone's purpose to be on Twitter and other social media venues was up front. I'm finding that there is a slew of people wanting to artificially look really cool and popular by having a suuper skewed ratio of follows/followers. Meaning, they only follow 147 people but have 3,784 followers. Don't get me wrong! Some people really are uber cool and popular and are followed by considerably more people than they themselves follow. (I am not one of these - heehee) But I find these tactics tedious and pathetic and disingenuous. I am not a "blocker" by practice, but when I see these people do this to me several times, my "benefit-of-the-doubting" gets taxed and I am tempted. For now, I just sigh and wish them the best in their strategizing. I feel badly for them that their time investment on Twitter is spent so unwisely. There are so very many better ways to enjoy the possibilities! Have you experienced this? Any suggestions on handling it better than I've chosen to? OK, rant over. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.]
Bots have feelings, too.
Personally, I have trouble hitting the unfollow button even for bots! What did a bot ever do to me? I think…well…gee…what if one day I’m feeling a little flabby, or my smile is a little duller, or I need to find out all of Donald Trumps’ secrets…what then? Who will I turn to?
A few more thoughts on unfollowing: Sometimes its accidental, as many Tweeps utilize software that can be merciless in its culling. Sometimes its strategy, and people are trying to streamline their ratio of following to followers. I don’t agree with these Twitter imposed limitations of follow vs follower, by the way. There are many people whose Twitterings I’d like to include in my stream yet who I know won’t follow back (celebrities, gurus, iguanas ) and it makes me feel silly mulling over the statistical ramifications of selecting: “follow”.
Anyways, whatever the reasons people either don’t follow back or unfollow, it’s rarely personal, but when it is, it just may be because you just don’t jive with their groove. (I’m trying to sound young and hip here– oh damn, using that word just ensured I’m NOT! ugh) Worry not. If someone doesn’t relate to you, chances are, you’d cock your head sideways at their musings. It’s really best you part ways in these instances anyways. There are, what, at last count over 100 million people on Twitter? With over 300,000 new users joining daily. Don’t you think maybe you can drum up a replacement person who giggles at your antics or pauses in deep thought at your 140-character prose? I do! Try me – haha. No really, put no more energy into who unfollows you. Focus on those who follow you loyally, are mesmerized by your stream…who eagerly await your next tweet. And enjoy the embrace.
If you liked this post, read more about the following/follower conundrum on my guest post here: Twitter Trifles: A Follower Conundrum
And also Twitter: Be Gentle with the Giants