Monday, 4 October 2010

Twitter - To follow or Unfollow? That is the question!

There is an ongoing raging debate in the Twittersphere around whether or not you should follow someone who is not following you. The opinions on the issue are as varied as the numbers of people who have weighed in on the discussion and the spectrum is from one extreme to the other. One of my gurus has admitted to deleting every single person she follows who doesn’t follow her. In other words, she regularly goes into a program where she can see at a glance all the people who aren’t following her back and click on an option to unfollow. There are many tools you can use to do this and there’s a link below from this expert to explain how by comparing two of the more popular apps. But, don’t rush off just yet. I’d like to weigh in on the opposite side of the spectrum.

I approach Twitter with a very critical eye and ask myself regularly, “What exactly do I want to achieve by Tweeting and by engaging other Tweeps?” (Let me pause here and add a little postscript: I marvel at how many new words are being created in the Social Networking realm. There’s always lots of jargon in any industry but this really takes the cake).

Anyways, my objective is twofold:

1. I want to learn and be inspired, therefore, I follow.
2. I want to connect with people who have similar interests as me and who may be in need of my services or advice at some point in time and whose services or advice I may need at some point in time (hopefully they are my followers and most times I follow them too).

Does every single person who I follow necessarily have an interest in me or what I have to offer? I can’t imagine that Jack Welch has any need to follow any advice I may spout in one of my tweets (by the way, he does not follow me) but does that mean I should deny myself his words of wisdom and any professional development I could gain from reading his books?

The same goes for every single person who follows me. Each time I have a new follower, I do send an auto message (through SocialOomph) but I do not autofollow. They don’t necessarily have anything to say that would be of interest to me, so I check them first. I visit their profile, have a read through a page or two of Tweets, check out their bio and then decide if they have anything of value to me. I’ve gone to new followers pages that have thousands of follows and followers with zero tweets. Not someone I want to follow.

My guru that I refer to is a great source of tech info and she is the Lady Tech Tamer. She’s just posted a blog and video that shows the comparison between Twitter Karma and Twitter Unfollow. You can see she has a different opinion than I do regarding followers but that’s what makes the world go around, right? Check it out here:


Alison DeLory said...

Interesting post, Anne. You have articulated many of the things I do subconsciously. I am going to be speaking to some MSVU students about Twitter and have added this blog post to my file to share with them.

Kasey said...

Hi Anne,

You've written a very thoughtful and intelligent blog post. I am so thrilled to see that there are still people who think for themselves and won't just blindly follow what someone else is doing.

I agree with what you've written which makes me think that my video may have been confusing. I actually do follow people who don't follow me, but they are carefully selected people with a lot of wisdom to impart and of whom I have the highest level of respect. But I don't follow just anyone this way, and that's where I find the Just Unfollow and Twitter Karma tools to be very useful.

I also have a small handful of Twitter lists that allow me to follow someone by way of the list even though I may not necessarily be following them through my primary profile. I keep those lists on my Tweetdeck and can see the scrolling messages going back and forth all day long. :)

So using Twitter lists is another way to read what someone is Tweeting about even if you're not actually "following" them.

As long as you are following no more than 2,000 people, then it doesn't matter how many of those people are not following you back.
But if you want to follow more than 2,000 people, then you need to have a follower:follow ratio of 90%. So in order to follow more than 2,000 people, you need at least 1,800 followers. That's where those tools can be quite handy.

P.S. -- I'm so happy that you're following my blg. Thanks so much!