If unfollowing upset you how does it feel to be blocked?


It’s so high school! The drama of Twitter, nay, social media in general. Still it’s worth bringing up in the event you should be faced with such a decision as to whether or not you should use a particular tool and, most importantly, if you would like that tool to broadcast the results. I also qualify my involvement here to say I did not take this even personally because I know it was all automated and I have no connection with the actors. Now here’s the setup …

Last night I used ManageFlitter to unfollow a few hundred people who did not reciprocate in following me back. That’s how I roll. Actually I call it my un-follow policy: If I follow you for more than about a week and you do not follow me back I un-follow you. Why? Because I want to. That’s my policy, it’s how I roll.

Evidently caught up in the fray was a fellow who goes by the Twitter handle of @DrMwba – I don’t know him. All I know is I must have unfollowed him in the herd I dumped last night. Now here’s where it gets sticky and I advice you not to do what Mwba does: use an alert to post to his stream and @ the people who unfollowed him. While I could not care any less than I do you would not want to do this because you may offend someone who could be a future client or referral agent. Here is how the tweet appeared:

The service Mwba used is called fllwrs. I don’t know anything about fllwrs nor was I interested in demoing it for this article. If it is one of those third party apps which does not ask for permission to do what it did I would not want to pollute my stream with those types of tweets. Nor should you. I do invite someone from @_fllwrs to chime in especially before I talk about this on the show next Tuesday.

Think about the impact of what you do online. Yes, if you are running a small business or act as an independent contractor it will benefit you to be somewhat politically silent and adhere to the social rules of high school … or kindergarten.

How to unfollow Twitters who do not follow you

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First you may want to know why anyone may follow someone to begin with. As for me if I see an interesting tweet about a subject I am interested in I may follow that person. Occasionally I follow people who have participated in a Twitter chat session with me thinking we may engage later. More often I will search on a subject, hashtag or Twitter list and follow people on that list. Sometimes I am simply doing research for Social Media Edge radio and don’t intend to ever have a full on, two way relationship.

Next you may want to know why it is such a big deal to unfollow those who do not follow you back. Again, as for me, I do follow accounts who do not follow me back. @Mashable comes to mind as does @Biz. On the other hand if @kvbuckley does not follow me back (no offense k) I may eventually unfollow – not trying to embarrass anyone just using a real world example. So why did I follow kv to begin with? Because we’re in related industries and the president of her company is a friend. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will ever engage and that’s not a bad thing. Everyone does not engage.

Then why not unfollow everyone with whom you do not engage? Great question with a simple answer: if someone follows me I do the courtesy of following them back (eventually). I do not automatically follow everyone who follows me – I follow back manually. For that reason I may only go through that list once every couple of weeks. So if someone follows me, I follow them back. If we never engage that’s okay but I don’t expect anyone to follow me unless I follow them.

So what about stream crowding? That’s why there are lists on Twitter. I have a list of “closest connections”. I have a list of past guests and a list of social media favorites. I also include people on those lists that I do not follow. I have a list for people who are oxymorons (claim to be social media experts and do everything to prove they are anything but).

Twitter Karma from Dossy

If you have just a few hundred to a couple of thousand of Twitter accounts you follow you can try Twitter Karma from Dossy. If you have a few to several thousand followers this one just doesn’t like to work. What I like about it, for small to medium accounts (perhaps no more than 5000 connections) is the presentation of all of the people you may follow on one page. You can also choose whether or not to show the avatar (thumbnail).

Unlike some of the others Dossy does not limit the number of accounts you can unfollow in a day. Others, even some mentioned here, limit you to 50 unfollows in a 24 hour period because you are using their API calls.

Dossy’s Twitter Karma is free, easy to use and gets the job done in both directions. You can unfollow those who do not follow you – keep the ones you want to keep like celebs and news sources – and you can also follow back those who have followed you. In fact the follow back function is bulk and you can follow up to your limit with the click of a mouse. As I was writing this post I unfollowed 577 and followed 602 – in less than 10 minutes.

A couple of others I have tried are http://www.justunfollow.com and http://www.doyoufollow.com/unfollow-tool.php

What are your thoughts, do you unfollow people who do not follow you? Comment …

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