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.
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).