[Quick Note: I went through 8K followers in less than an hour so I know I inadvertently missed some people I should be following. If you think that’s you, shoot me a quick @reply and I’ll be happy to add you back.]
Following 4000K+ people had become like an annoying girlfriend you just want to break up with, but don’t have the heart to do it. I’ve wanted to pare it down for a long time now, but I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Also, I knew a large portion of the people I un-followed would immediately reciprocate my gesture. Would my messaging go out to less people when I need to get a message out for work-related initiatives? Would people start thinking I’m less influential?
I was looking at it all wrong. If someone is defining my social capital based on the number of Twitter followers I have (and many are), that’s just ignorant and I’m over it. I know, because I’ve been guilty of this. I followed people back because I knew that it ensured they would keep following me in their quest to artificially build up their amount of followers.
Watching my followers decrease (very quickly) when I started un-following people was actually very satisfying. It told me I did the right thing. Those people weren’t following me for the value I was bringing to the table. They weren’t reading my messages, much less having a conversation with me or re-tweeting anything. They were there for themselves (and that’s okay.)
As for me, I feel there’s a huge weight off my shoulders, and now I can invest time adding more value to the lives of people that are genuinely following me for the value I aim to provide. Look, there’s no right or wrong way to use Twitter. I encourage you to use it in a way that provides the most value for you. Quite a few people I respect have already trimmed their followers (e.g. Chuck Westbrook, Jason Calcanis, Loic Le Meur, Seth Simonds, Ari Herzog, and many more).
What follows is 3 reasons why I un-followed you on Twitter:
I don’t know you and I’ve never talked to you
There are a handful of people I don’t know and I’ve never talked to that I’m following on Twitter, but they’re the rare exception and they provide me with tremendous value related closely to my interests/passions. Or they make me laugh. It didn’t make much sense for me to be following random brands I’m not interested in and the countless “Internet Marketers” trying to peddle their products.
Your updates weren’t providing me with enough value
This isn’t to say that you as a person don’t add value to my life; just that the vast majority of what you posted about didn’t particularly interest me and kept me from seeing others that did. This doesn’t mean that I won’t answer your @replies though.
I was already filtering you via Tweetdeck anyway
I’m certainly not “Twitter Elite,” but I was definitely employing the techniques Mitch Joel talks about in this piece. I had created groups where I was only watching the people I knew and was interested in via Tweetdeck. If you sent me an @reply and engaged me in conversation I always answered and if I found value in what you tweeted about then chances are I added you to one of those groups, but if not, I never saw your tweets. Is this fair? Probably not. Is it honest? Yes.
How to get me to follow you back:
You’re welcome to be upset or angry with me for un-following you. I understand; I empathize even. You can do one of two things. A.) Remain angry/upset or B.) Do one of the three things below to ensure I add you back.
Send me an @reply and engage me in conversation related to my interests
I love meeting new and interesting people, especially if they’re related to my interests (see below). If you like something I’ve tweeted and you re-tweet it, or if you ask me a question or engage me on Twitter you can be rest assured I’m going to acknowledge you.
Provide immense value with respect to marketing, sports, lifestyle design and other things I’m passionate about.
I have three main columns in Tweetdeck. One for influencers I really respect and enjoy reading, one for friends (mostly GenY peeps), and one for all my sports marketing friends. Now I’m not certain I’ll need those anymore, but if you fall into those categories and think I should be following you, please let me know. Also, my interests are constantly changing and evolving so don’t feel limited by what you *think* my interests are. Engage me, get to know me, and let me decide for myself.
Hold me at gunpoint.
I don’t care if you’re promoting your product on how to get millions of followers and acquire immense wealth as a result. I don’t care if you’re a lying, cheating, scamming, aberration of a person, if you hold me at gunpoint I will follow you on Twitter.
- There’s no right or wrong way to use Twitter; use it in a way that provides you with value.
- I’m not preaching in this post, I’m not on a pedestal (It amazes me everyday ANYONE cares what I have to say much less 3-5 thousand.) This was designed as an explanation for those who feel upset or wronged by my actions
- And to encourage those who’ve been wanting an excuse to start over (you know who you are), but are scared (just do it!)
- Since taking the leap, my level of conversation with those that provide me with the most value has already increased, and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.
Have you thought about pruning your followers down to those that provide you with the most value, to those you interact with the most anyway? Are you scared that you’ll lose credibility if you have less followers? If you follow everyone that follows you, I want your side of the story too.
Tweet This: (Copy & Paste into Twitter)
Why I Un-Followed You on Twitter — http://bit.ly/jkBYa