I’ve read tweets during the last month on how people are reaching their “follow limit” and are starting to unfollowing tweeters; she’s moving to a new location and wants room for new people, the twitter stream is getting too busy, or the tweets he receives are irrelevant to his interests and passions in life.
Tweeters are starting to feel that it’s time to do “spring cleaning” with their Twitter stream. I say, great! But some people are nervous – what will people think of them unfollowing users? Honestly, I haven’t a clue. Maybe he will be upset. Maybe she won’t even notice.
I want to impress that unfollowing is not permanent. Just like friends shift in and out of our lives, so will Tweeters. If a someone you unfollowed starts conversing with you again or the tweets interest you, you can re-follow them. Don’t force yourself to follow someone whose tweets are irrelevant or annoying to you.
Many people gain their high following count from a unwritten courtesy of following someone who follows them – “follow-backs”. I myself “follow-back” most tweeters and accompany it with a DM that opens us up to the potential of a conversation. I think it’s a great idea to apply a “follower test period” to see if the person you followed-back is informative, witty, or relevant to your interests and passions. If not, I don’t think there should be any guilt in unfollowing that user.
I think that, to an individual, most Twitter users can fall under two categories: personal and informative.
Personal: Twitter is an online circle of interaction.
In real life the groups of people that we are always in contact with (follow) shift as people are relevant to the conversations and interests we have. Do you keep in touch with all your old high school friends that are finding you on Facebook? Does your neighbor’s conversation about recipes excite or bore you? Do you enjoy musical numbers that take place in a laundromat?
You’re going to enjoy a Twitter stream full of tweets relevant to your passions and interests. Does this mean you should have a homogeneous following list? Absolutely not. In some cases I have little in common other than Twitter itself with people I follow but we have interactions that make it meaningful.
Informative: Twitter is a great way to get information.
Some tweeters we follow are bots or bot-like – we’re looking forward to information about the latest app releases or breaking news. Some people we follow for inspiration – their blog posts and tweets are insightful and helpful Some tweeters we follow just for the laughs. We don’t necessarily reply to these tweets or comment on this blog posts but we find intrinsic value in it (author’s note: But we all should be replying and commenting!).
What about the tweeters who don’t fall in one of these categories? The people who hardly tweet, tweet only their own content or about issues that don’t matter to you ( i.e. you might not be a single mother, a baseball card collector, or a fire-eater.)? Unfollow them. Don’t feel obligated to read something you don’t want to or have someone else’s tweets bury the tweets you’re interested in. It’s your Twitter stream – read what you want to read.
Still unsure who you would unfollow? Some people are taking the approach of tweeting – “Say something!” or “If I don’t talk to you, I’m going to unfollow you” and makes sure not to unfollow people who’ve responded. After all, you might have 500 followers, but who of those 500 reads your tweets?
We’re shifting from needing quantity to desiring quality – what do you give?