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I pride myself on being an honest man. Sure I have lied in life. I’ve faltered, but generally speaking I am an honest human being. I am also a fair man. I understand and follow the virtual protocols and rules of the Internet. For instance, Twitter has its set of customs and courtesies, and I generally follow those. Unfortunately recently, I had to make an adjustment. I simply couldn’t take it anymore. I will explain.
Let’s start off with some of the etiquette:
On twitter, generally when someone follows you, especially if you were engaged in a nice conversation, they expect you to follow them back. That’s just common courtesy. This has been my method up to this point, even if I didn’t know them or have any interest in their timeline. Over time, I followed about 4,000 people. Due to my television, radio, writing, music and online videos, I had a bit more followers than I followed. I was closing in on 5,000 followers.
It drives me nuts when people don’t actually use twitter to engage. The whole concept of the application is to communicate, and if the only thing you plan to do is to send out tweets, and you never engage; I won’t be following you for too long. In fact, I often examine a timeline before following back, and I look for @replies, an absence of such, and odds are I will not follow back.
Please don’t spam. Don’t share the same article, or a lot of articles within a few moments of each other. If I refresh my feed, and I see 20 posts from the same person, back to back, that clearly is some form of automation, and it annoys the hell out of me. Usually, I will unfollow you right away. There is nothing wrong with automation, I use it to keep my feed active even when I’m sleeping, but even with that, I space out my automatic posting by at least one hour.
What have I done:
As I mentioned before, I was following about 4,000 tweeps, and had about 5,000 followers. My twitter feed became useless, and lists just weren’t cutting it for me. Whenever I logged on to twitter, all I saw were posts about how much someone hates Obama, or how the Republicans are evil, and so many tweets about getting a “free beat” by clicking on a link.
One day, I just reached the point where I had enough. I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted my twitter to show me the tweets from my friends, and people whom I could actually identify. I was exhausted of seeing so much propaganda, so much selling, and so many spammy posts.
I sat and thought to myself, if I unfollow people, this was going to hurt the number of people that follow me. I’m going to lose followers, and probably lose influence. However, as I scrolled through the people that I followed, I realized that none of them ever, ever, ever spoke to me. None of them ever shared any of my work. None of them provided anything productive towards enhancing my growth. The only thing we were to each other were place holders, numbers to bloat up our following. I never looked at their work, nor did they mine. We were just a number.
That’s when I made the decision and concluded that I didn’t care anymore. I was going to unfollow every single person that I couldn’t immediately identify. I knew that I would lose followers, but I wanted my timeline back, so I paid for an Unfollowers unlimited account, and got to work unfollowing. I felt really bad about doing it, because I totally hate when people follow you to get a follow back, then drop you. But this was not my intention. I genuinely followed back. I just wanted my timeline to be useful again.
Two days later or so I went from following 4,000 people to about 750. As expected, my number of followers began to drop just as quickly. A lot of them were automatically unfollowing me, but I simply couldn’t take the spam anymore. I decided I want to follow real people that I spoke with, whom I knew, and that I could actually identify. I couldn’t take the number of posts on my feed anymore. Twitter was becoming like my email account, useless.
It was unbelievable, once I unfollowed all those folks; I started to see my friend’s tweets again. It was like I reconnected with people that I hadn’t seen in ages. “Oh my goodness, I haven’t seen a tweet from you like in forever!” It was mind-boggling to me.
So yes, I lost a lot of followers, and it kind of bums me out to see the numbers still dropping to this day, but I am pleased with getting my timeline back.
What do you think? Was this a mistake, or did I do the right thing?