I don’t need to. I don’t auto-follow and create the false impression that I want to engage with everyone who follows me.
At the beginning of the month, Chris Brogan, someone I usually respect and keep an eye on, posted on his blog that he was unfollowing all the people he followed on twitter. Then Michael Hyatt did the same. I’ve been amused as I’ve watched others tweet or post that they are following suit. Just recently now, Brogan posted an update on his unfollow experiment. In it he states that he has learned that it upset some people. Honestly, how could you expect anything but anger and resentment, along with a large dose of apathy.
For my own part, one day before Brogan released his initial post, I wrote “Social Media Strategy Guide for Busy Developers“. In that post I wrote the following:
It makes me sad when I see someone following 20,000 people on twitter. I know they aren’t reading all of them and engaging with them; their timeline looks more like the fire-hose. They are just collecting people like Pokémon cards.
I think that the people that follow thousands of people on twitter are being dishonest. It’s even worse when someone at Brogan’s level of popularity auto-follows people that follow him. Following someone on Twitter is the equivalent of saying, “I am interested in what you have to say, I want to engage with you.” If you are following 500 people on twitter, there is no way you can engage with them all. What most end up doing is creating filters to get the noise level down to people they *really* care about engaging with. In my opinion, that’s dishonest. Everyone you follow feels connected to you – albeit in a “6 Degrees from Kevin Bacon” kind of way – but you are lying to them by following them and then filtering them out.
Don’t be dishonest with your twitter followers. Don’t follow people you aren’t seriously interested in engaging. Keep it to the essentials but then engage with the people you follow. Tweet your passion to those following you, keep your followers list short enough so that you can engage with them regularly.
Until next time,
p.s. no offense intended for either Chris Brogan or Michael Hyatt, I still hold each of you in high esteem. I’m glad they have learned the lesson, even if it was painful.