Why Do You Care If People Unfollow You?

Mechanical Twitter Bird

I’m on Twitter. I don’t auto-follow. I don’t care if you follow me. I don’t care if you unfollow me. Here’s why…

A couple of months ago I started using an app called Qwitter. It purported to let me know which followers had stopped following me, and what the last update they received from me was. The idea, as I understood it, was to see if a particular kind of message turned people off.

After using it for a month, and seeing it update itself only a couple of times, despite a revolving door of followers and unfollowers, I quit Qwitter.

And I found that whether I can see who unfollows me or not makes, and I can’t overstate this enough, no difference at all to how I engage with the people I follow and who follow me. In that month I came to the realization that people will follow me, some will find I’m not their particular flavor of social network, and then stop following. Or they’d stick around because I was tweeting and retweeting things that make sense to them. And that’s the audience I want. I’m not about to change to try to win back people who don’t like how I tweet. I’m going to continue being myself for the people who understand and appreciate me.

The other thing I realized is that there are a lot, and I mean A LOT, of autofollowing bots. They’re the ones with 12,000 followers, and 4 tweets (like the picture below). If they follow you and you you don’t follow them back, they unfollow you. So who gives a crap about them? Not me!

Who the heck would you follow this guy?

I have, and I much prefer it this way, a small-ish group of people whose tweets I look for, respond to, and retweet. If they introduce me (by retweeting or #FF) to other great people, I’ll follow them. If they don’t follow me back that’s not a big deal, I don’t expect it. When your follower-base grows by reciprocal follower agreement, it’s not an engaged network, it’s you making your stream fair game for spambots.

But Dunc, what about my Klout score?
What about it? Does it mean more to you than having engaged followers who’ll make you smarter? If it does, disregard everything I’ve ever said about social media and be prepared for all the real people who follow you to abandon you. Just like high school, you’ll be judged by who your friends are.

If you want an army of self-serving sales zombie-followers like @davidjankovic, be my guest. Knock yourself out. Get a killer Klout score. Just know it’s fake. And if you’re more interested in how things look than how things really are, then that’s a conversation you should maybe have with a therapist.

If what you want is a list of followers whose tweets you actually can’t wait to read and share, whose information, advice and conversation actually makes your day better, here’s a simple way to do it:

Engage, retweet, celebrate successes in your network, use hashtags, and #followfriday every week. Add followers and keep posting and retweeting information that captures the imagination of your network.

Easy, no?

Do I want you to follow me? Absolutely, if I can introduce you to interesting people; or if you know people who’ll interest me, I really want to follow you. But will I follow you because you followed me? No. But I will follow you because you’re interesting.

And that’s how it should be.

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1 Response to Why Do You Care If People Unfollow You?

  1. Pingback: Sorry – I don’t follow you « MarkjOwen's Blog

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