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Posts Tagged ‘unfollow fear’

Your Twitter Homework Assignment: Unfollow 10% Of Your Network

Is Twitter getting on top of you? Are you using lists and groups to keep up with all the people you’re following? Does the very idea of wading through your home feed make you go cold? Who the heck are most of these people, anyway?

There’s only one thing you can do: purge.

Don’t hesitate – do it now. There’s nothing to fear. It will only take 5-10 minutes, but the benefits are huge.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make a note of how many people you are currently following, and then divide that number by ten. This is your target.
  2. Go to your following page on Twitter.com.
  3. Scroll through the names one by one.
  4. Every time you don’t recognise an avatar or username, or cannot instantly produce a valid reason why you are following that person, unfollow them.
  5. Repeat until you’ve hit your target.

(And yes, if one of the people you can’t justify includes me, then go ahead and unfollow. I absolutely insist. I’d love to think I’ve earned a place on your feed, but otherwise I definitely should not be there. Unwanted is unwanted, and clutter is clutter.)

When you’re done, stop and take a look around. Listen. Doesn’t that feel better? Has that constant drone become a little bit softer? If it hasn’t, you need to go deeper. Move back to step one and purge another ten per cent.

But if it has… wow. Take a deep breath and enjoy. You’ve earned it.

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Are You Crippled By Unfollow Fear?

Completely by accident, the theme on Twittercism this week has been about network optimisation. You can read previous posts on this topic here and here.

Often when I speak to Twitter folk (and this includes clients) about cutting down on the huge amounts of people they’re following to improve the relevancy and value of their network, I get this response:

“I don’t like to unfollow people in case they unfollow me.”

These people suffer from unfollow fear. I find this attitude slightly baffling. Why do we choose to unfollow people? Because for various reasons they’re not right for us. If they then choose to unfollow us back, doesn’t that actually confirm our actions?

If you can only get ten thousand people to follow you because you’re following eleven thousand, something isn’t right. Your network isn’t relevant, it doesn’t have much value and it certainly isn’t optimised.

Let’s say you’re following ten thousand people, and the same number are following you. One day you wake up and decide to put an end to the madness, and unfollow everybody on your list. What’s the worst thing that can happen? That you’ll lose everybody who was following you?

So?

All this tells us is that these individuals were using auto-follow and unfollow tools and likely weren’t paying any attention to you at all, excluding the occasional lip service. Most people don’t even realise when somebody has unfollowed them. If you drop somebody and they immediately drop you, it’s because they’re using a script. And good riddance, because the two of you never made a valid connection, and never will.

The reality is, if you follow ten thousand and drop 95 per cent of them, you’re not going to lose 9,500 followers. You’ll probably lose just a few thousand, tops, and the ones that leave didn’t care anyway.

But the followers that are left? The ones that continue to hang around? That’s a different story. That’s where you’ll find your relevance. They followed you because you looked interesting and they stayed with you because you are.