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Posts Tagged ‘unfollow on Twitter’

Don’t Like What We Tweet? Please Spare Us Your Reasons And Just Click Unfollow

Unlike pets, relationships on Twitter can just be for Christmas. Or a weekend. Or even a couple of hours.

There’s not a single user on the network who counts everybody as a fan. There’s nobody even close to that. Lady Gaga, one of the biggest celebrities on the planet, has more than 30 million followers. That’s impressive, but it also means well over 100 million other Twitter users don’t care enough to be one of them.

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On Twitter, Change Is Much, Much Better Than A Rest

I’ve been active on Twitter for over 3 years. As of the time of writing I am following exactly 400 people.

About 100 of these are folks have been with me since my very early days on the network. I consider them my core. Many of them are friends, born out of Twitter. Some, brought in.

The rest are made up of bloggers, tech and news feeds, individuals I respect and celebrities.

Over the past 36 months or so, the amount of people I have followed has fluctuated considerably (it used to be a lot more). I would estimate I’ve probably clicked the follow button for around 3,000 users. Or, to put it another way – I’ve clicked the unfollow button about 2,600 times. 87% of those connections didn’t work out, at least long term.
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Twitter Can Be As Much About Letting Go As It Is About Connecting

Next Monday, March 8th, I’ll have been on Twitter for two years.

I’d love to be able to see my first tweet, lame as it inevitably was, but unfortunately Twitter limits back-searches of your tweets to the last 3,200, so that’s not possible. Still, if the mood takes you, you can see some of my stuff from about a year ago here.

(Check your own early tweets at MyTweet16. If you’ve made less than 3,200 updates, you should be able to see your very first submission.)

Recently I’ve been thinking back to my early days on Twitter, when my network size (follower and following) was less than 150 people. There was a core group of maybe thirty to forty contacts there, and, even beyond how everybody is permanently connected on the network, we were all interlinked, regularly sharing and discussing links, concepts and ideas.

I’m pleased to say that I’m still in close touch with many of these people, and still consider them the core of my network. Predominately, these aren’t business contacts, or clients, or associates. They’re friends, which I think is the critical component of any community. More importantly, they’re friends I’ve made through Twitter.

But there are others – many others, and I’m sure this is true for most of us – who for various reasons I have had to let go (or they have let go of me). Occasionally, I will be reminded of these individuals by a retweet of somebody who is still connected, or perhaps an old screen-capture on this website. For a moment, I’ll reminisce about what once was, or might have been. I’ll remember conversations that took place, and jokes that were shared.

I’ll wonder – who lost touch with whom? Did I stop engaging, or did they?

The thing is – knowing when you should unconnect from somebody on Twitter is as important as actually getting together in the first place. Certainly if you feel like you’re struggling to find a reason as to why you’re still following another person, it’s absolutely necessary for you to part ways. In fact, it’s essential.

There’s no obligation here. Sometimes, the most rewarding and intense relationship experiences can also be quite fleeting. None of us can be everything to everybody all of the time. If you’ve parted company from another individual, most of the time it was the right thing to do. The fact that you’ve done it at all is usually all the proof you’ll ever need.

Taking It Personally

Sometimes things happen to us on Twitter that hurt.

Out of nowhere, somebody who you thought you’d made a connection with unfollows you.

Or perhaps something you shared comes under attack from another person. It might not even be your content, but because you sent it out, you’re the messenger and you get the blame.

Maybe a user who you thought was a friend suddenly bad-mouths you to somebody else. Or criticises you in front of their entire network.

It’s hard not to take these things personally. It’s a virtual world, but we’re still real people, with real feelings.

Rudeness is rudeness, and should be dealt with appropriately, but unfollows are a unique kind of pain – one that involves your pride. And when your pride is hurt, it stings.

Here’s my advice:

  1. Take a deep, deep breath, then
  2. Have another look at the relationship

Maybe it wasn’t what you thought it was. Maybe it was never anything. Maybe you were just paying lip-service and never made much of an effort to engage with or help that person.

Perhaps it’s a one-way connection. We can’t all be interesting and wonderful to everybody all of the time. Sometimes, one person has a lot to teach another, and – much as we like to think it should – vice versa doesn’t always apply. Teachers can learn a heck of a lot from their students, but not every student has something to teach.

Or could it be that they’ve actually done you a favour? Maybe there was no connection there. Maybe there was a relationship once, many months ago, but it’s now served its purpose. Maybe you didn’t even realise you were following that person.

Bonds on Twitter are often fleeting. Mostly so, in fact. You exchange a few tweets with somebody else over a period of hours or days, and then never communicate again. Twitter is all about keeping your network optimised and relevant, and that rule applies to you and everybody who you’re following, too.

So, if person X is doing a clean-out, and you get caught in the drift, then yes, it can hurt, but it doesn’t have to be end of that relationship. Certainly, unfollowing that person simply because they unfollowed you isn’t the most mature of reactions. But if you’re unfollowing because the relationship has come to an end, then it’s absolutely the right call. And all credit to them for making it first.