It’s not personal, but I’m unfollowing you…

I have always had a personal Twitter policy that I don’t auto-follow people. It’s in my Twitter bio and I’ve held to that for over two years. I have always said it’s about quality not quantity. Whenever I receive a follow notice, I look at that account, what they’re saying, if they “talk” to people or if they just broadcast. I also look at the number of people they follow and how many are following them.

I rarely follow someone who has a gazillion followers, but I do make a few exceptions. Why? They actually engage with their followers – even with those high numbers. An excellent example is Jessica Northey.  She has a huge following (over 150k followers) and, she really does engage with people outside of her inner circle.** She thanks you for re-tweeting her tweets or blog posts, she engages with you when you talk to her, and frankly, she puts out good content. She’s also got a killer sense of humor and she follows you back. Isn’t that what being on Twitter is really all about? I don’t know how she and others like her do it, but they do. Kudo’s to them.

I have contemplated cleaning my Twitter account for a while now. Over the past week, I’ve noticed friends of mine actually doing it. They are clearing out the bots, the broadcasters, and the people who don’t engage in any way. One friend is following over 50k people and has almost an equal number of followers. Another friend has numbers similar to mine. I follow just over 1900 people and have around 2400 followers. These numbers are not high in the general scheme of things, I know that. However, even when you’re following 1900 people, cleaning house, in my opinion, seems prudent.

This is my game plan over the next few days:

  • Unfollow accounts that do nothing but broadcast. Initially, I followed them for content because it interested me. What I’ve done recently (where possible) is subscribe to their site and added them to my Reader. Now I’ll be able to look at their content when I want to. I can still comment and re-tweet their posts, they just won’t be floating in my timeline anymore. Some I will just unfollow, period. These include the ones that have a gazillion followers and NEVER engage with anyone.
  • Unfollow the bots I didn’t catch the first time around. I know I have a few of them.
  • Unfollow people who haven’t responded to my hello’s, RT’s or who have just stopped talking to me (for whatever reason). I get that we move on and I don’t take it personally, although I did in the beginning. I no longer rack my brain trying to figure out what happened, I finally realized it really wasn’t me.
  • Unfollow people who I no longer feel I share a common interest. This one is all about me. Please don’t take it personally.

Am I being ruthless or unfeeling? I don’t think so. I’m just making my Twitter account more manageable, so I can continue to engage with the people who bring good things to my stream. Whether it is personal, business or a common interest, those are the people I want to continue to talk with.

I realize that I will be unfollowed in return. And you know what, that’s perfectly fine with me. Honest – go ahead. I don’t want you to continue to follow me when “we” don’t talk anyway. However, if you think I unfollowed you in error, let’s talk about it.

Have you cleaned your house lately? Would you? If not, why?

**Inner Circle – we all have them, don’t we?

  17 comments for “It’s not personal, but I’m unfollowing you…

  1. Denise
    October 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Still doing fall cleaning and did not follow some that followed me today! Thanks!

  2. Denise
    October 24, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I too have started to clean house, try to do it once a month! Love the tweepi tool to help me! I feel bad when I’d engage & have conv for a few days with a person I follow or they follow me, then nothing. Your post gave me an aha moment… Don’t need to feel bad as if it was something I did. Thank You!!!

    • October 24, 2011 at 10:25 pm

      Life’s too short to worry about why people we follow or who follow us stop talking. I figure there are plenty of other people to connect and engage with! You’re welcome :)

  3. August 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Yeah twitter is not a popularity contest on it’s own. It is people who make it so. And frankly lately folks have been showing their two year old side.

    I am with you, finding a way to make the time you spend with people beneficial and enjoyable is reasonable in every area of your life.

    Now if you unfollow me I am gonna wale like a bahsheee snicker

  4. August 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Sherree – I like your post and your reasoning. And, although not compiled…there is a list! I clean on a regular basis — sometimes it just makes me feel good. Lately I’ve received lots of DMs with links too. I broadcast a tweet “Dear Tweeties, Those of you who are DMing me links (you know who you are), If you keep doing it, I will unfollow you.” Haven’t received one since!!!!! And don’t get me started on Auto DMs. Have a great weekend.

  5. August 11, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Sherree, it helps. I just did a cleanup earlier this week, unfollowed about 25%. If you don’t use Tweepi yet, check it out and play with the columns. One of the columns you can add is % of tweets with links. You can also see how long since someone tweeted last, replies, etc. Makes it easier to spot the people that act like bots.

    Of course, you know me, things like this make me consider the business implications. What if all of our marketing was opt-in? With social media, we are closer, but most companies still don’t act like it. http://digitalb2b.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/social-media-opt-in-marketing-and-when-valuable-isnt-enough/

    Thanks for sharing, would be interested in what tools you use to help with the cleanup.

    See you on Twitter (even if you unfollow me, I’m still following)!

    — @wittlake

    • August 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      Eric, wow we seem to be on a similar wavelength this week with regards to reasons for unfollowing accounts.

      So far, I’ve unfollowed about 150 accounts and I can’t believe how much the noise has lessened. It surprised me. Some were broadcasters (including a few big name folks) and some were people I don’t connect with anymore. I’m not done yet though.

      I typically use Twitcleaner – I’ve been using it for a very long time.Tweepi seems similar, but I think it can’t hurt to use both. That will really clean things up!

      Your post brings up great questions. That would certainly be a game-changer, wouldn’t it? It always boils down to content and how you put that content out, doesn’t it?

      Yes, you will see me on Twitter, and for heavens sake, I’m not unfollowing you either!

      ~s

  6. August 10, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Wow. For sure you have to do what you have to do. I’m sorry we didn’t get the chance to know one another. I’m pretty shy to begin with but don’t recall any initiation on either of our parts. Best wishes to you. Happy cleaning!

    • August 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      Marie – You and I have talked in the past, and I followed you for a reason. I read your blog (I just don’t comment).

      I have others that I would unfollow long before I would unfollow you. Really.

      ~s.

      • August 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm

        Ohhhhh! Thank you. I’m not ready to break up. Love you coming into my living room every night. :)

        • August 11, 2011 at 6:50 pm

          No worries, we’re not “breaking up” and thank you for the kind words. :)

  7. j
    August 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Today, in fact. But I just used the have they stopped tweeting rule. #iamawuss #butiamgoodathashtags

    • August 10, 2011 at 6:12 pm

      JC – you crack me up! :)

      This is a staged “event.” Can’t do it all at once. Should be interesting, no? Initially I worried about what people would say. Then it occurred to me, “uh, it’s my account!”

      #iwasawuss

      • August 11, 2011 at 5:43 am

        Great post Sherree! I was thinking about this same subject yesterday when I saw someone had tweeted that they unfollowed certain people because they weren’t following back. I found it obnoxious and agree with you, I don’t follow people back for the sake of following them back. I look to Twitter to provide interesting, relevant snippets of information – NOT to be a popularity contest.

        On the other side of that, I have unfollowed people who tweet way too much. Especially the ones that include everyone in the “converations” they are having with other people. Which can be frustrating because they provide good information, but it’s hidden in the endless chats and gibberish they put out for everyone to see because they want people to see how popular they are.

        • August 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm

          Thank you Nadia. Boy, this is a hot topic of conversation this past week. Twitter shouldn’t be a popularity contest, but for some, it is, and that’s fine, for them. For me, it’s all about being able to see the great content that I know is there – somewhere in the midst of all that noise. I take responsibility for that, I followed everyone. I helped create that noise in my stream.

          Until last night, I never unfollowed folks for tweeting too much, but holy smokes, what a difference it has made so far. Most of those folks were generally the ones with scheduled tweets (and yes, you can tell) that were coming out every 30 minutes or so. No one pushes out that amount of content without help!

          I’m so glad you liked the post.

          ~s.

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