Why I Culled 700+ People I Was Following On Twitter

twitter cull
The Great Twitter Cull of 2010

Last night I stopped following over 700 people on my Twitter account. I am now down to following just under 190 people and I suspect that number will be reduced further over the coming weeks.

The reasons behind it are simple. Connection, conversation and time.

I quite simply don’t have time to actively keep up with that many people at once especially when then vast majority of those people aren’t involved in any kind of conversation with me and besides their follower number dropping by 1, will never even realize that I’m not following them.

In fact, the sheer number of people that immediately unfollowed me back, show that they have some software autofollowing and unfollowing people on their behalf and little interaction with the people they follow.

More to the point, even after I tweeted that I had unfollowed a massive number of people, that there may have been some accidental removals and that if you felt I should be following you to just @reply me and I’d add them back, only a handful of people did.

It’s obvious that the vast majority of people paid no attention to why, and unquestioningly unfollowed, concerned only with their follower count.

For many people Twitter is a numbers game. They wave their numbers about as some sort of badge of honor. Showing off their numbers as if it was some great sign of victory. Waving the numbers about as if it were a cheque for a million dollars and a medal of bravery given them for single-handedly charging and destroying an enemy gun emplacement and went on to take out an enemy platoon.

Lets be honest. Numbers mean feck all. Anybody can use automated tools to build up vast numbers of followers in a relatively short period of time and then head off and call themselves some sort of guru. Isn’t it wonderful how automated and speaking at people rather than too them is today’s definition of “social”.

What’s important to me, especially now that my time is so limited between working on Daily Shite and starting the development of some new projects, is that I follow people that I actually get value from.

This value does not have to be measured in terms of financial gain, or services delivered or even news passed on. It can also be measured in terms the simple satisfaction and joy that comes from talking to people who actually interact.

People who respond, people who are and act like you’re not just another number.

People who are actually social.

P.S. If you’re only finding out about my big twitter cull through this post, and I unfollowed you, I’m sorry. Just @reply me on twitter and we’ll start talking. FYI: People interested only in their follower count will be cut again in short order. I’m going to be aggressive about this form now on.

12 thoughts on “Why I Culled 700+ People I Was Following On Twitter”

  1. I totally agree with you on this. The numbers mean nothing. The whole point of social networking is to maintain a network, not flex your e-muscles over how big your number of spam-followers you have. If someone is misusing Twitter and it affects my feed (spamming what they had for breakfast/lunch/dinner or the results of dancing with the stars or something else equally stupid IDGAF about), I will instantly unfollow them.

    A small, tight network is worth a lot more than a massive, useless one.
    .-= Kevin´s last blog ..What Happens In The Elevator Stays In The Elevator =-.

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    1. Daddy, I think Twitter is as good as you allow it to be. If you follow idiots that spam your wall, that’s your fault. You clicked follow, and they’re not making you read anything. If you follow intelligent people that have interesting things to say, you should pat yourself on the back for being smart enough to discern between idiots and non-idiots.
      .-= Kevin´s last blog ..What Happens In The Elevator Stays In The Elevator =-.

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  2. The way I manage my Twitter account is to use refollow.com and Twitcleaner. Every so often I will run refollow and just clear those who haven’t tweeted in x number of days or those I just don’t recognise. I try to interact as much as I can on Twitter but during the day when most people are active, I don’t get always the opportunity and then in the evening I’m not always online. I also go through cycles of twitter love/hate.

    Twitter can be a huge time suck though and you are right to do what you’ve done .
    .-= le craic´s last blog ..Up or Down? A job opening in London =-.

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    1. It’s the same for me. Time is limited and following so many people, the messages you should be seeing, the value, gets lost in the noise.

      Following less people makes it easier to keep up and actually increases the value.

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  3. I often take a devil’s advocate point of view with many of your posts, but oddly enough, I had just done the same thing this morning (though on a much less grand scale).

    The first think I cut are the one’s that follow, and then as soon as you follow them, then drop you. (Numbers people).

    I have actually just finally really embraced twitter fully (oddly enough it was thanks to Google Buzz), but still don’t have time for “filler” in my feed.

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  4. I think that for average tiwitter ~60 is the number of people you can actively followand have conversation with. I follow 66 people and even that is sometimes too much to keep up, specially when you have to go through 100+ new twitts (say after coming home from work)

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