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.