Monday, August 02, 2010

Friends and Followers

This post may be a little more serious, than what I usually blather on about.  But a tweet I read on Saturday really got me thinking.  Scott Stratten, @unmarketing, posted the following:

unmarketingunmarketing: Pick someone in your Twitter stream right now and tell me why you follow them. Use #FollowNow 10:07am, Jul 31 from Web

Seems simple enough, right? But then I glanced at who was showing in my stream at that moment (other then @unmarketing of course). And you know, there were a whole bunch of people for whom I couldn't answer that question.  I mean, why was I really following them?? Did they re-tweet me once? Did someone suggest them through a #FollowFriday? I don't know. People with whom I've never interacted on Twitter or in real life.  And, when I actually took a moment and thought about it, I realised that I often just skim over the tweets in my stream, overlooking lots of folks who don't seem to grab my attention.

So, again, why do I follow them? What am I gaining from that follow? There are certainly some that I follow for information only, and a few celebrity follows.  I don't expect interaction there. But there are lots of average kinda people.  People like me. And I don't read their tweets half the time, and I don't interact with them. So, again, why do I follow? Do they follow me?

In my real life I've reached a point where I pick and choose my friends quite carefully. I am too old for drama and have distanced my self from at least a couple of people over the last year or so who were not bringing anything positive to the table. Toxic friendships that just had to go. Now, I'm not saying that these Twitter folks are toxic. Not at all. I am pretty good about unfollowing anyone who is a negative force (in my view).

But perhaps it is time to lighten my load on Twitter and think carefully about whom I am following, interacting with, and why. I have made some great friends there and have learned lots and truly appreciate the speed with which information is shared and spread.  But maybe I've got just a little too much noise in my stream, if I can look at all but two of the people showing up on my page at a given moment, and not be able to identify why they are there. There can be a bit of a numbers game with Twitter - a drive to reach a certain number of followers and to extend your reach.  But I think quality of interactions should win out over quantity of follows/followers. Maybe I'm doing something not quite right here.

Twitter has a lot to offer and I want to make a conscious effort to get the most out of it.  And to give back the best that I can as well. So that, you know, people will be able to look at my name in their stream, and will know why they wanted to follow me in the first place.

Thanks Scott, for making me take a step back and think about just what it is I'm doing on there.


  1. I enjoyed this. I know why I follow who I do. I can only hope though, that those who follow me can answer postively. :) I try to bring something to the table....hopefully I have succeeded.

  2. I found your site via Scott Stratten, @unmarketing,who I follow because he's frightfully bright and not too hard on the eyes:)

    Your post really gives food for thought, why do I follow all these people and the even more frightening question why do they follow me?

    I just hope to try to remain aware not only of the need to bring value to my followers but also
    of my need to receive quality in return.

    looking forward to reading more from you, thanks for adding some quality to my day

  3. Thank YOU. I'm glad you both found this useful.

  4. I just went through my twitter a week ago to clean it up. Have a great night!


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