Repost: The mass twitter unfollow

This is a repost of something I wrote several months back in response to a few high profile folks on the twitter unfollowing their followers in-mass. I’m reposting it today because: A) I’m trying to get this stupid pottery piece finished for a school auction and I don’t have time to write anything,

I hate rhinos, painting and pottery. Seriously. I've spent 4 days on this thing and I'm dead on the inside.

and B) I’ve been unfollowed FOR THE SECOND TIME by a person whose work I appreciate and respect, who assures me “it’s nothing personal”, and I honestly believe that for him, it really isn’t personal, he’s just checking out this cool unfollow tool he found. But the problem with a mass unfollow of thousands of people is that there are actual people behind those avatars, and some people actually DO take it personally. I mean, I don’t. Not really. But still…

image courtesy of

The latest trend on the twitter seems to be the mass unfollow. I think Chris Brogan started the trend, Michael Hyatt and others followed suit.

Carlos Whittaker wrote a pretty spot-on post about why he’s not unfollowing everyone, so I figured I’d be trendy and give you my take on the whole follow/refollow/unfollow…um…thingy.

Last time I checked, I had 2546 followers on the twitter. Bush league numbers compared to a guy like Michael Hyatt who has over 100,000 followers or LosWhit whose following is just shy of 23,000. I have never used an auto-follow back service, which automatically refollows anyone that follows you. For every new follow notification I receive, I choose to refollow or not based on whether I think the person (and they need to be a real person) would be someone who could add to the conversation–whatever that conversation might be.

Auto-refollow services offer people (especially high profile people) a convenient, hands-off approach to connecting with their followers, and while I don’t anticipate I’ll ever have enough followers to warrant using such a service, even if I did, I wouldn’t.


Because I think it’s disingenuous.

There’s plenty of spam twitter accounts; plenty of people on Twitter who view follower counts as nothing more than a numbers game.

But there are also real, flesh and blood people on the other side of that tweet.

  • There’s a stay-at-home mom whose baby just puked on the last clean shirt she owns.
  • A new, struggling writer whose blog is read by 3 people, 2 of which are his mom and dad.
  • A lonely, housebound widower who is desperately trying to make human contact with another soul in cyberspace.

All of whom are thrilled to death when someone they admire and respect is actually following THEM on Twitter.

How do you suppose it makes them feel when they are summarily dumped in a massive unfollow?

I assume it makes them realize what they suspected all along:

That they never really mattered in the first place.

And I’d rather let them know that up front instead of letting them believe otherwise until they’re of no use to me anymore.

Like the sign hanging in my daughter’s elementary school hallway says:

It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.

(Sorry–but I had to get that off my chest.)

While I consider each new follow on an individual basis, I do have some guidelines which help me determine who NOT to refollow. I’ve shared them here before, and here they are again:

image courtesy of

The Top 10 Reasons I didn’t grant you the courtesy refollow:

Generally speaking, if someone follows me on the twitter and they appear to be a real person and not some spambot or online markerter, I will grant the courtesy refollow. By the way, if you are a real person and I’m not refollowing you, it’s most likely that I don’t know you’re following me. If you let me know, I’ll follow you. Unless of course you happen to break one or more of  the cardinal rules of the katdish courtesy refollow:

  1. You’re nekkid in your avatar. That’s all I have to say about that.
  2. Your Twitter bio contains the words “Social Media” followed by the words “celebrity” or “rock star”. Um, get over yourself already. I’ve never heard of you.
  3. Your last 10 tweets consist of links to your own website and tired old quotes everyone’s already heard.
  4. Your tweets are in a language other than English. Sorry. I’m a dumb American. That’s the only language I speak, understand or read.
  5. All of your tweets look something like this: *¨* 愛∗¸☀¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸☀¸¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸☀.•*¨* 愛∗¸¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸☀¸¸.•*¨¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸☀¸¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸.•*. Am I missing something? What’s up with that?
  6. You talk at the twitter, but you never have any conversations with people on the twitter. It’s social media. Be social already. I don’t care who you are, you’re not that big a deal (to me, anyway).
  7. You don’t have a bio. Seriously…would it kill you to say 10 words about yourself?
  8. You are suffering from hashtagatosis, where you cannot #tweet #anything #without #using #hashtags.
  9. You are rabidly opposed to either liberals or conservatives and that’s all you tweet about. I follow liberals, conservatives and everyone in between, but I’m really more interested in what we have in common than what separates us. (End of mini speech.)
  10. I’m just not that into you. (This may include, but may not limited to the fact that you use foul language constantly or are overtly sexually suggestive. I’m not the morality police, I just don’t care to see that in my twitter feed. To each his own.)

So, there’s my top ten. Do you have any deal breakers when it comes to the courtesy refollow?

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12 Responses to “Repost: The mass twitter unfollow”

  1. Brina Harwood March 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    I’m still working on my dedication to the twitter. I’m good for a few days then I forget it exists.

    What I wanted to tell you is that I WISH my Mom and Dad read my blog, or anyone that I’m related to really. <—- Not a pity party, just realizing that no one loves me. I'm gonna go eat a big plate of worms now.

  2. Annie K March 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    If I ever get to the point where my feelings get hurt over a twitter unfollow then it’s probably time to take a step back and reevaluate my twitter usage. Don’t get me wrong, social media is powerful, however, when people start questioning their self worth and what they mean to a fellow tweeter because they unfollowed them then I think there is something seriously wrong. Social media is not a ‘matter-meter’ and people shouldn’t use it as such.

  3. James Williams March 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Excellent post, Kat!

  4. Natalija March 9, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    I’m a newborn when it comes to Twitter and am discovering how different and similar it is to Facebook. I’m not sure what to do with those # tags or why people’s Bios contain every label under the sun. Labels can be very deceiving, in my opinion. Yes, there are real people behind that avatar (I realize my avatar is of my kids, for now) on both Twitter and Facebook – something people seem to forget. I’ve had my share of unpleasantness on Facebook and hope not to encounter such hatred/meanspiritedness on Twitter. I’m glad there are still people, like you, who are not afraid to speak their minds. Speaking my mind has gotten me into trouble in the past. I retreated then, but I’m speaking up now.

  5. Simply Darlene March 9, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Heya! I remember those rhinos from a previous post. Too bad for you that it isn’t a platter full o’ itty-bitty wiener dogs (is that politically correct?). Did you spin that plate yourself and have a Demi Moore moment in time?

    Since I don’t twitter so I had to find something else to comment about. 😉


    • katdish March 9, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      Nope. Didn’t spin it myself, but you would think I did considering all the time it’s taking me. Funny thing about painting pottery. You have to put THREE COATS of paint on everything. I’m so over this plate…

      • Simply Darlene March 9, 2012 at 10:29 am #

        I hope you know that I didn’t mean that the wiener dogs would be on the plate to eat, I meant on the plate as images. My bad. That previous comment sounded bad, especially coming from a vegan. 😉

        Anyway, three coats?! I hope it brings in a hefty sum to off-set the sanity cost.


  6. OpinionsToGo March 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Love your post! Number 5 was my favorite. I have seen these tweets. It has to take a whole lot of time to tweet that bad boy.
    I’m just happy with the 140 characters…no fancy smancy for me.

  7. karenzach March 11, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    I don’t get my feelings hurt when people unfollow me, I just think they are too big for their breeches. Usually, they are men. Usually, they think more highly of themselves than they ought. Usually, they don’t like being challenged in a public forum, especially by middle-age women they deem less worthy than themselves. Usually, I’m right about that too big for their breeches thingy.

  8. jake March 11, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    I did a mass unfollow tonight, but I got rid of accounts that haven’t tweeted for more than six months…. I have to say that your character never ceases to amaze me. I was that person who had three people reading my blog, only neither was one of my parents. I think I’d still die if they started reading what I have to say…

    Kat, you’re a great person. I hope you’re doing well!

  9. Joseph Baran March 12, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts regarding Twitter. Thank you for being one of my followers. I appreciate your company.

  10. Jenna Williams April 3, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    Auto-follow takes the fun out of everything. It’s like the difference between grabbing a bag of clothes from on the street and going shopping.

    I mean people used to leave their bags of clothes on the streets in San Francisco when they didn’t want them anymore, and I’m not going to act like I didn’t go through them.

    Shopping is so much cooler though.

    I follow people based on how witty, interesting and relevant they seem.

    I don’t usually follow people who hardly follow anyone back.

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