Trending: The mass unfollow on the twitter

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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:

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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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