Well, nobody is perfect. Was unfollowing everyone and starting over a good idea? Probably remains to be seen. Looking back, I probably would have been better off not announcing it on my blog, but I’ve always been transparent with my actions, and simply thought it would be useful to others to document what I would be experiencing. But in my particular case, I do believe it was the right thing to do regarding my wants/needs when it came to managing my social media efforts on a personal basis. Needless to say, quite a few folks didn’t quite agree with my tactics. And that’s OK. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Let’s recap some of the backlash that’s actually good reading:
- A handful of comments on the blog article announcement. Big props to Mark Aaron Murnahan. If you aren’t reading his blog, you’re missing out.
- Some blog posts written by Danny Brown, Amber Avines & Daniel Newman of which all I respect and read regularly despite the difference in opinion. Aforementioned blog posts’ comments.
It’s hard for me to actually believe that my little nobody blog may have inspired these folks to write these articles, but the timing certainly appears that way. I certainly wasn’t the first to mass un-follow and start over, only one of the more recent who blogged about it I guess. To recap the above sentiment, it’s widely believed that folks that take these actions are doing it to appear more celebrity-like by having a large following and much smaller follower base.
I am no celebrity, and quite frankly, all the Twitter followers in the world isn’t going to change that. I don’t sell anything, I don’t pimp any products or services on my blog, and I rarely promote anything other than the tools and services I genuinely adore. I have a full time job, that quite frankly involves clients that have little to no correlation to much of what I speak of anywhere online.
My actions were purely noble in nature. I had exactly 2 complaints from those I unfollowed, and both were done respectfully through email (and of course immediately followed back). And since the unfollow, I’ve been slowly re-following those through pre-populated lists I created and through @mentions of worthwhile individuals. I’ve already begun enjoying Twitter more since.
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Could I have utilized a variety of 3rd party tools to accomplish some of these goals? Perhaps. But quite frankly, I didn’t want to have to. The fact is, a large majority of the accounts I unfollowed were most likely bots, dead accounts, or those that pay little attention to me anyway.
The majority of my following came early on in my Twitter usage and back then, auto-following was a common practice and made sense for me back then. Not so much now. And honestly, if anyone was that hurt or disrespected by my actions, a simple @mention or email would have them most likely followed back anyway as I described in my blog post and tweets prior to the unfollows.
Not enough to prove doubters of my intentions? Take a look at this October chart courtesy of one of my new fav tools Crowdbooster:
Long story short, lots of impressions, very little action. Which tells me that while I have a large reach, it’s likely that a large portion of that reach is garbage due to a variety of bots, dead accounts, or simply those that don’t pay attention to me at all. Some might think I might be crazy to be this transparent, but honestly, I barely have enough time to manage my career let alone my personal social media efforts. My hope is that this will help me make things more efficient and help me connect with people more effectively.
This is a big part of the reason for my actions. Over time my follower to following ratio will grow closer, and now that I am able to engage more efficiently, and connect with the “right” people, I predict that chart above will look very different in a few months.
I respect the opinions of those that feel it’s all in vain, and in some cases perhaps that’s true. Just not in my case. And quite frankly I can’t see how it would be with even the true social media celebs like Chris Brogan and Darren Rowse. Both of these guys are hugely successful in what they do and rightfully so through successful blogs, books, speaking engagements, etc. Why in the world would either of them need the “perceived” celebrity that a follower/following discrepancy apparently gives when they already had it?
Bottom line, I’m a small fish in an extremely large pond of social media professionals. There are tons of opinions out there, and rightfully so considering the tools we use in social are evolving and launching at such a rapid pace. I look forward to better attending to and managing my personal space and welcome any of you that have bothered to read this far to connect with me through commenting or reaching out via Twitter (which I can now promise I’ll respond to!).