OK, OK. Everyone, it seems, is talking about the people who are unfollowing hundreds of thousands of people on Twitter and then following back 2-300 people. Chris Brogan did it first. Then Michael Hyatt, and now I guess other people are falling like a chain of dominoes.

I am not happy that people who have been role models in the online world are doing this all at once, all at the same time, and I have two reasons for that. First, whether it’s intended or not, I think it bespeaks a desire to close ranks, create cliques, or otherwise create a list of “who’s cool” and who ain’t. In addition, I worry about people who are just getting started. If these well-respected folks aren’t following anyone new back, it’s going to be thousands of times harder for those people to break through the granite ceiling that is success in this space.

At the same time, I look in wonder at the folks who are just so beyond flustered at this, to the point where they are badmouthing these people in the broad Twitter stream. Is it worth it? Do you want to look like a jerk just because Darren Rowse unfollowed you? I don’t really get that.

Above all else though, this whole chain of events – the initiation of the unfollowings, the reactions, the back-and-forth, the squabbling on Twitter and in blogs – it bespeaks a lack of health in the online world. It makes us all look really, really juvenile. Do your customers want to see you cursing the big names? If you’re here on behalf of a nonprofit, is it going to help a lot of people to lament that some people are unfollowing other people on Twitter?

I know there are some deep-seated feelings on all sides of this issue. I totally get it. I understand both sides, all sides, 100%. But seriously, people, after the last week, isn’t it clear that this is not worth our time? Isn’t it clear that there’s much more to life than who is following who on a website? Have we not graduated beyond this level of micro-analysis, pettiness, shallowness, and other nesses?

This is the last I’m going to say about this issue. I’ve voiced my opinions, I’ve tried to intercede where people were becoming unreasonable. If you want to juggle your professionalism with complaining about stuff like this, I guess that’s cool. By the same token, if you want to spend your time following and unfollowing and then refollowing people, that’s cool too. I’m on to other stuff though, okay? I hope you’ll join me.

Image by Ruth Livingstone. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Rbut

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