Over the years I’ve followed a wide-range of folks on Twitter. From Bostonians who also like the same sportsball teams as I (go Pats!), car enthusiasts, lots of cyclists, many clients, some family and of course coworkers and friends. I’ve been slowly finding myself using Twitter as a place for conversation less and less, because of how cluttered my timeline was. The stuff I wanted to see wasn’t there, and it wasn’t a good asset for my business.
I remembered a former coworker, Mike Volpe of HubSpot fame, had unfollowed a ridiculous number of people, and then wrote about how it affected him going forward. Now, I was nowhere close to 16,000 followers, but the feelings of Twitter becoming useless for me was the same. You can read Mike’s article here.
My hypothesis was if I were to unfollow everyone and start over again, I’d be able to only follow those I truly wanted to connect with. My goal was to spend less time scrolling through my Timeline, and more time making meaningful connections and having conversations 140 characters at a time.
So I did it. I put something on TV and starting clicking away at the unfollow button. It didn’t take me much time at all. I immediately started following some people, like HubSpot, because they follow me and I like that, family, clients and a few others in the industry.
I created a general rule for following new people. If I come across someone online, I’ll take a look at their timeline and decide if it’s content I’m interested in, would help my business or help my clients. If so, I’ll follow. If when I do they end up posting only drivel I could care less about, I don’t give a second thought about unfollowing.
I started this at the beginning of December, with 835 followers and 682 that I followed. Now I’m at 823 followers and I follow only 59 people. The number of followers wasn’t greatly affected, and I pruned the ones that only follow because I was following them. Personally I hate the idea of automatically following those that follow you.
It seems like the opposite of what Twitter was made for, and doesn’t encourage conversation. My relationship with Twitter is greatly improved, and I only have to spend a short amount of time per day to get benefit from it.
Have you taken some drastic unfollowing measures before? Are you finding that Twitter is becoming a spammy tool for advertising, or are you driving productive conversations?
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