I was cleaning house on Twitter today, and as I made some decisions, some thoughts occurred to me.
Reasons I might not follow back:
- You follow so many people that you can’t possibly be keeping track of all your conversations unless all you do is read Twitter.
- You don’t share valuable information or links.
- You’re obviously scamming for followers and are hoping I automatically follow back, even if what you do and what I do are in completely different spheres.
- Even if you’re not scamming for followers, you and I do completely different things—I primarily use Twitter to learn from colleagues and follow very few people who aren’t in education (most of those people are personal friends, some are celebrities).
- You followed me at a really busy time for me, and I haven’t yet had a chance to check out what you have to say. Give me some time before you decide to unfollow me—unless, that is, you are following me only in the hope that I will follow you.
- You have protected your updates, and I don’t know you, so I’m not sure whether or not your content will be valuable to me.
- You’re a business, and I need to watch for a while to see if what you tweet is valuable to me.
- I don’t recognize anyone in your replies or retweets, which tells me we’re not really tweeting in the same circles.
Reasons I might unfollow you:
- You stop tweeting.
- You tweet too often, especially about information I don’t find useful or valuable.
- We never engage in conversation. I am not sure either of us is really listening to each other.
- You are more often negative than positive. We all need to vent sometimes, but all the time is excessive for me.
- You are rude or confrontational (not necessarily to me, either).
Reasons I might block you:
- You’re on Twitter to advertise your webcam/dating/porn site.
Not good reasons to unfollow (in my opinion):
- You don’t follow me back. If I find your content valuable, I follow you. Period. I’m not looking for a backscratch.
- We sometimes disagree. If we always disagree, maybe, but some healthy difference is OK.
- You don’t always reply to me or acknowledge retweets. I don’t always do either of those things.
Ergo, some reasons I might follow:
- We have the same interests.
- You provide valuable content.
- You regularly converse with people I follow, so clearly we’re tweeting in the same circles.
I tend to give people a fair chance once I’ve followed them. I like to get to know who they are through their tweets. If I’m still not learning from you after a while, or if any of the other issues here apply, I might unfollow. Sometimes I think long and hard before I do it because a lot of people are sensitive about that kind of thing. The last thing I want to do is hurt anyone’s feelings. On the other hand, my time is valuable, and I need a return on its investment. I tend to think people are generally too hung up on followers, and not just on Twitter, but everywhere you see social media. You need to engage in social media because of what you get out of it.