I started with a perspective on why I wasn’t following your stream. I later probed you to help me determine if reciprocal following was best. In the comments after each post, you shared your thoughts; and the consensus is everyone makes their own rules and determines their own strategies in using Twitter.
That said, I want to narrow in on a specific cacophony of voices on the noise vs signal ratio which I highlight below.
David elaborated, “It makes no sense to follow everyone who follows you. I have noticed dozens of tweeps who follow me who very rarely update their own feed, have only a handful of followers and I am one of only a clutch of news type outlets they are following, so they’re in it for the buzz not the chat I’d say.”
Damian waxed, “[F]ollow anyone and everyone that has the right mix for you. When they stop having that mix stop following them. Relationships can be for a moment, a season or a lifetime. Just go with the flow.”
John offered, “My approach with following could be called the benefit of the doubt method. I auto-follow everyone – even spammers, I suppose. This is for two reasons: 1) It’s my hope that I can learn from everyone who follows me. 2) I don’t have the bandwidth to go through and hand-pick followers to follow back.”
“Your attention is valuable. Just like caller ID lets you make decisions about who you answer calls from and your inbox tells you who is emailing, you have the right to reserve your attention for people who add value. When you follow everyone who follows you, you have no way of telling if they add value or not. The end result is that those who don’t decrease the overall value of the experience. If you eliminate them, your net experiential value goes up.”
It all comes down to value. I wrote about the connection between you and Twitter value three months ago, summarizing the results of an academic study of some 310,000 Twitter users that resulted in the following graphic:
When I changed my Twitter strategy 10 days ago, I shifted from following 10% of my followers to 100%. The Twitter stream of my “friends” shifted from the right to the left. Like John, I can read more of what people are saying and am more likely to reply to someone; but by the same token, I have a hard time keeping up with those fewer people I used to see all the time.
The consensus in those blog comments indicates you want me to revert to following less than more; if for no other reason, than because of the experiential value-add alluded to by Ryan and enhanced by the above image.
For my own posterity: If I am following you right now and if you have applications and bots running like Qwitter, you will shortly see a message that I will unfollow you, for I’m about to pay $25 to SocialToo for the service of unfollowing all my friends. It’s your prerogative, of course, to reciprocally unfollow me. In fact, you may have services set up to unfollow your unfollowers.
Once my Twitter friend level is down to zero, I can focus on following those who provide value to me–and so I can share that value to you. Ultimately, while I remain collecting unemployment and am only part-time employed, my first priority is to use Twitter as a professional networking and collaborating tool, and second as a social chit-chat tool. On that note, here I am on Facebook.
Thank you for telling me to stop following on Twitter. I don’t view this as goodbye–but hello.
Photo credit: d_oracle