Yesterday, Shama Kabani wrote a post detailing why she unfollowed everyone on Twitter. She makes some good points. Twitter is a huge metropolis instead of a small cozy town. There are a lot of spam bots. There are more mean-hearted people – statistically, that happens when numbers of people increase in general. Shama mentions that she missed being able to see updates from the people she was seeing replies from. So she cut everyone.
The Chopped Liver Syndrome
Here’s the problem for me with this slash and burn strategy. If you cut everyone, then start adding people back slowly but surely (she was up to 44 people she was following when I looked after I read her post), how many people that thought they had a legitimate connection with you are being left wondering why they haven’t been added back yet? How many are left wondering if they’ll ever be added back? What if you’ve talked to that person, but don’t add them back after a post like that? Will they think you were disingenuous when you responded to them? What if you leave off a person you had formed an online friendship with? How many people will find that they are actually feeling quite hurt?
How many will feel like they are chopped liver?
Twitter is what you put into it
A lot of people who come into a chat like Blogchat for the first time say, “Man, this goes so fast. I can’t catch everything!” I always say, “You can’t catch everything. It’s impossible. Catch what you can. Interact as much as you can. Help people who have question marks at the end of their tweets if you can.
For all of the people who say that they are following too many people, I would say the same thing. Will you be able to catch everything everyone says? No. Will you even be able to respond to every @ that you receive? Probably not. But I think we are missing a very simple element in the world of Social Media – being active. Doing things that are not automated for us.
If you genuinely want to stay in touch with someone and see what they are saying, use your time on Twitter to go to their profile, pick something to respond to, and then respond. Let them know you stopped by, even though they didn’t mention you. Go out to the people you want to interact with. Don’t wait for Twitter to deliver you their updates. It won’t happen.
Another option – make lists. I’m following over 1,000 people right now. Out of all of those people, there are quite a few whom I consider friends. People I genuinely care about. No matter how many people I follow, there will always be this ever-growing core of people who I will stay in touch with no matter what. How will I do that? I’ll make lists, as I’ve already started to do, so I can skim in on some of my favorite people. I’ll click to peoples’ profiles when I can. Or if I can’t even find the time to do that, I’ll just say, “Hey, where is so and so? Haven’t talked to you in awhile!” It’s all part of being human. It can be done.
Oh, I have too many friends. You all have to go.
For me, the relationships I’m forging in Social Media are real. I am not rounding up masses of people so that I can sell my beautiful set of cutlery. I’m here to meet people, to network with people. I take that seriously. The people I follow – I follow them all for a reason. And guess what? I’m still following over 1,000 people.
When you are in college, which is another environment where networking and friendships are really important, do you say, “Oh, wait, I’m never going to be able to stay in touch with all of you. You’re all going to have to go”? When you go to a family reunion and all of your cousins, second cousins, aunts half-removed and twice boiled over, and the rest of the clan are there, do you say, “Oh, this is just…this is too many people to keep track of. I’m going to leave the family?”
I hope not.
To me, unfollowing everyone on Twitter is the same line of thinking. I don’t get it. I know that Shama is a brilliant woman, so I’m not trying to fight or lambaste. It just for me is the polar opposite of what I am about here, so I am curious to see where you fit.
Who would you unfollow? How do you keep track of those you do follow? Share your thoughts.
Image by Lars Sundstrom. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/sundstrom