Recently, I’ve gained a bunch of new followers. If you are one of them, let me say: Hi! If you are wondering why I have not followed you back yet, let me explain. You’ll see from my Twitter following count, I am not one of those people that automatically follows everyone back. For some reason that I really don’t get, some people have a hang up about follower counts. Seriously, in my mind, Twitter should not be a popularity contest, its quality over quantity that matters to me. Anyway… after writing multiple social media posts, ranting and bitching about it ad nauseam (just click Social Media in the “Tag, You’re it” column in the sidebar if you want to read some < gratuitous self-promoting plug >), I guess I still need to explain my follow/unfollow “policy” and the rules I play by. Because I actually do have reasons why.
I might follow you back if:
- We have some actual meaningful conversations. I consider Twitter to be the “social” tool that it was created for, not to further some agenda. But that will probably require you to say something to me, since I tend to get distracted easily, sometimes staying off Twitter for a day or three just to keep from being overwhelmed or because my actual job gets in the way. Don’t worry, I try my best to answer as many @’s that come my way as I can, so if we have lots of great discussions, you’ll probably get a follow back in the near future. But if I don't, we are still interacting, right? Isn't that enough?
- We have something in common. Since I’m cautious, I usually check out new followers; their tweets, bios and who is following them back. If you share the same interests as I do (i.e. hockey, beer, photography, travel, etc.), there’s a good chance I may decide then and there to follow you back. If not then and there, at least I'll pay closer attention to when you @ me, so chances are improved for a follow back.
- If you are followed back by some of the same people I interact with on a regular basis. But, you do need to interact with them too (remember, I check tweet streams). I have a lot of people that I’ve followed for a long time, many I’ve even ended up meeting in real life, so I trust their tweets. If you have somehow flown under my radar, I’ll remedy that.
I might not follow you back if:
- Your bio is blank and/or you have very few (if any) @ replies in your tweet stream, I’ll bide my time.
- You tweet negative stuff all the time. (Actually, I’ll probably never follow back).
- You have your account locked. I know that doesn’t seem fair, but if I can’t check you out, I have nothing to go on. It’s ok to have a private account, just go back to my first reason above and that could change from a “might not” to a “might”.
- Your only way to interact with people is to retweet them or brown-nose them. Honestly, false flattery isn’t the way I roll. You need to speak up in your own voice, that’s what I’m going to look for.
- You beg me to follow back. Seriously, go reread this post from the beginning. I follow a lot of people who don’t follow me back because if I send them an @, they reply to me. Whatever their reason for not following me, they still interact with me. Don’t beg, please. Get busy being social and you’ll have tons of followers in no time.
I might stop following you if:
- You’re nuts. I don’t know if you started acting nuts after I began following you or if you were always a nutjob and I just missed it, but once I realize it, I’m history.
- You’ve pissed me off. Come on now, would you continue to stand around listening to somebody who makes your blood boil? Since I can’t reach through the screen to smack you upside your head, unfollow is the next best thing.
- You’ve stopped interacting with people and have begun your own personal campaign to further your own cause or political agenda. That’s not what I want from Twitter, sorry.
- You’ve stopped tweeting. It’s ok if you’ve run out of things to say, but since there is nothing left to listen to, I’ll move along. If you’ve stopped tweeting, you probably aren’t even on Twitter anymore, so that should be a moot point. But, if you come back at some time in the future and wonder where I’ve gone, now you know.
- You’ve never responded to any of my @’s to you. If you can’t be bothered with me, I can’t be bothered with you. (And if you only tweet to advance your own blog, news articles, website, business or product, shame on you for not replying. If you are going to use Twitter to promote a “product” but don’t respond to your target audience, you have very flawed marketing skills and don’t deserve followers anyway.)
Truth be told, I’ve been unfollowed lots of times. Once or twice I even asked the person why, and their answer gave me the clarity needed to accept their decision. Some of them I still follow anyway. I’m quite sure I’ve pissed people off by not agreeing with them, or my incessant live hockey game tweets were flooding their tweet stream and they just couldn’t take it anymore. Once I get over the initial “WTF?” moment, I’m usually ok with it. Even though I may not always understand why they unfollowed me, in the grand scheme of things, it usually works out for the best.
I know there are going to be some people that have a problem with this whole post. I don’t claim to be a social media expert, and these rules are not about how everybody should use Twitter, just how I use Twitter. And, if by reading this, you decide I’m just too high and mighty to be worthy of continuing to follow, may I just say: “Buh Bye”. My game - my rules, that’s how I roll…Any questions?