Giving Reasons for an Unfollow on Twitter

I rarely receive email asking me why I unfollow people on Twitter, but I did receive one recently indicating that my tweets were valuable. This was my reply:

I don’t normally respond to requests to explain an unfollow, but I can see you are active in learning systems where I have an interest.

One of the most valuable Twitter features to me is the asymmetric friend mechanism where I pick carefully who I follow. I am happy for anyone to follow me without a commitment for me to reciprocate. Currently about 4 times as many people are followers compared to friends. You can still follow my tweets.

My comfort zone for Twitter friends is:

  • they tweet no more than about 8-10 tweets per day (on topics of interest)
  • most tweets contain links, hashtags or other tweeps
  • there are no bursts of more than 2 tweets that immediately follow one another

In your case it was the volume of tweets that put me off and the very wide range of the topics that became less useful to me. You obviously put a lot of effort into tweeting and all your information is professional and I am sure your audience appreciates it.

For my blog reading I use the http://postrank.com service where only ‘popular’ blog posts from high-volume blogs arrive in my Google Reader news stream. I guess we need something similar for tweets.

It was always my assumption that most tweeps were impervious to being unfollowed, this being a natural feature of Twitter itself. I suppose now we can have access to sophisticated Twitter analysis tools that alert us to unfollows as they happen. Is this making us more paranoid? I am sure we all have our own rules for following and unfollowing on Twitter but I thought I would record mine here for the record.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

One Response to Giving Reasons for an Unfollow on Twitter

  1. David Tangye says:

    I guess some tweeps must be getting more sophisticated and focussed on building and keeping followers. It reminds me of marketing departments in corporates: followers = prospects or customer base. With more tools on hand to analyse their tweep-base I wonder how long before some will be automailing tweeps that unfollow.

    Personally, I unfollow based on similar rules as you, and have refollowed one or two ppl subsequently too. If I used a better tool than the Metrist client embedded in my browser, or the original Twitter website, perhaps I would follow more. We Meddle or Tweetdeck might do I guess, but then if I grouped them, I wonder if I would be forever switching through all groups so I would not “miss anything”, which would be a defeating the purpose of using that facility. 🙂

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