Why It’s a Terrible Idea to Unfollow Everyone on Twitter

Joel Drapper recently made a post which was titled “Why I Unfollowed Everyone on Twitter and Why You Should Too.” While I am friends with Joel and think he is a bright fifteen year old blogger and web designer, I strongly disagree with this post.

After reading his post, I started thinking about this subject quite a bit, and these are the three main reasons I came up with as to why it is a terrible idea to unfollow everyone on Twitter:

Photo from carebear_y

  1. Burns Bridges: When you follow someone on Twitter, it’s like you are giving them a virtual handshake and saying, “Hey, I followed you because I think you’re interesting, so let’s connect!” However, when you turn around and unfollow the same person, you are telling them, “Hey, I am no longer interested in you, goodbye!” Doing this on a mass scale is obviously going to alienate a significant portion of your fellow Tweeps. You may not have a problem burning that bridge right now, but you never know when failing to maintain that relationship is going to hurt you in the future (such as realizing you need a favor but can’t go to any of the people who you alienated).
  2. Doesn’t Allow You to Truly Connect: Twitter is a great way to connect with other people and get their feedback. However, this doesn’t work when you go on a mass unfollowing spree. In Joel’s case, the net results of his mass unfollow is he now how has 9500 followers and at last look was, following around 88 people. So, when he tweets something, he is effectively having a one way conversation with approximately 9400 people. This means that while they are getting his tweets, he will not ever get their messages (which could be quite helpful).
  3. Takes Away from the Value of Twitter: If you decide that you are going to unfollow just about everyone on your list down the road, you are probably going to start following anyone and everyone without any hesitation (since you know that you are going to end up unfollowing them soon). Doing this takes away a lot of the value of Twitter. I think it’s important to put at least a little thought into who you decide to follow. For example, I look at several things when deciding whether or not to follow someone. I look at their follower to following ratio, their bio and website, and then make a decision if it looks like someone I’d like to connect with.

Now, keep in mind that I’m not saying that you can’t ever unfollow people. In fact, I don’t think anyone should be obligated to follow someone back simply because they follow you. Also, if you decide you don’t likesome one’s tweets or their personality, you have every right to unfollow them. However, there is a big difference between making that kind of decision and unfollowing nearly ten thousand people at once.

If you have reached a point where you feel like your Twitter account has become unmanageable and you are thinking about a huge massunfollowing , a less antisocial decision would be to close your account and start back from zero (this way you can get things under control without burning any bridges).

However, you honestly don’t need to take this extreme of a measure. With tools like TweetDeck, you can create different groups of people, which will allow you to divide up the people you are following based on their importance to you. Using tools like TweetDeck , I am able to effectively manage my Twitter stream of over sixty thousand people. In addition to initiating lots of interactions, I answer most @replies and direct message. Sometimes, I’ll even take things to the next level by talking to some of my followers onSkype, the telephone or meeting them in real life!