Apologies to Sally Field for today’s title, but it seemed to fit in well with the theme of knowing when to un/follow someone -- not just in Twitter -- but in social media in general. It’s usually the case of full steam ahead in the beginning, adding people left, right and centre, only to find that … hmmm … people start to drop like flies after a while.
I’ve been using Qwitter for quite a while now, and it seems to work very well. It sends an e-mail update when a follower leaves you. And it also mentions the particular tweet that (possibly?) caused them to leave. I had two people depart after I tried to find a sad trombone sound. I mean, who couldn’t use a “Wah Wah Waahh” every now and again?
The upside is that new followers come in and take their place, so in the end the numbers even out. And the great thing is that the whole un/follow process means my Twitter community is constantly refreshing itself organically.
As mentioned before, I find a lot of value in following people that might not be in the social media or PR world. It brings a whole new raft of ideas to the table in learning how they become successful in their respective industries. Too much inward looking into the same fishbowl gets pretty boring and can make you stale.
Steven Hodson looks at the other angle: Could social media implode from too many friends?
He asks the question: “At what point does having all these friends become just ridiculous b******t because we really don’t know who these people are and for the most part we don’t care just as long as they follow us back?”
I can see Hodson’s point, but I thnk he is using “friend” in the wrong context. I have very few friends on Twitter or LinkedIn. I call friends on the phone and be social; I don’t need to see that they are having a coffee in Starbucks in 140 characters or less, or that they’ve updated their profile to say they now work as a director of marketing = I already know! If they really are a good friend then I probably bought them the coffee or provided a reference for them in their job hunt.
People too often mix up friends with colleagues with contacts with acquaintances (the latter is the most appropriate in defining the social media community: a. Knowledge of a person acquired by a relationship less intimate than friendship; b. A relationship based on such knowledge; c. A person whom one knows).
Friendships can take years to cultivate; acquaintances can take minutes.