Why I Unfollowed Everyone on Twitter



Yes. I recently unfollowed 16,100 people on Twitter. Here is my story.

Once upon a time there was a land named Twitterville. It was inhabited by 2000 wonderful, loving, geeky people. They shared stories, laughed at RTs, and wore t-shirts with blue birds on it.  I was a citizen of Twitterville. And, then, things changed.

Oprah and Ashton Kutcher found Twitterville. All of a sudden, Twitterville was overrun by people. 65 million people to be exact. The little town grew up to be a honking country of its own. I accepted that. I followed back anyone who followed me.

But, as time went on, crime increased in the Twitterverse. I received more and more spam; robots would greet me in the guise of friends, and pretty soon, I didn’t connect with people like I used to. Something was lost.

Social Media is About Finding What Works For You

Time and time again, I tell clients that they need to find their own sweet spot with social media. That they have to find what works for them and then follow through with it.

For me, it wasn’t working to follow tens of thousands of people anymore. I found that I was only conversing with the people who replied to me or mentioned me in a tweet. And, I really enjoyed connecting with them! I wondered, where are these people hiding? How come I never actually see them in my twitter feed? But, that’s what happens when your Twitter stream updates 60 times a minute. You miss things.

I’ve already received a few “what the heck is Shama thinking?”  tweets. Some took it personally and attacked me for unfollowing them.  I get it, and I apologize to those whom I may have hurt with my unfollowing. It wasn’t personal.  When I speak, I often tell people that Twitter is a global human search engine. You get to create the network you want to pull information from. My current network was akin to subscribing to 2000 channels, when I truly just watch 2 or 3, and TiVo the rest.

Are there tools that allow you to manage a huge following? Yes! I have been using Tweetdeck for the past year. And, while some of my colleagues can manage and juggle that beautifully, I find that it isn’t for me. I needed to create some space in order to truly use Twitter effectively.

What’s next?

In a recent interview I gave to Texas CEO Magazine, I was asked to describe my job. What role did I play in my company? And, I shared the answer which had dawned on me a few weeks prior, it is to create value.

My job, is simply, to create value for my clients, for my readers, for my audience, and yes… for my Twitter followers. Anything that gets in the way of adding value is keeping me from doing my job.

I will follow people again. In fact, I’ve already started. If you @Shama me on Twitter, I will respond. If you mention something that I find interesting,  I’ll @ you.

But, this time, it is going to be much more purposeful. In a small town where everyone knows each other, you can keep your doors unlocked and welcome all. As the town grows into its own universe, with heroes and villains alike, you have to be more conscious of who you invite in.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosauraochoa/3939487692/

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