A couple of years ago, a woman who was part of a community I managed took it to heart every time someone stopped following her on Twitter. She monitored her account very closely and each morning ceremoniously announced with a “Buh Bye!” all the people who unfriended her the day before. Though I would probably be hurt if a close friend or someone I built a relationship with over the past year dropped me from a friends list, I also understand why people who don’t really know me decide not to follow me. It could be because we don’t agree in many areas or that I Tweet too much. I know that it’s not personal and I don’t take it that way. That’s why I don’t understand the practice of publicly shaming unfollowers.
A few months ago I was going through my Facebook friends and realized I didn’t know half the people who I allowed to view my profile. Unlike Twitter, the people who have access to my status on Facebook have access to much of my personal life including pictures of my family, local events, and conversations with intimate friends, family and neighbors. I decided it was time to rethink my Facebook strategy and edited the list to only include family, friends and a few social media people who I enjoy. I created pages for my former freelance writing blog and Kommein so that those wishing to receive updates or keep track from a business standpoint could do so while allowing me to have a private life.
I also did a mass unfollow on Twitter over the weekend. Again it was nothing personal. Many of the people I unfollowed didn’t even follow me in return, but it wasn’t even about reciprocity. Some people hadn’t updated in over a year, some people are too negative, some just want drama and controversy, and some people I just don’t know or agree with. I followed plenty of people on the recommendation of others, or automatically because they followed me first and we just didn’t jibe. It’s not a personal thing at all. People move on. I’m not into cliques and exclusive clubs but neither do I believe we have to be friend’s with people we don’t necessarily get along with.
Oh For Goodness Sakes…
So I was kind of surprised when I saw this Tweet this morning:
I recently lost a follower, and thanks to http://who.unfollowed.me I know it was @debng #whounfollowedme
This is one of the more polite Twitter unfollow messages I’ve come across. Some are rude and I’ve even seen fights break out. I’m not sure I see the logic in shaming the people who don’t follow us. People drift apart. Relationships don’t always last. I get it if it’s someone we care about, and in that case I might contact the other party to see if I can repair the relationship. But a total stranger? What’s up with that?
Darn It, It’s Nothing Personal
Now, I understand being curious about people who unfollow, but I don’t understand why the public shame announcement? I liken it to a party. When we’re at a party we talk to different people. Some people we get along with very well and others…not so much. We may take phone numbers and email addresses for the people who shared common interests and goals, but the people who we don’t quite see eye to eye, we mostly likely won’t pursue a relationship.
If you’re going to be active with lots of friends and followers, you’ll have to consider that people will unfollow you on a daily basis. Most of the time it’s because they realize they have nothing in common or that you don’t share the same philosophy. If you wouldn’t yell at a co-worker or acquaintance from a street corner because she’s not your BFF, why would you do it on Twitter?
Am I off base? Would love to get your thoughts on this one.