Recently, a very well-known Internet marketer published a blog post about his so-called Twitter Unfollow experiment. Chris Brogan claimed the reason that he was unfollowing his 130,000 followers was because he was getting way too many spammy auto DMs. Whatever his reasoning may be, it’s ultimately his choice. But, that didn’t stop a massive amount of backlash and haters coming out to question his audacity to unfollow everyone.
If anything, following the social media and blog backlash from the outside proved to be an interesting look at human psychology and behavior. I observed four main types of people through just by perusing the 370+ comments of his blog post. (Talk about comment section gold!)
The Majority Who Didn’t Notice Or Really Care
There were a good chunk of people, like myself, who could care less and may or may not have even noticed that he unfollowed us. That’s probably because most of us do the same thing, just not so publicly. I do it all the time. For me, it’s too keep myself sane, engaged and my stream spam-free. I even unfriended people on Facebook, and I even wrote a post about it a little over a year ago. It’s natural to organize and declutter from time to time.
Then, there were the #TeamFollowBack people. The ones, who want reciprocity, and believe that if they follow someone, the other person should be entitled to follow them back.
That’s simply never the case. Nobody should ever feel entitled to follow someone back. People should follow people based on the value of the content they share and/or engagement not out of entitlement. These are also the ones, who tie their number of Twitter followers to their inherent self worth. That’s just sad, if you ask me.
The “Anti-Social Claim”
Others weren’t really looking for validation or a boost to their numbers, like Team #FollowBack. They viewed the mass unfollowing as an “anti-social” media practice. They view having a close following-to-follower ratio as good social media protocol. It gives the illusion that the person is engaged and paying attention to their followers.
But, here’s the thing. It’s just an illusion. Many spambots do the same thing, and they are certainly anti-social media. The only real way to know how “social” a Twitter user is by going through their stream. Just because they only follow 1/20th of their followers isn’t an automatic excuse to rule them as unsocial. For them, it could be the most they can follow and process.
The last crowd was the most vocal, but definitely the smallest. They thought they were right, and he just broke all the “social media rules.”
Here’s the thing there really aren’t any rules on Twitter. There is certain etiquette and protocols that we want people to follow, but it’s just that a suggested guideline not a hard rule. This is exactly what Chris wrote in his post, “There are norms that are amplified in the digital space where there are fewer signals to follow. But the rules are all an imaginary set that you can test for yourself all you want.”
How do you decide who to follow and unfollow? Do you follow any suggested guidelines from other Twitter users? Please share in the comment section below.