“You follow me and I’ll follow you back”
What a load of rubbish.
People on Twitter who say that in their bio – or in their tweets – really don’t get it. Tit-for-tat following adds no value to you or to the social web. It tells us nothing about you, apart from the fact that you want to be liked – a lot. And mostly by people you don’t really know.
What an opportunity we have with the social web. By finding like-minded individuals, and sometime not-like-minded individuals, with whom to interact, we can become informed and enriched. And used appropriately (there’s a loaded word, but I’m choosing to be optimistic) by businesses, we can also discover things that we might not have otherwise found, from new bands to new books to new services.
How will these things work if we are connected to anyone and everyone? We’ll never find anything or know anything. We’ll see nothing but a blur of status updates and useless ephemera whizzing past our eyes. It would be unsustainable and complete insanity.
We few, we happy few…
I’m proud to only follow 227 people on Twitter. I’m only going to add someone new if they add something to my life; through quality content or simply quality content curation. And sometimes I’m going to remove some of them. It’s nothing personal, they just don’t fit in with what I’m looking for anymore.
I’d expect nothing more the other way around.
Back in 2009, GigaOm produced an article asking why people didn’t follow back. There were lots of reasons – you can read them here – but here’s a clue: if people aren’t following you, even though you follow them, it’s probably because you’re not sharing anything that appeals to them. Let’s stop chasing followers and be proud of the followers we do have, and hopefully share content that will keep them following us.
So, thank you to those 227 people I follow. And thank you to the next 227, whenever you come around. And for those that don’t follow back: it’s okay, I forgive you…