Econsultancy recently mass unfollowed over 19K people. This is neither new nor a unique strategy. Maki (doshdosh) did the same a while back. So did Scoble and a host of others. Each have their own reasons, but Econsultancy states:
It is impractical to follow 19,000 people. Too much noise has rendered our @econsultancy Twitter account unusable.
I am not surprised to be honest. In fact I am more surprised that they have promised to selectively restart adding people to their stream. I am pretty much a small fish in a huge pond, but I am nearing over 3K people myself. It is pretty impractical to follow everyone, as the noise to information ratio goes commpletely out of whack for me. Dont get me wrong, there are people who can manage that ratio pretty well. I, unfortunately am not one of them.
That doesnt mean that I ignore people that follow me. I often used to troll through streams of followers conversations and chat to them. To me, twitter is all about conversation and adding value. Typically you will see a high ratio of retweets from me and of me because I have taken time to build relationships with people. I could probably go so far as saying that after SEOmoz, Twitter was my reason for rise to noteriety. In my opinion, Econsultancy are doing the right thing. After all, in the words of @lakey:
Incidentally, our subscription business predated our activity on Twitter by six years, and hasn’t yet reached a critical mass. In that sense, Twitter isn’t make or break for our business.
Although I would argue that twitter did in some respect add to their exposure, I sincerely believe that it is the new friendly site architecure, the amazing quality of content that they have produced on the blog in the recent year that should take the lion’s share of the credit. I remember saying as much a while back to Chris (@lakey).
What would I suggest they do? Twittter has this fantastic facility that has made my life genuinely easier on twitter. And that facility is the capability of building lists without having to follow everyone one it. In fact I probably have the highest subscribed UK SEO list. It allows me to keep an eye on what UK SEO’s are saying, without having to add them on to my own stream or to create a secondary a/c to do so. My honest opinion is that Econsultancy should spend some time classifying their followers and segmenting them into these lists, and monitor their conversations from there, if they want to listen to what their followers are saying.
I dont take unfollows or the lack or recipricol follows personally. The Screenshot above is a real indication of a/cs that I follow that dont follow me. Some a/c’s are obvious why they dont, however others I know, I speak to often, or are even friends with me on Facebook. Each have their own reasons, and I have never asked. Why should I? I simply assume that my tweets are of no use to them, or adds too much noise to their streams. That is the beauty of twitter. There aren’t hard and fast rules. You learn as you go, and you adjust to your own communities. I have my niche, and I find I fit well within it. Some of my friends however arent so forgiving…
What would I advise those new (and some not so new!) to twittter? My bigggest piece of advice is to reach out. At least to me and other like minded people. I am not a rockstar, despite a large number of followers. I do it all the time. And it works!
Some other useful resources:
- 7 Lessons for Better Networking with Social Media
- How To Use Twitter If You Are Exactly Like Me
- Twitter 101: Clarifying The Rules For Newbies
- Friend or Follow, manage your peeps
- Discussion – Travel companies and their Twitter ratios
Rishi Lakhani is an independent Online Marketing Consultant specialising in SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media. Explicitly.Me is his Blog. Google Profile