Monday, February 9, 2009

Twitter : Why unfollow who dont follow you?

Twitter is supposed to be a Micro-Blogging site. There most people speak, but few people listen. There are even people who neither listen, nor speak. And surprisingly, there are a lot of computer bots acting like Humans and fooling the audience.

Twitter has influenced our lives a lot, and for me second largest contributor of traffic to my blog after Google is Twitter! And that comes in just 2 months.
I have also plans for using this platform to market InRev Products and Services via Twitter. Does this mean, I am going to add junk to it? Well, the answer is very much NO, and partly YES. I will however try to make it very pleasent for my followers and not bumbard lots of ads or feeds; but will certainly engage in meaningful communication to grow my business.

I was constantly thinking for sometime, should we follow people who dont follow back? My answer is a clear NO. Here are the reasons WHY!

1. No meaningful conversation
If you are not friend but a follower, you cannot have a meaning conversation. This will hurt your interest, and frustrate you of Social Media and Twitter.

2. Why favor someone while you are not reciprocated?
This is another tricky thing. There is a saying, "There are two qualities of a successful man; 1. His friends are successful 2. he reads good books". Better push your friends and they will pull you too. Why push someone and give him good exposure when he does not care you.

3. Lack of Online Help
Twitter's best use is to ask few what you want to know and get the answer. This is better than Google as it is Human Involved search. People who dont follow you don't see you question; forget to get answer from them.

4. Stars in real Life does not need to be followed in Twitter
Well this is personal choice. I have no complaint if you follow @barackobama or @britneyspears; but I will certainly not do. They are good at their place and I am not interested to know when they have lunch and when they have a shower. If anything important comes, I will get form the news and my Twitter friends will let me know. I don't want to make all the real life stars look big in Social Media too; I would love to see new people becoming stars like @guykawasaki @unmarketing @justinrfrench @mayhemstudios etc. (and prob you and me :D)
You may rethink if you want to keep following your favorite artists.

5. Dont ever push the indifferent friends
I have seen many people following their real life friends even through the friend is not a active Twitter user. This adds no value; and more so if he does not even care to follow you back.

6. If you are not follow anyone, you wont lose anything
Twitter is a network of people. I am sure there are many people who dont like me, but I am happy there are also a bunch of people who like me. I would better be with the later ones. Why bother about others? Right!
If I dont follow anyone, I am sure one of my friends would be following him and I will get any important Tweet that comes in Twittersphere. It is explained by the Market Law, "If something is important in the market, you will know it."

7. Care about your time; but dont over-run
You can never be faster in knowing anything. Its just that, you will know. Zeroth Law of Market says, "Never invest just because you know something. If you know anything, everybody knows it." So following someone, you wont beat time.

8. Less the people more the care
If you follow less people and targeted people, you can share your love among them and increase your influence. While if you engage yourself in reading and RTing people who don't follow you, you lose your relevance in your friends' network too. Love, hate, care and ignore; all of these are reciprocated by human brain in most general cases. Do the same, and get highly connected network and increased bonding.

9. You wont get dumped in Junk; just manage it better
Worried about auto-follow, and too much junks like auto DMs and feeds? Well, dont be. Twitter is gonna be much better. You will soon get tools to filter the junk feeds while not annoying the feeder. One way of doing it to maintain group in TweetDeck and give higher importance to the group members. Better tools should be coming; will let you know.
Actions rewarded, gets repeated. So if there are people who throw too much of junk; dont just unfollow but block him altogether!! This is the best return you can give to them.

10. You arent makeing Twitter monotonous; you are building relations
Few of my friends believe if everyone starts following others, Twitter becomes too monotonous. I disagree. There can be many inter-connected groups; it will be better modeled in a complex network of many segments where few nodes are common in more than one segments.
Result: lesser distance within the segments i.e. similar minds together; larger distance between different groups i.e. dissimilar minds away!! This will fuel the happiness index of the Twitter users, and thus make Twitter a better palce to be in.

Have any comments? Drop in here. Or mail me. Will look forward to hearing from you. 

If you like this article, follow me @leplan.


writer111 said...

Great article! I agree that following those who do not follow you does not make much sense, especially given the "2,000 follower limit" rule for the beginner Twitters. I linked to you at

Best regards! Ugur

Tychicuss said...

I agree! But I am much more conservative, I enjoy a few WISE friends.

Bhupendra said...

Thanks for the good words and the follow up. You have made a good 11th point. Liked it.

Thanks for your view. Appreciate it.


Deep Sherchan said...

Its very interesting article with some interesting arguments.

Truely, there must be no question on, following those who are following you. Be Social.

Cogiva said...

There are a few people out there who's opinions and thoughts I enjoy, they're proabblynot interested in the tweets that I make. And thats ok with me. Happy to follow them, but in the main, I agree, most of them I unfollow!

The San Diego IT Guy said...

If you are interested in learning the BUSINESS value of social networking, twitter, etc. then i would suggest you subscribe to @leplan on twitter and of course this blog- this guy knows his stuff and is a HUGE value provider. Thanks again @Leplan

Bhupendra said...

Thanks Deep, Cogiva and Justin. Appreciate your views.


seosoeasy said...

Amazing posts and i had valuable time in reading.Well said in points #1,#3,#7 and #11.Thanks for your effort made.

Tina said...

I don't follow everyone that follows me on my personal id. I follow those that interest me because of what they are saying. I follow two 'stars' because they are geeks as well. On my other id which is not business but info/help I follow everyone that follows me with a few exceptions, no point in following obvious spam ids. I set off on there following same subject ids to get started and used my personal id to help it along. Personally I want to keep up with everyone I follow as much as I can. So far I've only removed one person for 'noise'. The rest were suspect or deleteted accounts that I learnt to spot. Even if i go interact with someone else I don't always (mostly not) follow them I aim to keep it that way. I presume I get more followers because I help others in my subject matter. The info type id is a tool to give helpful links in my subject matter. Best advice - just be yourself.

Bhupendra said...

Thanks Seosoeasy and Tina. Appreciate your feedback.


Ian Brodie said...

This is nonsense.

There are many reasons for following someone. Some can be conversation (in which case there's not much point in following if they don't follow you - you can't hold a conversation 1-way).

But a lot of the value of twitter is in the insights shared by people tweeting. If someone is tweeting high value content - interesting, funny or valuable stuff - why on earth would you unfollow them just because they're not following you?

I get great value from Guy Kawasaki and Darren Rowse's tweets - and some of the internet marketers on here. Why on earth should they follow me before I listen to them?

If someone came on and tweeted something absolutely wonderful, something that changed your life or made you a million dollars - would you ignore it because they weren't following you?

Of course not.


WidgetWoman said...

There will always be some that I follow, even if they don't have a clue about me.

Breaking IM news can be worth gold.

A Freebird said...

I have to say that, while I respect what you're saying, I completely disagree. Twitter's not about building numbers for the sake of building numbers. If someone follows me and I've looked through a page or two or their tweets and don't feel like I'm all that interested in what they're saying, then I won't follow back. Call me rude, but that takes away from the value of my TweetDeck when people I'm not interested in are taking up space and pushing the tweets down of people I am interested in.

Now by no means will I ever completely rule out people who follow me. Every so often I will take a look at my followers and if I see I'm not following someone who's following me, I'll check out their page again and see if it's worth the follow. They may have changed since last I checked and started talking about something in which I'm interested, so then I'll follow. I'm not able to spend as much time as I like on Twitter, so I have to limit who I follow so when I do check for updates they will be of value to me personally and/or professionally.

I don't mean to come off as high-ended. Many of the people I follow don't follow me back and I am completely OK with that. I don't feel insulted. If their content is valuable to me and I am able to learn from their tweets or connect with other people, I will continue to follow them without feeling "slighted" b/c they didn't follow me back. Maybe my tweets aren't that interesting to them. I'm over it.

PS: I still enjoyed the article, though, and the other comments. You have some great content, so look for a follow from @JHirz soon. :)

Bhupendra said...

Ian, Widget woman and Freebird,
Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. The most important part of social media is to build relations while enjoying each moment. If you are having that, its all fine.

Respect your views. Enjoy.


Natalie said...

great post. thanks for sharing...

julie adore said...

J'adore !

Kathryn/ said...

1) I agree with Ian. Twitter gives me access to folks I would not normally have THIS KIND of access to. They are interesting and I am learning.

2) Why do people keep making up RULES for Twitter? Twitter is in its infancy. We are making this up as we go along. I think it's fine to say what has worked for you, but why extend that to someone else, especially something that is new? You yourself have just announced that you intend to use differently. Most likely everyone on Twitter is finding his or her way to use and we are all different so most likely we will all come up with different reasons/uses/ etc. Twitter is the microcosm of our bigger Macrocosm. Change is at the bottom of all of that. The Forbes article had it right in detailing how different people were using Twitter differently.

3) Find what works for YOU.

4) I follow TONS of people who "don't follow me."
Twitter is microblogging. Do I expect every blogger to read my blog simply because I read theirs?

5) Many people follow me on Twitter whom I do not follow. I don't see them unfollowing...

6) I personally see Twitter as a vehicle for social change. E.g, Twestival/TED Conference

AC said...

I personally believe that some Twitter users are confusing "following" with something akin to "friending" on Facebook.

It's still absolutely possible to have meaningful exchanges with people you aren't following (and vice versa) with the '@reply' syntax, which is a fundamental part of the Twitter experience.

And while I myself have no interest in following Britney Spears/Stephen Fry/whomever, I do follow a lot of people and read their Tweets with great interest, despite them not reciprocating.

Frank Penkala said...

Many possible interpretations of the following / follower ratio:
interested / interesting
student / teacher
boring / blowhard
curious / fascinating

Everyone likely to have their own ratio spin and mix. No point over-analyzing; learn / share.

SupComTabz said...

Very well thought out post, but I cringe when people start giving "advice" on how to use Twitter. It's not about a right or wrong - it's about what works best for you. Some people don't mind following a bunch of people who don't follow them back because they have @ conversations with them - because they learn something or because they're interested in what they say. They use Twitter almost like a blog reader in that sense.

LG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edward G. Talbot said...

A very well reasoned blog post, thank-you. I would suggest that it does suffer from unnecessarily limiting assumptions about the goals of using twitter. I could list ten reasons to follow someone who wouldn't follow me. Maybe someone who posts links to valuable blog posts. Maybe someone who says things that make me laugh (like author Joe Hill). The best and highest use of twitter does not have to be two way communication, although that certainly is an important one.

It's a new way of doing things, and most self-imposed limitations are going to wind up being just that - limitations

Dennis D. McDonald said...

Great and thoughtful post. It again points out that there are many different reasons for using Twitter and that you need to figure out which way works for you. I use it to hopefully make new connections but others use it primarily as an advertising and promotion network. As long as we can "unfollow" the system supports multiple uses. I just hope it stays simple to use. (For more on this topic see ).

Dennis McDonald
Alexandria, Virginia USA

debweb said...

Bhupendra ~ You've put a lot of energy and work into creating this blog and your twitter programming. Great job! And I agree with many comments here.

I follow those who have bits of wisdom and good things to say, while they may not be following me. Others follow me, who I may not be interested in their line of thought. Blessings, Debby

Luisa Santiaga said...

I loved ur article, i was asking myself about it a few days ago, follow or no? great blog! i'm going to follow u for sure at twitter!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you on this.

There seems to be some weird idea that following people & then unfollowing those who don't follow you back is spam - how??

Spam is about autotweeting spammy crap, or manually tweeting rubbish - and if anyone who I follows fills up my twitter page with this kind of garbage I'll unfollow them & block them - but why is folowing lots of people & unfollowing those who don't follow back, spam? It's just not.

As far as I'm concerned - for me Twitter is about conversation. Other people are free to see twitter as being about whetever they feel it's about for them, for finding out information, for broadcasting but not reading - that's fine, but you can't expect everyone else to have the same outlook on twitter, or anything for that matter.

So for me, and for a lot of people, twitter is about conversation, and a conversation is 2 way - personally I am not interested in being broadcasted to, if I wanted that I'd just join someones email list - so I am only interested in listening to people who're also interested in listening to me, 2 way - if I follow someone & they make it clear they only want to talk & they don't want to listen, then I'll unfollow them, I'm not interested in that.

I'm not saying that anyone who does continue following people who don't follow back are wrong - that's your choice - but people who do this shouldn't assume that everyone else has to do the same.

For those people who only want a few friends, then fine - what is the problem if people follow you & then unfollow when you don't follow them back? If you're not bothered about what they have to say, then surely you're not bothered about them unfollowing you?

@Ian Brodie, I disagree.

What you're saying is that you don't mind being broacast to - you don't mind someone saying "hey, you should listen to me, because I am worth listening to - but I have no interest in what you may have to say"

If this works for you, them fine - no one is saying that you cannot follow those who don't follow you back, but I think most people would agree that with a limit on the number of people that you can follow, we don't really want to waste this on people who see twitter as a platform for one way broadcasting.

Again - you're free to allow people to broadcast to you - but that doesn't mean everyone else has to be happy with that.

@WidgetWoman - yeah there may be the odd person that it is worth following who broadcast only & dont follow back, but if their stuff is that interesting & important, surely you'll be on their email list anyway?

But once again - however you use twitter is fine, but surely you agree that if I want to only follow people who follow back, that's fine too?

@Afreebird - no, twitter isnt about building numbers for the sake of it, of course not - but twitter is about whatever you make it about.

Although I agree it's not about building numbers for the sake of it - personally I see that twitter IS about building numbers, as long as you're not spamming, and you're using twitter in a healthy manner, contributing & taking part - then the more the merrier. Personally I want to follow & be followed by as many people as possible - for me twitter IS about the numbers, as long as it's also about the quality of the tweets I'm making, and seeing.

but again - you're free to see twitter as whatever it is to you.

@Julie Adore - EXACTLY! thank you. this is what I'm getting at, people keep saying "twitter is about this" "twitter is not about this" says who? Like anything, what it is, is what the user makes it, and as long as it's not being used for spammy automated tweeting - (which I think most people will agree holds no value for anyone) then there's no problem.

Thanks :0)


Chintan Zaveri said...

Thoughtful post! Agree partially. I negotiated an agreement with myself about this a few days ago:


Chintan Zaveri.

Thamar Zwiers said...

I follow people who I think/know they are interesting. Most of them can't follow me, because I usually write in Dutch; they write in English. When I think it's important/interesting I do write in English. But would an American musician want to know there are no bathrooms for the disabled in Dutch supermarkets, while I'm astonished at the fact there aren't any??? However; when I make progress in one of my hobbies/bussines I do write in English. What?! I even show pictures!

Jon Zorrer said...

I always follow everyone who follows me!!! No one is better than anyone else. Many people want more followers for social proof. Check me out @realestatexpert or you can follow me at

vanillacokehead said...

Twitter is a SOCIAL media site - and I fail to see the sense in following those who don't follow back. I think a key is keeping balance between following and followers numbers. I have a personal rule that I don't follow more than 100 users than the number following me. I prune the list of people I follow once a week or so and generally drop those I follow who don't end up following me; exceptions tend to be feeds I find useful or people I know from other social media sites.

I concentrate my social media involvement in three arenas: Twitter, my blog, and Facebook. The latter I tend to be fairly conservative on in terms of friending others since I consider it a venue for more private items - and use Twitter and my blog for things I don't mind airing in public.

I think a key to having an effective, enjoyable social media existence is to develop personal rules of engagement for online activity - and stick to them. I think articulating these rules of engagement encourages transparency and lets others know how one approaches their online existence. The link off my Twitter profile goes to a special page on my personal web site that gives Twitter users a chance to get to know me and lays out how I approach participating on Twitter:


Teasas Tips said...

I always try and follow those who follow me. However, if I notice that you have lots of followers, but only one update, then that doesn't look good. Great article!

Bhupendra said...

@Teasas,Fully agree with you.


Bill G. said...

I follow people who say things or who post links that are of interest to me. Hopefully, people follow me for the same reason. If we both happen to be following each other -- that's great and conversation may ensue. However, I am not going to stop following someone interesting just because my ego is hurt by his not following me. I am also not going to continue following someone boring or offensive just because he is following me.
billguinee said...

please do check out this poster "following without being followed is like.."

you dont have a functioning brain my friend :( said...

I disagree!
1.No meaningful conversation

do you indulge in conversations? I don't follow back spammers like you do.. you are such a looser!

2. Why favor someone while you are not reciprocated?

tell this to @mashable ans he will laugh.. tell this to @aplusk and he will say f**k you.. if you are confident that you have a good social media presence you will get followers automatically.. but those who follow you are bots / spam and this makes you a looser! the biggest looser from india who follows almost a population of a western country! what a shame

Less the people more the care
do you follow less ppl ? that means you dont care.. haha what a jerk your name bups sounds like boobs

You arent makeing Twitter monotonous; you are building relations ??

i see you are making nice relationship wioth spammers and bots and not indulging in conversations you are such a looser on twitter and how dare you blog about twitter tips... fuck you dude...

scribblin said...

Hi! As a new Twitter user, I'd like to point out that many of the people following me were uninvited and are either trying to sell me something or lure me to a porn site. I will not follow them, and I would be just as happy if they didn't follow me (I automatically block all porn followers and most sales followers). I don't desire the appearance of affirmation via large numbers of followers. I'm secure in who I am. I would rather have a few quality followers than lots of leeches. Just my opinion.

Karl said...

I choose who I want to interact with.

Lets get hypothetical. Bill follows Susan on twitter because Susan is an interesting and engaging microblogger. However, Bill says nothing that interests Susan in his tweets. Should she feel obliged to reciprocally follow him? No - she should not.

What you are suffering from here is the "delusion of equality": an Internet phenomenon that encourages everyone to think that what they have to say has the same value as everyone else. That's just not true, though. Some people are worth following, others are not.

Trudy said...

I somewhat agree with Karl's comment. I am not going to say you yourself suffer from a "delusion of equality" but the article emphasizes that somewhat.

I will follow friends who don't tweet loyalty to them goes beyond the land of Twitter.

I will NOT automatically follow anyone who follows me. I am a younger female and I have males who follow me where every single one of their tweets are hyper-sexualized, primitive and/or rude. I do not want to see that in my Tweet Deck and I have no obligation to follow them.

All men are created equal but not all tweets are created equal. I do like the "pointless babble" tweets that a recent study featured on Mashable outlined...I want to know some of the minutia in the lives of the people I follow as those small details can lead to greater conversation, but again, those are the people I choose to follow. I understand where you are coming from with this post, I just don't agree with you. Great post though.

Joel Hughes said...

interesting article but I do have to disagree.

I have "meaningful" conversations with people who don't follow me on Twitter. How? By using the reply/mention system - if your conversation is interesting enough (and the person is on the ball with their account) you'll get a response - if that person is interested enough then they may even follow you. It depends.

I'm certainly not insulted if I follow someone and they don't follow back - I think you're being too literal with Twitter if you think that is necessary.

Great post though and look forward to more!


nicktang said...

I disagree, the point of twitter is so that people can publish what is going on with them so others can see. I might follow someone because I have an interest in them but they do not require and interest in me. Clearly there are those who something to offer by following them (information etc) and those that dont.

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