15 Mar“Don’t follow us on Twitter…”

So here’s my thought. Tell me if you think I’m wrong. Or right.

“If you follow out of obligation, you’ve not helped anyone.”

Here’s my argument for this:
Does following someone who tweets primarily about fly fishing in Alaska really create meaningful connections. Does it help you to stay current in your field? Who are you actually benefiting if you follow out of obligation?

I would argue that the power of a network is not merely in it’s numbers, but also in its loyalty and its relevance to a central idea, pasison or value-set.

If I have a number of regular tweeps in my stream who actively tweet things that have no relevance to me they gain nothing. Not only that, but I’m now not seeing a more relevant tweet for every one one that ISN’T relevant to me. That sucks.

Furthermore, I’m following out of obligation and am annoyed by their six hundredth tweet about Alaskan bass. A negativite emotionality may develop with them and the whole of the Twitter platform as a result. If my irritation prevents or delay my participation on the network, the entire network potentially looses out from my absence.

Yeah, I’m that crazy.

Meanwhile all this same stuff is going on for the other party too. They can’t unfollow you because they’re afraid that you’ll unfollow them and end their world. Or loose a sale, whichever comes first.

Anyway. We all loose. Nobody wins. Just follow what’s relavant. The end.

And be sure you don’t follow me on ‘the Twitter’ at @JoshuaGuffey

Your thoughts?

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Joshua Guffey

Project Manager at Dependable Data Services
Father. Husband. Search Marketing Professional. Conversion Optimization Consultant. Love Rumi.
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  • The problem with Twitter is public following and follower counts. There’s no reason why this information should be public. People end up managing the numbers instead of building a real network.

    A great example is this. The other day I had someone tweet one of my articles. She had more than 30,000 followers and sent me less than 10 clicks. Yet, today, someone else with less than 10,000 followers tweeted an article and sent more than 50 clicks.

    Food for though…

    • Joshua Guffey

      I agree Derek. Thanks for your comment!

      I try not to give much attention or credence to a person’s ‘numbers’. I’m certain that often times these inflated numbers are simply the result of a mutual auto-follow scheme (or other automation) that both parties have opted into. My guess is that there’s little or no value there. Possibly many of these followers are inactive accounts of past spam projects gone fizzle, which of course, aren’t monitored or valued since they are really an attempt at forcing a broadcast media strategy into a social media space.

      There’s also the factors of trust, loyalty and relevance. My guess Derek, is that because of your reputation, your followers are significantly more apt to follow some tweet-advice that you offer than say…followers of someone whose been cramming irrelevant products and services down their throat. One has to wonder if those who follow spammer types ever even use Twitter since the tendency would be to unfollow a pushy tweeter who is not connecting with you in any relevant way.

      I really like your example. It’s very illustrative of this problem. Thanks for including it. =)

      Is there such a thing as ‘too open’?

  • Nope.
    You’re missing something: not everything your friends talk about is “relevant.”
    We build relationships based not just on what we have in common, but also on what we don’t have in common, but can learn to appreciate through the eyes of others.

    That guy fly-fishing & tweeting in Alaska? That could be the guy who gives you an insight that the guy who shares your “central idea, passion or value-set” won’t ever think of.

    While I agree that there should never be an obligation to follow someone – I suspect you’ll miss out on some amazing people simply because you didn’t think what they were tweeting about was ‘relevant.’

    • Joshua Guffey

      Lucretia,

      You’re right.

      I’ve been thinking more about this since getting feedback like yours. In fact, getting a more rounded view on this quandary was part of the reason for writing this post.

      In a nutshell: my brain wants to consume applicable, quantifiable-blah-blah-blah…

      It isn’t that I have anything personally against Mr. Fly Fisher (or, for that matter, that sci-fi novel I want to read), it’s simply the result of a brain that has long valued the idea of efficiency and productivity too much.

      Inspiration rarely comes from the space it is meant to inform and to limit one’s self to ‘the relevant’ too much tends to shrink our areas of interest rather than expand them.

      I’ve noticed that just from opening this topic, I’ve started following people whom I wouldn’t have previously. It feels good to spread out.

      Thank you for your comment. =)

  • Josh!
    In my recent incarnation on twitter I have been more careful in who I follow.

    Everett Bogues reminded me in his ebook (Art of Being a Minimalist) Dunbar’s Number(law)

    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/10/the-penalty-for-violating-dunbars-law.html

    Although we can follow a bajillion people, ultimately you are not really having conversations with most of them. What’s social about that?

    I started to maintain the people I follow to those I genuinely have conversations with… even if it is Mr. Alaskan Bass Fisher. But I have stopped following simply because they are following.

    I will follow if conversation is flowing and ideas are being shared. That’s being social.

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