I like to try new tools that augment the Twitter experience. Some have proven to be fantastic like Summize which Twitter eventually bought. For the past 6 weeks, I have subscribed to Qwitter. Qwitter is a tool that tracks when someone unfollows you on Twitter, and then sends you a notification along with the last tweet you sent before the unfollow. It is intended to let you know if you have posted some insensitive tweets and who has unfollowed. During my Qwitter tenure, 87 people have unfollowed me. You may think that is a large number, but more than 3 times as many people have followed me during the same time frame. Honestly, I see the Twitter community as a Learn, Try, Buy phenomenon. I may Learn about another user from seeing a friend respond to him/her. Subscribing is the trial phase and then sustained following is the Buy.
There may be many reasons why I unfollow someone. Perhaps I don’t find the person interesting, perhaps they are a little too focused on their own stuff, too chatty, perhaps they don’t follow me back, or perhaps I am just pruning my list.
Much has been written about Qwitter and unfollowing. Earlier this month Ken Burbary wrote a great post about the Sting of an Unfollow. Ken broke down motivations for unfollowing and the relative unimportance of being unfollowed. Aaron Strout recently blogged about Unfollows and Qwitter in which he shared his thoughts in an utter. Aaron talked about his motivations for unfollowing, understanding that you may not be someone’s cup of tea and the importance of following someone back. I agree with Aaron in that if you don’t follow me, I seldom feel the need to follow you. And most recently, Amber Naslund wrote a great post, The Fallacy of Qwitter. Amber rails on the obsession with knowing when someone leaves. She compares Twitter to Podcamp’s Law of Two Feet – “If you’re not finding value in what’s happening around you, get up, walk out. It’s nothing personal, it’s about creating a quality-saturated personal experience”. And as she says, “It’s impossible to please everyone. so don’t worry about it”.
Similar to everyone above, I try to not to take an unfollow too seriously. I do have a couple of interesting stories though. When I first joined Qwitter, I sent a Spam complaint out about one of the notorious spammers. A follower sent me a direct message that I should use the direct message approach because seeing my Spam alert was somewhat spammy. I didn’t give it much consideration until I got 6 qwitters after my note. Now I send @Spam a direct message. This may be the only benefit of using Qwitter that I have experienced. By the way, I find it ironic to get more Qwitters over a spam notification than a Sunday of cheering for the Jets—Go figure!
Then I got a Qwitter challenge (my only one) from Jeremy Epstein after I unfollowed him. it was delivered in an interesting manner, a Facebook friend request. At first, I was shocked to be challenged as to why I unfollowed him. For the record, it was because he never followed me back. Then I thought if the guy cares enough to ask and send me a FB friend request, I might as well follow him back. And so I did, and I even sent him to Ken’s post which you see below. An interesting aspect of this is Jeremy never followed me back. You can read Jeremy's post here.
I think Lawrence Liu said it best, I think some people take this way too seriously.