This week for our She Said, He Said posts we decided to tackle use of services like Twunfollow to grow a following or curate your network. I lead off today with my take and Shelby will follow up tomorrow. Due to the kickoff of football season with a Packer’s game tomorrow, #shehechat will not take place over on Twitter at 8 p.m. CST like normal. We’ll return next week, but with guest co-host @Einley since Shelby will be on vacation.
Twunfollow is a service that monitors your Twitter account and lets you know by email once a day who has un-followed you. You might be wondering why you should even care who un-follows you? Using Twunfollow, I spotted some interesting trends in the un-follow process. Make no mistake that for many people following and then almost immediately un-following you is a tactic to grow their follower numbers. So, if your goal is a curated and useful network, you need tools like Twunfollow to help you manage those who follow you and who you follow back.
Trends in the Twitter un-follow process
One recent Twunfollow email I received said 32 people had un-followed me. Of that number, I had only been following 3 of them back and I had no recollection of ever engaging with any of those three. It happens. When they followed me, their profiles looked interesting or they had close geographic ties to me. As I looked at the remaining 29, I saw several things.
- Suspended accounts
- People with only a 1,000 followers but following close to 2,000
- People with close to 2,000 followers but only following a few hundred
Until recently, the email included the date that person had followed you. When it did include that information, I found it interesting that more than 90 percent of the people that un-followed me had only be following for 24-48 hours. In other words, if I didn’t follow them back I was of no value to them.
Why did they follow me in the first place? They are probably using a service to get their follower counts up. There is a misconception on Twitter that having more followers is what it’s all about. I’d take my 4,000+ followers (most of whom I’ve engaged with at some point over the last three years) over having 40,000 followers who I don’t know.
Someday I may have 40,000 followers but I’ll know I gained them because I’m interesting and engaging, not because I simply followed them back. If I utilized schemes and tactics to gain 40,000 followers, how authentic would that network be? It wouldn’t be.
Twunfollow as part of a list curation strategy
When I wrote “Will I follow you back,” I didn’t specifically mention Twunfollow but it is a tool I use to keep the list of folks I follow on Twitter pretty tight. When someone shows up on the Twunfollow email that I am following, I take the time to look at their profile and stream and see if they add value to my stream. Sometimes that means I un-follow them because I realize whatever value I initially saw is perhaps no longer there.
There are some things to watch out for. The Twitter API can be flaky. One of my best friends on Twitter is @Einley. Several times a week, Twitter just decides we aren’t supposed to be friends and un-follows @Einley for me. It doesn’t matter how many times I follow her back. Don’t just assume a friend has dumped you. This isn’t high school. The technology is not perfect and remember that some people use tactics to grow their following. Those people could be your friends and you might just be collateral damage in the scheme, which is why I don’t like schemes to grow your following.
How do you feel about the techniques so many users are utilizing to grow a following and do you think it really works or benefits them? I say no, but maybe I’m wrong. Please let me know what you think. Of course, Shelby will share her thoughts in tomorrow’s post to wrap up this She Said, He Said topic.