6 Reasons I’m Not Following You on Twitter

The Mashable Effect, via TwitterCounter
The Mashable Effect, via TwitterCounter

Twitter will not save your business model any more than a hammer will prevent foreclosure on the house you can’t afford.

Me, on Twitter

If you’re on Twitter because you think it will save publishing, qualify you as a marketing professional, or are hoping for the auto-follow to quickly increase your own followers, please save me the time and hassle of blocking you and unfollow me now.

Last week, I had the pleasure and honor of being named as one of 15 Twitter Users Shaping the Future of Publishing on Mashable, thanks to my former colleague Maria Schneider, and as you can see in the above chart, my followers have almost doubled as a result! Schneider flatteringly included me among a number of people I greatly admire and respect, especially Richard Nash, Dominique Raccah, Debbie Stier and Don Linn.  I’d recommend following all 15 of us, as well as Maria herself.

(Also, check out Hugh McGuire’s follow-up, 15 (More) Twitter Users Shaping the Future of Publishing and follow them all, too.)

Realistically speaking, though, even if you’re using Twitter for all the right reasons, I probably won’t follow you back.

I’ve been on Twitter for about a year and a half now, actively using it since January when I finally figured out how it could work best for me, and I’ve had a couple of very hard rules that have remained pretty consistent:

  1. 60:30:10 — community:self-promo:conversation.
  2. Always add value.

With some exceptions for family, friends and notable side interests, I primarily follow people and brands that are directly related to publishing, new media and marketing, and am militant about keeping a very high signal:noise ratio in my stream. I have no interest in using filtering clients like TweetDeck to “follow” a bunch of people I don’t have the time or intention to engage with, and  I don’t tend to get into too many in-depth conversations on Twitter, preferring to move them to DMs or email after a round or two, or addressing the topic via a blog post.

(NOTE: Once they’re active, I will use Twitter Lists to group people, but it won’t be a reason to follow a ton more people.)

Prior to the Mashable surge, I used to check out my new followers on a regular basis, reciprocating or blocking as appropriate, but that pretty much became impossible after last week.

The six main reasons I don’t choose to reciprocate a follow — beyond someone being an obvious social media “guru”, spammer affiliate marketer or web-cam girl — are:

  1. You don’t work in, or have some connection to, publishing.
  2. You’re a devout member of the Social Media Kool-Aid Cult.
  3. You already have thousands of followers RTing your every thought.
  4. Your community:self-promo:conversation ratio is skewed towards self-promotion.
  5. Your tweets are predominantly personal in nature or your account is private.
  6. I don’t actually know you’re following me, and you’ve never engaged.

It’s not an ego thing; it’s a time and value management, thing.

No offense, none taken!

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9 thoughts on “6 Reasons I’m Not Following You on Twitter

  1. Of course, what followed this blog was five tweets. 🙂 Hilarious. I have a personal account on Twitter, but quite frankly, I just don't have the time to keep up. I'm a small publisher. Small publisher=24/7 busy. Tweeting incessantly was not on the list of effective uses of my time.

  2. >>>(Also, check out Hugh McGuire’s follow-up, 15 (More) Twitter Users Shaping the Future of Publishing and follow them all, too.)

    No. DO NOT FOLLOW ME. I am trying to get my name off that goddammed list.

  3. An almost contradiction – “Twitter will not save your business model…” And yet you are somehow “shaping the future of publishing” with Twitter? The future of publishing will be shaped by readers (not lobbyists) and no amount of twittering or activism is going to make the slightest bit of difference to the outcome.

  4. Different strokes for different folks, but the ability to engage directly with your (potential) readers is a huge opportunity, especially for small publishers. That doesn't mean Twitter is the right channel for everyone, of course, but neither should it be dismissed out of hand.

  5. The contradiction was intentional. My take on the list is that it's not what any of us are doing on Twitter that is “shaping the future of publishing”, but what we're doing in our respective jobs within publishing. No one on that list is a “lobbyist”, and I'm pretty comfortable with making the claim that each one of us approaches our work very much from a reader-centric perspective.

    It's also worth noting that social media is all about connections, and except for Nash and Coker, I intially “met” everyone else on that list via Twitter and consider several to now be like-minded colleagues.

  6. Sorry, just getting to this now! Earlier this week I read @MikeCane's updated twitter rules, and like Joba (sorry, had to get in that NYY reference), I just can't get with the rule-bot. As a subculture writer and ahhhrtist I hope to shake rules down, stomp them, raid them, and kick their ass all the time. So lists like the 15 Top blah blah blah just don't do anything for me but exclude. I salute you and do contend that you're affirmatively influential in the community and our not-so-quiet movement to cultivate viable alternatives to the mainstream print publishing industry as it is now, and provoke thought and discourse on things other than vampires and reality tv.

    Couldn't agree more that twitter isn't going to change your biz; because twitter is a weird beauty contest full of cliques, and, well, followers, right? The semantics were so off putting to me that I was repulsed for the entire first year or so of its launch that I wanted nothing part of a technology platform that labeled me — or anyone else for that matter — as a follower. Bizarre. I've lightened up a bit and I enjoy it and have met some wildly interesting people, including Dan Holloway, and was lucky to have joined the ranks of Year Zero as a direct result of tweeting. But look at my lame-ass numbers of followers — by what metrics are we analyzing these lists in relation to what we are saying on twitter? Dammit, there it is again, LISTS. RULES. I'm holding my potty-mouth tongue here because this is, after all, a family site…

  7. I hate the friends/followers terminology! It's very high school, and there's way too many followers in publishing, not enough doers. I love that I've connected with some very smart and interesting people, though; Dan and yourself included.

    I also don't think I'm terribly influential; I'm just a guy who works in publishing trying to practice what I preach, and be the change I want to see. If I had real influence, I probably wouldn't have time for Twitter! LOL!

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