Don’t Take it Personally, but I’m Not Going to Follow You on Twitter

I cook risotto for my tweepsIt’s another week where I’m going to be the jerk. The raving a-hole as I lay out my business beans on the table for my readers.

I’m not going to follow you on Twitter.

That is, unless you can tell my WHY I SHOULD.

I’ve never followed anyone with the hopes of getting a “follow back” and don’t whimper and cry for all of the unrequited Twitter love in my life. I simply don’t care. I don’t care if you follow me and you shouldn’t care if I follow you.

Why?

Because you’re an adult and you wear Big People Britches now.

Atherton Bartelby authored the point-blank post FOLLOW FAIL: The Top 10 Reasons I Will Not Follow You in Return on Twitter, but my rant today is going to go a little beyond the naked honesty of his concise enumeration.

My Twitter follow/follow-back equation is quite simple: if I find your content compelling, I’ll follow you or return the follow. If not, I’ll let you drive by my house every day but I’m not inviting you in for risotto.

Inviting you inside takes time and requires my attention.

My Twitter feed is my private space – my inner sanctum. I maintain it like a well-oiled machine and clean it regularly (aka – purging my follower list). I think this is good business practice and it works for me. I choose with whom I interact, whose information gets fed to me, and to whom I respond.

Twitter is the Thanksgiving spread of my social media world.

If you bite off more than you can chew on Twitter, you can get all Hollywood, go bulimic and purge anything you shouldn’t have digested in your stream. It’s the coolest, sickest social media-consumption disorder on the planet. The Purge. But unlike supermodels, we don’t all have to do it so often if we plan our Twitter streams wisely.

An analogy for you: The Dinner Party.

I’ve invited ten of my friends over for dinner.  Ten folks with whom I’ll share time, wine, conversation and laughter and give of my home and my culinary labors. The menu for the evening holds risotto as part of the meal, and if you’ve ever cooked risotto you know it’s – well, it’s fussy. Well-executed, a delicious and hearty dish. The antithesis will have you executed in eateries across America.

I’m at the crucial “add broth” stage to my risotto – constant stirring is imperative,

and the phone rings.

And…the doorbell? Who the hell is at the door?

(DING!) Someone’s trying to reach me on Google Chat!

You’ve got to be kidding me. So, I answer the door with wooden spoon in one hand and cell phone in the crook of my neck…

And then the cat pukes on the living room rug.

*sigh* As if that weren’t enough, the apocalypse is apparently is nigh – my dogs have suddenly gone ape shit and there’s clawing at the back door.

At this point, I should just go ahead and give birth in the middle of my kitchen floor, because my risotto is straight fucked.

I HATE fucking up a perfectly good risotto.

My dinner party has been ruined, and all on the account of having to divide my attention between unwelcome distractions.

When I invite people into my Twitter feed, I’m offering to cook them risotto. My risotto is my brand of content, my personality, and whatever reason people have chosen to follow me. Unwanted distractions come from the feeling of obligation that rules so many on Twitter: FOLLOW ME! FOLLOW ME! I’LL FOLLOW YOUUUUUUU!

I say to hell with that.

As of the writing of this post, I follow 943 people and have 1318 followers. Not huge by any means compared to the social media giants like @chrisbrogan and @scobleizer – but enough to keep my risotto potentially Rice-a-Roni nasty. To keep my conversations on Twitter intimate (and allow ME the time to focus and produce the best risotto-like content I can), I use TweetDeck to sort my conversations. I group followers, sort by hash tag, and run searches by keyword for conversations/topics I find of interest. Throughout the day, I manage 2 Twitter accounts (one personal and one for my company) and I do the same with my company’s account as well.

The people I follow are worth my time. Shit, anyone can peep through my front drapes and see what I’m cooking for dinner but most don’t make it inside. And that’s OK – I’m betting you wouldn’t invite half your Twitter stream over for dinner, either.

So folks – really. Don’t take it personally if I don’t follow you on Twitter. Your time is as valuable as mine. Go through the people you follow – and ask yourself WHY you follow them. If there’s no more compelling a reason than purely to show the cute girl in the third row of math class that you’ve got the most crayons…maybe you’re on Twitter for the wrong reason.

36 comments
toddquest
toddquest

You should not follow me on twitter. My tweets are inconsistent at best and only occasionally enlightening. If I ever decide to start a blog and you happen to read it and like it feel free. Sad that you even have to make a blog like this.

toddquest
toddquest

You should not follow me on twitter. My tweets are inconsistent at best and only occasionally enlightening. If I ever decide to start a blog and you happen to read it and like it feel free. Sad that you even have to make a blog like this.

paola_rojas
paola_rojas

Hi, I just read this and the article on how to be nagging. I've been wondering if I should use auto DM, frankly skeptic of their usefulness (I don't really feel that welcome when I get them) so now I won't bother. And regarding the criteria on follow backs, I completely agree. There are many tweeps (that is my new word for today) that don't interest me at all, since both my personal and business account are focused on my market -mining- so I have no use for a lot of things. I do follow people and businesses on my sector so they know we exist, sometimes they follow, sometimes they don't but I don't keep track. What is getting me annoyed these days are the seemingly fake profiles with girls and copied tweets, I started blocking them altogether. I haven't used much for personal conversations but I will give it a try. Thanks and good job! paola_rojas argentinamining

paola_rojas
paola_rojas

Hi, I just read this and the article on how to be nagging. I've been wondering if I should use auto DM, frankly skeptic of their usefulness (I don't really feel that welcome when I get them) so now I won't bother. And regarding the criteria on follow backs, I completely agree. There are many tweeps (that is my new word for today) that don't interest me at all, since both my personal and business account are focused on my market -mining- so I have no use for a lot of things. I do follow people and businesses on my sector so they know we exist, sometimes they follow, sometimes they don't but I don't keep track. What is getting me annoyed these days are the seemingly fake profiles with girls and copied tweets, I started blocking them altogether. I haven't used much for personal conversations but I will give it a try. Thanks and good job! paola_rojas argentinamining

David Oakley
David Oakley

I hope Gwen Stefani will forgive me, but it seems you're not a "Follaback girl." I think that's great. And I think you're writing's even better. I'll be following you on twitter. And I'm totally fine if you don't follow me back. Loved your piece on the stalker. david

David Oakley
David Oakley

I hope Gwen Stefani will forgive me, but it seems you're not a "Follaback girl." I think that's great. And I think you're writing's even better. I'll be following you on twitter. And I'm totally fine if you don't follow me back. Loved your piece on the stalker. david

Robert "Butch" Greenawalt
Robert "Butch" Greenawalt

If I can read something relate to it and get a laugh at the same time we're golden. Hadn't personally related to a dinner party although that works, mine was based on the orchestra sure I'm a business man and I got a horn as do the other guys and girls in my row, but if yours is the only horn I get to hear day in and day out cause you can't quit blowing it. Guess what? I don't want to hear it and you're going to get kicked to the curb. Like my bio says "I'm a giver not a taker and that's as real as I can be, your times valuable my times valuable. The time I take to read and comment on your blog, following you and being followed in return in my mind is time well spent. Nice job.

Robert "Butch" Greenawalt
Robert "Butch" Greenawalt

If I can read something relate to it and get a laugh at the same time we're golden. Hadn't personally related to a dinner party although that works, mine was based on the orchestra sure I'm a business man and I got a horn as do the other guys and girls in my row, but if yours is the only horn I get to hear day in and day out cause you can't quit blowing it. Guess what? I don't want to hear it and you're going to get kicked to the curb. Like my bio says "I'm a giver not a taker and that's as real as I can be, your times valuable my times valuable. The time I take to read and comment on your blog, following you and being followed in return in my mind is time well spent. Nice job.

Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller

LOVED this post. Thanks for brightening up my Friday. I'm trying to figure out the 'etiquette' when it comes to following people. When I get someone to follow me I'll ALWAYS check out their page, but if I don't see something that interests me, if you haven't updated, or if all that's there are @replies....sorry. I'm also frustrated by the amount of people who just follow to get people to their product or get rich quick scheme. I think Twitter is great because the real winners that have longevity and a good sized 'tribe' grow it organically - they say things that matter and engage community. Sorry for the long comment, but I really dug it - now go check on that risotto. @ryancmiller

ryancmiller
ryancmiller

LOVED this post. Thanks for brightening up my Friday. I'm trying to figure out the 'etiquette' when it comes to following people. When I get someone to follow me I'll ALWAYS check out their page, but if I don't see something that interests me, if you haven't updated, or if all that's there are @replies....sorry. I'm also frustrated by the amount of people who just follow to get people to their product or get rich quick scheme. I think Twitter is great because the real winners that have longevity and a good sized 'tribe' grow it organically - they say things that matter and engage community. Sorry for the long comment, but I really dug it - now go check on that risotto. @ryancmiller

1gerlaine
1gerlaine

I am a fan of the follow back, but if I decide that I don't want to see what someone is tweeting, I will unfollow. That's rare though.

1gerlaine
1gerlaine

I am a fan of the follow back, but if I decide that I don't want to see what someone is tweeting, I will unfollow. That's rare though.

jaynee
jaynee

I love this. You're relevant and not entirely full of shit. very cool.

jaynee
jaynee

I love this. You're relevant and not entirely full of shit. very cool.

organicsyes
organicsyes

Thanks for bringing this post to my attention. I have been thinking a lot about how "nice" I always feel I have to be on Twitter. Sometimes I just feel annoyed with the day, or whatever, and wish to express that, but don't. Isn't that part of being social? This is why I appreciate reading what you write. You are able to use words that state your feelings. You are comfortable swearing and making a point about your feelings, whatever they might be. This has been the reason why I follow you on Twitter. I truly love what and how you write. Thanks for the honesty, and calling others to explain their words, and speaking your truth. There will always be those who get POed at honesty. Frankly, this anger is everywhere and probably needs to be stated...use the anger to work through how we really feel. Now...I need to go back and decide whether or not I might branch out in my own writing to add in more truth to how I feel...hmmmm....thinking on this.

organicsyes
organicsyes

Thanks for bringing this post to my attention. I have been thinking a lot about how "nice" I always feel I have to be on Twitter. Sometimes I just feel annoyed with the day, or whatever, and wish to express that, but don't. Isn't that part of being social? This is why I appreciate reading what you write. You are able to use words that state your feelings. You are comfortable swearing and making a point about your feelings, whatever they might be. This has been the reason why I follow you on Twitter. I truly love what and how you write. Thanks for the honesty, and calling others to explain their words, and speaking your truth. There will always be those who get POed at honesty. Frankly, this anger is everywhere and probably needs to be stated...use the anger to work through how we really feel. Now...I need to go back and decide whether or not I might branch out in my own writing to add in more truth to how I feel...hmmmm....thinking on this.

jodiontheweb
jodiontheweb

Great post- as always raw and makes your point clear. Fortunately you make me risotto, but even if you didn't, I'd follow because I like what you have to say- you share things you read, your observations are often truthful and hilarious. As I said- great post!

jodiontheweb
jodiontheweb

Great post- as always raw and makes your point clear. Fortunately you make me risotto, but even if you didn't, I'd follow because I like what you have to say- you share things you read, your observations are often truthful and hilarious. As I said- great post!

redheadwriting
redheadwriting

Dave - you and any Tweep you send me are ALWAYS invited inside for dinner! Thanks for the read :)

The Redhead
The Redhead

Dave - you and any Tweep you send me are ALWAYS invited inside for dinner! Thanks for the read :)

DaveMurr
DaveMurr

Cracking me up! You've taken a topic that has been covered up and down and re-delivered it in a way that I find truly unique and hilarious. Rarely is such a combination found... or accepted. I enjoy reading perspectives like these about Twitter, because its the exact opposite of how I manage my Twitter account. You make a strong point about the quality of the followers in ratio to the conversation or "dinner" you engage in. I've come to see Twitter as an opportunity engine, you never know who you are going to meet and what you are going to learn from those you follow or follow you. To each their own right? I also have to crack a smile on this because, with my new followers, I will often share with them someone whom I've learned from and guess what?? Yep you are one of them - so if you've had uninvited dinner guests I apologize. I simply told my followers you make some awesome dinners!

DaveMurr
DaveMurr

Cracking me up! You've taken a topic that has been covered up and down and re-delivered it in a way that I find truly unique and hilarious. Rarely is such a combination found... or accepted. I enjoy reading perspectives like these about Twitter, because its the exact opposite of how I manage my Twitter account. You make a strong point about the quality of the followers in ratio to the conversation or "dinner" you engage in. I've come to see Twitter as an opportunity engine, you never know who you are going to meet and what you are going to learn from those you follow or follow you. To each their own right? I also have to crack a smile on this because, with my new followers, I will often share with them someone whom I've learned from and guess what?? Yep you are one of them - so if you've had uninvited dinner guests I apologize. I simply told my followers you make some awesome dinners!

Scott
Scott

I'm with Julie on this one. I follow nearly anyone. My only criteria is that 1) you're not solely tweeting about SEO or how to make $$$$ 2) you follow a hearty percentage of your followers back 3) you're not following XX,000 people (the exception there being folks like John Cleese who are funny/interesting). That handles all the deadly dull folks. Odds are if one of the "A-listers" I'm not following tweets something that's actually interesting (not very often) I'll see a re-tweet. I hear what you're saying though and for you it makes sense.

Scott
Scott

I'm with Julie on this one. I follow nearly anyone. My only criteria is that 1) you're not solely tweeting about SEO or how to make $$$$ 2) you follow a hearty percentage of your followers back 3) you're not following XX,000 people (the exception there being folks like John Cleese who are funny/interesting). That handles all the deadly dull folks. Odds are if one of the "A-listers" I'm not following tweets something that's actually interesting (not very often) I'll see a re-tweet. I hear what you're saying though and for you it makes sense.

KMB
KMB

Very interesting take, but mostly, it made me hungry. So many food analogies, and of course risotto is my favorite dish....what were we talking about again?!

KMB
KMB

Very interesting take, but mostly, it made me hungry. So many food analogies, and of course risotto is my favorite dish....what were we talking about again?!

Julie Roads
Julie Roads

Hmmm...I'm the exact opposite. As long as you aren't spam or salesy, I will follow you. I've chosen not to discount anyone - and it's paid off. People that I followed a long time ago will suddenly tweet that they're looking for a blogger and I'll see it and contact them and get a job - a good one. And, that's just one example. I've made great friends with people who's Twitter pages didn't wow me. Sometimes I have bad days on Twitter and I'd hate for someone to discount me b/c of that. I love the novelty of seeing where each random connection will go. I love the variety. That said, I hear you and I applaud your raw spunkaneity. I enjoy your writing and I'm glad that you let me eat the risotto - and, hey, I have 2 dogs and 2 young children - so a little cat puke on the rug never ever freaks me out... Oh whoops, I just double checked and, sure enough, you have not deemed me worth your dinner table. C'est la vie!

Julie Roads
Julie Roads

Hmmm...I'm the exact opposite. As long as you aren't spam or salesy, I will follow you. I've chosen not to discount anyone - and it's paid off. People that I followed a long time ago will suddenly tweet that they're looking for a blogger and I'll see it and contact them and get a job - a good one. And, that's just one example. I've made great friends with people who's Twitter pages didn't wow me. Sometimes I have bad days on Twitter and I'd hate for someone to discount me b/c of that. I love the novelty of seeing where each random connection will go. I love the variety. That said, I hear you and I applaud your raw spunkaneity. I enjoy your writing and I'm glad that you let me eat the risotto - and, hey, I have 2 dogs and 2 young children - so a little cat puke on the rug never ever freaks me out... Oh whoops, I just double checked and, sure enough, you have not deemed me worth your dinner table. C'est la vie!

davidmullen
davidmullen

Love this post and the dinner party/risotto example. Twitter is used differently by different people and no one should feel pressured into participating in the "get as many followers as possible" craze. Determine how Twitter brings you value and use it in a way that allows it to deliver that value, I say. I am going to follow you because you're incredibly interesting, but don't worry. I won't take it personally if you don't follow me back. :)

davidmullen
davidmullen

Love this post and the dinner party/risotto example. Twitter is used differently by different people and no one should feel pressured into participating in the "get as many followers as possible" craze. Determine how Twitter brings you value and use it in a way that allows it to deliver that value, I say. I am going to follow you because you're incredibly interesting, but don't worry. I won't take it personally if you don't follow me back. :)

Caleb
Caleb

Nice article. I have started to do follow purges recently as my list starts to grow. My follow/follower numbers are low compared to yours but am already overstimulated with information. I love the analogy of being invited in for the dinner party.

Caleb
Caleb

Nice article. I have started to do follow purges recently as my list starts to grow. My follow/follower numbers are low compared to yours but am already overstimulated with information. I love the analogy of being invited in for the dinner party.

mattpellegrini
mattpellegrini

As a new user on Twitter, thank you for confirming that which I suspected. It's hard to understand what the real story is when you're not social-networking savvy. So, pieces like this teach more than any follow ever will.

mattpellegrini
mattpellegrini

As a new user on Twitter, thank you for confirming that which I suspected. It's hard to understand what the real story is when you're not social-networking savvy. So, pieces like this teach more than any follow ever will.

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