Is Twitter Where Connections Go to Die? – The Unfollowing Experiment

16 thoughts on “Is Twitter Where Connections Go to Die? – The Unfollowing Experiment”

  1. For anyone to be concerned about the number of followers, friends, contacts, etc. misses the point of networking entirely. It is not the quantity, rather the quality. It is not the title, rather the reciprocal contribution. It is not the frequency, rather the authenticity. “We’re not here to see through each other; we’re here to see each other through.”

    1. Hi Dan, many thanks for dropping by and for the great contribution into the conversation! Way cool! That’s exactly the point I was trying to demonstrate with this no longer experiment but a new reality of exploring how social tools can be used perhaps in a smarter way. With the focus not so much on the followers, but on the following side of things.

      We keep getting distracted by those vanity metrics that make us go blind in terms of how we focus on that reciprocal contribution while we should focus, instead, on the overall quality of the conversation and dialogue for each and everyone of us to learn from. I bet you can be as authentic as it can get without having to follow or be followed in any given social networking tool and still enjoy it pretty much like everyone else if not even more so! At least, that’s what I have tried to prove the last 6 weeks since I got started with #elsuahackstwitter and the experience has been tremendous, more than anything else, because after 8 years of heavy, daily use of Twitter I’m now, finally, and at long last, capable of ‘seeing each other through’.

      Thanks again for the great feedback and for dropping by!

  2. Big Thank you for testing this and giving us such a great summary. There are so many ways to connect to people today – funny that “Blog Comments” are still lacking way behind all other methods, while they are the ones who are “handed over to the author” not any platform (for self display)
    I highly value your experience in my seek of a healthy handling of Social Media – and I will keep following for sure 😉

    1. Hi Harald, thanks much for dropping by and for the kind feedback comments as well! Indeed, there are so many ways to connect to people that we probably no longer need to justify our followers / following anymore. What’s the point of falling into that vanity metric if I still have your phone number, your IM credentials, your other social networking profiles, even your email address and can contact and reach out to you those other ways? It’s kind of pointless, really, in terms of how I see it how we keep focusing on such meaningless tactics when there is a whole world of awesomeness out there waiting to be explored through conversations and dialogue, pretty much like we have been doing for the last 21 years with blogs and their comments. Yes, it may well still be very primary, but it works.

      The conversation is there, always has, and in most cases, it’s that dialogue that makes the blog post even better. That’s what I keep missing from social networking tools like Twitter and I am glad to have started the experiment and put together this write-up to show and demonstrate how it’s change not only how I engage through social networking tools, but also myself as a person, which is perhaps a much more profound change than whatever I could have anticipated.

      I appreciate the kind feedback comments and I surely look forward to the next conversation in whatever the medium that will be taking place! I know where you live digitally speaking 😉 hehe

  3. Elsua that’s a great detailed analysis. I particularly appreciate your lead in keep experimenting and seeing what few folks are seeing.

    If I understand well what I read between the lines is the suggestion to all Twitter users to release the ‘follow’ trigger and organise more their reading and interactions in lists, hastags and specific users.

    Isn’t it the same principle that made you dropping the inbox that ruled everything towards a multiple and rich variety of social interactive tools?

    To me the learning point of #elsuahackstwitter is that from my honest low twitter usage I think I got inspired by you public lists. I feel I was looking less and less at my twitter stream mostly because more than half of it had zero useful information in it.

    So thanks for sharing and keep experimenting.

    1. Ciao Lele! Thanks ever so much for the superb feedback and for dropping by! I greatly appreciated the kind feedback and glad this blog entry was helpful to understand what I was up to with this particular experiment. You have understood it quite well, it’s essentially about whether there is an opportunity to define a new way of interacting with Twitter not necessarily focusing on those who you follow or who follows you, but, better dive into the conversations through the use of lists (and hashtags) based on topics, not necessarily just people, although they are also part of the mix 🙂

      It’s pretty similar to when I got started with #noemail more than anything else because I felt I was no longer getting much value on my single Twitter timeline and decided to provoke a change that would allow me to be in more of control of the flow of tweets at my own pace, not the systems. That way, through Lists, I can now feel pretty much like a true collaborative, networked environment where I dive in where / when I want to, and participate in multiple conversations I design myself through the creation of those lists. It’s more contextual and effective in terms of defining what I want to converse about, learn and apply to my day to day work.

      Glad the experiment may have helped you redefine a new way of working with Twitter for you. Let’s know how the new way works out for you and look forward to reading further along on it in your blog. Thanks a lot, once again, for the lovely feedback comments! Appreciated.

  4. Thanks for this, it’s very interesting to see the first analysis of the whole experiment. It’s inspired me to play around with lists more, even though I’m not ready to go the whole unfollow route.

    And I admit I did get a buzz when I saw you’d added me to one of your lists. (That ego thing again!)

    1. Hi Louise, thanks a million for dropping by and for the wonderful comments. I’m glad the experiment I have been conducting has inspired you to look into how you can make more effective use of Twitter Lists and see if it would work for you and everyone else as well. It was part of the purpose of the experiment to prove the potential of a feature that, to me, is one of the most self-empowering, yet, often ignored, capabilities from Twitter itself, where the end-user is back right at the centre of the interaction / engagement equation. I am not expecting folks to go to the extreme of 0 follows, but, at least, to play with some of the options, so it looks like that was achieved 🙂 heh

      RE: ego thing, I knew it! I have the very same thing every time someone adds me to a certain Twitter List (public) and what not, but more than just the vanity metric is that, depending on the theme, topic, naming of the list, etc., it adds a bit of extra (gentle) pressure to make up good for it, as to represent that list well enough in terms of both the purpose and intent of sharing tweets across that could match that naming. And I quite like it, because it helps me anticipate more signals than noise and that can only be a good thing in terms of how we connect, share and learn together, don’t you think?

      Again, thanks a lot for the feedback and glad you enjoyed reading through the article. Way cool!

  5. Thanks for sharing this initial analysis, I’ve been following the “experiment” and it’s inspired me to rethink how I use lists, and now I’ve signed up for slack as well.

    And I admit – I did feel a small buzz when I saw you’d added me to one list. (We all have egos!)

    Looking forward to seeing the experiment progress.

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