I Never Unfollow Anyone or Unsubscribe to Anything

Robert Scoble dumped 100k Twitter friends this week and says the improved signal to noise ratio has changed his life. I’m happy for him, but would never do that myself. (Note that I don’t have 100k friends or followers anywhere other than as a member of the ReadWriteWeb team and I don’t have to worry about the Direct Message spam on Twitter that he has had to deal with.)

I’m a big believer in oversubscibing and then creating groups based on priority and context. The people, feeds, or other sources in the big bulk group? That’s where all the more serendipity comes in; where I meet people and sources. I don’t worry about reading all that river of news, I just dip my head in it when I can. The really high-priority stuff, like the people Scoble is now choosing to follow back manually, I’ll put in a folder or a column or some place where I can read all of it. I think he’s going to miss out on the big public space that was his former list of friends, though. His wisdom about who’s worth listening to at all can’t help but fall short of the wisdom of fate, of the stream. That’s how I see it.

I’m here on Twitter, come be my friend. I might friend you back. Once I do, you’ll stay somewhere in my brain forever, too.

  • Props for not being elitist, Marshall.

  • Yes, seems like he caused the problem in the first place by auto-following everyone. Auto-following is the real problem here.

    I do unfollow but only on specific cases. Annoying tweets mainly. If my twitter home page fills with your @ replies for instance.

  • Mass unfollowing people strikes me as kind of insincere or sketchy, as far a social media moves go. I’m not accusing Scoble of being a follow hustler or spammer, but I like your philosophy better.

    I do unfollow people who send me annoying DMs or spammy stuff, though.

  • I appreciate this blog. It makes sense. Personally, I’ve had the rare unfortunate circumstance of someone who kept harassing me through Twitter DM’s-hate to call it “stalker-like”, but it was. I had to block that. What would you do in this case?

  • A little “tweet in my ear and I’ll follow you anywhere”, eh?

    I wonder if Scoble has kicked off an unfollow meme, and that’s why Twitter has crashed?

  • I picture myself having a spot down in the left frontal lobe? I have a little reading chair and warm blanket.

  • I don’t begrudge Robert his decision to scale back. However, he’s still following over 28K people on FriendFeed and I always understood that place to be his main playground (sorry, I meant to say “source of information”), so I don’t think he actually gave up a whole lot.

  • You rightly mentioned the big loss: serendipity. While being able to focus on specific subjects is great, creativity comes from the added dash of serendipity, the tangent that might ever so slightly curve our thoughts into a completely new and possibly better direction.

  • I can understand why you do that. For certain things, it makes sense. I do things differently because I want to use Twitter to develop and maintain relationships. I use the web interface to access Twitter. I don’t use a program. I’m getting about 2 to 10 follows a day on Twitter that feel like auto follows. The accounts either mostly post using TwitterFeed and don’t interact… or they follow 9,000 people when they follow me, don’t provide content of interest to me and are unlikely to ever comment to me. (And if they do, I can see it on replies.) I just don’t want the clutter. I don’t want to be marketed at with no interaction back in return on my personal stream.

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