Unfollowing everyone and starting fresh

When I started using Twitter I was following the advice of many gurus of how to set it up correctly and they explained all the "do's and dont's" of Twitter which at that time I didn't understand very well, to be honest...

Fast forward 3K+ tweets and 25K+ followers later I think I understand how Twitter works and I must say I love Twitter :-) To make sure I can use it even better it's time for me to do some cleaning on my Twitter account and that's why in the next few days I will unfollow everyone and then later follow back the few I want to read daily. Here's why:
Unfollow

When I started out, Guy Kawasaki posted why we should follow everyone back

Basically - to reciprocate - as a token of gratitude for following us and because this lets them DM us (send us direct message) and because it's just a nice gesture. Well, with more than 25+ followers it's not anymore.... It was OK when I had just a few thousand followers but now with so many of you following me I'm sorry but I just stopped looking at the Direct Messages anymore... there was so much DM spam there that I just couldn't handle it. And the genuine messages got lost, for which I'm truly sorry.

You can't really follow 25K+ people anyway...

I just can't keep up with my twitter timeline so it's time to start fresh. Don't get me wrong - I love you all - all of my followers and I'm really humbled and grateful for following me and keeping up with my daily musings but out of respect for you I just can't keep up and need to start fresh here. You can always @ me and I will write back!

You can still communicate via @ "Replies" so it's really not a big deal anyway

That's what I do - I monitor @ replies and try to be as responsive as possible. This is the way communication in Twitter is done anyway even if people who "@" you don't follow you or you don't follow them. I don't expect this to change when I unfollow everyone.

I'm sorry I will unfollow you. It's really not personal. Believe me.

I just want to serve you even better and that's why I'm doing it. Examples set by Michael Hyatt and Chris Brogan (and they have a lot more followers than me) proved that what I planned to do a while ago is the right thing to do, that's why I'm pulling the trigger today.

I will use SocialOomph (which I already use for scheduling my Tweets) and I will pull the trigger in about an hour. This will take a day or so as the Twitter API lets you only unfollow 1K+ people an hour so.

I'm still reading Twitter via the lists and I will monitor @ replies as usual

I use Twitter lists and I'm planning to use them even more after I've pulled the trigger. My Twitter behavior won't change. I just want to start fresh and configure people I follow the right way.

Again, it's not personal. I just want to serve you better as your Twitter friend and a person you follow and for this I need a clean slate. This will not affect the way you follow me. You'll still follow me and see my updates as usual. I will just "temporarily" not follow you back.

You're always welcome to follow me and @ me anytime! Tweet you later, alligator!

I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 (business)

Mickey
Sep 14, 2011 18:15
Good move. I only follow about 1/10 as many as follow me. Like you said, it's just not feasible. I won't take it personally when you unfollow me. :)
LindaZinMI
Sep 14, 2011 22:01
Very noble of you. Good luck!!
Michael Sliwinski
Sep 14, 2011 22:09
By unfollowing everyone I might lose a lot followers but it's the discussions and connections that count, not just the metrics. Thanks for not taking it personally, Mickey... but watch out as I might follow you back :-P
Linda, thanks!
Paul Montwill
Sep 15, 2011 09:01
Real followers will stay!
I follow only 14 people who have something interesting to say and even with less that 20 people I have problems to read all the tweets daily. I never got that idea of following thousands of people.

One thing I would like to ask you is if you could share more thoughts on entrepreneurship or tweet links to articles you read. It will increase values of your tweets as you have vast experience as a business owner and has a lot of knowledge to share with us. Thanks!

Marcus Platt
Sep 15, 2011 14:10
Behind your decision 100% Michael, I was in the same position myself and tried to streamline things into twitter lists but It was an extra overhead to my web life! Starting afresh and limiting yourself to people you'd like to read about makes lots of sense... you'll be pleased to know I did re-follow you! :)
Michael Sliwinski
Sep 15, 2011 15:39
The unfollow experiment is the beginning of my even more active "Twitter life". I'm planning to follow more people consciously and to share more of the stuff I read. I try to share via this blog but of course I'm going to be more active on Twitter even more. Anyway, Paul and Marcus, thanks for the heads up and Marcus, thanks for following me again after your experiment :-)