Don't Be That Needy Social Media Stalker

I occasionally unfollow people on Twitter or Facebook.

There are a variety of reasons I unfollow people. Among them: they post too often; they never post; their posts aren’t relevant to me; they annoy me; they share views I find offensive.

Once in a while, I receive a note from someone asking me why I unfollowed them. Their message always feels invasive to me, and I don’t feel like I owe them an explanation. Their message also feels a little pathetic, akin to a host of a casual cocktail party begging a guest who’s decided to leave early to reconsider and stay a little longer.

In some cases, their message is communicated in a different way, through an automated, passive-aggressive service, that tweets out something like this:

Unfollow Twitter

That desperate-sounding message alone is enough to make me want to stop following someone.

Here’s my view: social media networks should allow people to come and go as they please. If someone wants to follow me, I hope they enjoy my content and remain connected with me. But if they don’t, they’re welcome to leave at any time, without explanation. I might allow a rare exception for cases in which I’ve had a long-term Twitter or Facebook friendship with someone and gotten to know them over time.

Of course, there is value in services that track how many people are following and unfollowing you. For example, it’s a good idea to determine trends that explain which types of tweets are retaining your followers and which ones are repelling them.

But leave the whiny “Why did you stop following me?” tweets behind. I promise nobody likes them.

Would you please, please, please follow me on Twitter? I’m begging. (I’m kidding, of course.) If you’d like to pop in and out of my network as you please, I’m at @MrMediaTraining.