Why I Changed Course on Twitter


For more than a year I followed everyone who followed me on Twitter. Then I stopped following new folks about a month ago. Finally, on what some are jokingly callingBlack Monday,” I suddenly dumped a thousand people I was following.


Because the experience was awful. I didn’t know most of the people on my Twitter screen. I couldn’t participate in any larger discussions or conversations. And I really hated getting unsolicited DMs from people that I don’t know.

So I reversed my position and purged. I gave up on being the ultimate community personality. I’m just a guy, I am not Chris Brogan or Guy Kawasaki, nor do I think I want to be. These guys are amazing, and they have much more patience and tolerance than I do.

The results, with 600 people I am following, I am enjoying Twitter again. It’s much more pleasant with valid conversations, and has returned my faith in Twitter. I also feel like I am adding more to those that I follow buy actually being able to read their tweets.

There are still some folks I don’t recognize, and I am weeding them out slowly. I will continue to add people, but only if there’s a relationship. Further, I am taking my lessons learned to Plurk, where after the first 150, I am only adding people that I know.

More is not better, I have learned.



  • I totally understand. I am up to 186 and am feeling the same growing pains already and trying to decide how to handle it. It does make it difficult to contribute in any meaningful way and to have much of a conversation. Do you think the etiquette of Twitter will change as more people experience the difficulty of following such large numbers of people and as people start to “tweet” more often?

  • Agree! As @AnnOhio says, “if you don’t add to my life…” I also follow some who (*shock*) don’t follow me back but still respond to @s and/or I find tweets interesting/helpful. So many ways to use Twitter… yeah!

  • Me, I’m using that rule of 150 thing I read about in one of Malcolm Gladwell’s books. 150 Facebook friends max. 150 people I’m following on Twitter, max. et cetera. Sometimes in order to add someone I want to, for example, be FB friends with, I have to decide who I’m dropping. It’s very interesting to me to watch my reasons and choices about who I connect with in SM and who I don’t, and how that shifts over time.

    I think this “following” and “friending” thing genuinely is a new life skill. Getting lots of friends or lots of followers can be cool in the rush of a new tech or platform, but after a while, volume and high numbers is not where the skill and intelligence is. Selecting who, what and why, however, is.

    One fiddy. Dat’s it, per technology, for me.

  • I could’ve shown you what I do. I have two. One for the people I most absolutely MUST know what they’re doing, and one for everyone. I read both. I *never miss* the people I have to never miss.

    One’s the Matrix. The other is the Breakfast Club. : )

    But love to you. You’ll get even more focused when you do it that way. Just gave me an idea, too.

  • What I’ve learned is that if you put a solid effort into building your following/follower profile – only linking with those who you know or have vetted, quickly un-following those who distract from the conversation, etc. – then the result is a valuable Twitter experience. It takes time and effort. Seems like many early adopters had a random “come one, come all” approach that worked at first and seemed cool, but in the long run got old and frustratingly uninteresting. My next question is what is the right number to follow? I’m at 350 and it feels like I must be close to the max. @contactjeff

  • All interesting views. I guess social network usage is really a personal matter.

    Chris, interesting point. I think it’s somewhat interesting the your real Twitter profile is not real Twitter. Does that create authenticity issues?

  • I only twitter on @chrisbrogan. I *read* on another account as well as on @chrisbrogan.

    My point is that I have created tools to manage the complexity as a different take to deflowering.

  • Just had to say welcome to sanity – and what social network tools are really intended to enhance.

    I’m with you, but like Chris, use a second Twitter channel to listen.

  • Frankly I am glad you dumped the unknowns, Goeff. I do not know how many times I said to you: Good norning Geoff, to be ignored in cyber space.

    Then suddenly a few weeks ago I heard Good morning Mom, before I could say anything. Moms like attention :>

    Thank you.

  • I gave up the tweets a long time ago for reasons I spelled out on my blog. It was good for networking, but mostly felt empty and wasteful.

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