To Those I Don’t Follow, Unfollow, Or Otherwise Feel Slighted On Twitter

« »

A couple people have followed me and then complained (or unfollowed) me because I didn’t follow them back. To those who feel slighted, I’m sorry that you feel that way. Let me explain why and how I follow people.

As of this writing, I have 166 followers and 95 96 people that I follow daily. Obviously I follow fewer people than choose to follow me; this is not because I am rude or do not wish to follow back. It is simply a matter of (and I can’t believe I’m using this over-played cliche) the signal-to-noise ratio.

I use Twitter as a primary means of communication with colleagues, friends, people I’ve met, and people I may never meet. When I follow someone I don’t get the option to filter their tweets to a particular topic; instead I get their entire life in my feed every day. For some high-volume people, this could mean two or three hundred tweets a day. That’s a lot for me to read.

So when I follow someone, it’s usually because they’ve piqued my interest in some way. I expect it’s the same way for those who follow me; I’m a PHP developer with an active social life, and if you don’t want to hear about either you probably want to follow someone else. Likewise, if you’re a PHP dev who follows me but tweets primarily about your cooking hobby, I won’t follow you back. Sorry, but that’s just not my cup of tea.

For those who choose to follow me, you can always direct a message at me with the @ symbol. Since I use Twitterific, those messages show up in my direct feed; you can rest assured that I’ll see them. If we talk a lot that way, there’s a good chance I’ll follow you, because you piqued my interest.

But for me, Twitter is a communications tool. I use it as such, and you should neither be offended or slighted by the fact that you must provide me a reason to communicate with you. If we met in real life, you’d demand the same from me.

Brandon Savage is the author of Mastering Object Oriented PHP and Practical Design Patterns in PHP

Posted on 2/28/2009 at 9:57 am
Categories: Personal Management
Tags: ,

Media Marc (@miracleworld) wrote at 2/28/2009 10:20 am:


Very good post your points make a lot of sense. I many people follow to get “followed” as apposed to following because of mutual interest. Yes I agree follow those who peek your interest buuut follow at your own risk of being slighted.



Spike wrote at 3/1/2009 2:46 am:

Very good said and I don’t understand those who get upset for this

LornaJane (@lornajane) wrote at 3/3/2009 4:28 am:

My stats are even more skewed. I have 227 followers and follow 21 people myself. I do have a running search for people addressing me directly. Even with what I have already I sometimes struggle to keep up if I’m busy or offline for a while. A few people have taken offence but that’s OK with me :)

Brandon Savage (@brandonsavage) wrote at 3/3/2009 9:14 am:

As one of your followers, I assure you that I don’t take offense. I think that your behavior is wise; Twitter is a communications tool, and it’s important that you (and everyone) use it in their way. If people find your tweets interesting, they should follow you; otherwise, they shouldn’t. And their choice of following you should have no bearing on you following them.

Timothy Shields (@timothyshields) wrote at 7/17/2009 8:20 pm:

I understand what you are saying and though this post did not contain the exact information that I was looking for (being that I googled: “quick way to unfollow those who don’t follow me back on twitter”), it “piqued” my interest and sharpened my (semi-vague) understanding of why certain people follow or don’t follow others. Peace, cheers, all the best.

Helen @ Cucumber Marketing (@cumarketing) wrote at 10/10/2009 9:03 pm:

This is a very good rule to “follow”! :) I try to do the same.

« »

Copyright © 2024 by Brandon Savage. All rights reserved.