It used to be my policy to follow everyone back who followed me on Twitter. I figured there was no reason not to. It didn’t hurt me at all and following people who follow you is just a nice gesture, right? Plus I wanted to have as many followers as possible.

But then I wised up and changed how I do things. The result is a much, much more pleasant Twitter experience for me.

The spark for this post came from Twitter user @inixza, who asked me the following:

Why don't I follow people back?

The short answer is that I got tired of all of the garbage I was seeing in my Twitter feed. People were automatically tweeting things they hadn’t read, and I hate that. People were posting things that I had zero interest in. People were posting dozens or even hundreds of tweets a day. People were constantly promoting their own stuff. It was garbage, garbage, garbage.

My plan back in 2010 was to just use lists on Twitter to keep everything sorted out. That worked for a time, but I kept forgetting to look at the lists I’d created and I’d forget to put new people into lists.

And then I stopped caring about the number of Twitter followers I had. If someone follows me and then unfollows me a week later because I didn’t follow them back, is that really the kind of person I want to be associated with? No. So I unfollowed everyone whose tweets were abnormally high in number, irrelevant to me, uninteresting, or spammy.

These are the Twitter best practices that I currently live by:

  1. I only follow accounts that tweet things I’m interested in.
  2. I don’t retweet articles I haven’t read.
  3. I don’t automatically tweet anything except new articles from The Backlight.
  4. I unfollow people who tweet more than a handful of times an hour.
  5. I tweet links to pretty darn interesting and unique content, if I do say so myself.
  6. I am more inclined to follow people if they interact with me regularly.

So, Nicolette, that’s why I don’t follow everyone who follows me. I realized that I don’t want to use Twitter to please other people. I want my Twitter experience to be more along the lines of an intimate cafe than an MLM conference.

As always, I’m on Twitter