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Follow, Unfollow: What We Can Learn About Relationships From a Twitter Vacuum

There is an epidemic taking place in the world of Twitter and I like to call it “follow, unfollow”. Every week I’m getting “followed” on Twitter by business men/women, entrepreneurs, writers, speakers, artists, athletes, and leaders within faith-based organizations (sadly, they’re not immune and they even seem to be professionals at this new trend). A week or so later, I will be on Twitter and notice that my follower count has dropped. Odd, right? Well, being the skeptic that I am, I decided to look up the few individuals who followed me at the beginning of the week, only to find that they are now no longer following me! How could they NOT want to hear what’s going on in my life? I’m interesting (at least my Mother used to tell me so).

In other words, here’s the tactic: follow someone else on Twitter and there’s a good chance they will follow you back; then unfollow them a little later since you never cared to follow them in the first place…You just wanted their follow. You follow?

This has to be one of my top social media frustrations, because you are ultimately left feeling like a statistic being used in a rat race where everyone is fighting over followers and a “social media presence”. Don’t get me wrong; I want to grow my audience and develop a strong online presence when it comes to my work, as well. But this question begs an even deeper question: are we just using people like we always have, but this time in a different format?

Even better question: are you doing this to people in your daily life, but without the social media aspect?

A perfect example comes from my own experience when I lived in Los Angeles. A fellow graduate from my college had moved out to LA shortly after I did to pursue a career in music and film. We weren’t that close at school, but we were aware of each other and connected upon his arrival in LA. After a couple of meetings for a cup of coffee and dinner to discuss our careers, I introduced him to two different filmmakers I knew in the industry. I thought we were building a strong friendship, but quickly learned that this was a business relationship and nothing more. After introducing him to the only connections I knew in LA, we were talking by phone one day and he asked if I knew anyone else. I did not. That was one of the last conversations we ever had, despite my attempts at maintaining a friendship.

Followed, un-followed. 

Most of you have had similar experiences where you’ve been used, but how many of us are “users”, following, then unfollowing the individuals we encounter each day? How many of us are capitalizing on those close to us, but not investing anything in return?

What if we all decided to invest even in just one person each day, whether that is a word of encouragement, a material investment, or our time? What if we transitioned from following and rather began journeying with the people in our sphere of influence?

Just a thought. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter @…wait a minute.

– AV