Monday, November 22, 2010

The Twitter Follower Follow Back Dilemma

At last week's Ripple event I met a curious young lady who said she's been following me for some time on Twitter.  She said she was first exposed to me several months ago by a friend who told her my approach to connecting was refreshing and she should check me out.  She did.

According to her, she became a fan.  Her words not mine. I swear!

She regaled me with a colorful and quit entertaining description of my Tweets and how some of them had really inspired her to take action.  I was impressed and feeling pretty good about myself.  She was so enthusiastic and friendly that I never saw what was coming next.

"You know I enjoy following you so much that I was a little disappointed that you never followed me back.  Did you not find my Tweets to be interesting?"  An instant wave of panic shot through my core.  "I mean I don't mean to put you on the spot here but I was a little sad when The Ripple Man didn't reciprocate."  She actually looked sad as she removed the blade from my mid-section and wiped the blood on her dress.

I was embarrassed and unsure of what I could say to assuage her clearly broken heart.  It was horrible.  Here I have all these incredible followers on Twitter and some who actually understand what I say and a few more who actually take what I say seriously and I was trampling all over them by not following them back.  I have no excuse but pure laziness, often ignoring the emails Twitter sends me to say so and so started following you and you should follow them back.  I have every intention to go back and look at who my new followers are but life gets in the way and it's grip on my investment of time is very strong.

I apologized to the young lady for disappointing her.  It was never my intention.  After all it's not like I am John Mayer or something.  People don't follow me because I'm a celebrity - no far from it.  No, people follow me because they've either discovered my obscure way of looking at the world (and the people in it) or it's come on a recommendation from someone else - as was the case here.  I am of course discounting the ridiculous number of people who want to sell you some crappy e-course, or give you advice on how to make a million bucks this week alone.  Those guys are posers and I usually block those people.

But what about the normal, not trying to sell or promote anything people like this young lady? What should I have said to her to make her feel better that she had followed me and I hadn't followed her back?  I'm curious as to what you might have said if you had been in my shoes that night.

But here's what I actually said.

Twitter is a great tool and resource and one that I have enjoyed using.  However managing it isn't my full-time job.  I get lots of people who follow me and I am honored by that.  If I see the Twitter follow notification come in and I have time I usually see who's following me.  After all it's sort of like high school isn't it?  We want to know who's talking about us don't we?  Sure we do!  But most of the time it just isn't practical.

The big problem? Time!

It isn't that I am not interested in learning more about the people following me and following them back but it just isn't feasible, at least not for me.  I make no apologies for who I am.  Heck I can't even keep up with my really good friends on Twitter with the regularity that I would like to.  For my crazy time challenged life it just isn't possible and for that, if you've followed me and I haven't reciprocated I am really sorry.  I swear it wasn't personal.

Of course I am paraphrasing.

To which she replied with super big smile, "Oh okay, it's cool."

Gosh I hope so.

Ripple On!!!

1 comment:

Thom Singer said...

Great post Mr. Ripple.

If you follow too many people back, you cannot keep up with it all... and thus Twitter just becomes a bunch of noise. When I only followed 100 people I loved Twitter. Now that I follow many more, I feel I miss almost all of it... because as you said .... Twitter is not my full time job!

I have made it a habit to follow back everyone who lives within 30 miles of me.... because I will have a big chance of meeting them in person. The bad news is that I now follow too many people to legitimately keep up with what everyone says.

When you figure out the right answer... please let us know... cuz I think there are lots of people who have faced the same situation you describe here!!!