Unfollowed on Twitter: Feelings and Phobias

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
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on Monday, 09 January 2012 in Social Media

In the process of researching and reviewing Twitter unfollower tracking tools, I discovered that being unfollowed arouses a good deal of passion, reflection, and conflict. I’m sure the issue would make a fascinating psychological study.

To a sensitive soul, a Twitter unfollow can be a devastating blow.


As Jamie Hahn writes, “Getting unfollowed on Twitter hurts. Even after almost a year in the Twitterverse, I still feel the sharp sting of rejection each time my follower count drops.”


Similarly, Jeannie Moon writes, “It is like middle school with all the cliques and royalty and the unexplained dumpings. I like to think I’m past it, but I do wonder what I did wrong when I’m unfollowed. Still insecure after all these years.”


Similarly, says John Bolyard, “If someone unfollows me it just means they are looking for information not related to my tweets. Nothing personal.”

Very adult and reasonable attitudes. (Are they in denial?)


Others are not so sanguine, however, and for those who see being unfollowed as an affront, how to deal with unfollowers is a charged issue. Eye-for-an-eye retaliation often is deemed an appropriate response.


Among those who see it this way is Loralee Choate, who writes, “I have a policy…if you don’t follow me, I don’t follow you. Plain and simple.”

Scary Mommy Jill Smokler in her Twitter etiquette guide also takes a hard-line, tit-for-tat view on unfollowers: “Have you ever been followed by someone only to follow them back to be unfollowed? How rude is that? Two can play that game, so consider yourself dumped.”


Moving beyond feelings of inadequacy, shame, and retribution is another common theme. Under the guise of coming out of the unfollowed closet, Liz Strauss explores her feelings and ultimately looks to transcend them, writing that:


"I don’t ‘get’ all the reasons people have for why they follow and unfollow folks. I suspect that some are as irrational as the reasons we buy things, sell things, and marry the people we do. Contrary to urban legend I don’t know anyone who’s died of ‘unfollow embarrassment.’ ”


A very mature perspective.


How about you? Been unfollowed? (Does a woodchuck chuck wood?) How do you feel about it?


Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

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Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Communications. Michael has a comprehensive marketing, communications, PR, analytical, and editorial background, including strategic marketing, communications, and market intelligence roles at IBM, FatWire Software, and Brodeur Worldwide, and as an analyst at Meta Group covering advanced technologies. His experience includes roles as editor-in-chief of Internet World, NetGuide, and Windows magazines, and expert contributor to CIOzone.com. Michael is a well-known writer on information technology, digital marketing, and social media issues, and his articles and blogs are cited widely online.


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