The great Twitter unfollow event

According to recent articles about conversations with Evan Williams (Venturebeat, IB Times) Twitter is about to reinvent itself as an indicator of influence and rethink the whole Follow vs Follower ecosystem.

This information comes after Twitter’s API (application programming interface) regulation changes were announced back in August. By effectively pushing for users to go back to the official site and apps, Twitter would have more control over user generated data, engagement being easily tracked and measured for example.

And it’s got people running already. Apart from the obvious impact to new services like Kred and Klout, potentially removing the Follower count and that the fact Twitter could offer the measure of influence out of the box itself, the sudden reach for tools like TwitCleaner and other Unfollow tools, the rise in noise about ‘I follow people because of interesting subjects‘ is extremely obvious but more importantly shows that some actually take influence very seriously.

Where the measure of a person was by how many people followed them the Twitterverse is rightly being reset to just how many people you actually engage in. It’ll put to rest the rather stupid TeamFollowBack craze and buying a load of random Twitter followers for a few $$ (and believe me, you actually stick out like a very sore thumb when you look at the tripe you actually tweet, you know who you are). When you look at all those Top 100 lists they are measured by follower count but when you actually examine just how many actually talk back to people who talk to them rather than just send out scheduled links or from a linked account with another tool, it’s actually very low.

You have to begin to question LinkedIn’s recent strategy to introduce Endorsements. It’s another metric similar to Followers that doesn’t actually guarantee influence or quality. All of these measurements are easily manipulated. I look forward to receiving my first spam email offering to sell endorsements.

Is this a good thing ? Hell yes. For those who’s sphere of influence actually matters they’ll take this seriously, for those who are involved in social media and associated marketing roles they’ll have to rethink their strategy, especially those who fell into the cheap trick trap and believed the hype that numbers mattered.

Context, content, engagement and positive impact will all lead to an audience who will listen and participate. And that leads to real influence.

Now reach for the unfollow button then ask for your money back from


2 responses to “The great Twitter unfollow event

  1. Pingback: Influence means impact | BPM redux·

  2. Pingback: The anti-social Web is dead. Long live the anti-social Web. | Successful Workplace·

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