Follow Back Y’all

As I signed onto Twitter the other day and started my daily routine of following people who follow me, I noticed that the demographic of the Twitter population I follow has changed.

Perhaps an obvious reason is the amount of Twitterers I follow (5,500 something or other). At one point, I was following just my friends. Then I expanded my social Twitter circle and followed people I am interested in (i.e. social media, advertising, travel, sports… and possible Jersey Shore characters… but that’s besides the point).

I fell into what I thought a health pattern of following back the people who followed me – not just because I was being social but I also thought I might pick up some interesting new learns on the way.

But then it came to the point where I noticed the gargantuan amount of irrelevant content that was being pushed through my feed (“irrelevant” defined in terms of information that did not pertain to my own personal interests or values). Thus I began to ask myself: does reciprocity pay off on Twitter?

Well, to a certain extent it does. It becomes a game of ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours’ and a decent amount of information is exchanged on a one-to-many or many-to-many platform. Sounds like a good time gad by all, right?

Almost.

From my own observations (that may also seem quite obvious to other Tweeps), when you start getting followers that hit around the 5,000 mark – or perhaps even earlier – the content becomes overwhelming and you eventually reach that “digital-age-old” question of quantity vs. quality.

In fact, there is so much content on Twitter that a lot of it seems like gibberish to me. You know, the “#FOLLOWBACK I ALWAYS FOLLOW BACK.” That’s great and all, but more of this content is becoming less relevant to me – or maybe I just can’t find relevant information in all this clutter.

But with every person that follows me, am I not being “social” if I do not follow them back? 

It is my personal duty to follow everyone who follows me, for the sake of respecting the social phenomenon on Twitter and for cherishing the idea of reciprocity.

But there is a point where the line must be drawn, and that is perhaps not just personal relevance (which many of you practice), but more so of watching my reputation.

I’m all for travellers, advertisers, hip hop artists, social media nerds who want to follow me and very open to other ideas that may spark my interest or fuel curiosity, but I start to get a little hesitant when someone completely out of left-field (and inappropriate) follows me… if you catch my drift.

Although one of the main ideas of social media is being social and responding to people accordingly, there comes a point at which amidst all the social clutter, one might consider re-evaluating their contribution and value to their social niche. One also might consider a heavy gate-keeping.

My tweet may not be relevant to a particular audience, but it sure is valuable (I hope!) and respectful to the social circle I am a part of. So you can judge for yourself where I fit on your social graph…

Critic? Nah.

Crowd-pleaser? Maybe.

Passionate social media nerd? Most definitely.

Photo credit: http://boskofirmas.blogspot.com/

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Social Conversations: Making Sense out of Chaos

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