In the last few months I’ve discovered this phenomenon where people follow and unfollow someone repeatedly on Twitter. They’ll follow for a day or three and then unfollow. Then a week or two later they’ll follow again only to unfollow you a few days later.
The reason they unfollow? Because I don’t follow them back. I’ve made it clear in a post here that I can’t automatically follow back most people. I follow far too many people, so I have criteria on how I decide who to follow. If someone challenges me about not following back or asks for a follow, I point to that post. If you want me to follow back so bad, it’s laid out there how to get me to decide to do it: be interesting and interact with me.
But the practice that people need a follow back on Twitter is a troubling one. Shouldn’t you follow someone because you find what they’re saying or doing online interesting, not because you demand them to follow you back?
I don’t follow people because I want them to follow me back. In fact, I am honored when someone I respect a great deal follows me back or even just follows me before I follow them. They find what I have to say interesting, and that means a lot to me.
I’ve had this discussion countless times with people I follow on Twitter because they see the same pattern of people following and unfollowing. We all reach the same conclusion about how you should follow someone because you find them interesting, not because you want something back.
But perhaps it’s also because people think they’re somehow feel their follower count justifies something, that they’re liked. We wouldn’t have hashtags like #teamfollowback if that wasn’t the case and wouldn’t be websites telling people how to get more followers every day.
Don’t worry about your follower count. Again, if you’re interesting, people will follow you.