Your Digital Audience Listens In Multiple Theatres

Last night, a social media consultant and Massachusetts political candidate whose writing I follow, Ari Herzog, unfollowed everyone he was following on Twitter and started from scratch.  And he’s done this before, all the while engaging in conversation with people about why he’s following who he’s following, and why he’s changing his tactics.  He’s probably the only person I’ve seen wholesale delete all his followers and start over.  Sounds crazy, right?

Wrong.  First, it’s good to do your own thing, and you don’t have to explain yourself to anybody.  Second, it’s good to reassess things you’re doing to see if they still work, if they’re still relevant to meeting your goals.  Third, as Ari says, Twitter is not Facebook, it’s not an email list, it’s not a Rolodex – meaning, the people you interact with on different platforms do not necessarily have to be the same.

In fact, it’s probably better that all the people you know don’t use all platforms equally.  I know people that love Microsoft Outlook for sharing news and information, others that use Facebook a lot but don’t microblog, and still others that worship shiny digital objects like Twitter and Friendfeed.  A tenet of new marketing is to go where the people you want to talk to already are; well, if you mainly interact with someone on one platform and they rarely use another one, why bother trying to interact with them on the second one?  Streamline your operations and do things that work to meet your goals.

Update: Robert Scoble unfollows almost 100k people, and wants to start a new movement – http://friendfeed.com/scobleizer/03d1701f/new-twitter-movement-unfollow-everyone

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This post was written by:

Mark Drapeau - who has written 165 posts on Dr. Mark Drapeau.


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9 Comments For This Post

  1. Carl Morris Says:

    If only Facebook themselves would realise this, they wouldn’t have to try competing directly with Twitter on this holy grail of a realtime stream of short messages.

    My suspicion is people in Silicon Valley and surrounding area have near-identical Facebook and Twitter networks because it’s a tech-oriented area. This has this detrimental effect on design of social software.

    Everywhere else we use these networks for different purposes and hence different people and in turn, different content.

  2. babafisa Says:

    Really enjoyed this! Well done!

  3. hotspot shield lauch Says:

    Very enjoyed this! Well done!

  4. Kelcy Says:

    Very good points especially on reassessing the value of each of your networks. Not sure that I’m ready to be that bold yet, but it’s given me a lot to think about.

  5. Danny Brown Says:

    Thing is, Ari’s not doing his own thing (Seth Simonds and Jim Connolly both did this waaaay before Ari).

    Second, talking about it once is cool and may offer some interesting insight – repeating yourself verbatim seems to cry attention. But, I’m not Ari so I could be wrong…

  6. Mark Drapeau Says:

    Thanks for staying on top of the Twitterverse for us, Danny. I don’t think I claimed that Ari was the first, the one and only, just the first I’ve seen. Congratulations to those who unfollowed people before he did – a true breakthrough.

  7. Ari Herzog Says:

    To be fair, Danny, Seth Simonds made his unfollowing decision after me. Seth’s post – http://sethsimonds.com/why-i-unfollowed-everybody-on-twitter/ – is dated May 17. My first – http://ariwriter.com/why-my-twitter-train-is-stopping/ – was dated April 25. (Jim Connolly and Loic Le Meur did it within days of each other, two months before me – http://jimsmarketingblog.com/2009/02/15/twitter-and-me/ and http://loiclemeur.com/english/2009/02/twitter-robots-killed-me-and-why-i-apologize-i-may-not-be-following-you-anymore.html)

    Joel Drapper also received a lot of attention for unfollowing thousands. (He since deleted his blog.)

    People will be unhappy (and some deeply dissatisfied) with your actions if you unfollow them. But they’ll also be unhappy if you used to hang with them every week at the local McDonalds and one day you decided you had enough of McDonalds and preferred Burger King.

  8. Carl Morris Says:

    Ha ha!

    Maybe the “breakthrough” is the change in acknowledged links between people.

    For example, every person immediately grasps the concept of a Facebook friend. (Or at least think they do.)

    But Twitter has popularised the totally different concept of the asymmetric follow (from Flickr and others). You could argue that we’ve seen it before with RSS subscription, which is asymmetric. But the important difference is the openness of the lists. On Twitter, you know who is following you.

    Actually everyone can see who everyone is following and being followed by, even for private accounts.

    There is turbulence when someone is unfollowed because they often can’t distinguish it from defriending. It could be that of course. But it could just be people managing their information intake.

    People use Twitter in different ways. I think of myself as a “subscriber” to the people I follow. In that sense it’s a commitment-free relationship!

    A side point here is the role of ego in contributing to the growth of an online social network. “Follower” appeals to the ego. Same is true on Facebook, Myspace and so on, where “friend” is the wrong word. “Contact” would be much more appropriate. Along with the follower and friend numbers, these things are designed to appeal to schoolyard insecurities in all of us…

  9. prostoprosom Says:

    Great article . Will definitely apply it to my blog

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