Five people I am no longer following on Twitter

It was tough at the time. Now I have done it, it feels fine. Just as I can suggest five people to follow on Twitter in 2009, I can also suggest five people I am no longer following on Twitter!

Oh, I know that each of the five is, in their own way, brilliant and successful. And I still read their blogs with passion. But, for one reason or another, they just do not fulfil my criteria. And, as I become increasingly familiar with how Twitter operates, my criteria have become everything.

You see my reason for Twittering is not fun. I have a private life for that. Rather it is the many ways Twitter can help you to develop skills to cultivate a community that really count. You need to work out how whom you want to follow and by whom you want to be followed. The more focused you are, the more useful Twitter becomes.

My criteria for following are these

  • you must in social media marketing/PR or new media journalism. So I am looking for people who are constantly introducing me to good ideas. This is work after all, fun though it may be.
  • I want to learn from those I follow. So you do not have to be a star of social media to give me great insights. Often, quite the reverse.
  • you need to update regularly. I probably want you to stick to one theme so I know where you are leading me.
  • please don’t give me too many insights into your personal life. I am following you for professional reasons, not private.
  • if you follow me I will meet all those criteria above.

So who have I stopped or am about to stop following?

  1. Michael Arrington. The editor of Techcrunchproduces one of the essential reads for our sector. Unfortunately his Twitter uses the tools of social media to achieve a very traditional goal. His Tweets merely “push” out links to the latest postings – I have an RSS feed for that. He does not get involved with the conversation. His sheer volume of followers as an excuse is undermined by Robert Scoble’s extraordinary interaction.
  2. Kevin Rose.The founder of Digg has a record number of followers. His Tweets read as if he is introducing you to some real intimacy. But, hang on, is there not a distinction between hearing about the size of the pizza he is ordering and the details of where he thinks Digg will develop next. Not surprisingly, we hear all about the former and little about the latter. Is there much difference between Rose’s Tweets and a corporate one, both selling a heavily craft image?
  3. Jemima Kiss. Thank god for the Guardian’s New Media reporter. We have no other such person in the UK who can match her for sheer journalist values and enthusiasm. So why are her Tweets so often about problems with her keyboard or “push” links to Guardian stories? What about more of the insights of which she is more than capable?
  4. Darren Rowse. Problogger, and increasingly Twitip, are essential reading for all bloggers. But I have hovered over the “follow” button this week as Rowse has kept us updated on the progress of a tummy bug making inroads into his family. Social media does encourage intimacy with readers but it should be a constructed rather than a real identity on show.
  5. Jim Connolly. Classic problem. Great value, just too many Tweets.

Who would you stop following and why?

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8 Responses to Five people I am no longer following on Twitter

  1. John, can I call you John, or is that too personal?

    I believe what you are missing here is that Twitter is not about you specifically. It’s about people, relationships and the sharing of knowledge. Sometimes that knowledge is work-related and sometimes it’s about the mundane doings of simple human beings.

    I appreciate the fact that some of the Twitter icons you speak of have enough self confidence and genuine warmth to share things other than just tech-ie psychobabble which I don’t always admittedly understand. I’ve actually had some very nice “conversations” with one or two of the above persons you’ve chosen to unfollow and they weren’t about their tips on increasing blog readership or follower numbers. And damn me to hell for saying it, but I enjoyed it and I look forward to more.

    I respect your right to have your opinion, I just don’t happen to agree with it. All work and no play makes John a dull boy. Oh, and I just unfollowed you. Please feel free to unfollow me. Have a great day. 🙂

  2. problogger says:

    Sorry to see you go and for turning your stomach with my tweets. My approach has always been to blend a little business with real life – I find most people appreciate seeing a bit behind the scenes but it’s always a balancing act as to how ‘behind’ one goes (no pun intended….)

    I know I’m not for everyone though and while I’d love to have you follow me am at peace with people moving on when they no longer find what I do up their alley.

  3. Scott Allen says:

    For me, Twitter is no longer a microblogging platform – it’s a chat room with only the people I want to talk/listen to in it. Twitter is conversational, and yes, sometimes it’s about what I’m having for lunch rather than, say, entrepreneurial trends or social media strategies.

    What I’ve done to distinguish the two is that I use Twitter conversationally, but post “status updates” to LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace using, which allows me to post to all of them from one place. Those status updates are almost always business-oriented, or at least not culinary discussions. 🙂

  4. Mike MacLeod says:


    It’s your prerogative to follow and unfollow who you like.

    My preference is for people to share about all of the things they find interesting and important. If that includes their tummy bugs, then all the better.

    I think in order for users to meet your criteria but still share all they find interesting in life, they would need multiple accounts – one for each subject matter. And who wants to do that?

    Sometimes you have to put up with (or find ways around) the noise in order to get the full benefit of the signal.

  5. Abracarioca says:

    Interesting, but it would make more sense if apps like Tweetdeck didn’t exist; creating groups in separate columns in Tweetdeck is a nice way to prioritize and organize tweets. This how I do: besides my main columns, organized by language, I also have one called “Feeds” for RSS-like tweets and another one which is a sort of “purgatory”, for instance for people I have started following back mainly because they are following me, or when I consider some of my contacts tend to post too often about their private lives. I only check these 2 columns when I am not too busy or need a break.

  6. John Welsh says:

    Thank you all, @Snow Vandemore, @Problogger, @Scott Allen, @Mike MacLeod and @Abracarioca, very much for your comments.

    I think multiple Twitter feeds and identities are the solution, as you suggest. Oh, and I am still following Problogger!

  7. I know I’m late but I’m high therefore I think.

    You’re absolutely right, not about those guys specifically; I wouldn’t know anyway. However, the concept is correct. Twitter is branded in such a way that it’s almost heresy if you’re not following in a certain way. The truth is, as great as some folks are, there are always reasons that they’re not being followed. Simply put, the compatibility isn’t there. I want you this way because “that” way SUCKS.

    That Jim Connolly dude.. I feel your pain. Everytime you look, he’s saying something. He’s like the delivery guy from MADtv high on twitter lol. I wouldn’t follow any of them for the same reasons you’ve pointed out except for Darren Rowse. I wouldn’t follow him for different reasons LOL.

    And you may not want to follow me.. marijuana and all lol. Then again, you may want to follow me.. marijuana and all 😉 ;).. either way I am cool with it. I’ll follow you, for now. LOL

  8. Pingback: Blogging While High Ep 5: What’s with Twitter users?

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