Occasionally I come across a person on Twitter complaining that they followed someone but that person did not follow them back. Many people take this as a personal rejection, and I want to tell you today that you shouldn’t.
In my capacity as a social media consultant, the more I tweet, the more I realize that in the vast majority of cases, people no longer check each and every link in each email notification they receive about a new follower, to decide if they should follow back. I know I don’t! I used to do this in the past – I would go to each Twitter account who had followed me to see if we share the same interests. I even used to go visit people’s websites to make sure we were a good fit. Based on this research, I used to make my decision whether to follow them back or not.
Needless to say, this is a lengthy process and at some point I had to stop doing that. More and more, I just glance at the email notifications to see if I recognize one of the names. I sometimes open the email and glance at the person’s Twitter stats – it’s easy to weed out spammers this way (if you follow 2001 people, have 3 followers and appear on zero Twitter lists, you are probably a spammer). But for the most part, unless I happen to have some free time, I just ignore these notifications. I just follow the people I want to follow, and not always bother to check who has followed me. And I can only assume that lots of people do this.
Part of the problem is the huge amount of spam on Twitter. Spam hurts all of us, and one way it hurts us is by filling our inboxes with follow notifications that prevent us from seeing the real people who have actually decided to follow us because they want to connect.
Another problem is the social media numbers game – many people follow you on Twitter because they want to grow their numbers, not because they evaluated your account and have decided that you’re a good fit. This type of relationship is empty and useless and again fills your inbox and prevents you from seeing the valuable connections in there.
What I’m trying to say is this: if you follow someone on Twitter and they don’t follow you back, don’t assume that they have checked your Twitter page or your website and have decided that you are of no interest to them. In the vast majority of cases, people don’t even bother with their new-follower notifications anymore. It’s not personal, and it’s not you. It’s them. 🙂