Why I Stopped Following You on Twitter

Soon after I joined Twitter, I began auto-following everyone who followed me. I did it as a courtesy, so that it would make it easy for my followers to send me a private or direct message. I engaged in many one-on-one conversations that way, because I believed they were irrelevant to my other followers.

Unfollow Button

However, I have since changed my philosophy, choosing to reply publicly to most Twitter mentions. Why? Because the only people who see these replies are people who follow both me and the sender. In other words, only the people for whom the message might be relevant.

Nevertheless, I continued to use auto-follow. As a result, I am following about the same number of people who follow me—some 108,000.

This has not really been a problem until recently. I use HootSuite to filter my followers into relevant lists (e.g., Family, Friends, Sources, Industry Professionals, etc.), keeping the noise to a minimum. Obviously, I am not scanning the tweets of 108,000 people!

However, as my follower count has grown, and with the increase in direct message spam, my direct message inbox has become a jungle. Daily, I get numerous messages like these:

  • “haha i cant stop laughing, your facial expression here is priceless!”
  • “lmao…omg i am laughing so hard at this pic of you u i just found”
  • “Someone is posting a pic of you all over twitter ;(”

These messages are just from “accidental spammers”—newbies who clicked on a link, forked over their Twitter credentials or authorized a third-party app, and then unknowingly began spamming their followers.

This doesn’t include the scores of intentional spammers. Nor does it include all the well-meaning people asking me to promote their cause, give to their project, or review their blog or manuscript.

As a result, I have decided to unfollow all my followers and start over.

Yes, I know. Drastic.

But thankfully, I can learn from the experience of @ChrisBrogan, @SpenceSmith, and @VickyBeeching, who did the same and survived.

The benefits? I can think of three:

  1. It will eliminate my DM spam. This will reclaim my Twitter inbox as a tool for private messages with family and friends.
  2. It will eliminate questionable associations. As a result of auto-following, I can’t control what appears in my timeline (at least not without a lot of work). Sadly, this now includes spammers, porn stars, and other dubious characters who chose to follow me first. As such, it raises questions for some about me and my character. Unfollowing everyone will clean this up.
  3. It will improve my Klout score. As you may know, Klout is a service that measures your social media reach and impact. However, it penalizes people who have too high a following-to-follower-count ratio.

I do anticipate some negative reactions. Some people will misunderstand and take offense. Others, I am sure, will unfollow me in response. That’s okay. That’s why I am writing this post, hoping to explain my rationale and minimize the negative impact.

If you suddenly discover that I have unfollowed you, please don’t take it personally. And if you are a family member or friend, be patient. I will re-follow you once I’ve cleaned the pipes.

I also plan to do a follow-up post, sharing the tools I used and what I learned in the process.

Question: Have you considered unfollowing all of your Twitter followers? What concerns do you have? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.remcojanssen.com/ Remco Janssen

    If you are wise, you would use Manageflitter.com. You can back up all of your followers in csv and auto unfollow masses without having to unfollow everybody first. Lot of options, check it out! I wouldn’t care to much about your Kloutscore though…

    Good luck!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I did look at that yesterday. Couple of problems: even if you have a backup, there’s no way to restore it. You essentially just have a big list of everyone who followed you at one point. It’s pretty tough to sort through 110,000 records. Also, it takes an enormous amount of time to analyze, segment, and unfollow groups of people. I just don’t have the time.

      • http://www.remcojanssen.com/ Remco Janssen

        Thanks. Really curious how you are going to survive all this! Interesting experiment, if that word is appropriate here. 

    • http://techdrawl.com celiadyer

      Agreed.  I use Manageflitter.com and configure it visually with avatars.  It’s a pain but there are many filters you can use so you don’t have to go through everyone. “Oh, I guess when you’re such a social media star with SO many followers…”  Frankly, even to post about it is rather arrogant, just sayin’…

  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    I’m still a twitter noob and I need all of the followers I can get. I am still trying to wrap my head around how to best use twitter, to be honest.

    I will look and see if I can get  a follow from you under this new system.  ;^)

  • http://www.timdruhym.cz/ Milan Kramolis

    I guess that you did the right thing and if somebody becomes mad at you because of this action than he/she is not worth to be followed…

  • http://www.timemanagementninja.com Craig Jarrow

    Very interested to see how this works out for you. I know Chris and have been following his experience. You bring up some great points, including you don’t have complete control over who you are following. I always wince when I see some of the account names. 

    I have about 22K followers and I experience the same DM issue. I almost missed an important message the other day because of it.

    I too have considered this recently, but think I will hold off. And see how it goes…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Missing important messages is huge for me. Unfortunately, they get drowned out in all the noise.

      • http://stopdoingnothing.com Patrick Allmond

        I solved that DM problem a long time ago. I just don’t look at DMs and I turned off email notification. I learned a long time ago the majority of them are useless. If you really want to get a hold of me you can @ message me for my email address. 

        I did a similar thing in Facebook. I turned off all email notifications. This has definitely cut down on my noise. 

  • http://twitter.com/Cogiva Ben Drury

    I like the idea of the “following-to-flower-count ratio” mentioned above!  Heh, Heh!

    • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

      Yes, that made me think also. Not a bad idea.

  • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie (Lionstand)

    I’m guessing that you read the same article that I did from Chris Brogan recently. Ever since I’ve read it, it has got me thinking. While I’m very familiar with Twitter my account is very new.

    As of right now I don’t auto follow, I personally follow all those who don’t appear to be spammers / pornstars etc. But I have been thinking, what in the world am I going to do if my account explodes? I won’t be able to keep up with it.

    I don’t want to auto follow for the very reason that you mentioned in ‘questionable’ associations. I’ve also been getting the impression that it’s the online equivalent of a high school popularity contest.

    I’m happy that you’re taking this step Michael, I may just go ahead and follow your lead.

    And on a personal note, you always provide great content on Twitter and I have always appreciated your responsiveness to those who mention you. Best of luck with this.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jamie.

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    Sounds like a good plan to me. I don’t have a ton of Twitter followers and I don’t auto-follow. I’m very careful about who I follow so for now, this is a post that I will file in a mental drawer to come back to should I ever need it. Even so, thanks for thinking outloud for us.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    I actually am in the process of writing a post as to why I won’t follow everyone on Twitter. I’ve heard it a few times that “it’s a common courtesy to follow people back.” I disagree. If I look at your stream and you’ve only promoted yourself throughout the last 20 tweets, that tells me you’re not interested in engaging. If you are following 1000 people and only have 77 followers, I’m probably not going to then either. The rules of Twitter keep on changing I guess. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, they do. But the reality is you can only engage with a finite number of people. Whether is is via DM or reply, it all takes time. I would just prefer to do most of it via reply, which eliminates 99% of the spam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/diana.harkness Diana Harkness

    I don’t follow people simply because they follow me.  I follow only those who I know and like or who provide me with pertinent information

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      Agreed. 

  • Mrmarkmcdonald

    Well done. Personally I can’t believe that “famous people” such yourself and others with a people with a platform can follow so many people. It is flattering to be followed by someone yet it looses it’s currency or value if you know that they follow everyone who follows them. Good on you for choosing to only follow those you wish to follow, those that you want to hear from. I won’t be offended by being unfollowed and I will still look forward to your tweets on my account.

  • http://www.touchtheskye.org Chris MacKinnon

    I didn’t do this with Twitter (Not really a problem yet). However, I did shutdown my LinkedIn account and recently reopened it after a few months away. Recognizing LinkedIn as a valuable connection tool, I signed up again with the following disclaimer: “Thank you for taking an interest on me here on LinkedIn. If you ask for a connection and you do not see it confirmed right away, or if I decline your request, please do not take it personally. I am just being careful and intentional about the connections I make.”

    • Javi

      I like how you phrased that. That’s a helpful suggestion.

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

    That’s a neat idea but I hesitate for myself…it would take me a long time to figure out who I was following and why, if I unfollowed everyone and started over.

    I do not do any type of auto-follows. Everything is manual and I don’t follow-back everyone who follows me. Only those who I can make a connection with. But I do have a hard time filtering out the spam followers. I tend to only block them if they actually spam me.

    I look forward to your follow up post.

  • Sherri

    Michael I have just stepped out into Facebook and am learning not to be overwhelmed by that – and I don’t have 100 friends, much less 110,000 followers on Twitter! My question is this: I know you are on Facebook and Twitter. I’m still wondering why people do both? If you had to choose only one, which would you choose and why? That may not be a fair question to ask, just curious. Still figuring out the world of social networking. Thanks, and I hope this works well for you. Anytime you can streamline and simplify it’s a very good thing. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It is a continuously evolving world, isn’t it?

      I think the two tools are totally different. I think it is valuable to engage in both, because I want my message to be wherever people I lead congregate. Plus, I get a high return on the investment in terms of visits back to my blog.
      If I had to pick one, I would pick Google+. ;-)

      • Sherri

        OK, very funny! Are you on that, too? I just heard about that last week!  Ha!

  • http://twitter.com/Kraski777 B Kraski

    I agree that your being mutually connected with those who follow you isn’t necessary in most cases.  But I doubt it will eliminate DM spam.  My own experience with spam is that most of it comes from accounts that have no connection with my accounts.  The one exception is a local newscaster who doesn’t follow me.  Either her account has been spoofed or hacked.  I get no spam from people who follow me back.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The way Twitter works is that someone can only send you a DM if you follow them. If you don’t follow them, it eliminates the possibility of spam. In other words, spambots can’t send you messages. Thanks.

  • Laura McClellan

    It makes perfect sense to me. I support your decision. Perhaps I’m naive, or just mistaken, but I’ve never seen the value of just amassing numbers of followers in Twitter (or “friends” in Facebook). Each time someone follows me, I look at his or her profile and tweets and decide whether it makes sense for me to follow that person as well.

    Your content is worthwhile and valuable to me. I will continue to follow you regardless of whether you’re following me, especially because at this point I’m fairly certain none of my tweets would add any value to your life.

    Thank you for explaining your decision. It gives food for thought. And thank you for the great content you provide here and on Twitter.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Sometimes it’s good to clean house. :)

  • http://twitter.com/unicycle60 Michael McClure

    Managing social media is an important issue for leaders and business people. I’m looking at this as an important opportunity to learn. I’ll be paying attention to how this all works out. I’ll definitely not be taking it personally. I get so much from your content that I want you to manage your time in the best way you can.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Michael. I appreciate you understanding.

  • http://www.philippknoll.com Philipp Knoll

    I totally understand your move even being nowhere close to your figures on Twitter. I’d rather see you engage in conversation publicly with less followers then just a enormous number of connections lacking quality.

    I’m certain that your move won’t hurt you at all.

    The whole follow back concept is nonsense. Just because I’m interested in what you have to share doesn’t mean that you have to feel the same way about my tweets. If that is the case with my connections and relationships form than that is a great thing. But I’m also equally fine with following people that don’t follow me back. In fact I’d rather not have them follow me unless they are really interested in what I have to say and in connection. That makes it way easier to measure the quality of your network.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

    Since I don’t automatically follow, I haven’t been thinking about disconnecting from all of my current followers. Although it is time consuming to check a follower before following in response, I prefer to invest those few moments as I have time.

    I can see why someone with a large following would want to start over on Twitter, as you have. Good luck as you rebuild.

    I image Jesus had some unsavory followers also, even a Judas, yet he kept broadcasting Truth and love on several levels. He followed few, maybe only One.

  • Psych Dr Deni

    I never auto follow, but usually at least look to see if it’s a real person.  (No, I’ve nowhere near the following you have, about 2,000.)  I’ve gotten fed up with a lot of the inanity on Twitter and, except for my blog posts which are auto posted, have given up on it.  I’m using igoogle right now and am being much more selective in who I “circle.”  I like the platform better than either twitter or facebook.  For me, twitter dissolved into meaningless chatter for the most part.  If I hadn’t of started igoogle, I’d probably do what you are doing.  Twitter feels like high school – who is the most popular of them all?  This time around I’ll pass on the prom queen thing. 

  • Kirk Weisler

    I’m right there with you Michael.  I immediately deselected the “autofollow” feature.  I want to follow people who are relevant not pretend to follow people just as a pretended courtesy.  Many people seem to use the autofollow feature to create their followings.  They follow everyone to create their supposed following – when the truth is they have 11,000 people who “autofollowed them back”.  It’s rediculous…but I suspose it makes some people feel good to boast big numbers.  The real question isn’t how many followers do you have…it’s how many people actually read and interested in your posts.  The answer may be as simple as … around the same number that you actually read everyday from amidst those you follow.  (which for me is 4 consistently – including you Michael) and another 16 occasionally.

  • http://nancyjcommunications.blogspot.com Nancy J.

    Thank you for your courage and sharing this with us.  In comparison, my joining twitter only began a short time ago. BUT, I realized from some of my previous social networking problems, (although I am not even close to your  count) that it was necessary for me to set up a few guidelines on how to deal with everything, if such a thing happened. Yes, there are some who feel rejected, but I need to be able to find those who post on all of my avenues. Recently I began to use the Twitter lists for my reading. I am beginning to use headings such as marketing, world news etc. We learn as we go…

  • http://chrisvonada.com chris vonada

    Makes sense Michael, thank you for explaining here and you are again showing your true heart and kindness to take the time to even write this post. It is helpful to me and probably to many others who are on the social media learning curve.

  • Lyndarva

    I don’t have trouble with Twitter followers. I have had trouble with Facebook followers or people requesting friendship. I don’t allow a “friend” unless I know the person and know how they will post. I am not tolerant of bizarre posts etc. Also, just because I know someone doesn’t make that person a “friend.” I particularly feel this way with male followers. Some people I don’t follow make a big deal about it, and that is a confirmation I shouldn’t allow them.

  • Officialbsj

    Don’t even sweat it Michael, I do a Twitter audit often myself. It is important if you are to maintain control…

  • http://www.classiercorn.com Classier Corn

    A very brave, wise and inspiring decision!

  • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

    Well done Michael. I totally support that approach. And bringing it to my attention with this post has prompted me to decide to follow suit..

    I think there’s an important element here also, around creating. By actively making decisions, especially leadership decisions, about how you will use and work with Twitter – you not only improve your own experience, you also drive the evolution of Twitter itself.

    Twitter is evolving, and decisions like these by influential people like yourself, help Twitter grow in the right direction, and become ‘better’ based on what people want..

    Inspiring leadership action step.

    Thanks.

  • Wendy

    I just spoke to my 13 year old daughter about this issue not more than 10 minutes ago. When I get a new follower, I scan their bio and recent tweets. If I find anything that would question their character (cursing, sex, slander) I block them. 
    I know this would be difficult if my goal was to have thousands of followers, but at what point do you sacrifice your character for the sake of social media? 
    I still receive your emails, and find lots of great advice. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wendy, if you continue to follow me, you will still see all my tweets. My action doesn’t change that. It only pertains to those I follow.
      Also, I don’t care if porn stars, crooks, or any others follow me. I am happy for the opportunity to influence them. I just don’t want to reciprocate and follow them back.
      Thanks.

      • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

        What has bugged me is the autofollow sometimes causes me to follow women who are sex purveyors. When I try to block them on my handheld, most of the time Twitter tells me I cannot do that (may have to do with the mobile version.)
        I don’t care if they follow me, but I just don’t want to follow them back either.

  • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

    Mike, I believe this is a wise decision. Thankfully, I’ve not had to make such a drastic decision. I believe a Follower Ratio says a lot about the quality of an individual’s following.

    It is important to note though, that the follower ratio and quality of followers should not say anything about the quality of the individual. As you highlighted, many people made this decision early on – resulting in a misconception of the automatically followed individuals.

    Another great post, thank you for sharing.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Ben. I agree.

  • http://twitter.com/bjhousewords Bonnie J. House

    You have a very good point. I am new to twitter and haven’t gotten into the habit of being on it every day. But the first day that I was on it I got some terrible sites on that I would be embrassed if any of my friends knew that these people had been my followers.

    So I am glad you wrote this post as it will help me to get into the habit of sharing with my followers and hoping you will continue to be on my list as I do so enjoy all of your advise. But if I don’t see you for awhile I will know why.

    Bonnie (bjhousewords)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You should see me just fine. This doesn’t change who follows me, only whom I follow.

  • http://www.lawrencewilson.com/p/about-me.html Lawrence W. Wilson

    I’ve considered this too, but at around 6,000 followers it doesn’t seem as necessary. I wish there were a tool that would help you unfollow “only people who have spammed me” or keep following “people who are also ministry professionals.” Maybe someday.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think the problem is that Twitter isn’t sophisticated enough yet to tell a spam message from a non-spam message. Thanks.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Yes, I wish Twitter would invest some in their anti-spam technology.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Agreed.

  • RRustand

    All of the spam and nonsensical posts are exactly why the volume of Twitter posts overwhelm me.  its hard to make headway of it all!

  • http://www.brianhagman.com Brian Hagman

    This is such a great post.  I have been wanting to do the same thing but didn’t really know how to start.  Can’t wait to read your follow up to this.

  • http://twitter.com/TracyStoller Tracy Stoller

    Honestly, Michael, I was surprised at first when you followed me back on twitter.  I am not the kind of person to send personal messages to people I don’t know, so this will make no difference to me. I follow you to read what you have to say, not to give myself a way to contact you. Anyway,when you auto-follow everyone, then being followed by you is somewhat meaningless. 

  • Erin Dahle

    Not sure I need both FB and Twitter. Don’t tweet and don’t want to start. Just another way to lose personal face-to-face connection with people. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I disagree. I think that Twitter and Facebook have dramatically enhanced my personal relationships.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        And there’s more types of relationships than merely face-to-face relationships.  Electronic communication has enhanced the day-to-day relationships that I have, but they have also allowed me to interact people that I would not normally interact with from day-to-day.

        People also have “relationships” with leaders, some that they never meet face-to-face… people read their books, they watch them on TV, etc.  To say that Twitter and Facebook are negative to these relationships I think is wrong, too.

        • http://www.bradandlindsey.com Brad Bridges

          Robert, I agree with you. There are many types of relationships. In the end we shouldn’t throw out the technology with “the bathwater” because we don’t see the value. It’s important we stay open to seeing value even in technologies we haven’t yet embraced ourselves (especially since we all use more “technologies” than we are even aware of). I appreciate the way you are pushing others to reconsider what types of relationships they already have and could have. 

          Michael, I couldn’t agree more. I would say that Twitter and FB have both not only enhanced my relationships, but also created new ones, reconnected old ones, and provided a way to bridge distances that previously wasn’t possible (among other benefits I’m sure). As usual, the value or lack of value of various technologies seems to be highly influenced by how a give person actually uses them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pamgillaspie Pam Gillaspie

    Wise! Twitter is a way the masses can follow thought leaders. It is the monologue whereas Facebook is the dialogue. Good move. It’s also a way for thought leaders to help others know who is worth following. If 110,000 follow you and you follow 20, I’ll be looking closely at the 20 you do follow! 

    • http://www.bradandlindsey.com Brad Bridges

      Pam, Based on the way Michael uses Twitter (and many others), it might be possible to make the argument that it is a dialogue as well (using @ signs for example). Thought you might be interested in case you weren’t already aware. I’ll be very interested in who his “20” are as well and if he can “really” keep it as low as 20. 

  • http://www.ChurchTechy.com stubbyd

    There’s another aspect to all this Michael.

    Big names (if you’ll excuse the ‘bigging up’) such as yourself are very, very rare. You actually reply to those that talk to you. There are too many twitter users with far fewer followers that never reply believing instead that the more they shout the more they’ll be a bigger name.

    Instead, they should learn to talk back, to actually join in or even (heaven forbid) start a conversation.

    As for “following to flowers ratio” – is that a 60’s flashback thing??   lol

  • http://www.shopmychurch.com Jason Stambaugh

    First, I get it but I’m not so sure I like it. That said, I’ve never considered unfollowing everyone on Twitter. I do unfollow people that end up posting irrelevant, spammy, and otherwise unsavory content.   With the 200+ people I follow on Twitter, I have the luxury of being a little more hands on than I could be with 100K+. I follow people for two reasons (a) they are awesome and post amazing content or (b) they followed me and they post real and interesting content. If I’m wrong, well, I will unfollow. Mr. Hyatt rest assured, whether you decide to follow me or not, I will still follow you on Twitter.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jason. I appreciate that note of confidence.

  • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

    Bold move backed by sound logic.

    I have but a tenth of the following you have and I’ve all but lost the ability to catch legitimite DMs amid the flood of spam. The DM stream has become useless. At the very least, it will level the playing field for all your interactions. I bet it will actually rejuvenate the channel for you.Here’s to keeping it real…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      My friends who have done this have all said the same thing: it has rejuvenated Twitter for them. I am hoping that is the case, too. Thanks.

  • davidburkus

    I’m totally behind you on the first two benefits. My “it will improve my Klout” score? That kind of brings up a debate about whether having a high Klout score REALLY matters. To me, it’s just kind of the new cool number to chase.

    • Karen604

      Klout scores are meaningless. Only mildly relevant in hi tech fields. Not worth pursuing.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I disagree. In my experience, many social media practitioners support the attempt to measure true reach and impact. It isn’t perfect, but it is a good attempt.

  • Chrisjohnstoncoaching

    Sometimes you have to do some re-arranging and housecleaning.  So much of what I get on Twitter and other social media sites is noise.  I have enough of that.  Clear out the clutter.

  • Anonymous

    question: are you not going to use an auto-follow function anymore? I’ve never done that for the same reasons you list (I don’t want to follow porn stars and spammers) but I also have a hard time keeping up manually. Thoughts?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      No, I turned it off about a month ago.

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

    I’ve also now started un-following questionable characters and people that have no relevancy to what I do. Since my following is no where as big as yours, once I see the content that people post I immediately un-follow them if I don’t like what they have to say. I usually look at all my followers that follow me since its only at most 5 or 6 per day. I too have to clean up my list of just over 4K followers. Not everyone on my list I personally know but I give people a chance until they show their true colors. If your not in line with my values, I definitely un-follow you. I also wrote a blog on this some time ago. Great stuff, and no offense taken, I truly understand.

  • http://twitter.com/marklee3d Mark Lee

    Hi Michael – I recently changed my Twitter policy as well. My motivation wasn’t spam as much as one of the others you mentioned. By following everyone, it looked like I was associating with all the spammers and “social media gurus” who tended to seek out a large number of followers.

    I’ve responded by borrowing a play from Rick Warren’s playbook: if someone asks me to follow them, I will. By doing this, I am 99% sure it is a real person. It is a little bit of extra work, but not much more than managing Facebook friends.

    Thanks as always for your honesty. I look forward to seeing how your experiment turns out!

  • DRau1

    I am not offended at all because I do not TWEET!  I don’t use it at all so feel free to release me!  Thanks and have a great day..

  • Allison C. Hall

    Do what you think is best for you my dear Mr. Hyatt. Technology is great but it can be overwhelming at times. I will continue to follow you as I enjoy your posts and have been sharing them with coworkers and friends.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Good for you, Michael. It will be an interesting experiment. For me, I have been using Klout to find interesting people to follow. With all their tools and a relevant social media score, it’s easy to find people who have influence in their different communities. Since I can give up to five people “Klout” on a daily basis, this gives me a chance to find new people and give them a boost. It only takes a few minutes and has resulted in finding some very influential people. It also keeps me engaged with my community. For your readers… If you are on Twitter, you should definitely check out your Klout score.

    One thing I will say, whether DM or reply, you have been very responsive when I’ve tweeted you about a site problem or other issue. With over a 100,000 people on Twitter, I imagine your phone must be a constant buzz… :-)

  • BethMcKamy

    Totally understand. Unfortunately the bad stuff that is sent to people affects many.

    Actually if you put someones name in the search engine, everything will show up, all tweets to and from the name you put in, so basically there are no private tweets. I knew a girl that I had blocked that got around that by just putting my name in the search. Then she could still see everything. She couldn’t send me a tweet because I had blocked her but she could see everything that I had tweeted and had been tweeted to me, regardless of if she was following me or the person I tweeted..

    I never could understand how people followed so many. I can barely keep up with the little over 100 I follow. But when I go to delete people I can’t do it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is true for all tweet posts, but direct messages are not indexed and won’t be included in a search. Thanks.

  • Karl Mealor

    I don’t blame you.  I actually find it hard to believe when I see someone is following more than a few hundred.  There is no way anyone can keep up with that many.

    I actually go through and reconsider both my Twitter account and my RSS feeds on a somewhat regular basis.  It allows me to focus on content that is the most helpful to me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Actually, it’s not hard to filter the list using HootSuite or TweetDeck. That wasn’t so much the issue for me. It’s really the spam and the noise in my DM inbox. Thanks.

      • Anonymous

        Makes sense.  I’ve been pondering this since this morning.  (Was vacuuming out a pool, so I had some good ponder time.)

        a) It would be interesting to see how many of those 110,000 are active on Twitter.  About of third of those I follow haven’t updated regularly in several months.
        b) I also wonder how many of those that you were following would have noticed that you had stopped if you hadn’t told them.  I notice when the number of those following me changes, but I don’t look through my list to see who quit.  (Not that I think it was a bad idea to tell everyone up front.)

        In short, I don’t think you will see much long-term detrimental impact on this decision.  If anything, I think your platform will increase because you’re focusing your efforts to improve quality in other areas.

  • Micah Yost

    Tough I am sure you would differ in opinion, I have enjoyed Ted Coine’s thoughts and enjoyed his “Follow Back Policy”. I am sure you are familiar with it. Have you considered an official follow back policy which would publicly explain how you make decisions about who to follow? I would be intrigued to read it. As stated in another comment already, I will also be intrigued to see who it is you choose top follow now that I know it is more intentional.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’ll have to consider it. I am not sure however, I want to reduce it to a policy. That’s not usually how I make decisions. Regardless, it is a good thought.
      If you want to see who I plan to follow, just take a look at my current Twitter lists. By the way, interestingly, you don’t have to follow someone to include them on a list. This essentially makes it possible to follow people in “stealth mode.”

  • http://www.converstations.com MikeSansone

    Good move, Michael.  This “experiment” is becoming more than a trend – as more and more do some pruning.  I wonder if Google + and their  circles motivated some of this (or triberr.com).

    In any case, it’s been an honor to have your “following” and a privilege to be able to follow your stream of thoughts and sharing (and thankfully, we’ll still have the latter). You make us smarter.

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    Well, Michael, you answered one question for me: There are some people out there who do read Twitter posts at least once in a while.

    I use Socialoomph.com (the free version). It has a three day hold on following the follower, and it also has the VET feature so you approve, ignore, block, or mark as spam. It is so easy to keep out the spammers this way and doesn’t take but a few minutes to do.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The problem is that is you have 200–300 people follow you per day. I just don’t have the time to vet that many people. I am happy for anyone to follow me. I will only follow people I stumble upon some other way.

      • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

        Yes, I understand the problem. You had mentioned that you were going to start all over which is why I brought it up. I had a problem of spammers REfollowing me. With Socialoomph I can permanently block them. For some reason, the twitter blocker doesn’t always work for me.

        I had to decide among Facebook, Twitter, or Email for my main communication. Twitter and facebook help me to promote my blog posts, but for real communication I use email (and Skype for only 2 of my most favorite and closest friends and 1 professor).

  • http://Busyness.com Dr. Brad Semp

    Michael – BRAVO – BRAVO – BRAVO to you.  Without nearly the number of followers that you have on Twitter, my ~63K followers across 3 accounts have rendered Twitter DMs totally useless for the same reasons that you point out.  I’ve considered numerous times taking the same action as you have but just haven’t pulled the trigger.

    As an “open networker”, much is lost in the fact when we get caught up in the “numbers” as opposed to the quality of relationships.  Kudos to you for the motivation.  :)  Now I just have to decide whether to make this happen on Twitter or Facebook first.  :)

    BTW – Your ‘Non-Fiction Proposal’ ebook is AWESOME.  Thanks for your great work and I highly recommend it to anyone working on a book!

    Unbusy Yourself,
    Dr. Brad

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Brad. Hopefully, you can learn from my experience and save yourself some grief.
      Thanks also for your comments on the ebook!

      • http://Busyness.com Dr. Brad Semp

        I hope I learn from you as well!  :)  I mentioned to my FB followers that I was considering this approach a few months back.  Wow – many people felt that it was a “ridiculous” or “crazy” thought.  To most (including myself thus far), quantity in numbers outweights quality relationships.  Yet ironically, social media THRIVES with quality relationships.  Time to turn things upside-down (or maybe it should be viewed as turning things right side up)!

  • http://emuelle1.blogspot.com Eric S. Mueller

    I’ve stopped using Twitter for now. I should probably check out Hootsuite. I was using Twitter for iPhone, but the noise to signal ratio got too high. For now, I post to Google Plus, which goes through Twitter to Facebook, so I hit all 3 with one post. I do most of my interaction on Facebook.

  • German Abreu

    I think it is drastic but I understand your reasons. I will keep following you because your post teach me and make me grow. God bless you.

  • http://progressblog.com Lech Ambrzykowski

    You might need to repeat that once in a while (reviewing the list should be enough). I made a similar move a year or so ago (though I was never even close to your number of followers) and never looked back. For a two-way relation, one can always use Facebook. With Twitter a 1:1 ratio doesn’t seem justified as communication is public anyhow.

    Good luck and thanks for what you do!

  • http://www.designedbyeh.com Eric Hall

    I’ve recently reduced my follower count from around 1,500 to around 340.  So, while not as drastic as your move, it was a similar move.  

    My rationale was different.  I wanted my “follows” to mean something.  I wanted follow to mean you really were a friend, you were someone I really “know”, or you are someone I admire and want to learn from, etc.

    I think for most people follow means I want to make myself look more impressive and keep my numbers high.  

    That was certainly true for me.  Now, I don’t care as much (I still care some).  Now, I’m focusing on people I know, people I admire, people who live in my town, etc.

    This step has revolutionized my twitter usage.  Can’t wait to hear more about what it does for you.

  • Anonymous

    Twitter, for me, is still a “social” system and not really a place where important stuff comes through. It is an extension of my RSS feeder to catch links and such, but most of the people I really interact with are still email types. So, I’m still in the phase where if it’s important, send me an email. If it’s minor, use Twitter or Facebook.

    Don’t blame you for the mass unfollow—you can’t follow 110000 people and actually interact. I’m not really following the 400+ that I have on my list: there’s probably 75 or so that get a real look everyday. The rest are either legacy follows from entering contests, corporate accounts that I read when I have time, or people that once in a great while have something interesting to say, so I keep them.

    I do clean it up every month or so, but I can do that better being a small fish :)

  • http://twitter.com/TonyVerJr Tony Verguldi Jr

    I wish you the best of luck with cleaning up who you follow.  I have never auto-followed people for a couple reasons.
    ·         Questionable people as you have mentioned
    ·         Fake / spam accounts
    ·         Not knowing the person
    ·         Not being an interesting person to follow
     
    When I first got started with Twitter, I kept the number of people followed to around 50 then it was 75 then 100 and now 125 – 150.  Which meant at times, I would drop people that I was following for various reasons (e.g. not interested, originally followed on the spur of the minute, etc.).  The reason for me to keep the number of people I follow low is to allow interaction, be able to maintain a reasonable timeline and show support for people (family and “friends”), teams (e.g. Phillies) and companies (e.g. Coke, MS, etc).
     
    I have around 50 followers currently.  I could have more, but I report people who spam.  The spam could be via following me then mentioning me with some link or just mentioning me with a link.  The reporting also blocks the person which is nice.  At this point, I am not that interesting to follow.  I mainly use Twitter to share a few things and “chat” with a few acquaintances that I have something in common with.  I follow a couple of these people even though they do not follow me which I am fine with.  My goal in the near future is to have a technical blog setup and use Twitter to share the link and more technical tweets.
     
    I plan to continue to follow you.  Some of your blog posts interest me.  You are not just about publishing, but about life also.  I am a learner and you share info that can help.  Keep it up.  Thanks!

  • http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com Cynthia Herron

    Michael, I’m fairly new to Twitter, but when I opened a Twitter acct a few weeks ago, I decided then that I would be intentional and somewhat cautious. My idea wasn’t necessarily to follow everyone who followed me–that released me from a certain amount of worry.

    As a rule of thumb: I glance at bios and previous tweets from followers. If any of their info is linked to spam, cursing, pornography, etc. I will not only NOT follow them back, but I will BLOCK them because there is absolutely no redeeming value there for me. (I want to be a positive influence in their lives and show the love of Jesus, but I feel I must draw the line somewhere.) The same goes for my blog. I’ve recently had to block and delete comments that were totally inappropriate and off topic. Also, I’ve started going to individual’s blogs before approving their comments–some of their material was so offensive, I certainly wasn’t about to drive traffic to their site by allowing a link from mine. I won’t knowingly approve inappropriate content. This is time-consuming, and one day I may do things differently, but for now, it’s working fairly well. What I can’t figure out? I write contemporary Christian romance. It should be obvious who I will/won’t follow back or what I’ll allow/remove on my blog. I know all the nasty words–I simply choose not to use or endorse them. 

    And I WILL still follow you on Twitter. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!

  • Patricia W Hunter

    Bravo. I appreciate your honesty, Michael. Though I have deleted my entire twitter account before, I’ve not been tempted to unfollow everyone since starting over because I have a horrible memory and I’m afraid I would forget to re-follow someone I truly care about. 

    But what I have learned is that just because someone BIG decides to follow me. I don’t need (and probably won’t) follow them back. I know that may sound rude, but unless they are someone I am sincerely interested in following (like you) –  because I read their blog and appreciate their content and opinion – I’m probably not interested in what they tweet about, and I can barely keep up with the few people I choose to follow. 

    I’m quite confident that most followers of thousands who are also followed by thousands choose to follow me just so that I will follow them and they really aren’t interested in following my tweets, at all. 

    If someone decides to unfollow you just because you aren’t following them, then that is a fairly good indicator that they aren’t interested in “following” you but promoting themselves. 

  • Lola J. Lee Beno

    It simply goes to the fact that Twitter really needs to improve their tools to handle situations like yours, with all those spammers. I myself don’t autofollow.  And I use Tweetdeck to keep an eye on those who chose to follow me, and I rigorously use the block & report spam to keep out those who are obvious spammers. Of course, I’m small potatoes and this won’t work for you. 

    For those of you who are wondering just what are the differences between Twitter, Google+ and Facebook . . . yes, there really is a difference in the type and quality of conversation.  It’s not necessarily bad, it just forces you to think more about what you chose to post and where you decide to post.

  • http://www.brianjones.ca joshaidan

    I like the philosophy of public replying over DMs.

    I don’t think unfollowing is offensive. But once I noticed a “A-List” type person blocked me. I wasn’t spamming. Guess I was just being annoying. Oh well. :)

  • Jim Smith

    Michael, I think you have taken a wise, necessary and balanced approach to your dilema.  Because of the nature of the ‘net”, it’s very hard to manage a lot of irrelevant and potentially harmful responses which find their way to well intentioned postings.  God bless you in your restart. 

  • Tony Stone

    Completly understand….there is a lot of nonsense that goes on that truly makes the beauty of social media almost not worth using. Hope to stay connected with you on twitter & facebook.

    Be Blessed…Tony

  • Keith

    This post was very informative, I appreciate you explaining your reasoning and at the same time allowing us not so versed in social media to better understand and more strategically plan who we follow and those who follow us. Thank you.

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    Michael, I think this is sound logic, and I’m interested to hear what software you used to help you clean out your follower list.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      More about that in my next post. (I want to make sure it works as advertised first.)

  • http://www.spencesmith.com Spence Smith

    One of the things unfollowing helped me do was to really pay attention as to who i’, wanting to pay attentions to. I have some people i don’t follow who are in lists. This people I only care about their out going messages and not so much about the conversation they are having with others. 

    then there are those i care about the conversation, so i follow them and put them in the appropriate list. This is where i pay attention to who they are taking to and follow that person as well. For instance… If i didn’t follow @Jondale:twitter or @kylechowning:twitter then I would miss import dialogue between you guys that i probably needed to know. otherwise i would have missed out on helpful info that my friends are sharing. if i have jon and kyle in a list and aren’t following them. I would still miss the conversation. 

    because of this I’m starting to enjoy more engagement in the experience.

    I lost quite a few followers in this process, but the majority of them are marketers and spammers who are unfollowing people who don’t follow them. That’s fine with me. I wasn’t paying attention to them anyway.

    Plus, brands I pay attention and tweet about are paying attention back. I like that.

    I’m glad you are doing this. i think it will continue to be a learning process as the way people use twitter is constantly changing.

    thans for this post Mike!

    • http://www.jondale.com Jon Dale

      Spence, I just pulled the trigger. I’ve never auto-followed people back and  I was only following about 700 people…but even that’s ridiculous.  I only ever look at my lists anyway.  

      Thanks for the encouragement…I think I’m going to do the same thing on facebook as well.

  • http://strengths.jimseybert.com Jim Seybert

    Mike, I did this about a year ago and am now much more diligent in who I allow into my circle. Chief targets for removal are mega-posters and serial retreaters with nothing personal to add. I do the same on Facebook.

    Each time the list is trimmed I worry about losing someone who might be a tipping point to large numbers of people, but the long-term result is always better. I have come to look at my role on SoMe as one of a curator. Others rely on me to provide content and commentary worthy of their time and by culling the lists, I provide a greater value to them.

    Good luck and thanks.

  • Andrew Acker

    I think this is one of those things only people with similar amounts of followers can understand and relate too. There’s no way for me to grasp and compare my 3 DM spams from 200 followers to the amount you get with 110k followers. And I actually choose who I follow. I think it’s a great idea and I imagine it will make the twitter experience with you better for everyone. If people are truly upset, it’s just because this has now cut down their followers number by 1…

    • http://www.bradandlindsey.com Brad Bridges

      Perhaps we can all learn a little from this post and relate in some “very small” way. For example, I found myself asking the question: what are areas of my life where I need to eliminate noise, clutter, etc in order to be more focused on my priorities? 

      • BethMcKamy

         You are right Brad! If I could, I would follow thousands, because I can learn from so many different people, and I love learning. Unfortunately I get overwhelmed if I follow too many, usually more than 80, and I find I can’t keep up and be able to read everything that comes across my timeline. I have realized that I MUST be able to read everything or why else follow that many. I hate unfollowing because I can always find something about the person that they can teach me through what they say. And sometimes it’s just about reading something that makes me laugh or smile. But I also have to find ways to eliminate the noise. Reading or trying to read every tweet can get noisy real fast. Thanks for reminding me of why I need to also de-clutter my life!

  • http://twitter.com/JohnNemoPR John Nemo

    Michael good for you. I think that makes sense. I liked Chris Brogan’s thought process on why he did the same. I first “met” you on Twitter and have always enjoyed our exchanges since then, and in fact the topic of how I first “talked” with you on Twitter (and what that unlocks in 2011 for aspiring authors courting publishers) remains the most popular post on my Blog!

    I don’t have a huge Twitter following, but by the same token I don’t follow a ton of people either. I’m careful about who I do follow and make sure it’s someone I really want to “hear” from in my stream. And I find it allows me to really be engaged with my Twitter followers/audience as a result. Much more meaningful exchanges result.

    Hope I’ll merit a follow from you! ;) Keep up the great work – your content and presentation are something I strive toward in my own efforts. Admire what you do!

  • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

    It feels like way too much work to begin following people again. Then again, along the way I’ve only followed people back (or followed people in general) who I have an interest in following.

    But what you’re doing certainly feels appealing to me. :)I’m definitely looking forward to learning about the tools you are using!

  • Emmie

    I had a Twitter account…for about 2 weeks. I’m not in management (I’m an assistant), and I found Twitter to be too much of a “Look what I’m doing” self-promotion tool…and I already see enough of that without it coming to my cell phone. Besides, I really do have more important things to do. Someone thinks I’m acting “old” to have this outlook, but I really was getting overwhelmed with the constant messaging…even within regular daytime hours. So I’m Tweet-free and loving it.

  • http://twitter.com/_Brad_Gilbert_ Brad Gilbert

    I have not yet had to dump my “followers,” but I have too switched my Twitter philosophy. I had many former preacher friends who were doing nothing but spewing out negative tweets all the time, so I unfollowed them.  Now, if it does not help me, or more importantly, help me help others, I don’t follow. 

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Brad, that’s a simple philosophy–easy to remember, easy to execute. If I ever do the Twitter thing, I’ll keep your experienced wisdom in mind.–Tom

  • http://twitter.com/JuliaDAlexander Julia D. Alexander

    I’m still following you @MichaelHyatt:disqus. You are an honorable professional and an inspiration. You have excellant reasons for doing so, and even though I’m not entitled to know them, you graciously shared them anyway.  That’s above the call. Hope you get all your DM spam cleared out and are able to enjoy the twitter experience you want.

    God speed!
      

  • http://www.barbaraparentini.com Barbara Parentini

    Hi Mike, I understand. I’ve been mindful not to abuse the follow privilege. My twitter numbers nudge up on 1,000 now–a meager number compared to yours!–but I am checking out each one, and deleting more, as well. I don’t follow everyone either. 

    Please allow me this~ As a creative person and writer, your blog and communications have taught me more about publishing, leadership, life lessons (and more), than anyone I’ve known. I’ll continue to share your name and stellar work with others regardless of your choice. Blessings and thanks! 

  • Hallowed

    I did the same thing a few weeks ago. This is because I want to read some meaningful tweets or ones that touch my heart because of their sweetness. I don’t want to know about every cup of coffee a person drinks! I don’t want followers for the sake of “following”, but to impact lives for Jesus. You are definitely one of the most useful tweeters in twitterland. So I will keep following you – even if you choose to unfollow me. I would question the “Christian” ethics of anyone who unfollows, in revenge for being unfollowed! Let us be Christ-like on Twitter

  • http://www.enmast.com/ Brad Farris

    Michael;

    In that follow up article I’d love to hear the criteria you use to decide who to follow, and how you will find them in your 110,000 followers.

    It strikes me that curation is something that’s easiest to do “along the way”. When we make a mistake in the beginning, and then want to change directions (as you have) it becomes a tremendous (almost impossible) task. Even good tools (and Twitter doesn’t have much in the way of tools for this) don’t really make it possible.

    Good luck with this process!

    Brad

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Actually, it is easier than you think. All the people I really want to follow (e.g., family, friends, co-workers, sources, etc.) I had already added to specific Twitter lists. I can add them back in 20 minutes. I’ll explain how in my follow-up post.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Sounds like a great plan.  With a lot fewer followers than you, this isn’t something I have to deal with a lot… yet.  Maybe someday though.  Thanks for the great thoughts!

  • Anonymous

    I only have about 2000 that I follow and who follow me. The spam is out of control.  I try to let people know if they are unknowingly being used by spammers. If it continues I unfollow & block.  I can’t imagine the amount of spam you are getting. 

    I still have yet to auto-follow. I go in once a week and look at all the new followers. If someone has thousands of followers but 1 tweet I don’t follow. If their tweets are meaningful, I follow back. If they engage others I follow back.  If all I see are sales pitches, I don’t follow. It’s a slow process to develop a strong following.  

  • http://www.bradandlindsey.com Brad Bridges

    Michael, Other than this step you’ve taken on Twitter, what general advice would you give to those of us trying to take tangible steps towards a balance of “reducing the noise” and “making meaningful connections or having powerful interactions”?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Have those interactions in public via Twitter mentions.

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes there are hard choices to make with social media. At least, I feel that way. You’d like to continue to build with loyal readers and supporters, but you’d also like to have less of a headache with all of the glitches involved. I bounce back and forth between getting canceling all of my social media accounts and only blogging. But then I realize that I love to share my blog-post via social media and read updates from others. The truth is, you just have to go with that works best for you. I probably need to do the exact same thing. 

    • http://www.bradandlindsey.com Brad Bridges

      My guess is that with strong integration between your blog and social media accounts, you might be able to greatly reduce the time you spend with social media and yet retain the promotional benefit. However, I think the over-quoted reality that “social media must in fact be social” fits here as well. 

  • http://www.generaciondeconquistadores.com Jorge Rosado

    I saw in your post that you have people you follow segmented by lists. Can you offer more examples and the criteria you use to segment them?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I will offer more information in my next post.

  • http://katdish.net katdish

    I’ve never considered unfollowing and starting over, but I have considered unfollowing many I never interact with. If someone I don’t interact with sends me a DM with a link, that’s an automatic unfollow.

  • Bookncoffee

    Twitter is a great marketing tool, and I can only imagine how hard it has been to filter for those using for business reasons or grow their idea or platform.   Should be interesting to see how the experiment works.  As for me, my reasons for using twitter are different.  Boosting my blog is fun as I love having new readers, but there is no financial gain or purpose, other than letting people use my life as an example of how to do (or in some cases not to do) something.  I love that you share so many good tools for us to use and I thank you for that. 

  • http://twitter.com/StacySJensen Stacy S. Jensen

    It’s an interesting process. I don’t do auto-follow, but have spent time cleaning out followers during recent road trips while Hubby is driving. It’s funny, because every time I see you in my newsfeed I think “Oh, he’s still following me.” Of course, I have around 1800 followers nothing like what you have dealt with. Recently, I’ve been trying to cut out following and followers based on – 1- what message do they have (and am I getting it already via a blog/Facebook page or group) 2- do I enjoy their tweets 3- do they follow me. Thanks for this post.

  • Pingback: Twitter Changes - Chase Your Lion | Chase Your Lion

  • http://daddybydefault.com Craig Grella

    Michael, by un-following me (@daddybydefault) you will only be missing a few bad attempts at humor,  and articles on how not to parent. 

  • http://www.yuzzi.com Rick Yuzzi

    You were actually one of the first people I followed when I was new to Twitter (after reading one of your blog posts about Twitter).  I won’t take it personal, though.  With 100K followers, I don’t think personal is possible  :-).  I’ve always been selective in who I follow or follow back to limit the noise. I need to be interested in the content. I realize I could filter it out, but it seems silly to follow people when you’ll never see their feed.

  • Fwhittaker

    Your posts have are the most helpful and I have learned so much. As CEO of the California Southern Baptist Convention, your influence has impacted us. You are gifted as a writer. God bless. Fermin Whittaker

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Fermin. I appreciate the encouragement!

  • http://www.kissedbythecreator.com Kissedbythecreator

    You are so right! I never did the obligatory follow for that reason. If I ever accepted a follower and they sent me a link back, I deleted them. I am accepting your friendship not your sales pitch.  I judged them to be snarky. Enjoy the unfollow button.  I follow several HIGH profile tweeps and they follow to send a DM then unfollow, which doesn’t offend me, I get the concept.  Blessings.  Enjoy the clean slate!  Keep us posted as to how this works for you! 

  • http://http:/www.davewoodson.com davewoodson

    I agree with you on one level and then I don’t on a whole other level. 

    Here is my issue with a lot of knuckleheads, they follow me on Tuesday and then unfollow me on Thursday thinking that I am not paying attention. I hate that. They are wasting my time, I do not auto-follow. I look into about every person that follows me and they are wasting my time they are telling me they are just using me for Klout fodder and.or spam fodder. 

    Then there is that whole other lever of guys like you, thinking that I am here to hang on your everyword, like a brogan or that guy from jersey. I am not, I think you can learn as much from me as I can from you. 

    Just my .02 you can keep the change. 

    Also, if you unfollow me, I think I will still pay attention like I do brogan but not that guy from jersey. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I hate the Twitter churn, too. Reality is that people can be just as social via Twitter mentions as DMs. 

      I also agree that you should only follow someone (including me) if they add value. If not, that’s why God made the unfollow button. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/inesfranklin Ines Franklin

    I am but a little bird in the expansive twitter air.  But from the beginning, I made it my policy not to follow everyone who follows me.  Nevertheless, I got hit with some of the spam you are talking about from people who are reputable.  Should I un-follow them?  At what time should I re-follow?

    I will not take it personally if you un-follow me.  My goal to generate content that warrants your “intentional” follow.  Until then, I am learning from you. 

    Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      By the way, I send all those accidental spammers this message:

      “Your Twitter account has been hacked. Please change your password to stop sending DM spam to your followers.” (I use Typinator, so this is just a couple of keystrokes.)

      I used to just unfollow them, but then I realized they were probably not even aware of what they had done.

  • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

    Michael: You have often written about your desire to respond to the public. Personally respinding to 110K Twitter followers would eat into your personal time with your family, your work, and other stuff. It all comes back to your priorities. I’m happy that you’re acting on yours.

    Twitter doesn’t make it easy to weed through our lists. Followers and Following are listed in the order they were added, and can’t be sorted by other means. That usability flaw alone lessens Twitter’s importance to me. I see it more as a necessary evil, than a must have.

    Keep us posted on your progress.

  • Drusilla Mott

    I have wondered how you and some others keep track of all your followers.  I follow only those that will post Christian content that I can learn from, or those people that I am a fan of, and so have less than 100 people, and sometimes that feels like way too much.   I don’t normally retweet someone else’s post for this very reason … it puts way too much stuff out there that I am not interested in.  Most of my followers follow the same people anyway, so what’s the point?  Thanks for your explanation … and no offense will be taken.

  • http://twitter.com/carlthomas carl thomas

    I only follow people I intend to follow. BAM!

  • Anonymous

    I think this is smart. Given your platform, it’s important to clean house every once in awhile. Plus the whole point of you using social media is so you can effectively communicate with your community, and if you can no longer do that because your wasting too much time sifting through garbage, then this is a smart move. 

    Great advice too!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Michael, I feel your pain! I didn’t have anything near 110,000 followers – only a minor fraction of that – about 700 – but my timeline was getting to me. I started following those people while in school and as I grew up I grew out of the stage where I wanted certain things on my TL. I wanted a more professional view – people that contributed to my knowledge and a more sophisticated entertainment vibe. I guess I could have unfollowed, but I didn’t. Couldn’t bother to scan through and delete most of my timeline – so I just started over. Made a new account, told a very specific few through DM to follow that account and once it was built up, I let the rest of the people in my old account know where I was and they could follow if they like. As a result, I have a cleaner timeline with much better professional connections, even if they don’t follow me back. Anyone can follow me but there is no guarantee I will follow them back. I like it this way.

  • Dawn Wilson

    I have considered unfollowing everyone and creating two different accounts on both Twitter and Facebook  – one for family and one for ministry. I’m finding that family members don’t appreciate all the ministry posts, and ministry/writer friends probably don’t like some of my more dysfunctional family members’ comments. You mentioned Hootsuite. I need to learn more about that. Perhaps that is the answer.

    I’m a fairly new reader of your Tweets and blog, Michael. I bookmark your posts to read again and again to boost my confidence and knowledge. Thanks for being there to help so many.

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    I have never considered unfollowing all my Twitter followers, but I do a Twitter clean-out every few months or so, where I unfollow people who I haven’t connected with yet, whose tweets aren’t relevant to me or who I followed on a whim and no longer wish to follow them. I would rather connect with people on Twitter, than just have a high following/follwer count.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HarryTucker Harry Tucker

    This is a great post, Michael.

    Some of the responses are intriguing.  As someone who within the last year purged huge segments of my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn communities in an effort to reduce the noise and to bring quality back to my interactions with others, I was deluged by people who told me I shouldn’t do it, had no right to do it or that I should adopt tool xyz so that I could continue to communicate with the people that I was trying to shut out.

    They missed the point of why I did it.  I did it for the sake of my time and the quality of my interactions with other people.

    And that is something each of don’t need to ask for permission for nor do we need other people to talk us out of it or tell us how “we” are doing things incorrectly.

    If more people protected their personal space, many would find that productivity replaces activity in their lives.

    Of course, when you tell them that, that starts off a whole new round of unproductive dialog!

    Create a great day, Michael.

    Harry

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Someone has encouraged me to get a Twitter account but this post suggests I have a lot to learn before I jump into that pool. I look forward to the lessons you’ve learned in your future post on the subject. In the meantime, why would someone “tweet” in the first place?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Here are 12 reasons.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Thanks, Mike. In reading others, I’ve gleaned some sound advice for when I board the Twitter train. Your 12 reasons offers the why.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelNozbe Michael Sliwinski

    I was actually planning to do the same thing. After I read Chris Brogan’s experience I’m even more eager to try this. I’m curious how it will work for you :-) Maybe your experience, Mike will convince me to take the plunge and do it, too.

  • http://www.joshwoodtx.com Josh Wood

    I think this is brilliant. I’m very interested to see how it plays out for you. It’d be really cool for us statistical nerds if you track the effects numerically. i.e. # of followers pre-unfollow, # of followers post-unfollow. # of mentions pre-unfollow. # of mentions post-unfollow etc. Good luck!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, indeed. I am tracking all of that—and more!

      • http://www.joshwoodtx.com Josh Wood

        Excellent.

  • http://twitter.com/franktan franktan

    I don’t have a huge following on Twitter, and I am very picky about who I follow. I have never automatically follow just anyone who follows me. 

    In fact, whenever I learn that someone has chosen to follow me, I wonder inwardly, “Why in the world would they follow me?” Then, depending upon my time constraints, I look up whoever is following me and, if it’s pretty obvious, they’re spammers, I block them.

  • iGranny

    Thanks for letting us know why  you are un-following everyone. 

    I’ve always struggled with the idea of following back as a courtesy. Consequently  I’m still trying to individually check profiles before deciding to follow.  Still I’m following more than I can handle.  I also use TweetDeck and HootSuite to make manageable lists.Because my numbers are significantly less than yours, my plan is to slowly re-evaluate just who I’m following then re decide.PS I loved your comment about G+ 

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    Thankfully the people I follow have been smart in not clicking on the spam and so I have not gotten to many DM’s.
    But I only follow around 1100 people. 

    Unlike a lot of people though I do not use list. i actually read all those tweets and honestly do not feel overwhelmed by it.

    I can understand why you are trimming back. And I also like the public reply to a tweet rather then a DM that some people send. 

    I just do not understand why people are taking someone unfollowing them so personal. I guess they really thought that you or Chris Brogan read every single one of their tweets. 
    Doesn’t make sense.

    I view you, chris, and others that have a big following as a resource that I can learn from. I don’t expect that you take anything from my or my tweets, I am simply using the following of you and others as a chance to learn.

  • http://dustinstout.com Dustin W. Stout

    I actually have never taken the auto-follow-back philosophy. It seemed the dominant socially accepted standard, but I just didn’t see value in it. I also clean up my following list every so often, just to make sure there aren’t any sketchy characters in there.

    What effect do you think this will have on your overall number of followers?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think I will lose 10–20% of my followers. But, honestly, those people probably aren’t following me anyway. In fact, I would guess that most of them are robots.

  • http://WomensBibleCafe.com Christine Smith @LifeVerse

    Did you pray over your decision first? I’ve thought about a similar action, then in prayer I saw that God uses my tweets to “speak” to the spammers and annoying people. When I appear in their timelines, the Spirit may be moving with the right words this person needs to hear. So I’m not unfollowing the masses. Instead, I choose to block those people who intentionally attack me: witches, cults and atheists.  I have received many prayer requests via Direct Message and I’m thankful these people trust me enough to share their troubles. My closest friends do not use Twitter Direct messaging, they’ll send me emails or use Facebook messaging instead.

    An interesting blog post might be “What if Jesus ‘unfollowed’ all of us and then told us to earn our way back in to his inner circle! 

    Thanks for making me pause…and THINK. #ThumbsUp

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think you are confusing following with being followed. Someone can follow you whether you are following them or not. They will still see your posts. They can still reply to you publicly. The only thing you miss is the opportunity for your followers to DM you. Even then, if they have something private, they can ask you to follow them so they can DM you.

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    What a timely post! In fact, I’ve been thinking about this radical move for a couple of months.

    I started twittering in order to just learn how to do it. In the meantime, I have been fine-tuning my “brand” and “niche”. I haven’t been very focused in who I’m following and so I feel like I’m not reaching my target audience yet even though my number of followers is going up. I’ve been going in to unfollow some but dealing with each one at a time is really time-consuming.

    Your post may just encourage me to bite the bullet and start over. After all, it’s not about the number, but it’s about connecting with the target group.

  • http://twitter.com/lilymano Lily Manoharan

    Hi Michael, totally cool with what you and Chris Brogan are
    doing.   Relationships and interactions have to be meaningful and you know
    what that means in your context.  I do not auto-follow.  I don’t even
    follow the few friends who follow me on twitter because the kind of
    interactions i seem to  have with them and the many other friends e.g.
    personal updates, or yummy dishes they are sampling, are done via facebook.
     
    I hesitated using twitter until recently when I was certain
    it made sense to my priorities and my lifestyle, and I now primarily use it to
    zoom in on people and organizations that produce content that I want to learn
    more about.  With juggling work, kids, 2-3 hours of daily commute, people
    reaching me via yahoo messenger, gchat, FB chat, Blackberry messenger for work
    and personal reasons on top of the regular emails, phone calls and texts, I
    really needed a very good reason to get on another social media platform.
     I am glad I did get on Twitter (Chris Brogan’s ‘Trust Agents’ convinced
    me), but I need to use it wisely in a way that best benefits myself and those
    in my circle of influence.

  • Janelle Iverson

    I look forward to reading your follow-up post that shares what tools you end up using. I don’t have 110,000 followers, but I do want to keep my Twitter feed (and DM box) clean!

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    I rarely click on the links unless I’ve seen enough tweets from that person to let me know that this is a credible source.

  • http://twitter.com/ChadEBillington Chad Billington

    I’m having fun watching the follower count change. Congratulations by the way. You’re not following me anymore. I look forward to reading your follow-up post about how you did it, and how it goes.

    Just a thought, it might be worth sharing how you would start over or do Twitter again if you were starting from scratch. I’m in the 200 range, and thinking ahead would be good.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great post idea.

  • http://findingforwardmotion.com Tony Elam

    My hope that if I ever get to a size that I have such a problem as this, I will handle it as well as you do.  Not a simple decision, and requires some understanding to the follower on the other side.  

  • Jason

    Michael

    I hope this message finds you well. I was referred to you by LeAnn Weiss-Rupard about possibly helping me with some advise on my book. I met her through my pastor and his wife where I go to church here in Orlando. and spoke with her for around an hour today and she recommended you as a person that I make contact with.

     Recently I’ve completed a book and now I’m wondering what my next step is. A little back ground on me. I’m 32 years old and for 12 years I was a Police Officer here in Florida, but I left the law enforcement field this past December. I have been a Christian all my life but I guess you could say I never surrendered fully too the Lord until earlier this year. I started writing my book not as a christian book as a biography, but I felt called by the Lord to share my story for his glory and changed gears. The book is a story of the storms of my life.

    I was a Detective for 5 years and worked as a Homicide Detective for three years. I was a member of the agency’s swat team for 3 years. I’ve seen my fair share of the bad things of this world. In 2007 I was arrested by my own department for DUI which spiraled me into divorce, foreclosure, alcoholism, and suicidal thoughts. I got back into law enforcement finally 2 years later after working as a dispatcher. I moved from the Tampa area to the Gainesville area hoping to start new, but found myself targeted by my new supervisor because of the DUI three years earlier. I finally surrendered to the Lord and walked away from the career with no clue of what I was going to do. God has given me back twice the amount that I had before as he says he will. I find so many of my friends calling me asking me for advise and I witness to them every chance I get. I have an amazing job now where I’m a supervisor and I get to witness to people every day where I work.

    I am so blessed and I just felt called to write this book. I’m sure your busy Michael, but I would love any advise or help you could give me.  Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Take care and have a blessed day.

    Thank you again

    Jason

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Jason, I would start by reading my post, “Advice to First Time Authors.” It provides step-by-step guidance.

  • http://twitter.com/brandybrow brandybrow

    I commend you. It’s a hard road, but worth it in the end. Personally, I’m getting tired of being spammed by @ replies simply because I posted. Let us know if you find a solution to that lovely problem, other than making tweets private. 

  • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

    I’m really glad for this post, it’s an encouragement for me. I just read John Locke’s book on how he sold 1 million ebooks in 5 months, in the book he talks about having quality twitter followers. He says it’s easy to have a big number but if there’s no profitable interaction going both ways i. e. you sharing their things and them sharing yours, then what’s the point? I was thinking how I need to see who are the real friends I’ve made on twitter and get rid of the fake ones. I want to have real interactions not interactions with bots! This post is what I need to push forward even though it will make my follower number look weak but I know that’s just my pride.

  • http://profiles.google.com/stevencbradley Steven Bradley

    I follow only family, friends, and a few associates. I am simply not in the camp of those who believe that to “be seen is to be appreciated.”
    Just my thoughts.
    Steve Bradley

  • http://twitter.com/clearleadership Joanne DeHerrera

    I guess I am a lucky one and always have been on twitter, because I never receive too many DM’s. From time to time I delete the spammers, but I don’t have as many followers as you do. I have maybe 12k, and I follow about the same back, but really I am looking at my DM’s this morning and I only have three, and those are from the people I actually talk to on a regular basis.
    Good luck to you, and on my timeline you kept warning people, so I made it a tad easier for you I un-followed you, because you have never replied to @ of mine; (You know warning people over and over again is making you sound as if you are better than everyone else). I know you may not be doing this purposely, but that is how it is coming out to some. I will still check out your blog from time to time. One thing I am is honest, and I pray you do not take offense, but I have never spammed you not once, and when I contact the other elite on twitter even though most are not following me; I still get at least a smiley face, because the elite people of twitter universe who acknowledge an @ not a DM  humanizes the twitter world and humanizes them, thus making more followers, and the people who do have verified accounts; just the normal people with normal jobs want to follow them and buy more of their products because we know they are human.  A smiley face goes a long way Mr. Hyatt. Perhaps you should hire a Social Media manager who knows how to handle this, because in my soul I feel you are a good man, and you are working too hard and being stretched too far.
    I pray nothing but good and wonderful things for you and your family.

  • Chris Bryant, RFC®

    Thank you for sharing your journey.  The insights you give along the way are very helpful!

  • http://twitter.com/JesusNeverSaid Jesus Christ ?

    Right on! I can’t stand the DM spam anymore and I’ve been unfollowing those I get it from, but I’m leaning towards the unfollow all approach.  I remember John Saddington @human3rror did the same thing a couple of years ago and it obviously hasn’t hurt him.

  • Steve

    Michael, some may feel jilted by your decision to mass unfollow and may speculate that, after spending years indiscriminately auto-following users, you can now unload them will little collateral damage (since a significant number of your followers are likely not active users – if you trust the analysis by RJMetrics and others – but rather bots and dormant accounts…). This way, you retain a high follower count while, comparatively, following few users – like a celebrity.I follow a number of users who do not follow me back – mostly journalists and (legitimate) gurus who have the ability to offer compelling value without engagement. Seth Godin is an example. This is not easy to do. Although most users add some value (assuming you’re not auto-following bots…), very few users IMO offer compelling value. Users who do not offer compelling value and who choose not to follow my updates are unfollowed. I suppose this is my follow policy. Steve @enthused

  • Anonymous

    It will be truly interesting to see how Twitter develops. I don’t have nearly as many followers as you do, and I find it overwhelming sometimes to engage in meaningful exchange. You have a few that you do connect with, but then it almost becomes a chat application. Twitter has the potential for so much more – and in a way it is sad that that so much more is becoming no longer possible, but it is clear that the status quo of Twitter 2009 cannot be upheld. 
    We are all on a wild ride, and while some parts of it are rather annoying, I cannot imagine the way life was before either. I am a news and learning junkie, and quite frankly, Michael, you are a large part of my daily “drug supply”. Thanks! You are a treasure to me and to many of us.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Elke. You are kind to say so.

  • Rachel

    I completely get what you’re saying, and I think it’s great that you did this! 

    I’ve never auto-followed anyone. About once a month, I go through my follower list. If I see someone unfamiliar, I first look at their profile. If it’s questionable at all, I block them. If they may be ok, I follow for a week or so. If they annoy me, I unfollow. If they’re fun/interesting/worth it, then I keep following! 
    Of course, it’s easier to keep up with than yours because I’m the range of a hundred followers instead of a hundred thousand ….

    My twitter philosophy is simple, though: I’d rather have 20 great interactions on twitter than 1,000 questionable ones. 

  • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

    My list of followers is almost half as large as my following, so I see no benefit in unfollowing, yet. I saw your tweet last week preparing me for your unfollowing, though I am one of the 150 or so that you weren’t following that was following you (not that it hurt my feelings or anything, I just couldn’t send you a DM like you did to me a time or two). I read the post and thought, not a bad idea, and I’m sure it will work out for you. However, there is one thing you mention as a benefit that makes me say, hmmm…
    You mention that you will again have your Twitter Inbox back for messages from family and friends. That is the reason why I have never linked my Twitter and Blog to my Facebook page–to keep one social media for just friends and family rather than building my platform. I see many people who tout this as another outlet. What is your opinion on including or not including all your social media sites as part of your platform building? Advantage or disadvantage?

  • Bev

    Totally agree with you Michael. We have to get control of our communications and our lives. Keep us all straight and keep sharing with us what you find helps you as it helps us all as well. God Bless. Bev B.

  • Cchase101

    Have you considered using something like Echofon and simply muting people? That way, you’re technically still following them but they won’t come up on your twitter timeline. Also, they won’t know they are muted. You would only see them when they reply or mention you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Essentially, that is what I am doing with Hootsuite. However, they can still DM me.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    These are valid concerns for an celebrity like you. I follow only people whom I wish to follow. I do not auto follow. So, the question of unfollowing all of my Twitter followers does not arise for me. 

  • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

    I have read about a third of the comments now, and I really don’t see any drawback by this action for you. Anyone who gets upset you unfollowed them didn’t bother to read this post or its comments, so they deserve to get upset. I suspect that the followers you lose will be less than the 10 to 20% you expect. Probably more in the 5-10% range, but the followers you will miss will be nil.

    Other comments have indicated alternate methods by which you could accomplish the same thing. It seems to me that your responses indicate that you pretty much figured out that this is the only/best way. As for the rest of the suggestions, it is pretty much a moot point at this time (except that your Twitter account still says you’re following 99k).

    I will remain a follower even though you never followed me. That wasn’t why I followed you. I follow you for your intentional leadership. When you stop that I’ll unfollow.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The mass unfollow is taking longer than I anticipated. The company I am using says that it is limited by the number of API requests Twitter will process per hour. I really wish that Twitter itself provided a simple way to do this.
      Thanks for your support!

  • http://davidlarteyblog.wordpress.com David Lartey

    Thanks for this post. It shows that you are really intentional when it comes to your usage of twitter. Someone like me is at the other half of the circle where your followers are one third of your followings. But it makes you feel great when someone you admire greatly follows you back on twitter knowing that he or she acknowledges your presence rather than just following all followers.

  • http://stephenalynch.tumblr.com Stephen Lynch

    I’ve never worried about offending anyone by not re-following. There’s a differenence between being an acquaintance or friend and being interested in what someone is doing, thinking, or sharing. Too many people use Twitter for too many different purposes to embrace any one guideline on the follow back/not follow back issue.

    I’ve been meaning to see the thought process behind cleansing your follower list, I’m going to read it as soon as I finish this comment.

  • http://www.shootthewounded.org Lynn

    Michael, I think it shows integrity on your part to rationalize with your twitter audience why you have decided to “unfollow” followers.  I certainly do not have the “following” as you do, but my account gets its share of spammers and spamming and it is an annoyance to say the least.  I can’t imagine what it would be like with 110,000 followers!  Bravo!

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    Yikes! Auto-Follow…no, I pick and choose whom I follow sometimes with success and sometimes not so great choices. But I try to not follow everyone. I even go through my twitter followers and delete the spammers every so often because I am also choosy over who follows me. I am interested in others and I want others to be interested in me; not because I add to their numbers. So good for you for unfollowing and starting over.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not on Twitter, but I have considered unfriending a number of people on Facebook who friended me, but never even said anything personal to me, never acknowledge anything that I share and I have no interest in the things they post.  Clearly, some people just add others to do it.  They see someone they know and I think they just say, “Oh, there’s so-and-so” and they invite you to be their friend and that’s it.  No direct communication; you’re just added to their list.   

    • BethMcKamy

      Pat, I believe you can influence or be influenced even though you don’t respond to what someone else is sharing. I pretty much always accept friend request on facebook. The reason being that I never know when something I say might have a positive impact on their life, and something they say might have a positive influence on mine. The only exception I have made to that is when I have received a friend request and when I go to their page, everyone of their friends has the same first name, which is the same as mine (yes that happens). I think that is just a little strange so I don’t accept those situations.

      As far as twitter, I don’t follow everyone that follows me. One reason is because I find that when I reach a certain number of people I follow, I get overwhelmed with trying to read everything that comes across my timeline. And sometimes certain people post so much that I can’t keep up with those I really want to follow. I admit that it makes me feel good when people such as Michael follow me back, even though I know it is auto-follow and they follow everyone back. It still makes me feel like I am worthy of their time(One of my human frailties, basing part of my worth on what others do). I find that the majority of people that are on my friends list on facebook, I do actually know(family and friends) or I have met. Very few people that follow me on twitter or that I follow, do I actually know or am I friends with. For me twitter is great for me to keep up with my favorite artist and celebs, and more than that I follow people I learn from(personal growth and business growth).

    • Joe Lalonde

      Pat, I think it’s something you have to do after awhile.

      For me, I have to clean out my friends on Facebook due to their posts that bring me down. I get tired of seeing “woe is me” posts or the game posts. If they’re clogging up my feed with that stuff, they get cleaned up.

  • Cindy (motoflagger)

    Not knowing all the ends and outs of Twitter, will only those who follow you be able to see your tweets? I appreciate reading everything you tweet so I wish you the best of luck in gaining control over the mountains of nonsensical e-mail and comments. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This won’t affect what you see. You will still be able to follow me.

  • Robbin

    I’m really new to Twitter, but I understand & agree with your decision.  I’m hoping to get to 50 followers by the end of the week!  I consider you a mentor of sorts.  Some would disagree because there is a lack of relationship.  However, I have learned so much from just reading your tweets & blog, that dialogue/DM with you is unnecessary!  The Bible says, “your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men.”  So until “my gift” develops to the point that great men such as yourself are seeking me out, I’m not only content, but honored to be a face in audience. 

    Blessings!     

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    I think this is a great idea. Been tempted to do it myself.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Good move, I don’t blame you.  I have a fraction of the followers you do and I think it is noisy with useless conversation.  Those should be text messages not tweets.  I still look forward to you content and I will still follow you!

  • http://twitter.com/mariachong mariachong

    I think you’re using wisdom, Michael. This quote (paraphrased) came to mind:

    “He that hath no rule over his own [Twitter account] is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:28

    Even our digital worlds require good stewardship.

  • Ian

    Hi Michael – I don’t know anything about Klout but see it mentioned a lot! Why does a good Klout score matter to you? I’m curious.  

    You may have already posted about Klout but I think it would be an interesting post to better understand the significance of it & also why we need to measure our social media influence.

    Best regards Ian

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I plan to blog on it. It is not the the score matters so much as what it represents—true reach and impact. Thanks.

  • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

    I’m still so new to twitter I don’t have that many followers, but early on I decided not to follow everyone who followed me. I don’t want to be associated with the types of shady characters you mentioned, and it was quickly apparent to me they were out there. I completely understand your reasons for fixing your problem and limiting who you follow. I think it’s important for all of us to be careful but even more so for someone with your visibility and influence. Hope it all goes well for you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/DianneMead Dianne Mead

    Agree with pretty much everything you said although in the end must admit I skimmed. Basically msg was same and agree. Yes have wondered about similar attitude in F’book and a hotmail account. Simply too time consuming and a lot of wasted energy. It’s enough with a website, but compound that with wordpress and other blogging, LinkedIn and BranchOut with F’b where people are recommending you and they don’t even know you but joining your networks left right and centre. Boundaries need to be enforced for your sanity :) and productivity and enjoyment and determining and focusing on your niches and market must form part of your determining checklist. Must also confess I attempt to check profiles of all people wishing to connect on F’b who have none or minimal mutual friends before accepting or denying. That too is consuming. REgardless of applications at the end of the day I believe it comes down to your integrity and values -v- marketing and for what purpose?  metaphor – Madonna … and the controversy over marketing genius or true beliefs… so that said option to outsource virtual assistant and or export and then send out generic mail giving YOUR OPTIONS for these followers to tick / subscribe … better form of maintaining contacts and you get them to do the work … food for thought. Thanks Michael for the work you put into your blog and sharing. Cheers

  • http://twitter.com/johnlambert John Lambert

    Is it just me or are you still following about 90k people?  That’s still a pretty good bit of noise, but at least you have better control over it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It will take several days to complete the process. I thought it would only take a few hours, but Twitter limits the number of people you can unfollow per hour.

  • http://twitter.com/DianaLynnFraser Diana Lynn Fraser

    I don’t understand why people are getting so upset over this. I don’t care if you follow me. I think what you’ve done, Michael, is a great idea. I just went through the 205 peeps I followed and cut out about 45 of them… to the person who thought you should go through each person individually – not thinking with a full deck of cards! Just those 200 was a pain. 

    Looking forward to your future tweets and blog posts.

  • Trey Darbonne

    Thanks for sharing your reasoning behind your decision. A blueprint for managing the noise of Twitter would meet a real need for many.

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  • http://twitter.com/creativebridge Jon Owen

    I think it’s great.  I’m following you because of your content, not because you follow me back.  And by the way, as much I as enjoy your content, I really appreciate the way you adore and honor your wife and family.  And Nelson sounds like a great dog, too.  :)  

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  • Anonymous

    1.  I don’t have nearly as many followers as you do and yet, and still, I stopped using my Twitter inbox for any useful purpose long ago.  Isn’t that what a  personal email address is for?  

    2.  If there are people in the world who question who you are as a person (or tweeter) based on who “appears” in your Twitter stream – one, they have WAY too much time on their hands and two, why would these be people you would care about anyway?  Not to be too much like the Mom on the Block but to paraphrase Dr. Seuss – those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

    So that leaves us with item number 3 – are you THAT worried about your klout score? Really?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Nope, it’s just an added benefit.

  • http://twitter.com/rockerlifecoach Tim Gillette

    Ok I was wondering why  you unfollowed me.  Well let me know when you have cleaned up, and looking forward to the tools used to keep a clean twitter following 

    rock on 

  • Wendy Delfosse

    I hope I’m not duplicating but I haven’t scanned all 200+ comments. One little point: When you @reply to someone you, that person and anyone following both you and that person see it (in normal timeline view of course.)

    For instance if you tweet at me not many people would probably see it because a large portion of your followers don’t follow me. However if you tweet at say, Rachelle Gardner I’d say you share a lot more common followers and all of those people would get it.

    I’m not trying to be a pain, but the difference is a good reason to keep many lengthier conversations to a different medium. I’m not assuming you’ll start a bunch of conversations but since many may follow your advice that might not work so well for them (or give a false sense of privacy.) 

  • http://reflectionsbykrista.blogspot.com Krista

    No, I haven’t considered on a wide-spread basis.

    I don’t (and have never used) auto-follow. I follow who I want to follow. Every month or so, I go through my list of “new” followers, and if there is someone who looks like I might like to follow them, I do so. I don’t get a lot of spam because I choose who I am following. If I do follow someone I don’t know personally and they end up doing annoying marketing through DM, I unfollow.  I think I follow about half as many people as follow me.

  • Jill

    Why do you care about your Klout score? Seriously?

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    The only thing I think you might run into are the auto-DM spams thanking you for following someone. Other than that, frankly, I don’t blame your approach here. It’s a good way to clean up the spam and frankly, limit the noise and engage with others better. 

  • http://twitter.com/TechyDad TechyDad

    I don’t follow everyone back.  I usually would examine each new follower to see if I wanted to follow them back.  Then, it became a chore to figure out which I wanted to follow and which I should ignore.  So I put my web programming skills to work and made a Twitter App to help me.  (Going to release it soon after a bit more testing and possibly figuring out a monetization system.  Let me know if you’re interested.  Would be fun to stress-test it with 110K followers!)

  • Barbara @ www.TherExtras.com

    No, the first reason being that I never auto-followed.  I have consistently blocked suspicious followers – thinking – whether true or not that I am protecting the followers I do not block.  But comparison between you and me is practically irrelevant.  You are in the league of Chris Brogan and I am not. 

    Your change in policy is notable to me only in that I have followed most of your twitter advice – to include sending DMs instead of public responses.  This has served me well since I try to leave a useful tweet at the end of a session to reside in the widget on my blog. 

    I think I see a slight difference in your tweets – between when I first began following you and now.   I reasoned that the difference occurred about the same time you left the CEO job.  Whatever….your words are still interesting to me.

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  • Indy

    I have chosen not to use the auto-follow functions because I want to see someone’s page first. Is it relevant to me – just because my page might help them doesn’t mean their personal business or family news will help me. I may not have as big of a following or may not be as well known, but balance is good. Plus as a Christian I am not accidentally following someone who is talking about something I consider inappropriate.

    Thanks for the article Michael.

  • http://bit.ly/brandonrobbins Brandon Robbins

    Mike, this is a big step, but I believe an essential one nonetheless. Thanks for taking the time to explain the situation! I am right here with you and will continue to follow you. You are a valuable resource to a number of leaders and industries and I hope others feel the same way.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Brandon. I appreciate your support.

  • Jeannette

    Michael, I hope it’s okay to call you Michael because you don’t know me…but for some reason I think I know you. lol. When I started following you and you immediately followed me I thought…”wow that’s strange. Why in the world would Michael Hyatt want to follow me????”  Then, I noticed “OH! He has the same followers as following so he must just be a humble guy who kindly follows everyone who follows him. Wow that Michael Hyatt must be a really nice guy.” 
    The fact that you would go to all the trouble to explain kindly respond to the questions tells me I was right all along. You are humble and a really nice guy!  

    • http://emuelle1.blogspot.com Eric S. Mueller

      I first came across Michael’s blog in early 2005. I’d been a Christian for short of 3 years, and was trying to figure out how to set goals for my career. I was searching on Franklin Covey and Getting Things Done.  I feel like I know him too, even though I’ve never met him and am not very likely to meet him. I was impressed to find a successful believer, as a CEO, sharing the “secrets of his success”. I thought the way he blogged was a great example of mentorship and discipleship, and I’m sure some of the benefits I’ve had in my career came from reading his blog.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Thanks, Eric. I remember you from those “early days.” I appreciate so much you faithfully following me all these years.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jeannette. You are too kind!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Jeannette, I agree. It is very kind of Michael to go through an explanation on why he unfollowed so many people.

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  • http://www.alabama-renters-insurance.com/ Alabama Renters Insurance

    Yes Twitter can get a little overwhelming with all of the followers and so much being irrelevant. So I totally understand cleaning up the follow list.

  • Joe Lalonde

    I haven’t considered unfollowing all of the people I follow on Twitter. I’ve been fairly selective in choosing who I follow. Now, Facebook is a different story. It seems I’m constantly editing my list of “friends” down. Sometimes I feel guilty, sometimes not.

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  • http://avajae.blogspot.com Ava Jae

    I lucked out and found a lot of good follow ratio advice when I first started Twitter, so I never fell into the auto-following trap. I follow people based on my interaction with them–I say hi to all of my new followers and the ones that respond and I have a conversation with get follow backs. The ones that don’t…don’t. 

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  • Amber Stockton

    I completely agree with you and your decision. I began to fall into that trap as well when I first joined Twitter. Then, I learned. I now only follow those whose post are of genuine interest to me or who share something useful to benefit me in my life or career. I am in the process of doing the same with Facebook, directing those following my writing career to do so through my author page. My profile will be solely close friends and family. With over 900 there, it will take a bit to weed it out. Thanks for sharing this and being bold enough to be honest. It’s appreciated!

  • Homeandgardenstories

    I may have to do this.  For whatever reason, my request to follow in the past week has
    included about 15 porn stars and the like.  Why is this?

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  • Dawn @ The Momma Knows

    I have never auto-followed. I follow about half as many people as are following me, and even that gets pretty noisy. The way I choose who to follow, besides the people I purposely seek out, is I look through my recent followers list and if their profile info (gotta have profile info!!) reflects a person who I have things in common with, then I follow. If they list their job as direct marketing or ‘social media specialist’, I definitely don’t because I don’t want all the tweets that go along with that. Or the solicitations to buy their whatever program to increase my followers. I don’t care how many followers I have. If they like me they can follow me. I choose who I follow!

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  • http://techdrawl.com celiadyer

    1) You really shouldn’t have auto followed everyone to begin with because even I get porn; 2) This is the second ‘mass unfollow’ since I’ve known you (Qwitter report) and it’s even more insulting the second time; 3) it’s hurtful to those of us who’ve perhaps made introductions in the community through the years, go to your church, supported your causes and retweeted you; 4) Who with your experience would actually click on, “Have you seen yourself in this video?” Tweet? 
    I can see culling among Facebook friends, but not for Twitter and G+. You can change your Twitter settings as to what goes to your email. Surely you use a Twitter client to set up columns for your A list?

    I think the potential to offend a lot of nice people outweighs the benefits of this mass action.

    (I’ve unfollowed and blocked you, John!)

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  • http://twitter.com/influentialidea Dallas McMillan

    OK, I took your lead and unfollowed a heap of people! I hesitated because a lot of them looked interesting but I realise I’ve got hundreds of great people I will keep following so there is no shortage. Good lesson in the laws of abundance!

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