Following back and why I don’t

Just before Christmas Jeremy Scrivens, a professional who I respect immensely, tweeted the following:

Now there’s a question I hadn’t heard in a long time. On the cusp of 2015 and I thought follow for follow was dead. Clearly I was wrong.

I attempted to construct a tweet in response, however for once 140 characters simply wasn’t enough:

There are a litany of reasons why people, like me, don’t follow back as a matter of course and it’s nothing to do with being cool.

I don’t need to remind anyone that Twitter is a useful tool for information gathering, for the dissemination of ideas, for networking. Likewise if you’ve used the platform for any length of time you probably don’t need to be told that it’s also incredibly noisy.

Twitter has around 284 million monthly active users. The timeline is a refuge. The place where we can dictate what we want to see, well, within the parameters that Twitter sets.

It’s a precious space. Why should I, out of a misplaced sense of politeness, give it over to any soul that decides to follow me?

To extract the maximum I possibly can out of Twitter I’ve taken a concious decision to only follow those who post content that is of interest to me on either a professional or personal level.

My experience would be very different if I simply returned the favour when it came to follows. I understand that the application of Twitter differs from user to user, however even as someone that regularly utilises lists and searches the timeline is still sacrosanct. It’s where I source news to read and reshare, it’s where conversations start and it’s populated with people I trust.

Cool? No. I’m just doing what works for me.