The Problem With Following Everyone

There are many, but Neville Hobson and I (Chris Heuer) discuss a few in this 18 minute conversation about Twitter following policies. This deserves a blog post, but that’s not possible now, so if the topic is of interest to you, listen in on our discussion about why it is not necessary for you to follow everyone who follows you. It is a wonderful symbolic gesture, but ultimately the equality should be in the respect we have for allowing each other to use the tools as we see fit for our own personal reasons – to presccribe how someone else MUST use Twitter is not appropriate. Ultimately, whether or not you do so is a trade off between two different priorities. You can receive signals that have greater value/meaning and thereby maximize your return on time invested in the Tweetstream; or you can follow everyone who follows you and reap the benefits of the ever expanding network effect. In that many of the people I know with exceptionally high followers have great difficulty being genuinely involved in the conversation regularly, and/or set up tools that let them privately filter it down to the inbound @username search feed and a group of people who they really are interested in listening too. Point being, use it as you see fit, just don’t hurt anyone. If you run into spammers, block them. If people are unknowingly misusing the service you might be able to help them use it more effectively – help them find their real personality and join the conversation. Or do nothing. Even though it may suck that people are out there doing things we think are inappropriate, as long as its not causing direct harm to us or others, why does it matter that I am not able to follow everyone who follows me? After all, as I have been saying, humans really don’t scale – our time and our attention and our energy are our most valuable resources.

Mobile post sent by chrisheuer using Utterlireply-count Replies.  mp3

  1. #1 by Chris Heuer - January 31st, 2009 at 04:17

    I actually wrote a better post over at

  2. #2 by BarbaraKB - February 11th, 2009 at 18:36

    Good topic and one I've struggled with myself. Many are now using Twitter as an RSS feed or e-mail list: who ever wants in on my tweet stream, gets in to my Tweet stream. Then, they have a second account (private?) where they follow the thought leaders in their lives. That's how it's being used by many, esp. early adopters with large following accounts. Peace to your day!

Comments are closed.