Thursday, April 02, 2009

Obviously it's something I said...

I was wondering when this would happen...

image shows screenshot of gmail account with some 50+ Qwitter emails saying so and so is no longer following your updates on Twitter

There's almost 60 Qwitter emails all in one go.

I recently went through all the people I follow on Twitter and wondered - who are they? Do I speak with them regularly? Do I engage with them or they with me?

I was up over 950 people and not really properly engaging with anyone. So I decided to just unfollow everyone. Every single person.

Then I went through my followers list to see who I recognised, who I spoke with, who made me laugh, who had interesting links and who I knew in real life and followed all of them back, seeing as they're the people I wanted to talk to.

All 350 odd of them. :-/

Then I added all the gurus, the moguls, the idea merchants, the event twitters and those services I liked.

I expected mass unfollows. I never mind someone who unfollows - God knows I don't tweet much of use anyways - I use it more to stay in touch with people than as a "promotion" service. I thought if twitter really works on conversation, on connection and on following, I should have dropped down to below the number I follow.

Strangely I didn't. There are therefore people whose twitterstream features my inane ramblings who I never interact with or never interact with me, yet they keep me there. Is it because they don't know how to delete? Are they just shy? I'm fascinated.

This fits in though with Sinéád's recent research on Irish bloggers. Part of her thesis which I'm particularly interested in was her finding that

" ...some blogs are more connected to a blogosphere than others, with some bloggers not being connected to any blogosphere at all. Over 65% of bloggers indicated that they were listed on an Irish planet aggregator, and almost 64% consider themselves a member of the Irish blogosphere. The remaining bloggers indicated that they were not listed and did not consider themselves part of the Irish blogosphere.

This highlights the 35% of bloggers unconnected from the Irish blogosphere, and this could suggest that there are far more Irish people blogging than is known.
It sparks off a lot of questions in my mind about the use of the word "community" in an online sense. for example isn't really one community, it's very very many in the over 700 forums we have. Equally just because one is a "blogger", one isn't expected to engage with other blogs or bloggers - though Sinéad's research shows that those who do benefit from the Social Capital:
"35.5% of bloggers believed blogging had a positive effect on their social lives, with 19.9% saying it had a “very positive” effect... Additional questions revealed that blogging has had an especially positive effect on the development of weak tie relationships with 81.3% of bloggers indicating that they have made friends that they communicate with online because of blogging.
Conclusions then? I don't know. The medium has me as interested and as passionate as it ever has. The opportunity to talk to people you wouldn't meet ordinarily - possibly you wouldn't have access to - is the biggest advantage, the one that keeps me going back for more...

For Twitter, I just repeatedly quote Ivor Tossel from his Twitter article on Globe and Mail:


  1. Interesting comparison between Facebook and Twitter, and the Globe and Mail have some very good articles on Twitter. I may be one of your silent followers, as I am a silent Twitterer; not that I am not interested, I am, and click here and there on Follow buttons of interesting bloggers, but I am writing a thesis, and I am like a miser couting and saving my words: 149 may not sound like a lot, but it quickly adds up; I am also very much afraid of the black hole in time twittering would open.

  2. I find your inane ramblings interesting which is why I follow your Twitter & your blog, albeit that my comments are scarce. Plus, it helps me keep up with references that my mate Steve makes cos he reads your blog (if he ever joins Twitter he'll slap himself heh heh).

  3. ha I got about 10 of these today, the last time was a while ago. Seems like quitter save them all up for us in one big go :)

  4. I follow your twits to keep tabs on all the women you say you love... Five thousand nine hundred & seventy six, at last count! ;) Must be my turn again soon.

  5. True,

    95% of my Facebook friends are friends, ex colleagues (friends) and schoolmates (that's the original Facebook incarnation...) while 95% of my followings on Twitter are just people I'd like to know or whom I like their ideas...