Bottom line - my feed was getting choked up with information I didn’t care about.
Why is that important? Well, we’re in the age of attention now. The age of information is well and truly past. If anything it’s the age of information overload. People’s online habits have changed and instead of waiting for information to come to them, they are actively searching it out and filtering it as they go.
Twitter is a great place for that information. For many people, it is a place where you can stick to one subject – in my case screenwriting and indie filmmaking – and consume a lot of information quickly. From here, you can filter out what is important/relevant/interesting for later and also “meet” other interested in the subject.
I use twitter as a source of information almost exclusively for these subjects – with the occasional foray into “Strictly Come Dancing” or “X Factor” if I am feeling so inclined.
What I noticed in my recent unfollowing spate was a pattern around why I unfollowed people. Now, I don’t want to make these people wrong for doing the below – hey, it’s your twitter, knock yourself out – but I just wonder how many of the below reasons have made other people unfollow them too or at the very least stop engaging with them.
1) Constant promotion of an e-book – This is just plain lazy. Marketing 101 is - sell to your audience and if you don’t have an audience, then build it. Marketing books to other authors or writers – come on. They followed you to talk to you about writing, not for you to constantly bombard them with badly worded sales messages about your latest fiction ebook. Now, if the book was about screenwriting or filmmaking – I’m there, I really am. Other than that forget it. It’s spam. Unfollow.
2) Constant “fund my project” tweets – Same as above. Why are you hitting up other broke writers and filmmakers to fund your project? They are too damn busy trying to fund their own project without you bombarding them with “fund my film” tweets. There are a few crowdfunding campaigns that do have perks directly for the filmmaking community – great, market away! Look, I’m not saying don’t ever promote your film or crowdfunder to film or writing people - believe it or not they are probably interested in the final product and the journey you had getting it out there - what I am saying is - like the promotion of an ebook – you need to promote these things to the audience you are trying to sell your end film to. If you can’t understand the concept of audience on a low budget short film crowdfunder then I worry for you – how the hell are you going to explain it when in a room at Paramount trying to pitch for actual cash? Unfollow.
3) Repeated retweeting – There is nothing more frustrating to me than seeing someone retweet 5-10 posts they were mentioned in in a row, and clogging up my feed with them, their name and whatever the heck they were mentioned in. I go to Twitter to find useful information - this is not useful information, this is you standing in a playground yelling “Look at me, look at me”. Unfollow.
4) Never talking about the subject I’m interested in – Twitter is a great place to talk to specific people about specific subjects. I followed you because on your profile it says filmmaker or screenwriter. But when it comes to the tweets you are making they are nothing to do with these subjects and it makes me wonder why I am bothering following you. I’m not talking about the odd tweet about your family, the football, the rugby or that kind of thing but constantly talk about everything but the subject you profess to love is distracting. Unfollow.
5) Those goddamn “X people followed me Y people unfollowed me” auto tweets – Do you know how sad that makes you look? It’s saying – Y people have already left my party because I’m so deadly dull and boring that I can’t keep followers! There was a nasty strain of autotweet a few months ago that was similar to this that basically said “@scriptpunk has unfollowed me” What-the-actual-fuck? You are tweeting this, naming and shaming people who unfollow you…and new followers are suppose to be impressed by this? Come on, grow up. This is your public image we are talking about. Unfollow.
Social Media is not about how many followers you have. It’s really not. What are we, five years old? You can have 100 followers all hyper engaged or 1000 followers who have just followed you because you follow them. What is your preference?
If it really is "I want 1000’s of followers" then knock yourself out, there are several follower adding pieces of software out there that will make you feel really important.
If it is that you want to engage with people who talk your talk and are interested in the subjects you are in, then do yourself a favour and go for the 100 engaged followers.
And my last point, before I get off my soap box and go make another cup of coffee, if you have a specific project/book/film to promote, then do us all a favour and create a separate twitter account and build the audience up for the project there. Yes, it's hard work - but so is making films and just like the work you put into films, the work you put into building your audience will pay off...if you have the where-with-all to do it in the first place.