Sally Whittle blogged today about the etiquette of connection in social media. She posed the question: Should social media be reciprocal?
It’s a question that’s difficult to answer initially. You follow someone on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest (etc) because you enjoy the pictures, links or opinions they’re sharing and you hope they’ll take notice, see that you’re like-minded, and follow you back.
Saying that, when someone you do not know offline or online starts following you, your first instinct is to see who they are and to try and work out why they have made that connection. You then have to decide whether or not to follow them in return.
That process can be easy, or it can be tricky. If you follow them and enjoy what they’re posting over a long period of time, everyone’s a winner. If you choose not to follow them, they may not notice, or they might even unfollow.
*Worse case scenario klaxon*
You follow them for a while, decide, actually, this isn’t for you, and unfollow. They then unfollow you back immediately.
Nobody wants to be that person who loses a follower within a few tweets.
Then again, what does it matter? The question you should always be asking is: does following this person lead me to regular positive interaction?
If the answer is no, there should be no qualms about removing them from your digital life – there’s so much stuff going on online to keep up with, the last thing you need is clutter in your timeline.
You can always follow them back later if you change your mind.
Sometimes in real life, you need to be selfish and make decisions that benefit you in the long term as much as they
affect the people around you.
You should take that approach digitally too. I’m unfollowed, followed, and unfollowed all the time. I figure people dip in and out of what I’m sharing. That’s cool, it probably gets boring a lot of the time. If you were to read every tweet or post I published you’d get bored. Hell, I get bored.
But that’s the wonderful thing about social media, you can consume what you want, when you want, by whom you like, whenever you like.
And with that, I leave you with this: