|Photo credit: respres on Flickr|
For any of you who use Twitter (and those of you writers who don't, I truly believe you should give it a try), you know exactly what I'm talking about just based off the title of this post: Auto-follow backs.
Every new Twitter user will quickly come across the question that has many debating and scratching their heads over—to automatically follow someone back or not?
If you glance at my Twitter profile for even a second, you'll see pretty clearly based off my follower/following ratio that I very obviously don’t—but it’s probably not for the reason you might think. Truth is, I believe that automatically following everyone who follows you indicates that you’re completely missing the point of social media.
You see, when you ask for more followers or hound others to follow you simply because you followed them, you're focusing on the numbers rather than the people. Following people becomes a game—a race of let's see who can get the most followers the fastest. We become concerned no longer with the content of our streams or the relationships we're building—simply the number beneath the "Followers" count on our profiles.
And from there, it's a slippery slope. Because the moment you lose sight of the people behind the numbers, you start to forget what this whole social media thing is all about: relationships.
I challenge you to look beyond the numbers. Sure, they're fun to look at every once in a while, particularly at a milestone, but I challenge you not to lose sight of the greatest gift social media has to give.
How you decide to do that may differ—for me it meant only following people back who I've started to create a relationship with—people who I've carried a conversation with, who I have word sprints with, who are friendly and greet me in the morning and make a point of reaching out occasionally to say hello and answering when I welcome my new followers.
Because when you encounter those kind of people you know that they get it—that you're not just a number, that they're willing to make the little extra effort to build a relationship with you.
And that's when I click the little blue follow button to make sure I can connect with them again.
What's your Twitter follow policy? Do you automatically follow people back? Why or why not?