The Great Unfollow Experiment

It has been some time since we have done a Bella Buzz podcast with only Desiree and Joe chatting about the latest and greatest in the world of online business.  We have had many wonderful guests over the course of this past year and we encourage you to check out each and every one of them.  The conversations allow us an inside look into the transformative efforts and the business rationale behind these entrepreneurs.

On this episode we go back to our original format in order to discuss a recent revelation that has led Desiree to take some action that she calls “The Great Unfollow Experiment.” As social media began to take off in adoption rate a few years back, there was a reference made to a Dunbar Number.  We have mentioned it in previous podcasts, but essentially it relates to the maximum number of people an individual can have some form of meaningful relationship with.  Social media was supposed to allow us to expand our Dunbar Numbers due to the ease of connecting and communicating.

It turns out the Desiree, and others such as Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuck on The Daily, have determined that following a massive amount of people simply renders the various platforms and networks useless.  A platform like Twitter is only as good as the information that you can get out of the links from trusted people, and if you have six figures worth of people in your stream, there is no way to pull anything of value from that fast flowing gauntlet.

Some social networks are even taking this limitation into account.  Path has released an app that allows users to share with a limited number of connections. It started at 50 and has been raised to a Dunbar friendly 150 people.

So Desiree decided to start over and wanted to start using Twitter better again.  She used Social Ooomph and over the course of about 19 hours unfollowed 19,000 people!  The response has been quite (strange) interesting actually as some have been hurt and angered by this action.  If the value of the connection is simply just as a number, then the purpose is lost.  The only reason for following someone is because you are able to glean knowledge, insight or business opportunity.  #Followback arrangements are not what the founders of Twitter ever intended.

Desiree will be speaking at SoCon 2012 this February about this experiment, and it will be interesting as it proceeds to see if there is any business impact pro or con to reducing the amount of Twitter connections.  There might actually be some benefit to using the platform to discover new insights.

The use of Facebook as a platform is also an interesting development as we move forward.  Services such as Foursquare, Get Glue, Spotify … the number of followers on these services does not matter if your true social graph resides on Facebook.  These services are simply User Interfaces for posting things and managing preferences. The value of the service comes from its ability to provide recommendations based upon their wealth of data!

Stay tuned over the course of the next few weeks as we discuss some of these developments during our annual recap and prediction shows, and look for some great guests lined up in 2012 already!


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  1. I’m very curious to see how it goes. Keep us posted!

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