The Danger Of Ego Services on Twitter

This weekend I received a direct message from someone on Twitter asking why I’d unfollowed him. He was a little upset that I’d decided to stop listening.

How did he find out I’d unfollowed?

Qwitter.

Image representing Qwitter as depicted in Crun...Qwitter is a service that lets you know every time someone unfollows you and tells you the last message you posted before they unfollowed. Some have suggested it could be useful to help people learn what creates negative reactions in their followers.

I tried Qwitter briefly when it first came out, and decided it wasn’t for me. It seems like a bit of an ego massager – simply for people to find out who has unfollowed them.

The problem in this instance? I hadn’t unfollowed. I hadn’t even considered it.

On checking with my fellow Twitter users, it seems this has been happening to other people too. It may be that Qwitter is quitting on us.

A word of warning to Qwitter users: Be careful what you believe.

  • When I saw the title of your post I figured you were going to be talking about the twitter ranking service that turned out to be a phishing scheme a few weeks ago.

    I’m with you on the whole Qwitter thing too, though. Maybe I’m missing something but I’m not overly concerned with who follows me and why. I follow people that interest me and I work on the assumption that people follow me for the same reason.

    I don’t care what my twitter grade is or where I’m ranked on the grand scale of twitter users. I give myself a twitter grade of 100 percent (A+!) because I’ve built a network of interesting people with whom I can have a good conversation.

    Of course, maybe if I was closer to the top of the charts I’d care more. It’s easy to be flippant when you’re a twitter lightweight.

  • Good post. Qwitter bugs aside…I’ve seen a couple of instances now where the opposite has happened – someone gets offended, unfollows, and DMs why they did so. It’s always been over the most trivial of matters, but on Twitter I guess it’s everyone’s prerogative. Bottom line…on Twitter, we’re often strangers to each other. If you get offended, why not open up a (friendly) debate? Defend your position instead of unfollowing. It makes things more interesting. šŸ™‚

  • The technical problems with Qwitter are in part because they need to rely on information provided by Twitter, which is notoriously unreliable. I’ve cornered people and asked point-blank why they’re not following me (these are my friends, mind you) and they’ve showed me that they in fact ARE. But that’s not what Twitter tells me.

    I like QWitter because you get interesting info about social usage patterns. Today, for instance, when I made a suggestion about dealing with trolls, three obvious spammers immediately unfollowed me within sixty seconds, telling me that all those accounts probably belonged to the same person. I’ll remember those names and their websites in future.

    That’s the kind of thing Qwitter is good for, when it works.

  • I cleaned up my following list the other evening — just pruned the people I never talked to (or who never talked to me). For the most part no one said anything, but one woman sent me a message and said she hoped she hadn’t offended me.

    I found that a bit odd. From my perspective, who thinks “I must have offended” as a default?

    I also suspect there’s rather more of an assumed correlation between the last tweet prior to someone unfollowing, and the actual reason the person removed you from their list.

  • Interesting… I saw you unfollow me to I wonder if this was the cause, but I wasn’t going to ask why. Follow/unfollow your choice šŸ˜‰

    Quitter for me is a novelty that allows me to know when changes happen on my list – I get an email when people start following me, so why not when they unfollow. I had originally thought that I was offending people when they unfollowed, but I got over that real quick and realized that sometimes people just unfollow you.

    Cheers,
    Matt
    @emailkarma

  • I still don’t understand how Twitter became a tool for self-validation instead of communication. Since when did the number of followers you have or who unfollows you become an issue? I use Twitter as a way to explore relationships and information, not measure my self-worth. Still not sure how these ego services get so much attention…

  • Ike

    I called Qwitter an Insecurity Blanket.

    It takes unfollowing from an act of privacy to an act of “It’s Complicated.”

  • To your point, I thought the whole point about following people was because they are interesting. Twitter, in my opinion, is not about having a thousand people follow you; but having the right people follow you.

    By the way, that holds true for the people I follow. If you are not interesting, I probably will not follow you very long.

    Great post!

  • wow this is an interesting idea – but not one I like – massive ego issues here! The whole benefit of Twitter vs. Facebook is that it is an open and fluid network. I use twitter for information sharing, so if someone is not providing me with useful information, why would I listen to them?
    The key for me is finding people who are interesting to listen to in the digital world (and sharing this too!) – life is ultimately too short to listen to everyone!

  • It’s impossible to please everyone. I don’t mind if people unfollow me because it just means we have connected on the right level.

  • Well said Dave.

    I still sort of like Qwitter because I like to know who might be unfollowing, but agree it’s not nearly as useful as it seemed to be and agree that it is 100 percent misleading.

    There is no way to tell why people quit based on this service. (There could be any number of reasons unrelated to what was just said.) But to drive the point home, I recently assigned a second e-mail account to Qwitter … and each account attributes different comments as to why the person unfollowed. Of course, the real reason the person unfollowed was because I didn’t follow them back. Ho hum.

    Amazing.

    All my best,
    Rich

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