Why It’s Good that Scoble Un-followed Me

unfollowRobert Scoble, the incredible hulk of the social networking space, un-followed over 100,000 people on Twitter this week.  I was one of them.

But that’s OK.  In fact it’s a very good thing.  Here’s why.

My single biggest gripe about social networks in general, and Twitter in particular, is that far too many people use them to blast out the content they want others to see.  With little or no concern about what others are saying.  When that happens, the platform becomes a stage at best and a spam-fest at worst.  I’m all about conversation and back and forth.  And face it, that is impossible when there are 100,000 people in the room.

There’s nothing even remotely social about trying- or pretending to try- to interact with that many people.  A follow becomes a virtual autograph.  Most of us don’t want autographs, and even real celebrities are beginning to realize that they are better served with a more direct connection to a smaller group of people.

So when an influential person like Scoble makes a considered decision to manage his content in a way that is actually manageable and allows meaningful social interaction, that’s a very good thing.  If Robert rejects, even indirectly, lecturing as a proxy for interaction and follower numbers as a proxy for authority, then maybe others will follow suit.  When that happens, the social networking space might actually become social.  And useful.  Maybe even a little conversational.

Granted, it would have been better to adopt this approach from the start, before building up a six figure following.  To do it this way necessarily opens the door for criticism- non-reciprocity, the gatekeeping thing, etc.  There’s nothing to be done about that, and I say better late than never.

A manageable social network is better, in every way that counts.  I hope others will un-follow me too, if that’s what it takes.