Twitter: It’s not personal


After thinking it over for quite some time, I’ve decided that I need to make some significant changes to how I use Twitter.

For a while now I’ve thought of Twitter as a professional (as opposed to personal) social network. As I shift over to my new role as a liaison librarian, I expect to make even greater use of it to reach out and connect with students and faculty, not to mention librarians and other professionals in my new domain.

I also want to be able to follow the people and organizations that are part of my new user communities and communities of interest. If I’m disciplined and careful about this, I’ll be able to turn my timeline into a useful tool for scanning what is going on in areas that are relevant to my work.

The most straightforward way to do this is to first review all the accounts I’m following and unfollow those. Then I can start to add in new accounts that fit the criteria I’ve briefly listed above. This is in fact what I have decided to do, and I’m hopeful that overtime it will help me to make Twitter an important part of my outreach strategy.

The problem I’ve had with this is that the accounts that I follow and that I’m talking of unfollowing are, for the most part, linked to people. People who may not take kindly to being unfollowed. The risk of social blowback on this has had me hesitating about moving forward with my plans, but in the end I’ve decided that I’ve got to do what is right for me, and so over the next week or so I expect that I’ll be unfollowing a large portion of the people I currently follow.

To anyone that I do unfollow, let me be clear: this isn’t personal. My judgement is going to be based largely on the content that you share and how well I feel it supports my new professional role and identity. If what I share is of value to you I hope that you will continue to follow me and interact with me, but if you choose to unfollow me, I promise that I won’t be offended. (Aside: anyone who knows me personally is always free to connect with me via Facebook.)

I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has gone through and struggled with a similar dilemma, so please feel free to share your experiences or feedback in the comments below.