Twitter requests that SocialToo discontinue a popular feature; the auto-unfollow.

Wait, what?

Today I received an email from SocialToo, a social media management tool that I subscribe to.  If you’re not familiar with them, this is how they describe themselves on their website “SocialToo helps you manage Twitter and Facebook and unclutters your stream and Social Graph so you can focus on what’s most important – relationships!”

And that’s exactly what they do. There are lots of Twitter users out there that are only focused on follower numbers. They believe that a bigger follower number earns more status.  To get those big numbers, they follow a whole bunch of people and when those people follow back, they unfollow them so they’re left with more followers than they are following to give the appearance that they have some sort of  ‘social’ status.

Since I’ve been a SocialToo subscriber,  I’ve been successfully able to purge those number-collectors to maintain a tight follower-to-following ratio, something Twitter looks upon favorably. In fact, Twitter actually penalizes users who don’t maintain about a 10% ratio by not letting you follow anyone else until the ratio improves.  Again, that’s exactly what the SocialToo tool allows me to do. I get rid of the fame seekers and legitimately connect with people who have similar interests as me.

So why then is Twitter asking SocialToo to stop doing something that is so beneficial to the whole process exactly as they themselves have defined it?  It makes me wonder if Twitter is planning a feature expansion and doesn’t want the feature-rich competition. Well, of course that’s purely conjecture, I have no idea what they’re planning, if anything.  But it frustrates me though that while Twitter is so slow to develop new features on their own, having relied heavily on third party API’s to enrich the Twitter experience, they’re now taking features away from me via those same third party applications.

I don’t like it.

Twitter has a huge presence, but repeatedly impedes their own use.  They remove discussion thread features (ability to see RT threads forcing us to use placeholder character before the .@name), change the natural flow of use (can you say RT fail anyone) and generally muck up the works of something that has built up it’s own steam.

Twitter, please listen more and stop curtailing our features and ease-of-use.  Let API’s like SocialToo continue to offer me what you don’t, a means to unclutter my tweet stream.

Twitter Asks SocialToo to End Auto-Unfollow
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2 thoughts on “Twitter Asks SocialToo to End Auto-Unfollow

  • January 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    I agree with Twitter on this one. They should encourage the practice of growing your followers organically and not allow services that exploit the system. There is no way Twitter is going to add this capability as an in-house feature.

  • January 22, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    I appreciate your point of view, and I realize I may be fighting an uphill battle on this issue, but for me the auto-unfollow is an anti-spam tool. I use it to mitigate follower churn.

    I don’t use the feature to spam, rapidly gain followers, or otherwise exploit the system. I have worked hard to grow my following organically and regularly engage online. I personally vet each follower by checking their tweet stream and website for authenticity. I use the auto un-follow to un-follow individuals who follow and then quickly un-follow me, despite my review process.

    It is unfortunate that individuals misuse valuable tools, which leads to the tool being made unavailable to honest participants.

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