Help! I've Been Unfollowed!

Leora Israel currently performs business development for Follow her @leoraisrael.
Social Media has created a whole new set of interactive dilemmas. This morning when I went to DM (direct message) someone with whom I thought I was in a mutual follow relationship with on Twitter, I got the sad reality check that they don’t follow me back! You can only send a private message to someone via Twitter if they are following you.
Social media has made socializing a bit more complex with new rules of engagement. With the new complexities comes new questions:

  • If you are friends with someone in real life, but their tweets annoy you, is it acceptable to unfollow them? Should you give them notice or warning beforehand?
  • How do you ask someone without looking like a social media loser, why they are not following you? Especially since you can’t send those people a private message on Twitter. Should you publicly ask them why? Or send some @ message their way hoping it strikes up a conversation that leads to them following you?
  • Should you unfollow them as well, or continue to follow them because you enjoy their tweets even after finding out they don’t enjoy yours…
  • Is unfollowing on Twitter the same as unfriending someone on Facebook? I would assume not given that on Facebook you cannot have one sided friends.

I decided it best to just flat out ask what the deal was from a few Tweeps. So far one responded saying that he simply cannot follow what everyone is doing and decided to only follow people he interacts with daily. Hard to believe he interacts daily with 400+ people, but it is true we have fallen out of touch. Also, my tweets for the most part aren’t relevant to him, so I shouldn’t take offense, right?
People unfollowing you is one issue, but how about those folks who don’t follow you back to begin with? A lot of people, such as myself, opt to not get email notifications when people follow them simply because it crowds their inbox. For this reason it’s always a good idea to send an @ message saying hi to them after following so they know who you are and also have the opportunity to engage with you. This hopefully leads to them following you back.
What is the proper way to request that someone follow you back so that you can send them DMs?
Should you flat out say “@allnick I want to DM you, so follow me back please”? Perhaps it would be better to take the more subtle approach and comment on one of their recent tweets?
If you’re curious to know those people who you are following but who are not following you back, check out It will show all your non followers with their icons so you can visually see who doesn’t like you. The one downside is that they don’t provide links to unfollow those people and you have to manually click on each person’s twitter page to unfollow them.
Then I realized that Twitter provides a way to do this seamlessly but without the cute graphic. If you sign into twitter and go to you can see who you follow and if the option to Direct Message them isn’t next to their name it means they don’t follow you back. Then with one simple click you can unfollow them without leaving the page.
Now that Twitter is becoming so popular and mainstream, the way people use their Twitter accounts will most likely change. We are only beginning to figure out the rules and mores involved on Twitter and other social media platform so I guess it would be best to keep our egos in check and not let unfollowing bother us.

Publish date: April 17, 2009 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT