"Users often expect to have their “Follows” reciprocated by their peers, and a failure to do so can lead to bruised egos. But indiscriminate following comes with a price too, as it ultimately leads to an unmanageable amount of noise (and stories you might not care about). Fake Following manages to skirt the issue with a digital white lie.""Digital white lie?" Oh my. Is that the future? Aside from turning social networks into playground politics, Fake Following creates a disingenuous relationship that negates several valuable features inherent to online social networks. Ahem, soapbox, please...
1. Loss of credibility
When I find a voice online that I truly admire, I'll dig around their blog roll and check out the people they are following. Often, I'll find a new perspective worth keeping an eye on. I trust the people I follow to lead me to other interesting people, based on their curatorial preferences. If you follow everybody, I can't trust that you are leading me toward like-minded people.
2. False sense of self-importance
If you have 3,000 followers, you are likely pretty interesting. If you are only following 30 people, maybe you could be a little arrogant. But that doesn't mean you're not still a pimp and people want to hear what you have to say. If you are following 3,000 people and only 3 are following you back, it should probably tell you something. Truth is you might not be offering valuable content. Maybe you tweet about your lunch or you are a spammer offering free coupons for porn. If I follow you, I am encouraging you to continue posting crap. No offense, just tough love.
3. Nobody is listening
"Is that the social part of social media/networking?" The Simian Downtown Time Analyst suggests that Fake Feed creates a distance from readers. If you are pretending to listen to me, I might expect your response. I hope that you will contribute to the conversation. Inviting me to a party and ignoring me all night isn't cool. Especially if I could have made better plans. So, don't patronize by offering an insincere relationship. Skip the small talk, I'd rather be engaged.
Don't get me wrong, I value the idea of managing content. Tweet Deck is a great way to create groups and streamline your consumption. It allows you to group the people you are following and only review one group's posts at a time. So, you can just look at the "professional" tweets. Or "mommy" tweets, or "people I knew in high school, who sometimes say funny things" tweets, depending on how much time you have, or what you are hoping to find.
Granted, I am not inundated with follower requests. I am a very quiet voice with one pinkie toe in the water. But, if I choose not to follow you, don't take it personally. I am probably just washing my hair. If it is meant to be, I'm sure I will find you and kick myself for not sensing our compatibility sooner. And when I follow you, you'll know it means I like you. Really.