Why Did I Unfollow You

I’ve been cleaning up my Twitter-roll and unfollowing a bunch of people, here’s why:

1) You don’t tweet. I don’t think anyone really needs to pump out 50 tweets a day to be interesting… but the corollary is true as well, if the only tweet you have posted in the last 2 months is “going for lunch, indian food” don’t be surprised if you get unfollowed. Twitter is a stream, not a feed.

2) You pimp your company, and then do it some more. A lot of people seem to think that Twitter exists solely for them to tweet out press releases about their company, or every tweet is cheerleading on behalf of their company. Balance people, balance. It’s all well and good to tweet out news about the great things your company is doing, but balance it out with interesting links to news from around your industry. The odds are pretty damn good that you know more about what your competitors, partners, and other interesting companies are doing than I do, and that’s why I followed you in the first place. I would expect a company twitter profile to be exclusively focused on company news, but not a person working for that company.

3) You are rude. It’s okay to disagree but to do so in a condescending or offensive manner is not appropriate, and just because it’s online doesn’t mean you can say things to me that you would not say to my face. Interestingly, this is the least frequent cause for unfollowing… most people I encounter online are actually more polite and civil, even if in violent disagreement, than the average person walking down the street in SF.

4) Serial retweeters. I’ve noticed that some people are following thousands of people with the intent of getting followed themselves, and then retweet nonstop to gain prominence. I’m not sure what the end game is here beyond building an authority ranking on third party services but it is not interesting. Some of this behavior is bot driven.

5) You tweet about inane bullshit. I really don’t care that you are “going for lunch, indian food” but if that is mixed in with interesting links, substantive tweets, good retweets, and other meaningful stuff, well I can skip over the meaningless stuff… but if the only thing you are tweeting about is inane bullshit, I’m unfollowing you. Signal to noise ratios, too low is a problem.

What Went Wrong With Joost?

Om very succinctly yet thoroughly lays out what has led to the demise of Joost. One point that I disagree with my good friend Om on is that a white label strategy is the last refuge of a failed strategy when you don’t set out from the beginning to become a white label business… Brightcove has done well white labeling streaming video services.

When I read about all the planned changes at the company earlier today, the first thought that crossed my mind was: Stick a fork in it; Joost is done. After all, this whole white-label video strategy is like a leaky lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The NewTeeVee crew sums up the situation very succinctly: “Becoming a white-label video provider was what a business did when all other strategies failed.”

[From What Went Wrong With Joost?]

I’ve written about Joost a couple of times since it launched in 2007 and my experience apparently mimics that of what the broader majority of their users experienced. The service began with great enthusiasm among consumers because at the time it was apparent that Youtube had reached an apex in terms of quality and distribution of feature content. Joost promised to improve on both and the video experience itself was pretty damn sweet and given the early phase of the company I was willing to be patient on the content front… yet mainstream feature content never arrived and the result was that there was no reason to stay with the service.

At the end of the day Joost was a content business but they never seemed to understand that, which is reflected in their management team which strategized around a technology roadmap. In many ways Joost is a textbook example of so many things that a startup should not do, and whatever strategy they have now is tantamount to capitulation because as Om so aptly puts it, stick a fork in it. Done.

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