The Great Twitter Purge of 2014.

Screenshot 2014-11-18 09.04.39

Well, nothing really “great” about it, let alone “Great” with a capital “G,” but I feel better. 

I just scanned through the 2,000 humans, corporate entities, and digital personalities I follow on Twitter.  Over the past few months, I had grown weary of hitting my head on the 2,000-follower limit imposed by Twitter.  On dozens of occasions of late, I was smacked down by Twitter when I clicked the “Follow” button on someone new.  Gave me a digital headache.

Now, I suppose this 2,000-follower limit (hereafter, the “2FL”) is intended to prevent fake people from artificially inflating their own questionably-purposed Twitter follower count.  But this policy is akin to a dark blue-suited unspeaking stranger standing next to me at a cocktail party, slapping away my right hand as I am just about to greet someone whom I’ve never met before.  I have hit my alloted limit of friends, and can’t add another one to my life. Actually, a tighter analogy might be if the prospective new friend is blind-folded, and doesn’t even know I’m standing there, but is reaching his or her hand outstretched, waiting for a grip from another new friend.  Unless that other new friend is already being followed by the blind-folded friend.  And if that is the case, and if the blindfolded prospective friend has also hit his or her 2FL, then the dark-suited stranger will slap away the blind-folded person’s hand. 

I believe I have this right. 

Net net, seems like anywhere you look (or, um, can’t look because you’re blindfolded; so maybe it’s more anywhere you look regardless of whether you can see in the direction you look), the result at this stage is the same:  Somebody is getting their hand slapped.  Probably several somebodies.  Several hand slaps.  If the room is large enough, it just might be a continuous gaggle of hand-slapping.  Could even sound like hearty applause. Except the only person who will actually hear a slap is the person whose hand is slapped.  They can’t hear any others’ hands being slapped.


So I blame my digital behavior this morning on Twitter’s 2FL.  In order to let new people into my digital life, I’ve had to, well, let a bunch of others go.  As in, “Grab your personal digital effects, put them in your digital cardboard box, and exit the digital premises forthwith, escorted by two burly (albeit digital) security guards.”  Digitally frogwalked right down the digital staircase, and deposited on the sidewalk.

I had no choice.  Or if I did, it was a Hobson’s Choice at best.  A whole series of Hobson’s Choices.  And now I have a pile of roughly 300 digital carcasses just lying there, dizzy and confused.  They did not deserve this shoddy treatment, this sudden twist of fate. 

Well, as it turns out, some of them maybe did deserve to be caught up in the Great Twitter Purge of 2014. 

You see, there is this mildly creepy website called Goodbye, Buddy! that will let you know exactly who “unfollowed” your Twitter account recently.  I haven’t been on the site for years (really, I swear).  On this shameful list, I found a number of Twitter handles that professed to be THE world-beating expert on search engine optimization (apparently my Twitter account did not need optimization), corporate recruiters (probably couldn’t figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up), leadership coaches (probably figured I was not coachable), inspirational gurus (I’m good on the inspiration front, thank you), the Molokai Visitors Bureau (that’s OK, I was not planning on going to Molokai anytime soon), an ad agency where my little sister formerly worked (little sister, I sincerely hope that you didn’t push the “Unfollow” button when you were still working at said agency!), several professional DJs (this particular exodus en masse I cannot explain), etc.

I wish i had the diplomatic chops to leave it at “etc.”  But alas…I do not.  And for some strange and admittedly childish reason, I am slightly offended by a few former Twitter followers of mine who, I imagine, crept out under the cover of darkness, thanking their lucky stars to be free from the constant inane chatter that spews from my Twitter feed.  (Kind of like this blog post.)  For example, I noticed that the Union Street Ice Rink unfollowed me.  Now, we have just scheduled our annual family pilgrimage to this rink, combined with a couple other families, to boot.  Maybe we’ll cancel the reservation, and take our clumsy splits-on-ice elsewhere.  I’m sure some other rink would have a better appreciation for my 8 year-old’s James Brown imitation (the dancing, not the singing).

Another example: Red Bull.  Red Bull? First, it is odd that a huge brand with 1.77 million Twitter followers would follow me.  While I have had a fair amount of interaction with the Red Bull brand for business stuff, that interaction has been more with the San Francisco Red Bull folks.  I don’t think the local guys hold the keys to the master Red Bull Twitter handle at HQ.  Although one of the local guys does appear on my Goodbye, Buddy! blacklist, and he’ll have to live with that.  Or rather I will.  Well, one of will.  Maybe both.  But one business contact of mine who I suspect did have the Red Bull Twitter keys at one point left the company some time ago.  I suppose he could have hit the “Unfollow” button on Red Bull’s Twitter dashboard on his way out the door, but I doubt it.  Plus, he still follows me on his personal Twitter account.  This one’ll have to remain a mystery (for now).

In any event, I’m done with The Great Twitter Purge, at least for this year.  For those of you I had to unfollow, please accept my sincerest apologies.  Unless you unfollowed me first, in which case, serves you right.  The rest of you are safe, at least until my next visit to Goodbye, Buddy!  Could be 15 minutes from now, could be one year from now.  And for those who fear the slice of the digital ax arcing through the air towards their digital heads, there is salvation:  I’m at @kjbeadling, and you know where the “Follow” button is. 

Thanks for reading.

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