Those who do, well, here is "whats up"?
I made my tweets private about 2 days ago. It was a decision I actually thought over for a bit, and in the same breath, hastily did. For as much thought as I put into it, I also clearly didnt think other things thru. But, I made the decision and although eventually I will likely go back on it, for now, I am not ready to yet.
First let me talk about why I am unhappy with the decision to do what I did.
Firstly, I probably alienated a couple users outright. It was a casualty I anticipated might happen, but I weighed the odds & thought it would be minimal...so far, it seems that was right. But still, its never good to alienate potential customers over petty issues with people they really dont know or care about.
Second, it is bad for expanding thru twitter. Something I didnt think of at the time, and I am noticing more since is how many re-tweets & RTs seem to come from non-followers for posts made by a public vs private user. Yesterday I had my most site traffic since I added google analytics to track my sites traffic...yet I am sure I could have probably done 10% more with proper twitter traffic. On a usual day, twitter makes up more than 20% of my traffic referrals. Yesterday, 4%. You do the math.
Third, my ego. I admit it, I am a bit of a narcissistic egomaniac. I would much rather have had 1021 followers than 979 (current total after the ultimatum & my self-purging of users) tuning in to my mostly insane, and I am sure, generally irrelevant to their interest, ramblings.
Fourth, Cutting off some good people just to show there was no favouritism. Of the 30+ people I deleted from my followers list who were also following the person in question.... 5-8 of them were people I have interacted with on occasion, on twitter, on other websites, or even in person. Everytime I came to one of them, I was like "sheesh, this sucks..but, I cant play favourites"., so I cut them. Some understood, a couple snapped & made snarky comments back at me. Others simply seemed confused. All reactions I anticipated. Where possible, I tried to quell over the feelings, and for the mostpart I think I have with those that brought issues up about it.
Now, onto WHY this is happening...and any positives I have found from it.
Over the past few weeks/months 1 user in specific (although there are in fact 2...but the other 1 is simply just less annoying) has decided to attack me over & over & over again on twitter. Him & his buddy have inside jokes..and just like how we all have inside thoughts/jokes that we dont speak publicly, same goes here. You can have jokes in private with friends. But when you post them publicly, it really shows a lack of any intellect & frankly, makes you look like a downright idiot... not that it has really taken much to make this illiterate pothead look like a fool too often.
Afterall, we are talking about someone that besides being stoned 24/7, illiterate & frankly, slow. Has publicly threatened to do harm to a celeb & trashes people for no other reason than generally the goading on from his more dominant immature friend, and on more than 1 occasion has trashed people that have been his allies.
In the real world, one would assume making jokes that only 1-2 other people would get, on a public major social netowrking site that your clients & friends read would seem at the least, idiotic. yet he did them, repeatedly. At first, I snapped back publicly. Then he continued, even suggesting he was gaining followers because if it. So I ignored him, but he continued. Next step came, I blocked him. I had immobilized the majority if his immature & downright retarded impact, but yet he still carried on with the elementary school mentality. So, it came to the next step. Disassociate myself with him as much as I can. Period.
Now in person, I cant just wave my hand & make him disappear. So sadly, like many people in many forms of business, I must simply just tolerate him when I am out doing my thing...because he will be there & isnt going to leave simply because logic would dictate he should. Nope, its not that simple...but I can certainly do something about it in other areas, like on twitter.
To do this, I took step 1. Made my account private. No longer could he directly see things said. Now he would have to get them thru a 3rd party...which was step 2.
This idea would only work if I made sure there was no overlapping contacts. So, I made the radical decision to block anyone who opted to follow him. No exceptions. I gave everyone a 1 day warning...granted I found out some didnt even notice that post, since lets be honest...with some of the heavy spammers some of you follow, it can get lost in a sea of news story posts pretty quick.
I made multiple posts stating, you can choose, him or me. In the slightly over 24 hours that post was around, the results spoke for themselves. I lost 0.3% of my followers because of the ultimatum...and by tracking who left ( Interesting little tool- http://who.unfollowed.me/lite )I can add to it, NOT ONE of the 3 who left was following him..they were just random unfollowers...which for the record, this is an average day for me. I lose 2-5 people a day on average as is.
On the other hand... He lost 13 followers, also known as 9.1%. That IS a huge drop. For someone with only around 150 users, to lose 13 in day is a notable impact. Statistically, one would assume that he probably lost 1, maybe 2 of them by the same randomness that I lost my 3. That still leaves 11 or 12 that left him because of the ultimatum I stated. To me, this is a knock out win.
After I let people choose at their own leisure, time came to go thru his followers list & purge those unable to decide for themselves. As I went thru the list, I often would come across 1 and would be like "this is going to be disappointing/awkward", but it had to be done. If these people wanted to follow me, they could...log as they unfollow him. I deleted over 30 people..and still have deleted a few more since then of people who opted to add him after my purging thinking it was safe to re-follow him again.
The decision to do this was in my mind, a success. It had casualties, sure. It was essentially a war afterall, and theres no such thing as a war without casualties.
I am sure I will cave in & make my tweets public sooner rather than later. The business impact short term compared to peace of mind was fine, but long term, it will eventually become less valuable than the alternative as a public account is better for business than a private one on twitter.
Although, a case can be made that the busiest day on my website, was a day where I had private tweets.