On Monday I am going post some analysis of the results of my Twitter Experiment.  To give the summary for those of you just joining me, on January 12th I had 12,701 followers on Twitter, and I was following almost all of them, which gave me a 1:1 Following/Follower ratio.  In approximately 12 hours, I unfollowed all 12,000+ followers, and I promptly lost over 3,000+ followers, and I continued to lose about 100 followers every six hours thereafter.  Currently, I have 8,822 followers, and I’m barely following any of them.  As people @reply me, retweet me, or as I become interested in different Twitter feeds, I am slowly rebuilding my following list (hopefully without any spammers or bots or affiliate marketers). 

Interestingly, it looks as if my @reply and RT rate are going up, as is my clickthrough rate.  My prediction at the outset was that these rates would stay constant rather than rise, and I believe that this uptick could be the result of “deepening” my connection to the portion of my followers who are real people (as well as simply the buzz generated by my dramatic, wholesale unfollowing).  I still predict that overall my RT, @reply and clickthrough rates will generally stay constant, but as time passes this will become clearer.

I conducted this experiment for two reasons.  The first was to test the Guy Kawasaki Twitter strategy, which partly consists of following back people who follow you out of courtesy.  I originally subscribed to this strategy, which is how my following list became so unwieldy.  The second reason is that, in my view, a solid social media plan involves two initial stages.  The first stage is to “introduce” yourself or your company to a community of individuals who share your interests.  The second stage of building a social media presence is to deepen your relationship with your community by producing content that can’t be found elsewhere, and that can’t be produced without an investment of time, planning and risk.  I’ll expand on the topic of deepening your social media presence soon.

Will Marlow co-founded AlumniFidelity to help his clients reposition their fundraising to benefit from Web2.0 technology and marketing techniques. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, Bowling Green State University, Randolph Macon College, and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  Email him at