On Friday I wrote about my plan to do an experiment in which I unfollow 100% of the people I’m following right now, and then I’ll re-follow only people who are not spammers or bots, and who I’m actually interested in.  I am keeping a list right now of people who I interact with, or know, or who I find interesting, and I’ll re-follow that list very quickly after I hit zero.  If you want to be added to that list, just @reply me, or send me a DM, or email me at will@alumnifidelity.com.

On Friday I talked about WHY I was doing this.  In this post, I want to talk about a few things that I hope to LEARN from doing this.

I look forward to learning:

  1. How many people unfollow me, and thus, how many people on Twitter are only interested in following people who follow them back.
  2. What happens to my “click through” rate.
  3. What happens to my @reply and DM rate.
  4. Whether this generates new word of mouth buzz and leads to new followers.
  5. What this does to the overall visibility of my Twitter presence.
Confession: I’m also hopeful that I will be able to provide more evidence that having a large following is NOT a good measure of influence on Twitter.  I believe that there is a misconception going around that a Twitter feed is only valuable if it “reaches” hundreds of thousands of strangers, as evidenced by huge follower lists.  Firstly, I think that Twitter can be valuable even if it reaches ONE person who you wouldn’t have reached with another mechanism.  Secondly, I think that huge follower lists are faux-metrics.  Hopefully my experiment can illustrate why the second point can be misleading, and possibly it can help people appreciate their small but committed core of followers, who are the source of true value on Twitter.

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 will@alumnifidelity.com