Chris Brogan Unfollowed Me on Twitter and Now I Hate My Life

by Marcus Sheridan

Sheridan and Brogan

But wait, I thought we were BFFs??!

So here I sit, still staring at my inbox, just waiting for that moment when he changes his mind. But alas, who am I fooling? He’s done with me. Gone. Ciao. Hasta la vista.

Who was I kidding? Just because he shared and commented on a few of my blog posts in the past, and just because we’ve chatted a few times in real life doesn’t mean we’re BFFs, right?

Wrong. Or at least I thought there may be the possibility….

I’m sorry, I’m rambling a bit, aren’t I? It has been a tough few weeks. Here’s the background:

Operation ‘Unfollow’

27 days ago, super successful blogger/author Chris Brogan commenced ‘Operation Unfollow’. Yeah, out of the blue, all of the sudden, he just wiped the slate clean on his Twitter account—all 130,000+ people.

And he didn’t even omit @TheSalesLion when he pushed that button. Unbelievable.

Since that time, Chris has made note of the various reactions, many of which have not been pleasant. Folks are confused, sad, distraught, you name it.

And I’m no different. After all, shouldn’t I be upset?? I have the right, don’t I? I’ve tweeted Chris’ stuff for years, mentioned him in my blog posts, supported him whenever I could. Heck, I even bought his audio book for Pete’s sake!!

But what do I get as payment?

A Big, Fat ‘Unfollow’.

You owe me better than that Chris Brogan!!!


What in the World is Going On Here?

We live in a world of change. And when it comes to social media, nothing seems to be changing faster. Who can possibly keep up? No one, that’s who. We’re all just trying to figure this out.

Chris Brogan unfollowed everyone because Twitter was no longer of use to him. He was getting inundated in junk DMs, his stream was nothing but a blur, and he wasn’t happy with the state of how he was using the medium.

So he changed it. He did what any one of us could/should do when we’re not getting the most out of a product or service.

But wait, Chris can’t simply unfollow all of us, can he?

Excuse me? At what point does a blogger/social media icon lose his/her rights to be normal, experiment, and possibly be wrong on occasion? If ‘John the Farmer’ unfollows 20 people to shake up his stream, does anyone say anything?

Nope, nada. But let an ‘A-lister’ hurt a few feelings and then everyone wants to make a judgement.

The Experiment that is Social Media

And this is where the problem lies for me—Why are we so quick to judge another’s actions when they are just like us? Brogan, as he would happily admit (IMO), is just like the rest of us. In other words, he’s trying to get his arms wrapped around all this ‘stuff’. When it comes to social media, every day is a literal experiment.

So what if he ‘followed back’ 130,000 people? He didn’t sign his life away to those folks, did he? Was it a mistake to follow so many? I don’t know. Heck, Chris might not know either.

Like I said, he’s just trying to figure this all out. (IMO)

The bottom line is this:

Chris Brogan owes me nothing, nothing at all.

The guy gives me free value every stinking morning with his blog. Does he sell stuff? Yeah, sure he does, and he has every right to sell whatever he wants.

So do you.

So do I.

He can also handle every social media channel the way he wants.

So can you.

So can I.

The Problem of Self-Worth

And btw, Chris doesn’t need me to defend him. Nah, he’s doing just fine on his own, but I think the fact that so many people apparently base their feeling of self-worth on whether or not Chris Brogan (or any other person for that matter) follows them is really, really sad.

Is that where self-esteem is derived from in the 21fst century? Do we base whether or not we want to get out of bed in the morning on number of followers, ‘likes’, subscribers, ‘friends’, klout scores, etc?


Frankly, I had no idea Brogan unfollowed me. I would never track a stat like that. I also don’t track those folks that unsubscribe from this blog. Why? Because what the heck good does it do? Sure, I value every relationship and follower I have, but if someone does not feel the desire to ‘friend’, ‘follow’, or ‘circle’ me, that’s OK. I wish them well. The bottom line is if something like a ‘stat’ is going to just distract me from reaching my goals, then I’m simply not going to pay attention. (Note, this is why I don’t watch the news either.)

The Conversation Needs to Change

So am I really upset with Chris Brogan? No, of course not, I just appreciate some good old sarcasm at times. I applaud the guy for doing what he did. I applaud both posts he wrote on the subject. If one looks at them analytically, they are a study on the sad state of self-esteem in our society. And when I read the articles, that’s exactly how I took them, keen observations from a guy that’s not afraid to try out what’s on his mind.

So why aren’t we talking about that? Why aren’t we scratching our heads and saying, “We’ve come to this??”

Self-worth is way more than digits on a screen. I just hope we can all remember this as we continue to travel this interesting journey together.

Your Turn:

Well, if you don’t have an opinion on this one, you’re probably not human…or you’ve stopped breathing, which would be bad. ;-) But I’d love to know your thoughts. Are the rules of social media engagement different from person to person based on their status? Should people allow one person’s ‘follow’ to dictate their feelings of self-worth? Am I an idiot?  Agree or disagree, just say what’s on your mind, that’s what this is all about.

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{ 138 comments… read them below or add one }

Randy Cantrell September 29, 2011 at 9:31 am

Hey, many of us are in deep trouble if our Facebook friend count or Twitter follower count is what matters most. But come on, man! You’re The Sales Lion. If Brogan unfollows you, then the rest of us are toast. Social outcasts. Lepers! I’m leaving The Yellow Studio right now, going out on the street to yell, “Unclean! Unclean!”


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

Hahahah Randy, only you would be witty enough to bring social media and lepers together to give us a smile. :-)

But your point is well made friend. If our life revolves around those numbers, we’re in trouble. Guess we’ll have twitter and FB recovery services being offered on tv soon!! ;-)



Jeff Molander September 29, 2011 at 9:54 am

Marcus, the fact is this: Nobody. NOBODY can effectively follow more than a few dozen or at most 100 or so people, assuming they each tweet on average of 2-3x per day. Hence, Chris wasn’t listening for a while not. At least, not without the aid of extensive use of lists — where he could follow to be “nice” or “engaged” with people (you know, follow the #1 unwritten rule of social media, be connected to as many people as possible).

We all tend to believe that someone is listening when the jury is out: Nearly nobody is listening. As evidenced by our own personal use of Twitter. I challenge you/readers to consider how YOU use Twitter to receive inbound communications.

Also, few if any people are listening as evidenced by mounds of research that shows us one thing: Twitter is primarily a personal and professional (marketing) broadcast tool. It’s not truly interactive. Fact: The average follower does not use any real-time tweet monitoring device (they’re not HEARING tweets). Fact: It’s easy to follow — yet SERIOUS work to un-follow (they look interested but they’re not).

In the end, the number of Twitter followers is not a score — it’s a quantitative statistic. It’s like ‘minutes used on your phone plan’ or ‘number of claimed dependents.’ Why would anyone treat it as a qualitative score — a measure of social media success? It’s interesting that nearly everyone does this but when questioned they all say the same thing, “well, of course it’s not about the number.” This is usually followed by a stream of buzzwords describing “the real opportunity” which often amounts to crap like how many times you’re being re-tweeted.

I’m just sayin’ man.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:50 am

Just sayin Jeff? Looks like you’re a little serious about this stuff man ;-)

You have said things here which are likely very hard to swallow for many. But I think all of us, if we use twitter much, get to a point where we say, “Ok, what the heck am I don’t it this way for?”

Chris got to that point. And good for him for doing something about it.

Thanks for the comment and passion,



Jk Allen September 29, 2011 at 9:57 am

This was absolutely needed! Thank you so much for delivering this message. I was crackin up because I can’t help but laugh when I see people get so emotional about someone’s “move” in Social Media.

The reality of the internet is starting to become more and more clear. Some folks feel very invested because they sit in front of their computer screen baby sitting their social media networks all day. Especially their Twitter account. It’s become a major factor of their life, it seems.

The complaining blog posts as a business model is not real business. I’d be willing to debate that with anyone because I just can’t see it being a viable business model over just producing content that equals value.. And far too many business bloggers get sucked into that false reality – it seems. WHY–because they want interaction on their blog. THEY WANT COMMENTS. However, COMMENTS = $0. Most best selling authors have blogs. They get 20 comments per post…but they make MILLIONS. They don’t spend all of their time sitting in front of a computer agreeing with their followers all stinkin day…they’re out doing revenue generating stuff. And if someone disagrees with them they don’t feel any less human.

That was a rant – my bad…but it’s kind of sad and frustrating to see people care so much and get so hurt about such little stuff…social media is little stuff in the scope of life…at least my life. I guess because who I am is who I am, online or off, and I’m not affected by people I don’t know or have no real life connection to. I like Chris – but I wouldn’t care one bit if he unfollowed me. Heck, would he care if I unfollowed him. NO WAY! So why in the world should I?

Twitter, or NOTHING about it touches me to the point where I would care if someone I don’t even know unfollows me. Heck, it happens every day. If farmer bill can unfollow me, why in the world can’t Chris. Plus, it’s not like Chris ever saw any of my tweets anyway having 130k in his stream. That’s senseless for me to think he did or could. I applaud him for making the the move.

Not to sound harsh but I really don’t care what the guy does. I don’t know him so why would I allow myself to be affected by him doing something that makes sense for him and does’t hurt me in anyway.

Hey, maybe it’s me. Maybe because I haven’t become (nor plan to become) a social media expert so I’m not emotionally effected by all of this.

The beauty of all of this is that no one has to follow Chris. But I’m willing to bet that most of his haters will stay connected to him, even though he’s not connected to them. WHO WINS? LOL!

I’ll stop now. Thanks for writing this. It was all practical and professional, Marcus. You’re point is clear that it’s his call, and why should we be hurt over it. Still, some may tear up a bit…sometimes that’s a part of the deal. ESPECIALLY with Social Media for some reason!

Looking forward to seeing how people comment here.



Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:57 am

JK, where do I even start with this man?

“Complaining is not a business model”—-Amen to that brother. Look, I’m all for calling a spade a spade, but if complaining is done often, it becomes ‘the boy who cried wolf’ syndrome quickly, and folks stop listening.

Also “comments = $0″ —-Again, amen. Look, I love and appreciate comments, but they’re clearly not the goal of blogging. I blog to make a difference, teach, stretch myself, and support my family. That’s the purpose. It is clearly meant to make money.

Thanks so much for your passion my friend. So many people are going to read your comment and say ‘YES!!”



Jk Allen September 29, 2011 at 11:27 am

Let’s call spades what they are; spades. I do it. I do in my personal life and business. But let’s not forget that there’s a thin line between that and being a complainer. You know I’ve called spades what they are several times on my own blog…but I don’t make it a point to base everything off that. I do think it works in the short term…. but it’s not a great model for longevity.

You said: “So many people are going to read your comment and say ‘YES!!”” – thanks man!

Other(s) have said or thought: “Marcus’ intent is to foster intelligent discussion here, not whine or rant.”

You got to love it! The passion is SOOO thick when it comes to social media. You know me, I don’t care that much about it. You had to convince me to get a Twitter account last December. Remember that?! I still think it’s a little odd.

I love sensible debates. I respect EVERYONE’s opinion as long as no one is harmed. You’ll never hear me throw shots online…that’s not my style. I’ll speak my mind, sometimes without filter, but that’s about it.

Thanks for the reply man. Let’s chat soon.



Bill Dorman September 30, 2011 at 9:44 am

Did someone call you a spade? Do I need to jump in here……………just sayin’; I got your back bro…………:). That’s old school, isn’t it?


Sarah Arrow September 30, 2011 at 9:40 am

“I was crackin up because I can’t help but laugh when I see people get so emotional about someone’s “move” in Social Media.” Me too!

They can still send someone an @ message and chat that way, following is irrelevant in some respects. so they can’t invite Chris to join their Mafia War or MLM scheme, they’ll get over it.

@Marcus It’s a funny world, we think we know people and when we meet them for the first time it can seem all weird because some part of our brain registers that we are actually strangers who have never met until this point.

Loved this post, really made me laugh


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 10:37 am

Hahaha Sarah, love your take, and you know, I’ve never thought about that ‘brain registering’ part, but that is true. Heck, I think we all need to laugh a little more and freak out a little less. ;-)

Have a great weekend,



paul wolfe September 29, 2011 at 10:03 am

Undoubtedly there are people who get offended by this sort of stuff – as you say they need to get out there and get a life! I think twitter is great – but I spend barely 10 to 15 minutes a day on it max – and I wouldn’t notice if anyone ‘unfollowed’ me either. (How do you even track that without it being laborious and boring?)

Haven’t read Chris’s posts yet – that will be on my ‘To Read’ list tonight. There’s a deeper level to this though IMO – and that is that when you become a ‘brand’ (and Chris Brogan is certainly a brand) in many ways your audience can have a big effect on your brand and how it should operate.

That is probably what’s happening here – Chris’s audience are objecting to the way that the ‘brand’ is changing. To fully understand what’s happening here I think we have to separate out ‘Chris Brogan’ the brand and ‘Chris Brogan’ the person as different entities. That would explain (to me at least) why people are kicking back.

It would be the same if Marcus Sheriden (the person) decided to close comments on The Sales Lion (the brand). I bet your audience would kick up a fuss in that scenario!

That make sense?


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Makes quite a bit of sense Paul. There is clearly a brand distinction issue here we’re dealing with, and some folks don’t feel there is a difference at all. But I’ll always respect a guy that doesn’t allow followers to dictate one’s personal inspiration.

Thanks for stopping by bud,



Jeff Molander September 29, 2011 at 10:06 am

Case in point!

But it IS a business model. I think you’re mistaken. The echo-chamber is a great way to keep everyone agreeing and everyone buying books, attending conference keynotes that all say the same thing: nothing at all. Or at best known information that generates emotional relief. That is: “well I must be doing the right thing, everyone is doing it.” Never mind the fact that it doesn’t work.

The stuff is hitting the fan, globally. These business models are in last throws and I think guys like Chris are right on top of it. Witness: his new company and the tangible value it provides. Witness: his move to Google Plus. It just makes better sense to start over w/ a clean slate, a better tool.

And to be clear, I think Marcus’ intent is to foster intelligent discussion here, not whine or rant.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Very interesting points Jeff , but I don’t take what JK said to be any type of rant. I thought it was passion for a subject that many of us have been thinking about for quite some time.

Thanks again bud,



Jeff Molander September 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I think you mis-understood, Marcus. I’m illustrating a point JK made (pointing out a pointless rant). It’s all good and JK is a smart cookie in my book. Insightful and sounds very experienced.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Gotcha bud, now I get ya ;-)


Bob Reed September 29, 2011 at 10:06 am

As you’ve stated before, Marcus, Chris may be an A-lister, but he admits to being human. Outside of Social Media and marketing, there are likely a lot of people who would say, “Chris Who did what? Big deal, I’m not even on Twitter”. And so it goes.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 12:18 pm

And so it goes Bob, exactly. We’re all just humans…just trying to figure all this out. ;-)

Good to see you bud,



Joe @ Not Your Average Joe September 29, 2011 at 10:19 am

Still breathing. So I have an opinion.

I have about 20 bloggers whose opinion I care about. That’s it. If they unfollowed me, or did not respond to comments, that’s absolutely fine. I am as understanding as you, Marcus. And I also try to be as discerning as Chris. I’m refining the blogs I follow in my reader all the time. You have to, or you would spend all your time reading and commenting, instead of good stuff like spending time with friends and family.

For all the people breathless about Twitter, it’s a distraction to me most of the time. My main purpose in using it is to share my posts, and the posts of others that really offer me value in some respect. You, Jk, Craig, and a few others will get re-tweeted. But, does it make a difference? The only difference it makes is it shows you guys that I care about your stuff. Nothing more. Twitter could go away tomorrow and I wouldn’t be affected in the least.

Chris may be following an old school principle here ;) He’s attempting to simplify things. Multiple forms of social media complicates your life. I can’t blame the guy if he wants to try another direction. I don’t have any followers compared to Chris, and the machine gun style of a Twitter feed, to me, can be annoying. 130K?? I can’t imagine trying to keep with that!!

Having said all this, if The Sales Lion unfollows me, for whatever reason, I will cry. Don’t even think about it!


Jk Allen September 29, 2011 at 11:31 am

Hey Joe,

Thanks for the mention buddy and nice comment. I couldn’t agree more with:

“Twitter could go away tomorrow and I wouldn’t be affected in the least.”


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Hahahah Joe, no need to worry about an unfollow from the big cat brother…at least until I get some of that Italian cooking out of you. ;-)

And yeah, simplification certainly has its beauties, doesn’t it man. :-)

Appreciate the awesome comment bud,



Joe @ Not Your Average Joe September 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Marcus, I will be tweeting this article hahahaha


Steve Roy September 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

Funny post Marcus!
I think a lot of bloggers, especially new ones base their success around metrics like followers, fans, comments, etc. I don’t think it’s a question of being right or wrong about it, but it can and will drive you crazy.

For my first 6 months of blogging, I was so wrapped up all the numbers. I would get upset when I got 3 comments on a post or if I had people unfollow me on Twitter.

I’m still not happy about it when people unfollow me becasue I think there might be a good reason for it but I’ve stopped dwelling on it.

In my opinion, it’s really hard not to care about these stats when you are just starting out as that it really all you have to go on from a success measuring standpoint.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I completely agree that stats are tough not to worry about Steve, but Ive noticed the most successful bloggers are the ones that really to have a care-free attitude about said numbers. I just think that the moment we emotionally invest ourselves in all of these hollow numbers is the moment when we’ll stop being who we really are. Take our buddy Penelope for example. Something tells me she stopped caring about that stuff a long time ago. ;-)

Thanks for your support bud,



Judy Dunn September 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

Sometimes I think we’re all just back in middle school again. How many votes you got for Prom Queen (How many followers do YOU have? What’s YOUR Clout score?), Who sits at which lunchroom table (is Chris Brogan following you?), how many people are talking about you (many RTs do YOU get?). And man, that is so superficial.

And I agree with Jeff: for the most part, I see Twitter as a broadcast (and listening) tool. The people I follow who I put in streams are there because I gain value from their tweets. And if I can reciprocate with useful stuff, I do.

I will say, though, that in certain cases, having a nice following on Twitter can be helpful. I am getting ready to approach agents with my first book and they look at your social media numbers to determine how much help you’ll be when it comes to promoting and marketing your book.

All said, I think that real engagement happens on platforms where you can get your message out and get people to respond to it. Can anyone say, “blog”? : )


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Lovin your take here Judy. So you’re getting ready to do a book, ehh? Sweet! If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your shtick going to be? Are you planning on documenting the entire process on your blog? I’d love to watch it all unfold, and I’ll be cheering you on in the background!

Thanks so much for your comment,



Judy Dunn September 29, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Yeah, it’s a memoir of my teaching years. Have started to post a few excerpts on the blog and will be chronicling my journey. So glad I established a social media presence because it has helped me build a platform in the pre-publishing phase. : )


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 10:41 am

That’s so cool Judy!!! Very much looking forward to seeing how it all works out for you. :-)


Tommy Spero September 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

Good read Marcus.

I have recently jumped into embracing using all these channels myself, despite being in web design and development for quite some time. I was one of those tech savvy guys, who didn’t see the need for Twitter or get it for that matter. I’ve started following people of interest and following back those that follow me, IF there is something of value I can gain from them. Though this would seem to be the way to approach using Social Media in general, it is not the case for alot of folks. I think alot of people over tweet, which just becomes part of the noise.

I discovered Chris on G+ and I found it very interesting when he abandoned Facebook. Clearly he is experimenting with the medium, and obviously it works for him. People were up in arms when he held a seminar early on about how to use G+ to the tune of $40 per person. I have to say I was one of them, but he saw an opportunity and took it. That’s nothing to hate about, we should be inspired by it. Too bad I didn’t think of it, though no one follows me so I probably wouldn’t have sold any seats :)

We all have control of what we do with SM, but it is easy to get influenced and caught up in the perception of quantity not quality. More followers, more posts, more tweets… After awhile it simply winds up losing it’s effectiveness and turns people off. Doing it because everyone else is, certainly isn’t reason enough to do it. I try to take it all with a grain of salt and not tweet or post alot because it’s the thing to do. If I have something of value to add, I will.

I like your point that we all have the right to do whatever we want with it, that’s the essence of free speech.

So thanks for following me on twitter….
but you can unfollow me if you want, it’s cool too.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Wow, awesome comment Tommy, seriously, thank you for this.

I think it’s really cool you’ve changed your take on Chris’ approach. I’ve always said that the only reason why we usually complain about what another is selling is because we wish we were in their shoes, and not ours. And with you saying:

That’s nothing to hate about, we should be inspired by it.…..I can only say ‘Amen’. The guy has worked his tail off and now he’s getting paid. Isn’t that what every single one of us want. And if the products or services aren’t good, that will ultimately come out in the wash.

Keep rocking Tommy, and thanks again for this.



Keith September 29, 2011 at 10:25 am

Even better yet are the ones that check their Klout scores daily like it’s a “Mine Is Bigger Than Yours” contest! I unfollowed everyone a few months ago on Twitter and am utilizing lists more and more instead of following everyone. Mine was only about a tenth of the size of Brogans (13k) and afterwards it leveled off to about 6300 following me now, of which I only follow a little over 400, my stream is much more manageable.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 11:22 am

Dude, don’t even get me started on the issues with Klout, but I’ve got a feeling that’s an article just waiting to be written. ;-)

Funny thing Keith you and I did something similar with Twitter. I followed back tons at first, realized how stupid that was, and now I follow about 350 people…and boy it’s better!

Thanks so much for the comment my friend,



Adam Sokoloff September 29, 2011 at 10:32 am

Marcus, I have to hand it to the guy. He knew that dropping 130,000 people was going to set off a huge seismic shockwave and still handled it with class and transparency.

I have to admit, not really knowing Chris I was pretty upset when I first heard about it. I wasn’t following him and vice versa, he wasn’t following me, but it still struck a chord with me. Of course all of this feeling was prior to taking the time to reading his post on the matter, and now subsequent follow-up post.

You’re right, we can’t and shouldn’t get upset by a what is a very questionable connection at best. Heck, my own daughter unfollowed me on twitter because I pop up too many times in her stream! At first that bothered me, but then it made complete sense.

I think what I did, and many others as well was rush to judgement instead of giving the guy a fair shake. You’ve done a great job of presenting both sides of outrage and emotion tied to the story. Thanks! -Adam


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 11:25 am

Dang dude, your own daughter stopped following you??? ;-)

Actually, I’m sure my time is coming on that one!!

Props to you here Adam, seriously man, because you recognize the ‘overreaction’, something we don’t see enough of buddy.

Thanks for being so real my friend,



Farnoosh September 29, 2011 at 11:03 am

I un-followed one person, remain nameless for his sake, on Twitter because his tweets were crass and he took it like a baby! And he happens to be a coach, a life coach or something. I hope he reads this post. I found it to be quite amusing, really.
I love it when people still do whatever suits their values and stay true to their own inner compass, and frankly, that’s what creates the best writer/blogger/entrepreneur/person. I love Chris and whether he follows me or not (which is quite silly still to this day as I say it loud) is inconsequential. Heck, I don’t see why he would follow me – or you, Marcus – what have we done for him? (Ok you bought his book but still he owes you nothing as you said). And I’ve learned a lot since starting my own business and realizing that even my closest friends and my own family won’t read my blog posts. It doesn’t mean my blog posts are less than stellar. I don’t need them to validate my brilliant writing. I feel great about it already because it resonates with people that want to hear what I have to say. And likewise, I feel comfortable not pretending anymore when it comes to showing fake support for what those friends and family are doing. Honesty liberates us all! Amen to Chris Brogan :)!


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 11:17 am

Farnoosh, Farnoosh, Farnoosh—It really is uncanny how you and I think so much alike with this stuff. And it’s funny how we go through phases of ‘validation’ as bloggers. At first, we care that everybody, including family, read our stuff. And then, hopefully, we reach a personal ‘knowing’ of the worth of our content, and its impact on others.

You are an inspired lady doing inspired things Farnoosh. That’s why I so appreciate your powerful words and opinions. You don’t look to please others by nodding your head up and down, you please others by being completely real to yourself and your core. And I think that’s awesome.

Have a wonderful day my friend,



Farnoosh September 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Marcus, my dear genius and kind friend, I am so happy that you welcome my intensity. :) Thank you for the most original replies. You are a rising star and I am thrilled to know you.


Ryan Hanley September 29, 2011 at 11:04 am


You absolutely killed this topic dude. It has been crazy to see the reaction to Chris’s Unfollowing…

Chris is an icon because he experiments, because he pushes the envelope. And you are completely write when you say that he gives 100 times more FREE information than anything he does getting paid. I thought the Unfollowing experiment was an Amazing attempt to strike back at the Flood of information social media directs at all of us.

As always dude, you’re right on the ball with this one.


Ryan H.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 11:12 am

Ryan, thanks so much for dropping by and leaving this comment man.

Sometimes stuff just needs to get said, ya know?

I love how you mentioned experimentation man. Why are so many so afraid of daring to play with all this ‘stuff’? Heck, with all the changes out there, what, are we supposed to just be static with our use of SM? That’s simply nuts IMO.

Stay strong brother,



Jeff Molander September 29, 2011 at 11:21 am

Well, as you know (and have built a business or two on) Marcus, if you ain’t provokin’ on social media then you’re just wastin’ time :)


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Amen to that dude. I think the more a blogger is ‘in the game’ as I like to say, and the more they invest themselves mentally, physically, mentally, and emotionally—the more they find the need to ‘push and challenge thought’ instead of just getting their head patted all day. Personally, I know I’ve reached that stage. Where it will take me, I don’t know, but I do know I want to make folks, especially myself, think.




john Falchetto September 29, 2011 at 11:26 am

Great post Marcus but you already knew that.

The important thing I see here is WHY are we discussing what someone else is doing. Chris wrote a great post on G+ about Haters and spies. They are the same, his haters spie on what he does to then write posts saying Boo Woo, look at how evil and bad he is, he unfollowed us.

I think it’s great for him. He brings meaning to their sorry and lame lives, instead of looking to refine and develop their product or services they waste time complaining about someone else’s actions.
Don’t you have a business to run?

As JK (my favorite intrapreneur) said above, I don’t care what Chris does. Whining isn’t a business model.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Don’t you have a business to run??

One of the best lines of the year JF. That’s what it’s all about brother. :-)

Thanks for your support man,



Brent Carnduff September 30, 2011 at 9:32 am

Well said John! I agree – definitely one of the best lines of the year!


Adam Toporek September 30, 2011 at 8:39 am

I have to disagree John. Fran Drescher made quite a nice career out of whining. Just sayin… :)


john Falchetto September 30, 2011 at 9:01 am

True and people paid her to play that role.
In Chris’ s case most of the people doing the whining aren’t comedians and they sure aren’t funny.


Mitch Mitchell September 29, 2011 at 11:30 am

I wrote about this same thing when Chris first did it, basically saying people were losing their minds over something that means absolutely nothing. I mean, who among us could even entertain being able to legitimately follow 130,000 people? Goofiness and idiocy; folks need to get a real life.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:28 pm

And that’s what I like so much about you Mitch– You say what you feel and you mean what you say, without apology and without consideration if others will not like what you think.

Way to set the example my friend,



Mitch Mitchell September 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Well, it’s not that I don’t care what “anyone” thinks, but I don’t care what “everyone” thinks if I feel they’re wrong. I mean, I drop people all the time as well, I just don’t go announcing it, which was Chris’ issue. However, if someone announced they were dropping everyone and I knew I was following them, then I either decide to go away also or I stay and see what happens but I don’t take it personal.

And that’s pretty much all I’m saying. :-)


Marlee September 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm


You know sometimes “social media” circles remind me of the worst part about high school – the “cool kids.” I was never much for the “cool kids” in high school because I had my own thing going on. It wasn’t about getting in their good graces, it was about having the most fun I could have, while doing my best to do what I was there for (learn on occasion ;) ) . I wish people could see social media the same way. It’s not a popularity contest!

Moreover, just because some popular person follows you doesn’t necessarily mean that they actually noticed you. I think people need to define for themselves why they really use social media.

Is to drive traffic to your site?
To provide value to a specific audience?
To chit chat with friends?
To chronicle your meals?
All of the above?

Whatever! It doesn’t matter. As you said, what you decide to do is up to you. It’s far more important to do what is right for you and the people you serve, support, or engage with than it is to be a “cool kid.” Besides, if you do that – you’re already a cool kid.

Now don’t you dare unfollow me or I’m going to have to write a blog post about it! ;)


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:32 pm

What?? You mean to tell me this isn’t all about who’s the coolest Marlee?? And this whole time I thought…

But seriously, your point here is spot-on: Hey blogger, figure out what the heck you want to do and then make that your priority…and don’t let others and their comments or reactions ‘poo-poo’ the idea.

Thanks so much for your support Marlee!!!



Erin Feldman September 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I think the problem in Brogan’s case is that the “higher” you are, the easier it is to fall, and that fall often is a hard one. Some people are critical of the superstars. It makes them feel better about their lives. It’s probably one of the reasons that rags like the Star or whatever it’s called continue to have a booming business. If we can focus on other people’s failures, we don’t have to look too closely at ourselves.

The answer to the second point – is my self-worth tied to a number – is no. I don’t know if Brogan follows me, and I don’t particularly care. I don’t expect to become friends with him because of the intersection of our industries. Could we meet some day? I suppose it’s a possibility. Could we have multiple conversations on the phone? Possibly. That wouldn’t necessarily make him a friend. I would be much more devastated if some of my new, online acquaintances decided to unfollow me or stopped talking with me. That might make me question myself because I thought we were building a friendship. We had conversations that didn’t have anything to do with what we do or what we hope to accomplish. We were talking as friends talk with each other.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:40 pm

“If we can focus on other people’s failures we don’t have to focus too much on ours.”

Powerful truth there Erin, and I think that’s a big part of this.

And I understand what you’re saying about an intimate friend vs an online/casual acquaintance. That the former would hurt more is certainly realistic for many of us.

Really appreciate your support here Erin and this comment,



Bojan September 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I don’t understand the purpose of following people back and fourth again on Twitter anyway. It has become self serving information stream, for people who are lazy enough to setup their own Google Reader account.

Does it really matter who I follow and who follows me back? Hopefully a man or two are going to read my articles, but that’s not the point. Social media is not the self promotion platform, and I follow 1400 people or more on some of my accounts.

Do I read the timeline? Rarely if ever. I use lists and on the lists I have people who I am socializing with. God knows do I follow them or not, I am not poking into that Twitter followers list. It’s too big clunky and I couldn’t care less about it.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Hey Bojan, I appreciate you dropping by here for a comment.

Yeah, you sound a little mystified just as I am. The focus on our followers, and knowing exactly who is coming in and who is ‘going out’ is just odd.

Cheers mate,



Jack @ TheJackB September 30, 2011 at 4:05 am

It sounds to me like you don’t really understand how to use it.


Ameena Falchetto September 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I have to admit all the whinging and whining about the Chris Brogan Unfollow experiment baffled me. Did people REALLY think it was going to help their business b*tching about someone on their platform … what were they really complaining about?

Someone changing how THEY used social media tools and talking about it … Brogan shared and MANY copied and learned from it. I don’t know ANYONE who makes money from b*tching.

People unfollow me all the time and I do the same. I had a close friend unfollow me because I tweet too much … I told him to follow more people then! LOL!

Social media is too NEW and is constantly changing … who made those who wasted their precious spaces in the blogosphere the Social Media Police ANYWAY? Rules are made to be broken, etiquette is constantly evolving and heck, if it’s your name on the account … DO WHAT YOU LIKE!


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Rules are made to be broken, etiquette is constantly evolving and heck, if it’s your name on the account … DO WHAT YOU LIKE!

I’d like to nominate Ameena Falchetto as gutsiest chick of the year!

You’re awesome….but I’ve already told you that.



Bill Dorman September 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm

You asked but yes, you are an idiot. However, it’s not like that’s a revelation or anything and if it will make you feel better I won’t unfollow you…………just sayin’………

I have mixed thoughts; over 90% of my followers I have little or no interaction with so sometimes I wonder ‘what’s the point’. I have my lists to keep track of the people I want to know what’s going on with so I guess that is working for me right now.

I guess it depends on what you are trying to do and who you are trying to reach. I’m not one to judge anybody until I walk a mile in their shoes however.

If you get it figured out, please let me know.

Your fellow idiot,


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Hey idiot,

You’re right, we’re just a couple of idiots trying to figure this all out.

And yes, I’ll let you know if another idiot beats us to it. ;-)

Thanks B’,



Nancy Davis September 29, 2011 at 5:33 pm

What bothered me was not the unfollowing, What did bother me was how many other A-List bloggers did the mass unfollow thing as well and wrote posts about how they were going to unfollow everyone.

It just seemed like such bull. Just unfollow everyone already!Just do it already! I don’t have that many followers compared with the rest of you all. I am a small fry. I met Chris and he was very nice to me, and I will always say that.

That said, it hurts me that @TheSalesLion does not follow me! *cries*

I mean, when I was a Twitter nOOb, being followed by someone like Chris Brogan or Darren Rowse (Problogger) made me think I was on the right track. Sadly I was mistaken.

I did not understand Twitter the way I do now.

I do think unfollowing all of your readers who support you and never spam you is a bit much. I pull out the spammers but keep real people who choose to follow me. I may not follow all of them back, but many times I do.

I hope this made sense and gives a slightly different perspective.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Well I’m glad we got this ‘follow’ thing worked out Nancy, but I guess that just shows how much of a ding dong I am at times. :-)

Here is where I am confused though: Why should it upset you or I if someone says they’re going to do what Chris did and unfollow folks? Is it really and truly hurting others? Are we sure they’re making a mistake? Or are we just picking at something that really means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

I go back to what I said in the article. Your twitter account is yours. You have the keys to it. And I just don’t feel we should proclaim there is a right and wrong way to all of this.

Have a great one Nancy!!



Nancy Davis September 30, 2011 at 8:22 am

It is not that it upsets me, it is that “hey, look at me, I am so cool I am going to unfollow all of my loyal fans/supporters”

They just needed to shut up and just do it. Not sit and blog about it. Some people were really hurt. I stopped caring about these things, but when I was newer, losing followers did bother me.

Some stars who did this *cough Michael Hyatt cough* did so to improve AdAge rank and their Klout score. They had an automated Twitter account that auto-followed every account that followed them. Then they are going to fix the mess they made by unfollowing the readers who have always been loyal and never ever spammed them.

It just seems illogical to me. My thought is – get rid of the spammers, and then slowly unfollow those you don’t know, provided they tweet useless stuff.

But Michael is right – it is annoying because they all were so in your face about it. Had they just gone and done it, I bet you I would not have even noticed.


Davina K. Brewer September 30, 2011 at 9:28 am

Marcus, gonna jump in here and agree with Nancy a bit. It’s not what was done, but the how and why. I get explaining it as I’m sure many people pay attention, so you can’t just say ‘no comment’ though of course some will think it sounds like a big fat whine. Which, kinda does.

It’s the storm it kicked off, a ripple effect – devaluing all those small but avid followers for spam, scores, rankings. What’s worse it’s a problem of one’s own making but the solution is almost passed off to others. IDK I would think at certain levels, if you got a biz to run as John said, perhaps you have an intern to fire up some spam blocker, unfollow tools?


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

Hey Davina, so great to hear from you, as always.

The question of business vs. personal is an interesting one. At what point did Chris’ account no longer become ‘personal’? And, when he started it, should he have foreseen the results of following back so many people?

I’m not saying I have answers, but if Chris’ ultimate business is to be a leader in SM, then he needs to do things that he feels prompted to do. Some moves will work out well, others may hurt his brand, but I have to respect the willingness to be a mover, and then a willingness to simply talk about it openly, and discuss his thoughts along the way.

Not sure if that makes sense, but either way, I hope your weekend is a great one!!!



Rick Calvert September 30, 2011 at 10:51 am

I haven’t paid that much attention to this one Nancy and I don’t know who else mass unfollowed people but there are some people like Chris who are leaders in our space. I think his posts on the topic were relevant and helpful. He is willing to try things and do things that many of us aren’t event thinking about yet. By experimenting, sharing his reasoning and results regardless of any particular actions success or failure he is helping each of us learn how to better use these tools for our own blogs, businesses, etc.

I always use Robert Scoble as an example of this and call him the Human Guinea Pig. Just due to the nature of his work and his interest in technology and social media he hears about new start ups, apps, and potential revolutionary tools long before the rest of us. When he finds something he loves or hates he shares it with anyone who cares to listen. Sometimes he is right (like with Twitter). Sometimes he is wrong like with FriendFeed.

But either way I follow him and read his blog because he makes me aware of things I otherwise wouldn’t hear about for months if not years.

That is valuable to me. I see the same value in posts and experiments like the one Chris recently did.

Does that make sense?


Nancy Davis September 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

Hi Rick,

I never said it did not make sense, if you read both of my comments y0u would have seen that.

Please do not speak to me like I am a child. I have had the pleasure of meeting Chris Brogan and have said again and again what a nice person he is.

I read his posts on why he did it. I disagreed then, and I still disagree. I do, however, understand everyone will do things differently and that is fine.

Does that make sense?


Rick Calvert September 30, 2011 at 11:02 am

I wasn’t trying to insult you Nancy. I apologize. I did read both of your posts and I was responding specifically to this comment:

“They just needed to shut up and just do it. Not sit and blog about it. ”

and trying to say part of his entire reason for blogging is to blog about exactly this sort of thing.


Ameena Falchetto October 1, 2011 at 9:14 am

Am I the only person who thinks that you are meant to blog about that kind of thing? Seriously? People blog about dying their hair blue or dying their cat pink or how they lived on McDonalds for 3 months, oh wait, that was a movie … you get my drift.
We are free to read or NOT read blogs – no one is being forced.

The info is out there – there is a hell of a lot more USELESS information out there. The unfollow experiment seemed to achieve MUCH better results than Brogan probably envisioned which makes it successful and yes, I want to read success stories.

The whole notion of WHY blog about it? Just do it and shut up is really ridiculous. Sorry. It is. Write a brilliant blog, compose excellent music, paint masterpieces … just do it BUT DON’T TELL ANYONE. Crazy?


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:00 am

Hey Rick, I didn’t think your explanation there was out of line at all, nor condescending. Thanks for joining the conversation man. On a topic like this, that is cared about by so many bloggers, it’s nice to have a couple voices from Blog World jump in.

Have a great weekend,



Michael Schechter September 29, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I’ve heard a lot of people talking about this and I can’t really get my head around why. Here is the thing. Chris hasn’t been following us for a LONG time (and Chris is only an example of this). You can’t follow 100K people. He probably has lists of key people and might occasionally jump into the stream, but lets be realistic… MOST of us aren’t really following all the people we follow. Just about every power user I know has a list that they use as their primary Twitter experience. It is just too much of a fire hose. I barely even bother to follow people back anymore, you know why? Because I’m probably not going to bother reading anything they write, especially if we’ve never connected before. Do I miss out on things, sure, but I’d rather miss out on somethings to focus on others.

Now if they tweet at me, if they are looking to have a conversation with me…that changes things, but even there I see how a guy like Chris with a following like his couldn’t keep up.

To be honest, I can’t even believe this has been the conversation or the big deal it has thus far. Looking forward to better conversations on bigger topics. We all have way more important things to deal with than who follows who and why.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Your final thought there is my whole point Michael. Why does anyone care about a new verb we call ‘unfollowing’? As I mentioned here, the real ‘story’ is the trend of self-worth, and how people are deriving it (at least in my opinion). This is why I feel we need to lay off the issues and complaining that produce no fruit and look at what can make a legitimate change, be it life, business, whatever.



Michael Schechter September 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm

The one thing I’d say to that is that the people who are doing it are being SO vocal about doing it.

Remember how back in the day people used to bitch about people who used to use social media to talk about what they were doing… you know the, I just had lunch, I just went to the bathroom, I just got a free beer at the pub crowd. It sometimes feels like talking about how you use social media is now the new version of that… I just unfollowed everybody, I just connected Facebook to Twitter, I would never connect Facebook to twitter. It was useful at one point, but now it’s just become a distraction from the more fruitful conversations. I mean aren’t we past talking about how to use it and into the far more interesting what can we use it for phase?

You can say what you want about the people who are emotional about the conversation, but it also pays to question the need to initiative the conversation in the first place… At a certain point you have to ask, do people really inherently care about this or do they care about it because of the big deal that is being made out of it….


Rick Calvert September 30, 2011 at 1:03 am

You are 100% on point Michael. I still try to follow people back simply to allow them to DM me and vice versa. I use DM at least as much as @ messages and following back is the only way to do that.

There is no way anyone following more than few hundred people (if even that many) can follow their stream. I have all sorts of columns dividing people into different groups in an attempt to not miss important conversations and information. That’s how I found this great post in fact.


Ingrid Abboud September 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Hola Mufasa,
I’m gonna’ have to agree with Randy here and many others I’m sure and say that if it’s come down to this – where we are affected or care so much as to what biggie is following us or not – then we are indeed in trouble.

I would love for those people that I follow to follow me back – but then again – whether they do or not won’t change the fact that if I followed them in the first place it means I’m interested in what they’re saying regardless of whether they know who I am or not. if they follow me back – great :). If they don’t – oh well…I’m still gonna’ take away as much value and knowledge as they have to offer.

Brogan had over 100K people he followed so I’m not sure how many of them he actually was familiar with or had the chance to tweet to since as you said – he must get bombarded with spam and stuff.

I think it’s phases we go through – where in the very beginning as newbies we’re excited about our counts and the number of “known” people who follow us back. We base our success on our metrics until we read a few posts like this one and have an “aha” moment (don’t even get me started on Klout and others). We (hopefully) quickly come to realize that the count doesn’t mean much without the quality and interaction. We even go from checking our new followers from every day to every….week? few days? Whatever….

I Chris wants to unfollow folks – then all the power to him. And that goes for all the non-Brogans of the blogosphere and Twitterverse as well. As you said – he’s human and so are we! And if people are gonna’ get upset about being unfollowed then I don’t know what to say.

However – should you unfollow me my dear Mufasa – I will unleash the wrath of khan on you! I will turn your lion’s roar into a kitten’s Meow! I will…… No pressure….Muwahaha ;)

This was an interesting topic to take on M. I’m sure you’ll get tons of opinions about this as Chris is probably getting his fair share of “why’s, good for you’s, boohoo’s and bashes”.

I haven’t read his two posts about why he did this yet – so I’m gonna’ head over there and see what the fuss is all about.

Have a great evening M.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Plus 10 points for busting out the ‘Wrath of Khan’ reference G, well played. :-)

Do you know what we should worry about more than if a fellow unfollows 130k people? We should worry about what to do when freaky talented Lebanese writers go MIA and how to kick them in the butt so they get their groove back on. ;-)

‘Oh how I’ve missed thee dear G’ ;-)


Srinivas Rao September 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm


While I don’t have the masterpiece comment that so many others have written here, I’m happy to add my two cents. I’m not even sure if Chris follows me and it doesn’t matter. As you said, he provides insane value through his blog. As far as followers on twitter go, I have one simple thought around it “make friends,not followers.” Truth be told I have no idea how many followers I have but i could probably tell you the names of about 100 of the most interesting people I’ve met on twitter in the last year (hmm, maybe i’ll make that a blog post). Anyways, the title definitely got my attention. I’ll see you at Blogworld my friend.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Hmmm, that would make for a killer blog post Srini, and you’re just the guy to write it. ;-)

Love your approach though man. You see the big picture through all those small numbers– a trait that really needs to be taught out there.

See you soon bud,



Jon September 29, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I agree that people can do whatever the heck they want in terms of follow/unfollow but I don’t think we should be too harsh or even slightly surprised over some people’s hard feelings. People *are* emotionally invested in their connections with others, even if they’re only via pixels on a screen. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or an emotionless sociopath. Now, if you fly into a tear-filled rage of thrown chairs and shaking fists there might be cause to re-examine, but let’s not pretend that feelings don’t factor in.

I’ve known Chris since about 1987. Our friendship has been through ups and downs, gone competely dark and then re-emerged. Through all of that I’ve remained pretty certain that he’s not out to hurt anybody. Even knowing that, I was still surprised and, frankly, a bit suspicious when I got cut. I thought maybe my sometimes abrasive nature annoyed him. Then I read his posts and knew better. I don’t think that initial reaction was really anything out of the ordinary, though. Just human stuff.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Hi Jon, and welcome, I’m so glad you’ve stopped by man.

Sure, there is no doubt an emotional side to all of this, but I do think we, as a society, are way overboard in where we’re headed with all these false values and percieved friendships and all that jazz. I just don’t see getting so worked up as so many folks have about a simple digit–a ‘follow’. And as many have said, Chris wasn’t really following anyone…and most of us knew it…yet we get upset? Seriously, it’s just beyond me man.

But then again, I suffer from a lack of empathy at times, or so my wife tells me. ;-)

Again, thanks so much for taking the moment to leave your thoughts here Jon.



Joe Kyle September 29, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Marcus, I enjoyed this post. I recently went through a similar episode and wrote a post no my blog called “Twitter Crybaby”.

Thank you for confirming my new-found way of looking at Social Media. There’s just too much of it to keep track of. Instead, I’m thinking about what the customers wants these days. I think that’s safe.

Still trying to sort all this out and actually contribute value along the way.
All the best, Joe


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Love your message here Joe. You don’t know it all. Nor do I. But we do know we want to help our customers and give value. Sounds like a solid SM approach to me, ehh??

Cheers brother,



Jack @ TheJackB September 29, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Twitter is a giant conversation- one big cocktail party. If you engage and interact it can do many things for you.

Twitter has generated more than a few dollars for me and I am not talking about the money I earn from sponsored tweets. Rather I am referring to writing jobs that I received because of my time on Twitter.

It is a mistake to use it solely as a broadcast channel. People remember how you make them feel and then they react.

There is a lot you can do with 100K plus followers but there is also a lot that you can’t. Interacting gets to be really tough and without that, well Twitter loses some of its value.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 11:18 pm

I don’t think there is any doubt Jack of twitter’s value, at least in my estimation. The thing works. People use it and build huge incomes and relationships every day because of its capabilities. But I think the deeper question is why does it matter so much all of these frivolous numbers? Why do so many care? Where are we headed with all of this? Have we all been reduced to rankings and digits?

Just thinking out loud bud ;-)



Jack @ TheJackB September 30, 2011 at 12:20 am

It shouldn’t matter but egos get involved & people get caught up in narishkeit. Blog envy takes them places it shouldn’t and then they start comparing their blogs with others.

It is really no different than trying to keep up with your neighbors. If your sense of self worth is based upon material things than….


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:04 am

I wonder just how many blogs and relationships have died because of ‘blog envy’ Jack? Heck, it may be the leading cause of death on the web itself.


Jack @ TheJackB October 1, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I know of a few that did. The bloggers got upset that their blogs weren’t receiving the sort of respect that they thought they should and they bailed.

Pretty sad reason to close up shop, but…


Robert Dempsey September 29, 2011 at 10:27 pm

This is awesome Marcus – so many points I agree with.

First I’ll make you feel better by telling that you’re not an idiot, and yes people that get hugely upset from someone unfollowing them on Twitter is. I mean seriously, if one’s sense of self worth comes from who is following them on Twitter they need to go outside more and meet more people. I’ve come to realize that there are people everywhere – you can’t get away from them so you may as well meet some of them, person to person.

Frankly Brogan and the rest of us can do whatever the hell we want. And yes everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the actions of others, though it doesn’t mean they have to voice them, especially if it’s pure emotion. But perhaps they needed to get it out so they didn’t completely freak out.

I’m sure Brogan unfollowed me as well. I didn’t notice, I didn’t look, and I don’t care. Chris is a very cool dude whose posts I enjoy reading (and who I had a great time interviewing) but because I’m a reader of his blog and a fan doesn’t mean he owes me anything, retweets or not.


Marcus Sheridan September 29, 2011 at 11:21 pm

they need to go outside more and meet more people

Dude, you can’t be making cracks like that one when my kids are my LOL almost woke the house ;-)

Yeah, let’s all get a life, shall we?

Great perspective, powerful words, appreciate you stopping by Robert,



Rick Calvert September 30, 2011 at 1:08 am

You are a good egg Marcus and this is a great post. Thank you for writing it.

By the way I don’t think anyone mentioned it yet, what about just following random people regardless of them following you or not? I follow new people every day. Somehow I come across something interesting they tweeted, or a post they wrote, etc and I will follow them and add them to a special column just for new people I have followed to see if they post some more interesting, useful stuff.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

Actually Rick, that’s a really, really good point. And I’ve never tried it, nor thought about it. Just goes to show that twitter can be used a thousand different ways, and we should all accept, readily I might add, there is no twitter doctrine nor rote handbook.


Daniel M. Wood September 30, 2011 at 4:46 am

Hey Marcus,

I have to agree with you here.
It sucks that he unfollowed you but it is his choice. He wasn’t seeing anything you were publishing anyway because he was following to many people.

I think my twitter is a mess, I follow about 1300 people, it is awefull!

Sometimes you need to make a change and he has every right to, even if it might hurt for those he unfollows.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:13 am

Honestly Daniel, it doesn’t suck that Chris unfollowed me. I have no beef with it at all, not even an ‘oh well’. I simply don’t see Chris any differently whether he follows me or not. I can still mention him, he can still mention me, we can still share each others stuff, and I’m sure when I see him in person again, which will likely be soon, we’ll talk then as well. Does that make sense.

Like you said, we shouldn’t fault others for wanting to shake things up and change. It’s his business, his brand, etc.

Have a great weekend brother,



Quintius Monte Walker September 30, 2011 at 5:03 am

Politics as usual. Chris is a very intelligent man. If anything, the percentage of the people who still rides with him even after the smoke clears, I’m sure that they’ll be the same individuals by his side when he gains more people as a result of his chosen action.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:15 am

Quintius, wise words man. You’re exactly right. In fact, I’d take it a step further— When the smoke clears, everyone else will say, ‘Dang it, why didn’t I think of that?!’

Have a great weekend man and hope to see you back in these parts again. ;-)



Tom Ewer September 30, 2011 at 5:37 am

Dear me…what a fuss over nothing! The problem is, with (relative) celebrity, comes a lot of ‘responsibility’. Surely Chris must have known that there was going to be a huge backlash from this. In saying that I am not arguing that he was wrong to do what he did – it makes a lot of sense. But the predictability of the turnout is saddening.

Luckily there are people like you Marcus who are there to point out how absurd it all is. Unfortunately, that will tend to be lost amongst many people who are ready, willing and able to jump on their soap box at the slightest ‘provocation’.

Anyway, I can feel myself going into a rant here. But it is fortuitous that you post this, as I recently wrote a post on Twitter (linked below) that underlined my approach, which is very much ‘limited following’. For me, social media shouldn’t be a approached in a broad brush style – I add only those who interest me. If I get unfollowed because I don’t follow back people who follow me (that’s a lot of ‘follows’ for one sentence!), then so be it. It’s just how I roll ;-)


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:20 am

Tom, dude, I personally love how you roll. In fact, this statement you said was easily one of the best of all the comments:

Unfortunately, that will tend to be lost amongst many people who are ready, willing and able to jump on their soap box at the slightest ‘provocation’.

Yeah bud, amen to that.

Your comments are always spot-on Tom, and I appreciate your support.



Tommy Spero September 30, 2011 at 7:39 am

Interesting this was in my inbox this morning from Seth Godin…

Very timely, considering how lively this post has been for you Marcus.

Btw – I am sure you’re going to come up in searches for Chris Brogan Unfollow for quite some time. Good stuff.

A few things that stuck out to me from all these posts…

“Don’t you have a business to run?”

“Twitter could go away tomorrow and I wouldn’t be affected in the least.”

“Yeah, let’s all get a life, shall we?”

I think I might just unfollow Chris Brogan for the hell of it. It won’t affect me at all. I’ll stay in my lane, do what I need to do to and hopefully add value instead of noise to the conversation.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:32 am

Hahahaha Tommy, I absolutely loved this little summation man. Love your style bud!! :-)


Tommy Spero October 4, 2011 at 12:15 am

Thanks Marcus… I really appreciate it. I’m very new at the blogging side of things, been working more on the design and dev end, but recently signed up with Hubspot as a VAR. Having some challenges getting that rolling for my agency, but I’ll get it.

So with that, I’m finally starting to write, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Still figuring out what my style is exactly. It’s starting to emerge.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I plan on doing a seperate personal blog, outisde of the one on my company site, where I can do/say more, about more things.

Been reading some of your stuff, I really like it. Interesting to see you started doing this for your pool company and now have moved into the blogger, public speaker arena. Definitely inspiring and where I see myself at some point.


Deb Ng September 30, 2011 at 8:29 am

I’m sorry, I tried to read your post but I just couldn’t. I was too busy sitting in the corner hugginging my knees, rocking back and forth and crying because Chris Brogan unfriended me.


Adam Toporek September 30, 2011 at 8:37 am

Too funny. Need a “like” button for this one.


john Falchetto September 30, 2011 at 8:59 am

Lol! That is the best comment here


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:33 am

I’m here for you whenever you need it Deb. ;-)




Adam Toporek September 30, 2011 at 8:47 am

I think there is an aspect of self-delusion to some of this. When you see someone is following 130,000 people, who actually sits back and thinks that person is seeing their tweets? I guess in a sense, Chris Brogan is a celebrity in this sphere. Maybe some people feel attached the same way people imagine attachments between themselves and entertainment celebrities — especially with the personal nature of social sharing.

For me, I get why he did it, and get why he had to explain it. Past that… meh

PS. Great title on this one bud!


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:38 am

Meh is right bud. And yeah, I chewed on this title for a while. I had a whole slew of utterly sarcastic and over the top choices, but settled on this one. ;-)

You know, titles really are the most underlooked and undervalued part of being successful in the blogosphere, IMO.



Jayme Soulati September 30, 2011 at 9:04 am

Everywhere I read, peeps are saying they can’t keep up with all the new developments in social…and, we’re allegedly on the leading edge (y’all more than I, but I’m here!).

I love that Chris did that do get a piece of peace in his life. In fact, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have 130K followers (how many following?) to clutter a stream. All the third-party apps would just continuously refresh and what a nightmare.

So, good for you, Marcus, for supporting someone’s change-making experiments. This episode had no impact on me whatsoever, but someone bucking the establishment is always a good thing.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:40 am

Hey Jayme! Love your phrase– getting a ‘piece of peace’.

Amen to that, and amen to bucking the establishment!

Great to see you Jayme!



Danny @ Firepole Marketing September 30, 2011 at 9:19 am

Right on, Marcus. When I got back from my honeymoon, there were 550 messages waiting for me in my inbox. 550! I was only gone for a week!

So I went on an unsubscribing craze, and opted out of almost everything. Including the blogs of many bloggers that I’ve come to consider good friends. It’s not that I don’t like them or their blogs, but there are only so many hours in the day, and I’d rather be able to actually interact with them and help them out, rather than have to beg off because I’m drowning in blog posts to read!

I don’t understand the noise that people make about Chris’s un-following. On the contrary, I applaud his action – it might turn Twitter back into a meaningful communications channel for him.

But yeah, all to say that people are people, regardless of how many people follow them on Twitter. And I never understood why someone following me meant that I should follow them back, or vice versa.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

Awesome perspective Danny. And heck, with being a newlywed, time will be even more of the essence for you than ever, which is why it’s great you cleaned out your inbox. Very, very necessary my friend if you want to stay sane. And in many ways, I think that’s exactly what Chris was doing. How could we possibly fault the guy for that?

Thanks for keeping it real my friend,



Davina K. Brewer September 30, 2011 at 9:40 am

I do sit with Jayme, Ingrid, Michael.. so many others on this not nattering that much to me. Do what you want with your stream, I just think this could have been done better. Which brings us back to the overall Twitter management strategies, and it’s all how we use them. Paul tweets his posts, replies a little and I can respect that as his styles. Mine is more involved but of course no way I catch even a fraction of it. But I always put that on me, not on anyone else; can’t imagine the bombardment some big names get, won’t try.

My big objection: I know TONS of living, breathing, gainfully employed humans who do NOT give a flying fart in space about this. Why? Because they’ve never even heard of these ‘A-list’ names and sprain their eyes from rolling when they hear talk of Twitter (even social media in general). This may have sparked a tempest in the community, but in the rest of the world it is barely sprinkle in a tea cup the size of a thimble. FWIW.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:51 am

I know many, many folks don’t know who Chris Brogan is, but then again, within the niche, he is a celebrity.

Take football for example. My wife could give a rip about anything football related, but for many people, it’s their whole world.

My point is that it does matter within this niche, and so in my opinion, it’s worth talking about. And, after all, no one is forced to listen. To each their own, ya know?

Thanks again Davina,



Traci Wheeler September 30, 2011 at 9:54 am

Wow! Everyone is really passionate (and opinionated) about this topic. I agree with Danny above on being bombarded with information. I have also spent the last two weeks unsubscribing from many, many e-mail communications. Hats off to Chris Brogan for doing what was right for him irregardless of what others think. Watching this whole thing unfold makes me feel like I am back in middle school.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 11:55 am

Ahh, the drama of middle school Traci ;-)

I guess some things never change, ehh?

Glad to see you’re cleaning up your stream, as I think it’s something we could all use a little more of, especially as the distractions will only continue to get worse.

Have a wonderful weekend Traci!!



Steve Birkett September 30, 2011 at 10:53 am

I think you more or less covered my perspective there, Marcus. I couldn’t find the time to track such a stat, even if I wanted to, so I’ve no idea how anyone can get so worked up about it. Even more so, in the case of Mr Brogan, where he’s clearly communicating his experimentation through the blog. If those distraught folks are so close to him, wouldn’t they have picked up on this already?

Far be it from me to dictate the validity of other people’s emotions, but if an unfollow means that much to someone, I’d hate to think what effect life’s real slights would have.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Dang Steve, sage stuff bud. Really.

Yeah, if a Twitter unfollow rocks your world, what the heck does a real world slight lead to?? I don’t even want to imagine the answer to that one.

And yes, if one is a true fan/follower of Chris, they should know he’s an experimenter. Would these same people have him stop doing what has lead him to be so successful???

Cheers bud,



Martina September 30, 2011 at 11:30 am

Excellent post, Marcus. There is no point at wghic A-lister or D-listers for the matter lose their rights as to who they communicate with and how.
The main point of social media is exactly that, it is social. We follow and un-follow based on our interactions and engagements. When all we ant is the numbers we have lost sight of the point of the social experiment.
Many people who engage in Twitter and other services also blog or have websites. This is where we sell, and learn and teach at more than 140 characters a pop.
The fact that Chris unfollowed people does not remove his content from the blogosphere.
And sadly, you are correct. Many people pour their self-worth into how many people they follow or how many people follow them. My guess would be that their lives wand emotions works similarly IRL. And, until and unless people feel themselves worthy, they will only ever be followers in a much broader sense, and be “hurt” by every passing wind and whim. IMHO


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm

You’ve really summed up the psychology behind all of this very nicely Martina. Much of what we see online is symbolic of what the folks do IRL, and I’d being lying if much of it didn’t make me raise an eyebrow here and there. But hey, I’m loaded with faults and weirdness myself. ;-)

So much appreciate your thoughts here Martina,



leon Noone September 30, 2011 at 11:37 am

G’Day Marcus,
I was going to say that I’m pleased that you posted this blog because far too many bloggers take themselves far too seriously. Then I realized that if i said that it could mean that I took………..

Oh well….


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Hahahah Leon, one thing is for sure, I’ll never have to worry about Leon Noone taking himself too seriously. ;-)



Barbara September 30, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I have considered putting an auto reply to new followers, “You’ll probably regret this.”

I am not a big twitter user, I don’t really ‘get’ it but I am ancient. I love social media, know it’s necessary to build a base audience for a book, promote business and products but having a ‘conversation’ on twitter gives me a headache. (see ancient comment)

No one can follow 130k people on any platform. When someone follows me I read their profile and decide if it’s anyone I’d like to learn more about. I decline to refollow the majority. But, I’m flattered that anyone would follow me, since it’s like following a ghost. ;)

Great post as usual Marcus. Would love to know how you find the time to respond to so many comments, and in such a thoughtful way.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm

As always Barb, you made me smile with this, you ‘twitter ghost’ you. ;-)

How do I find the time to answer all you awesome folks? Well, good question, I’ll give two quick answers:

1. I stay up very, very late.
2. I love what I do :-)

Have a wonderful weekend!!



Bryan Thompson September 30, 2011 at 11:12 pm

My GOODNESS you’ve ignited a firestorm here, Marcus. :) Ha ha. I gotta admit, I’m always ecstatic when a celebrity or A-List social media star (Gary V, Chris B, or even @thesaleslion) responds to me on Twitter or retweets something from me (which Gary or Chris have yet to do by the way, and Chris’s unfollowing philosophy makes his chances a lot smaller now).

Truth be told, the humanity side of me is always a bit perplexed when someone stops following me on Twitter, but that’s less heartbreaking (and usually doesn’t dwell with me) than when a “friend” on Facebook defriends me. Usually I find out when I click their name and see “Add as Friend” back on their profile. What the heck?? I thought we WERE friends. :)

Sorry, don’t let me get on a rant. I’ll stay on-topic. I promise.

Bottom line is, I know what it’s like to see a blur of tweets from people I don’t know every day. I tend to follow back most people who follow me (unless I know it’s a bot). While I wouldn’t be as bold as to unfollow them all, I probably don’t read but a 16th of every post that comes across my twitter stream. Kinda makes you wonder what the point is sometimes. But I like those followers knowing they could contact me via DM if they needed to.

As for Brogan, more power to him. If you don’t love it, don’t do it. Thanks for the conversation, my friend! Hey, you got any speaking engagements or business gigs in the Branson/Springfield,Mo area anytime soon? Hit me up and we’ll get some lunch or coffee!


Keith Davis October 1, 2011 at 5:28 am

Hi Marcus
Chris who?
No problems big fella, I’m following you now.
More than makes up for that Chris guy. LOL

As for “The Problem of Self-Worth”
A pal of mine used to say:

“We all want the same thing in life – we all want to be loved.”

Granted he’d usually had a drink when he said it, but he aint far wrong.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Hahaha, you do have a way with words Keith. ;-)

And now that you’re following me on twitter, I’m certainly feeling the love. ;-)



Keith Davis October 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm

You see Marcus
I follow you and life is good again. LOL


Harleena Singh October 1, 2011 at 7:36 am

Hi Marcus,

I guess initially everyone who was ‘unfollowed’ would have had similar reaction as you did, but when you look into the wider aspect of things, it is his (Chris) wish whom he wants to follow or unfollow! And this does happen with many people, especially if they do have a large fan following. They are simply not able to maintain, interact, and keep up with their fans, nor justify their posts. I feel that the changes Chris is undergoing, is going to do him real good in the long run, and unfollowing everyone and thereafter choosing to follow only a selected few is the best move he has made.

Thanks for sharing :)


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Hey Harleena and thanks for leaving this comment.

I’m not sure if you understood my sarcasm in this post, but I did not feel bad at all for the fact that Chris unfollowed me. In fact, I give Chris a huge amount of respect for doing what he does, and experimenting like he does.

Have a great weekend!


Jon October 1, 2011 at 10:29 am

My pleasure, Marcus. I agree that getting tied up in knots over things like this is silly.

Nice post and discussion.



Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm

That it is Jon ;-)

Thanks for dropping by and have a great weekend,



Stephan Hilson October 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I haven’t thought of unfollowing anyone since I am not having problems with direct messages. And I haven’t realized on how important it is and how much impact it could create if I unfollowed someone. Maybe because I don’t see much big deal on people who unfollowed me since I don’t have much communication and interaction with my followers. And it is a matter of choice of who I will follow and unfollow. Thanks for the interesting post of unfollowing.


Marcus Sheridan October 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Hi Stephan, yes, it certainly is a matter of choice, and if folks get upset, it really is their problem, not the fault of the ‘unfollower’.

Thanks for dropping by and continued success,



Howie at Sky Pulse Media October 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm


Marcus you poor guy. You first have to deal with me once today doing this exact comment. But you are so cool and gracious and yes I have been slacking in my reading.

But here it goes…….drum roll please……now the curtain please….more drum….some cowbell….almost there……here we go……

Who is Chris Brogan?


Tommy Spero October 4, 2011 at 12:20 am


I’m a drummer so I am qualified to drum roll any time you need one.

Who is Chris Brogan?

That’s the best comment ever.

With that Marcus, I think you can close this thread.


Rajka Milanovic Galbraith October 4, 2011 at 4:00 am

The beauty of life is choices!



Fernando January 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm

A couple of my friends are not my friends anymore in facebook, for me was like “what da heck?” and I did the same with anothers, and I don’t realy care that much, sometimes what happens is that you “unfriend” ppl because you don’t have anything in common with that person anymore, and it’s (at least for me) like “I don’t care anymore what you thing an no interest that you know what I thing” and means like “ok… we’re not friends anymore” I don’t know that about self-worth but is like rule, who is your friend in social media is your friend in real life, because, about what will you talk in real life with some one doesn’t care what you talk in “virtual” life?


Fernando January 26, 2012 at 11:00 pm

P.S.: Totaly love the way you write ;) haha you are da best dude


Albert May 14, 2014 at 11:37 am




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