A Social Media Lesson I’ll Never Forget

  • 0
  • December 9, 2010

Several months ago, I was first introduced to the unbridled rage that some folks are quick to release on those who unfollow them on twitter. It disgusted me.

In my mind, Twitter is a beautiful forum that allows us to quickly and conveniently communicate with friends all over the world. It’s fun and incredibly easy to use.

But you all already know that.

My real-world, offline friends make fun of me for using Twitter. My online friends get upset at me if I’m not following them. To me, it’s just another way to communicate. If you follow me, great. If not, great. No worries.

I don’t stress over or care about numbers. I ignore, unfollow, or block those who are overtly negative, spammy or who I simply have never connected with. I surround myself with positive people and then I dive in and focus on building genuine friendships. I love every minute of it.

The Ballad of Gibson Goff

When I followed Gibson Goff a few days ago, I had very little idea who he was, but I had been impressed by a few things he had tweeted. However, when he tweeted, “I’m supporting http://who.unfollowed.me, I was taken back.

I immediately thought to myself, “Oh no. Not another one of those people who can’t stand to be unfollowed. I don’t know if I can handle any more unfollow rage…”

Below you’ll find a copy of the exchange I enjoyed with Gibson Goff about our feelings toward being unfollowed.

Gibson Goff: I’m supporting http://who.unfollowed.me, the best site for tracking unfollowers, by going Pro! #GoPro

Nicholas Cardot: @gibgoff Does being unfollowed bother you?

Gibson Goff: @Nicholas_Cardot Nope. It’s all a part of biz, but it is good to watch how your audience reacts to certain input.

Nicholas Cardot: @gibgoff I don’t understand that draw to promote sites that keep you up to the minute on who unfollows. It feels really insecure.

Gibson Goff: @Nicholas_Cardot If you’re writing for a niche, you want to make sure you’re niche followers are the one’s most benefiting. Not leaving.

Nicholas Cardot: @gibgoff I guess I can respect that perspective. Every other use of that site I’ve seen has led people to say things like, “Good riddance!”

The Dangers of an Ill-informed Bias

Before I finished this conversation, I hastily unfollowed Gibson. I assumed, erroneously so, that he was going to be one of those negative people who enjoyed spewing out derogatory statements toward those who dared to unfollow him. When I unfollowed him, he responded simply:

Gibson Goff: @Nicholas_Cardot Thanks for the feedback! And hey, I enjoy your site. Good stuff. Thanks again

I was wrong.

Gibson, I salute you. Your conversation on Twitter is in keeping with the highest standards of conduct. You demonstrated respect and decency and for that I thank you. I apologize for hastily removing you from my friends list based on my bias. I’ve refollowed you and I would be very honored to someday be called your friend. Thank you for what you’ve taught me.

3 Unforgettable Lessons about Social Media

Quite simply, I learned 3 simple lessons from that conversation to which you should sit up and pay attention.

  • Let people stand on their own merit. Don’t judge them based on your past experiences with others.
  • Don’t lose your faith in people. A bad experience with one person, does not guarantee a bad experience with all people.
  • Always be friendly…even when being unfollowed. People will notice…I know I did.

Thanks for these important social media lessons that you’ve taught us, Gibson. I appreciate you and people like you.

I think that we all do.

COMMENT TO WIN $10: Leave a comment on this article for a chance to win $10 on Saturday, December 11, 2010. Contest ends at noon.

UPDATE: The winner selected using Random.org was the 49th comment submitted to the page: Keith Bloemendaal.


About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.


  • Suzanne Vara says:

    As always Nick, you handle things with the utmost professionalism. Kudos to you my friend.

    This article is so powerful in so many ways. We create a bias about people from something they say so easily. I am not so say that I have never done it but I tend to always learn from it.

    We so easily develop something about people that when we find out in the end how wrong we were, we feel so dumb.

    Again, so well done Nick.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Thanks so much, Suzy. And you’re exactly right. As I was looking back on my conversation with this man yesterday, I felt exactly as you described…dumb. I had overreacted without giving him a chance. It was wrong of me.

      But I can say that I learned from it and I’m a happier man as a result…and I’ve made a new friend. And that’s always awesome.

  • Kyle says:


    You’re a good man! I enjoyed this article. I’ll be keeping an eye out for my own ill-informed biases.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Kyle.

      A smart man learns from his own mistakes.

      A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.

      I hope that you can learn from my mistakes.

  • Gibson Goff says:

    Obviously Nicholas has been at this Twitter game a lot longer than I have. I have to echo his initial response, and I am sure there are others out there with the same or like response to the ‘who unfollowed me’ or ‘who’s not following back’ tools.

    There’s an old saying in the military – if it’s going to come to a head it’s going to do it on my watch.

    Nicholas’ blog and website was probably the best place for this item to come up for review and discussion.

    I’m glad I had a chance to participate! :-)

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Oh my goodness! I’m so glad I didn’t pass you up without taking a second look. I didn’t even realize that you were military. I’m currently serving in the 3rd Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, Fort Myer, VA.

      Hooah, my friend.

      I’m always looking to recruit online battle buddies.

      Perhaps I have been at this longer…or perhaps you have. I don’t really know. But I do know that today you were the teacher and I was the student. You taught me an invaluable lesson and I’m incredibly grateful to you for it. Thank you.

      • Gibson Goff says:

        I’m a vet, non-current. But you, me and my dad have all walked the grounds of Ft. Meade. Saw a pic of you in your dress blues and recognized the from address right away.

        Keep up the good work. Your schedule must be brutal!

        • Nicholas Cardot says:

          Actually, I’m on Staff right now so it’s not that bad considering that I love computers and technology.

          When and with what unit did you serve?

          • Gibson Goff says:

            I was USAF/SP from 74 to 80, served in Germany and then Washington State. After leaving USAF rolled into a career in Law Enforcement. Ended that as a PI in Seattle.

            Our whole family is Mil. We’re across the river from APG.

            Dad used to walk across Meade with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. Never could get him to talk about that.

            And I’m familiar and have the utmost respect of what your unit does. Dad kept trying to get us to count cadence and focus on heel-roll-toe.

            You’re bringing back some cherished memories Nick! On the fun side I remember Meade has a big commissary! :-)

            • Brankica @ Live Your Love says:

              Ha ha, one more here – a girl cop from Europe ;)

            • Nicholas Cardot says:

              I’ve actually never been to Fort Meade. Ft. Myer is about 40 minutes to an hour north of here, but I’ve yet to head up there for anything.

              You and your family sound like terrific people. We had a unit reunion for The Old Guard Association about 3 months ago and a whole bunch of folks who served from Vietnam all the way to the present came and hung out with us for a while.

              It was really neat to see the line of men who had served from 40 years ago to the present all gathered together enjoying hamburgers, hot dogs, cokes and old army stories. Connecting with people like you just doesn’t get old.

              I love hearing the stories, laughing at the jokes and of course, remembering those who are no longer with us. All gave some…some gave all.

              • Gibson Goff says:

                Watch out, Brankica’s blog says she likes to shoot. I love it!

                • Farnoosh says:

                  I love that you guys are making friends out of this whole little misunderstanding and Gibson, if it’s ok, I’d like to follow you now, sir :)!

                  • Gibson Goff says:

                    You don’t have to ask, I’d love to have you follow.

                    Nick made a very, very good point and it’s been echoed here about following those that hold similar interest. IF YOU USE THE TOOLS do not rely on the automation alone. Review each signal.

                    Some of the tools have an automatic request feature – ‘why did you un-follow me’. I don’t think you should chase anyone, everyone has their reasons.

                    • Nicholas Cardot says:

                      That’s exactly the feature that I had been chased with in the past and that had set my teeth on edge when I saw you use the link. But knowing that you only use it as a signal and not as the automated system that it has the capability of being has really actually just opened my eyes to new ideas and new ways to review your online effectiveness.

                  • Nicholas Cardot says:

                    I’m glad that I turned you toward him, Farnoosh. I think you’ll be glad you followed him.

                    After all, he’s a military guy. You can’t go wrong with us.

  • Izzat Aziz says:

    I in a phase of clean up my following. I never check who unfollow me, since my follower count keep goes up, so it not bother me much.

    Event I happy if some people that never have any conversation with me unfollow me, because that give me a reason to unfollow them.

    For now I follow 900 something people, but I think less that 200 is useful to me, I want to unfollow but they follow me hence for the sake of it, I stay follow them.

    I use twitter to contact my online friend, that why I try to keep it clean, unfollow people is just part of it. So for me hate to be unfollow is unwise, instead you could take that as opportunity to properly find follower, and rather than showing off who unfollow you, it better if you ask them why they unfollow you, instead making mess, much better if we learn something from it.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I respect those who follow simply because they are being followed by that person, but I simply don’t do that any more. I know that far too many people are using tools to follow people with the hope that they will follow back. Many of those people may not have any idea who you are because they are automating the entire follow process at their end.

      I focus on following people that I communicate with and learn from. I literally communicate with every single person on my follow list. I add and remove people every day to keep my twitterstream clean and to keep growing real, authentic relationships.

      • Sampath Amitash says:

        It is also not the basic idea of twitter to follow just because someone else followed you.

        • Nicholas Cardot says:

          When Twitter first launched, they used to ask the question, “What are you doing right now?” It was designed for your friends to be able to keep up with where you were and what you up to and for you to be able to know what they were up to.

          If they tweeted that they were going to be in your town then you knew you could get together for dinner or to hang out or something. It was for bringing friends together.

          Now people are so obsessed with marketing, self-promotion and their own ego that they just can’t handle just hanging out, chatting and having fun.

          What brings you to Twitter?

          • Sampath Amitash says:

            I must confess that I initially used twitter for blog traffic but now I find that such traffic is not targeted. So I will start a twitter cleanup.

            • Nicholas Cardot says:

              I did too, Sampath. I thought that Twitter was nothing more than an extension of my website. Use it to get all I could get.

              Now I view it as an extension of me, not my website. Just as I use my phone to communicate with my wife, my mom or my friends, I now use Twitter the same way and the results are just out of this world.

              • Izzat Aziz says:

                Well I thank to you seriously. Last night I decide I had enough, I unfollow 700 people on twitter regardless whether or not they follow me.

                I only left some people that I gain benefit from information that they share, as well as some people that I frequently talk with, now I only following 200 people, and my follower count droping as I expected because I follow U follow system, but I don’t mind because I feel much better now on twitter.

                Less is more, I believe that what twitter is, now I able to connect with most of people that I follow.

                Again, thank you for open my eye :)

    • Davina K. Brewer says:

      From time to time, I clean up my followers and who I’m following. If I don’t enjoy someone’s tweets, don’t benefit from following I don’t. If someone follows me, but doesn’t engage I do not necessarily block them; as long as they’re not spammers or bots, I see no harm in letting them follow.

      That said, I get how knowing who unfollowed sometimes saves time… you don’t have to check as often to see if someone you thought could be spam, etc. was only following for a quick follow-back.

      IDK still comes back to everyone using Twitter their own way.

  • Murray says:

    I try not to over thinking it – it’s one of those things that we all do (the follow dance) but that’s just how things go.

    We have weak ties with people online (at least most of them) so it’s okay to let go of connections as you move on and so does the other individual.

    That’s one of the beautiful things about the net – you can make those single connections for just a day and then poof – they’re gone.

    It’s not sad to see people go – just fun to have the experience, ya know?

    It’s all temporary.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      It’s true, Murray, that those ties are weak, but I enjoy the fun of working to take the relationships to higher levels. I enjoy the fun of working to befriend people (like you).

      I’ve even met some people in real life who I’ve met on Twitter. It’s an exciting feeling when my wife and I and a virtual friend all meet up at a Cracker Barrel and enjoy a warm meal together and laugh about nerdy stuff.

      But some, as you mentioned, are only temporary.

      • Murray says:

        They can go a long way Nick – had plans to meet up with Keith from HotBlogTips this weekend since he was actually going to be in the area but things got held up so we’re postponing it.

        Another example would be that I’ve been able to go to Toronto 3x now because I have a friend I met online while playing online games.

        Gotta love those connections.

        Some don’t last but others really do – it’s a new age!

    • Keith says:

      Some of those connections can be strong, I met Nick online and we have brainstormed, collaborated, bounced ideas off each other, and even beat each other up at times. I consider him a close friend and colleague (even if he is an arrogant butthole sometimes;-)).

      Same goes for other connections I have made, Murray and I are working on something together that is only in the idea stages, but we met online.

      I agree that most of those ties are weak, bu tsome real gems can come from networking online too.

  • Brankica @ Live Your Love says:

    I believe that is the tool someone used on me once.
    I followed back a person from one of my accounts (pet related static website I have) – note she followed me first.
    That person was tweeting so much that I could not get to read anything else. Also, the tweets were i.e. listing every possible animal in this world that is up for adoption. There were hundreds of tweets every day.
    So I unfollowed her. As soon as I did, she posted something like: Who unfollowed me, user thisandthis does not want to be part of discussion anymore.
    That was so annoying. Calling out my name because I unfollowed! She should ask herself why I did it in the first place!
    Your experience is different than mine, but you never know how someone will react until you actually unfollow them!

    • Farnoosh says:

      Unbelievable, Brankica, and very inappropriate of her. Follow your heart, and follow only those who interest you. You owe no one anything….although she owes you an apology!

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      That’s the exact experience that I had that created my bias. I had been abused on Twitter very harshly for unfollowing some people. They called me names and poured out their hatred to me. It was really distasteful.

      When I saw him using that tool, I assumed he was one of them. Of course, in this instance, I couldn’t have been farther from the truth, but having experienced this yourself, you can understand where my fear came from.

      When I unfollowed him and he kindly thanked me, I began to realize that I had probably made a mistake. I mean look at this guy. I couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

  • Farnoosh says:

    Nicholas, thanks for bringing this up. Quite honesty, I do the worst thing by some Twitter etiquette standards: I do not follow back necessarily. I don’t necessarily give up my own standards of interest for any reason – I want to ENJOY Twitter a year from now as much as I do today (immensely that is) – more so than I wish to have thousands of followers (if the techniques insist that you need to follow back to get there, etc). I am myself and no one else, I am fine if someone wants to follow me, I follow those who interest me, I always – ALWAYS – respond to mentions, DMs, praise, kind retweets, and conversations. I consider that good etiquette. Just today I decided that I did not very much like Hubspot and the mains speaker’s message did not resonate with my values so I removed him from my follower list. I want to focus on those who resonate with me – and you my friend are one of the gems that came out of Twitter. I am so glad I found and started to follow you!!!

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I feel the same way about you.

      I used to use those auto-follow tools and try to automate the process. It was one of the worst mistakes that I ever made.

      It reached a point where my entire timeline was links to landing pages that would make you $1,000 a day. I felt like I was digging through a dumpster looking for a good chicken wing. The whole timeline was disgusting.

      Today I love Twitter. The new idea of just following whoever I feel like following is both liberating and conducive of an incredibly fun Twitter environment.

      I now have some of the best friends a man could ask for in the world…like you!

    • Davina K. Brewer says:

      Farnoosh, I don’t think you’re violating any etiquette by not following back anyone, everyone. AND you seem to really look at what others tweet, decide if it fits your interests.. that IS engagement.

      I’ve had this conversation a few times and there is something to be said for a little selectivity. I think you get back from Twitter what you put in, so filtering out noise makes it more rewarding for me. FWIW.

  • Lou Barba says:

    Hi Nick,

    I didn’t know people were getting so they took things so personally on twitter. Twitter always seems to me like being in a field full of 10,000 blackbirds. We’re all chirping away, trying to make OUR voice heard. How could you get mad because someone wasn’t listening to you anymore? How could you even notice?! If I hear someone making obscene or hateful comments, I unfollow and I don’t care how mad they get.

    Lou Barba

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I didn’t know that it was going on either until I unfollowed some people and then I felt like I was the victim of online abuse. It’s distasteful.

      It’s nothing more than a number stored in a database somewhere. If I unfollowed someone, they might find it more helpful to learn from it and work to become a more sociable, followable individual.

      • Brankica @ Live Your Love says:

        Well said, but I think people like that never really learn :)

        • Nicholas Cardot says:

          That’s the truth. If they did, they would have learned a little bit of that etiquette in the 1st grade.

          I’m really discovering over and over again that most of the principles that help us be friendly and social in real life are incredibly powerful tools in the online world.

          Chris Brogan coined the phrase, “Being human at a distance.” I love that phrase and I find it entirely appropriate.

  • Ron Leyba says:

    You and Gibson are both professionals in terms of using social media. You guys prove it by the way you respond with each others tweet and by the way Gibson handled the moment you unfollowed him =).

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      He’s the professional, my friend. He demonstrated to me a sense of decency that put me to shame. I’m grateful for the lesson that I learned from him.

      Have you ever done something that at the time you thought really made sense but when you looked back you just asked yourself, “What were you thinking?” That’s me right now.

      • Ron Leyba says:

        Yep, I have done it and happens to me many times. Most of the time, its the result of a quick judgment of mine without thinking or weighing in other factors. I learned a lot from those kind of situations though.

  • Sampath Amitash says:

    Well said Nick. Not just for you, I think, for everyone, this is a lesson.

    You have taught us how to behave on Social Media and not come to a conclusion based on the past.

    This is the first time I am seeing a post of this caliber on a blog that deals with online business.

    Once again, Well said Nick, I’m Inspired. Thanks

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Sampath, I appreciate your feedback. There’s so much going on online that I don’t want to miss out on the real gems that are buried across the internet and I think that I would have missed out on one had I not given that man a second look.

      Don’t ever judge a book by its cover. Take the time to find out the facts before you make a decision or pass judgment on something. That’s something I’ve learned.

  • Steve Robillard says:


    Both of you handled the situation with honor. However, I do have one question, how do you or Gibson know if the person unfollowing you is part of your specific niche?

    • Gibson Goff says:

      You don’t. That’s the exact problem with the automation programs and the overall point of this whole discussion.

      The program I use gives me the name and a picture. It is then my responsibility to find their profile and find if they were in my niche. That can be very wide, or very narrow.

      I only lost 3. :-) One was a nurse and the only thing we had in common was motivational quotes – we both like ‘em. The 2nd was another LOA person, but very focused on marketing. I can only speculate why he left. But it doesn’t matter, it’s OK.

      And the 3rd . . well that was Nick. A true false signal. But was it? It all lead to this discussion and an awareness that could only be fostered by such a great environment.

      Everything happens for a reason. Again, I’m just glad I could participate!

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Gibson is right. You can’t really tell unless you take the time to get to know the person.

      These tools are great indicators, but that’s all they are…indicators. They can’t give you the definitive answer on whether or not someone will make a good friend for you. That’s just silly. But using it as a signal to add a bit of clarity to your journey is appropriate.

      To find out if someone is ‘in your niche’ as you put it or if they would just make a good friend, send them a mention on Twitter and say hello. If a conversation ensues that makes you feel comfortable, then you’ve found a winner. If not, try again on someone else.

  • Eren Mckay says:

    These are great lessons Nick. It’s only human to bring past experiences into the way we interpret what is happening in the present. I admire your transparency in opening up here. There’s a saying that I really love:
    “Be nice to everyone… you never know what they’ve been through.”

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      That’s a good quote to remember. Everyone has been through different experiences and we should definitely be kind and professional to everyone that we meet.

  • Lance says:

    What I really love about this – your honesty. It shines through brightly, and in that – there very much is a great social media (and life) lesson. We have a choice, always, in how we respond to any situation. How you have responded (and then responded again) highlight what is right and good in this world. And…it’s all part of our journey…

    Good stuff!!

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I love this journey and every day I seem to learn new lessons about interacting with people.

      I seem to keep learning that the same principles that allow you to connect with people in real life will allow you to connect with people online.

      I don’t have any reason to be dishonest about it. I’m learning some important life lessons and with a blog like this, I feel that it’s altogether appropriate to share those lessons with as many people as possible.

      I’m just humbled and excited that I have a new friend that I probably would have missed out on.

  • Gabriele Maidecchi says:

    I was guilty of misjudgment many times myself, I think each mistake makes you grow, so hopefully in the future I’ll be more careful and less quick to judge.
    I admit I keep track of who unfollows me as well, but I never got “mad” against anyone. I think it’s just a matter of human curiosity in the end, for me at least. However one thing pisses me off a bit, sadly. By tracking the unfollows I can see patterns of people, sometimes so called “celebrities”, following thousands of people in all hurry (I can see increments of 100-200 follows reloading their page after few seconds when I receive the “follow” email from them) in the hope they will be followed back, and then after a couple of days I get the unfollow email from the service I use, and visiting their page I notice they now have like 10’000 followers and 50 “Follow”.
    Of course it doesn’t piss me off ’cause I am not in the 50-club (what does it matter anyway), just ’cause I believe it’s ridiculous how some people *think* Twitter and social media in general works. Am I guilty?

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I don’t know if you’re guilty or not. I used to be obsessed with those numbers. I really thought that to be successful, you had to have the biggest number on Twitter. I was on an epic quest to pass up Oprah, Ellen and Obama in Twitter followers…or at least I thought I was.

      And so I automated the process thinking that it would lead me to wealth and fame. #FAIL

      I’ve come to realize that if I can have 100 real friends who I communicate with regularly as friends…not as a marketer…that I’ll be far more successful than when I had 10,000 followers whom I never even knew were following me.

      It mind sound cliche, but I want relationships, not numbers. They are far more powerful.

  • Kimi says:

    To be honest, i hate Twitter at most.

    The tweets are somewhat spammy, this is why i spend less times on Twitter, i even had an automatic tweets of my posts LOL.

    I am trying to be selective on who i follow now, but since the new interface is there, i still see people tweets, though i dont follow them!.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I used to feel the same way but now I’m so selective of who I follow that it has really transformed the experience for me. Now as I look at my Twitter stream, it’s almost entirely from people I talk to on a regular basis…from my friends. And I don’t mind checking a link or hearing something random from a friend. It’s actually very fun.

  • Jean says:

    Nick, I don’t use or belong to that site who’s name should not be mentioned:)Nor do I comment upon those who unfollow me.

    In fact,aside from manually reviewing my new followers and
    getting to know a bit about each of them from reading their bios, I don’t pay much attention to the follow/unfollow stuff at all.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I really don’t either. I pay attention to conversations and relationships. That’s the bottom line for me.

      When someone engages with me in a conversation, I sit up and take notice.

      If someone simply follows me, I often don’t even notice. That’s just a number. When a conversation ensues, I do notice that. Numbers don’t matter…real people do.

  • Keith says:

    To be honest Nick, I have used tools in th epassed to increase followers (some of th esame ones yo uhave used), and at one point I unfollowed everyone and then went back to following, then stopped following, blah blah blah….. makes my head spin!

    I don’t usually follow people anymore, I just put them on one of 4 lists I watch, then I interact with them as I see fit.

  • Andrew says:

    I’m just here for the $10 prize.

    • Sampath Amitash says:

      Well, Probably most of them are, but you just told that honestly. Did you get here via the SS101 facebook page. I did.

      • Nicholas Cardot says:

        Andrew is a personal friend of mine and he’s just goofing around with me. He and I were joking about this a bit last night in Skype.

        It’s all good.

    • Jeff Baldwin says:

      I was thinking the same thing, Andrew, but I didn’t want to come across so blunt!

      Anyway – interesting conversation on twitter. Reminds me to check someone’s motives before assuming they’re making foolish choices.

      • Nicholas Cardot says:

        Ha ha. I figured people would think that about Andrew’s comment, but if you knew him like I did, you would find the humor in this post that I find in it.

  • Melissa Rahko says:

    Hi Nick,

    This post is extremely interesting and actually quite heartwarming! I’m sorry to hear you had unpleasant situations develop because of how some people choose to use the tools available.

    It is sometimes easier to blame the tool than to look deeper. A hammer can be used to break a window or to build a birdhouse – different outcomes when used by different people.

    Glad to see you made a new “birdhouse builder” friend. :)

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I love your analogy of the hammer. Like anything in life, it’s up to us to use it either for good or for evil.

      I definitely want to build some birdhouses and make some friends online.

      I love Twitter and the people that I’m meeting on there are just terrific. I just hate it when it gets spoiled by a rotten apple, but I don’t want to assume that someone is that bad apple without giving them a fair chance.

      • Melissa Rahko says:

        Since I am very new to Twitter, info like this is very helpful. It seems like finding the real people behind the “numbers” is challenging. So it is nice to see how open and approachable you are – and willing to help.

  • Tom Jamieson says:

    Hey Nick! You have such a way of providing perspective and professionalism that is lacking across the blogosphere. It’s nice to hear a story of learning and growth like this one. Thanks for sharing and for being real! I hope you never change that!

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I hope I don’t either, Tom and I hope that you’re the same way. One thing that is seriously missing online is authenticity. People live with that ‘fake it ’till you make it’ mentality. People don’t want to accept that we’re humans…that we make mistakes.

      I’m probably the worst person in the world to take social media advice from. There are probably people who are miles ahead of me, but I can say that I enjoy great conversations with some amazing people and I love every minute of it.

  • Dr. Matthew Smith says:

    Amen Nick!

    “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. ” (Colossians 4:6, ESV)

    Thanks for reminding us to be civil. So many choose to demonstrate their character (and it shows up like a preschooler who doesn’t get what they want) to the hurt of others.

    Well done!

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Thanks. I think we really forget sometimes about the person behind the screen name. We get so caught up with the massive amount of bots and we forget there there really are some real people out there. And if they are real people, we should treat them with dignity and respect. We simply need to learn to be human at a distance.

  • Seth W says:


    Nice move on following him back.

    Twitter really is all about conversations isn’t it? I have used twitter tactics in the past (like a year ago) to grow my twitter following and I openly regret it. To much spam and clutter in my twitter feed.

    They are not interested in me and I am not interested in them. For the last week I have been slowly going through those I follow and cutting those I have zero interest in or who look like spam accounts. I do just a few hundred at a time and have really enjoyed getting to know the others I keep.

    My goal is to have my thousands down to hundreds. When I get down to the 1,000 range I am going to have two marathon twitter days! I am going to mention every single person I follow individually in efforts to have a sincere conversation with them.

    After a few days those who do not respond or are uninteresting/non-conversational will be unfollowed.

    That’s my plan. How have you done it?

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Wow, that really is a treatise, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

      Like you, I openly admit and regret that I used those tools as I began my journey on Twitter. It was worthless. The results, as you say happened to you, was nothing more than a Twitter timeline full of spam.

      Of course, I took a more drastic approach than you did. I unfollowed everyone and then began to refollow those who I have interacted with in the past. Your method is probably more effective.

      It was when I unfollowed everyone that I actually became introduced to that unfollow rage that I referred to at the beginning of this article. It was really bad. People were calling names and getting really vile. I felt sorry for them more than anything that they felt so caught up with having that extra number that it actually controlled their attitude and the way that they would communicate to another person.

      That’s how I did it and that’s what I learned from it.

  • ah hong says:

    The number of Follow is sufficient enough for us to track whether our conversation reader is increasing/decreasing and I wouldn’t care who unfollow me in Twitter. No worries like you said :)

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      That’s true. But who in real life counts the number of friends that they have? I don’t. I just get out and try to be friendly and as a result, I find myself having friends. I just think that the same tactic will work on online social media platforms like Twitter.

  • Carolee a.ka. Blogging Biz Mom says:

    LOL- I missed winning the $10.00- Story of my life :-)

    Funny, I have never worried about followers or unfollowers.

    Some like me, some don’t …

    Oh, well!

    • Davina K. Brewer says:

      Heh, missed it too.

      • Nicholas Cardot says:

        But on the bright side, you didn’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with an awesome blogger.

        Did that come across as too egotistical? LOL

        • Davina K. Brewer says:

          Uh oh, you’re one of those “bright side” people? Gotta watch out for you. ;-)

          • Nicholas Cardot says:

            Not necessarily, but connecting with me should be such an amazing bright side that you should feel like you’ve won more than ten dollars.

            I think I just amped the level of my public ego right there. My head actually hurts from how big it’s getting. LOL

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      If it’s any consolation, I didn’t win $10 in writing the post. :)

  • MelodyO says:

    Hi Nicholas – We had some twitter conversation while your comments were briefly closed, and this tweet (using twitlonger) was my comment. I have just copy-pasted it here now that your comments are alive again.

    @Nicholas_Cardot Comments closed! Dang nabbit. Well first I wanted to thank you for being in the military. I have enormous respect for our ALL VOLUNTEER services. I think ppl forget it’s all volunteers really! I joined the Air Force at 18 and served only exactly 4 years but it gave me a perspective I will NEVER forget. I really don’t expect you to read this but I wrote about a slice of that here:

    I work 40+ hours a week, and perhaps make excuses for myself why I am not more involved in my own comment stream (my blog is a hobby blog). I am totally impressed that you have such a flowing comment stream. You can feel the friendships growing.

    And as to those twitter tools – I don’t use them. I follow and unfollow. I know that being unfollowed can feel hurtful to people, and I try to stay aware of that emotion. But I am used to being unfollowed and even blocked now and then. My twitter feed will heavily relate to coffee, and (Starbucks in particular) and so that drives some people nuts.

    Thank you again for your service! From “Airman Overton”

  • Allie says:

    I noticed you followed me today on Twitter. I feel very honored to be in the few you choose.
    I will try not to let you down but if I do and you unfollow me….???
    Actually I wouldn’t even know, I don’t pay attention to who unfollows me.
    Anyhow, see you on Twitter and great post.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I’m happy to have connected with you and don’t worry about not meeting up to any set of standards. Be yourself. Communicate as a real person and interact as a friend talks to their friends and I’ll have no problem hanging out with you.

    • Allie says:

      Almost a week later and now I would know if you unfollow me because I wouldn’t see your thoughtful tweets and your profile pic anymore. I would wonder why. You’re a great twitter friend. Thx. Have awesome holidays! Keep up the great work!

      • Nicholas Cardot says:

        Thanks, Allie. I’ve had a blast connecting with you over the past week. I’m just a normal guy looking for normal people to connect with and share this exciting journey through life with. Thanks for being a part of that with me.

  • sarah says:

    This was really interesting. On occasion I’ve noticed my number drop on twitter or facebook and I’ll try to figure out who it was by scrolling my friends list. I can never figure it out! Which I guess says we weren’t really friends online or off. I didn’t know there was this device to track unfollowers. While this sounds intriguing, I don’t think I’ll utilize it. Rather use that energy talking to the friends I have left!

  • Jon Thomas says:


    You’re such a great guy, I’m going to comment even though I won’t be getting $10!!

    I loved this post, specifically because it told a story and took a left where I thought it would take a right. I totally thought you were going to be pointing out how some people are too obsessed about who is/isn’t following them. However, you told about your own misconceptions and how quick we are to judge sometimes on such quick conversational mediums like Twitter. Great lesson learned and great construction of a post.

    Have a great holiday.


    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Thanks, Jon. I’ve actually learned two amazing lessons from this. I shared the first lesson in the post.

      The second lesson is that when you allow yourself to be vulnerable and you put your mistakes out in the open for people to learn from, they often rally around you and build you back up just like you’ve just done.

      I honestly thought that people would look at me and think, “Wow. What a jerk!” And I was a jerk. But the response was exactly the opposite. Folks have been overwhelmingly good to me.

      I appreciate your feedback and the feedback of everyone else on this.

  • Davina K. Brewer says:

    Nicholas, What a great post about perspective, how we apply our own viewpoints to behaviors. Everyone has different reasons for being on Twitter, using the various tools… and we risk missing out when we assume we know what it’s really about. Thanks for this, enjoying the conversation.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      That’s really what it boiled down to. I would have missed out on meeting a tremendous man on Twitter. I’ve come to know now that he’s as kind as a teddy bear, Every day he’s an encourage to me in some new way. Actually most of my Twitter friends…most of my friends in general…find ways to bless me every day. I would have missed out on one of those friends had I not taken the time to give him a second chance. I’m so thankful that I slowed down and reconsidered by decision.

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  • Reza Winandar says:

    Tracking your audience may be important, but their privacy is also important to keep your reputation

  • Brad says:

    Hahaha, I didn’t see a date on your post and thought you were playing some sick and twisted mind game with us about winning 10 bucks on a date that has already past.

    Anyway, still sound advice, even if this is an old post…or is it???

    Take Care!

  • Noel Addison says:

    Nick, you’re not the only one who learned from this incident. Like you I am very suspicious with people who use automation and judge them abruptly that they only followed me to offer their products and not for the purpose of connecting with me to be my peer.

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