Qwitter is for Friends

Yesterday, the guys at Contrast launched Qwitter, a simple little app that sends you an email when one of your Twitter followers drops you.

This does not sound like the stuff of which social network meltdowns are made. But Qwitter was met with some frankly histrionic opinions along the lines of:

Qwitter… is likely to break relationships, sometimes before they’ve had an opportunity to prosper.

Speaking for those of us sitting at the Big Kids Table, this seems a little silly. Because if there is one thing Twitter is not good at, it’s demonstrating who does or does not like you.

Here are some reasons I may un-follow someone I like plenty:

  • Dead Air: I prune periodically. If I check your stream and you have not tweeted in a week because unbeknownst to me you’re on holiday, in hospital or dead, I’ll unfollow.
  • Noise Convergence: I am a fan of John Williams, despite the fact he’s a noisy fecker. However, he also has 30 people on his list that I have on mine. When I follow him, I get all the conversations between him and all those other people, and my Twitter stream triples in volume.
  • RSS Preference: I have subbed to a handful of people’s Twitter streams in my RSS reader. For people who throw out a lot of links, are in wildly different time zones than me, or who Twitter with interesting people not on my list, this is a better exploratory venue for me.
  • Interest Mismatch: You may be a fascinating friend in person but tweet predominantly about Rails or your new Foo startup. I hate Rails and I’m never going to use Foo, so let’s just have lunch.

I thought Eoghan McCabe’s response to the Qwitter teapot tempest was right on the money. Were there an 02 award for Blog Comment of the Month, I would nominate it.

I add and drop people all the time on Twitter. I assume people add and drop me all the time, too, but since I don’t keep an ego-vigilant eye on my follower count, I really have no idea. I did, however, let people know that if they wanted to drop me, I wasn’t going to have a hissy fit about it now that I’ll get a notice.

Nor, for the record, am I going to send them email to ask them why, or expect some kind of explanation to turn up in my Inbox.

Seriously, who has time for that level of neurosis?

Update: Since I was unable to grace Eoghan McCabe with an award, I sent him flowers instead, with the following card: