Engagement vs. Serendipity

Earlier this morning, my Twitter friend, Michael Calienes who is also the co-founder of The Conversation Factory, tweeted out a clip he did on video social network, 12 Seconds. You can watch for yourself but for those of you that prefer the written word, Michael’s question was “What if over the next couple of weeks you un-followed everyone who’s never engaged with you on Twitter?”

What I liked about Michael’s question was that it wasn’t an “eff you” kind of statement but rather a thoughtful one. His follow up question was, “Do you think it would improve the relationships you have with the people who do engage with you?”

http://embed.12seconds.tv/i/embed?v=200202
unfollowing the unengaged on 12seconds.tv

What I liked most about this quick video was that it got me thinking about engagement vs. serendipity, two things that are possible more now than ever via social media. The first concept, engagement, is obviously something that is high on any marketer’s priority list. The second, serendipity, is something that we love when it comes our way but rarely do we feel like we have much control over the phenomenon. To me, that is really the beauty of Twitter because it allows both to happen simultaneously.

But that’s not what Michael asked in his clip this morning. He wanted to know would paring down on followers that are essentially “dead weight” allow us to spend more time with the people that matter. In essence, this is something that I think we all grapple with in life in general.
So here’s my answer… as tempted as I am to pare down my 8,000+ followers, I never will. You know why? Because every day someone new who was in the list of “haven’t previously engaged with” crops up and adds value to my life. There are a few personal examples of how this has helped here and here It’s also been invaluable in my professional life helping me helping me drive leads, create partnerships, find podcast/blog interviewees, or even land speaking engagements.
What do you think? If you had your druthers, would you slim down the number of people you engaged with based on reciprocity? Or are you like me — willing to roll the dice based on the possibility of what might be?