10 AprWhat’s the RIGHT ‘follow style’ on Twitter?

A while back I wrote a post entitled “Don’t follow us on Twitter” that was intended to get a conversation going about how we use Twitter, whom we follow & how we make that choice. I got several comments that helped me to view this topic more broadly. Thanks to those who commented.

I’ve got another thought for you on the topic of whom we follow on Twitter, and it’s thanks to my conversations with you.

It occurs to me that this is a very individual decision. People engage on Twitter for a spectrum of reasons ranging from purely personal to strictly business; it looks different for everyone.  Some just drop links from their blog. Others exclusively use Twitter to engage in casual conversations.  Many share links to things that are happening in their areas of interest or in their industry.  And a few of us have begun contacting companies for quick feedback and questions about their services.

The uses for Twitter are as varied as those using it. And your purpose for engaging on the service certainly dictates the manner in which you use it.

All of this also leaves out the manner in which you filter tweets, if at all.

Obviously, as your network increases in size with active twitterers, your stream will grow. If you are using Twitter for more than casual conversations (and even if you aren’t) you may want to employ some type of filtering so that you can focus on one group of connections at a time.

There are many ways to filter incoming tweets and as you ‘get bigger’ the methods you employ must naturally scale to enable you to continue to function at a high level. (if that is your goal)

You could choose to follow liberally and ‘see what shows up’ on your Twitter stream; or you could choose not to follow anyone but instead to use lists, groups or third-party services to engage where the action and interest is for you.  Most people will likely find their own follow style somewhere in the middle of these extremes.

Regarding this ‘to follow, or not to follow’ dilemma I’d like to share what seems sure to me.  Correct me if I’m wrong.

Three things seem sure to me:

1. That there’s no “right” way to make this choice; we all make it our own way.
2. You shouldn’t feel obligated to ‘follow back’ just because someone followed you.
3. And that “your way” may likely change over time, as all things do.

So go forth!  Follow who you will.  And don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong; least of all me.

What’s your follow style? Leave me a comment and let me know.

For more about Twitter and ways to filter the incoming data stream that is today’s web, follow me on Twitter or subscribe to this blog


photo credit: Wallula Junction

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Joshua Guffey

Project Manager at Dependable Data Services
Father. Husband. Search Marketing Professional. Conversion Optimization Consultant. Love Rumi.
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  • Jessica (aka @kikarose)

    I like to think of Twitter as a big cocktail party that you were invited to. You’re not in charge of the guest list, so there are a ton of people there that you might not know. They might talk to you, you might talk to them. You don’t have to become best friends, but you can if you so choose. You might find people who share your interests or you might find some who introduce you to things you didn’t know before.

    I go through my “follow” list in my email about once a week or every two weeks. I open each profile and check to see if there’s a bio and link to a blog or web page. Then I check to see if they’re still following me. Then I look at the first page of their stream. If they’re not having any conversations, just using Twitter to broadcast their message I move on, if they’re talking I look to see what they’re discussing – kind of like you’d listen to a conversation for a few minutes before jumping in at a party. And then I finally decide if I’ll follow them back.

    It takes forever, but I think it’s worth it.