Twitter on the creep

With this tweet, I boldly forayed into the world of Twitter. Since then, I’ve done the 140 thing 3,836 times. I did the math and that works out to an average of 7.24 tweets per day. Yeah, that sounds about right.

In my travels I’ve learned one thing and I’ve learned it well. If a thought pops into my head I’d better record it fast, or it will die a quick death and never see the light of day ever again. That’s where Twitter comes in. At home, work, or with my little handheld device, if I have a thought that I like, I jam it into the Twitter. Now it’s safe!

It has been one year, five months and 15 days since I started my “timeline.” (Wow. That almost makes it sound like I wasn’t living before Twitter.) During that time I have followed 145 people. Twitter tells me that 112 people are currently following me, and I estimate less than half the number are real people. The rest are some kind of bot and/or people who just follow lots in the hopes of gaining reciprocal follows. To them, Twitter is a numbers game and the one with the most followers wins. Just an FYI: You can’t take your followers with you when you die.

Me? I’m a bit more choosey. On average I’d followed someone only once every 4.9 days. I don’t like my timeline going all apeshit and overloading me with incoming tweets so I really have to find someone interesting before I’ll make that level of commitment. Twitter tells me that the first person I ever followed was Catherine Sherman (@cathsherman) who was one of my very first friends on WordPress and still a good friend today!

I have never followed anyone in the hopes that they’ll return the favor. Nor have I ever unfollowed anyone because they won’t follow me. The law of mandatory reciprocity does not apply. It’s nice when the level of interest is two way, but I’m not going to unfollow someone just because they have good taste! (Heh.)

I have unfollowed people before, but it is rare. Usually it is because I feel overwhelmed by the volume of their tweets. Some people tweet 100 times a day or more! Even I don’t have that many thoughts in a single day, a much fewer that are of any interest. (Even then there may be debate about the ones I let through!)

What sparked all of the Twitter contemplation was someone I interacted with recently. He has only been on Twitter for three days. He has tweeted 18 times. (That’s very close to my average.) And he follows a whopping 775 people! That’s over 250 follows per day.

Meanwhile,Β  he has 207 followers (which blows me out of the water) and has already been “listed” four times. Apparently those lists are automated because they say, “A self-updating list showing who recently followed me (made using @formulists).”

The success of someone on Twitter only three days who doubles me in followers can be discouraging. However, I am resisting the urge to do anything differently. I prefer sending and receiving quality, and that’s how I’m going to continue. I can’t imagine much worse than reading a bunch of crap from people where I have absolutely no interest.

If I follow you, that’s generally a good sign. You can take it as a compliment!

A Twitter Tip

Lastly, I’d like to close with a tip. What to do about people I want to follow even when they overly tweet their asses off?

I think there are two kinds of people I follow. Those that I’m very interested in and those I’m sort of interested in. The former group I try to read everything they say. With the later group, though, I don’t care if I miss a few every now and again.

How do I handle this?

I installed TweetDeck and use the Twitter feature of “lists” to separate those groups. For the A-Listers, I created a group called “Inner Circle.” Everyone else gets placed in a group called, strangely enough, “Everyone else.”

Both groups are private since they are for my own internal use only.

I’ll admit it is a bit of a hassle sorting people into these groups, but it is a one-time only activity.

Once that is done, create a “column” in Tweet Deck for each group. My first column is dedicated to the “Inner Circle” and the next column is for “Everyone Else.” I try to keep up on the first column. The other columns in Tweet Deck I read as time permits.

I hope you’ll find this tip useful.

12 responses

  1. This post begs the question that I refuse to ask. I have my pride…like lions on parade. πŸ˜‰

    Get it lions? Parade? Pride? Although I’m not gay so…maybe it’s not that funny.

    But, since I’m up at 4am trying to download a lion (found out this is my ISP’s Holy Time of free downloading) I thought this quip was hilarious.


    1. You are delirious from Lion fatigue. It’s common after Apple does something like release an updated operating system that is about 4 GB in size and, at the same time, suddenly find “optical media” to be distasteful. πŸ™‚


  2. I was quite fond of Hootsuite til they switched to pay / premium and free/ crap. Premium used to be free. I’ve used TweetDeck for sometime now (and Tweetie, which I don’t suggest for “power users”) and it’s okay. It crashes on my phone. ALL.THE.TIME. I mean, virtually every time I use it. I don’t so much blame them as my out-dated smartphone (although it has latest OS). If I had the latest hardware *and* software, I’d be free to complain.

    I like to follow people but if they tweet “too” frequently (talking once an hour or more), I have to unfollow. It interferes with reading those who have better quality tweets. You are not tweeting quality if it’s 50 tweets a day. You may be drunk-tweeting (upon occasion, that’s fab!) or you may be on holiday or live-blogging. Those are acceptable, too. I’m not a fan of those using it for marketing by the hour.


    1. It’s the whole quality vs. quantity thing. Logical dictates that bigger is better. That’s why McDonalds, for example, sells the Big Mac and not the Good Mac. In essence they never claimed that their burger had quality. πŸ™‚

      I guess I should have mentioned that TweetDeck runs on my home computer. For my iOS device I use the Twitter app and I like it just fine. (And I’ve never seen it crash.) I did try Hootsuite and it didn’t wow me.

      I still like some of those people that tweet hundreds of times a day. That’s what I made that second column for. I often see interesting stuff there. I just can’t keep up with all of it.


  3. I am hopelessly behind on reading, writing, breathing, but for some reason my mind was drawn to this one of many, many unread blog posts in my box. Please don’t ask me to make sense. That’s never going to happen.

    Here’s what jumped out at me:
    To them, Twitter is a numbers game and the one with the most followers wins. Just an FYI: You can’t take your followers with you when you die.

    Would that not be the premise of a really cool sci-fi flick? Sort of DiCaprio – Inceptionesque?

    I would love a gander at that Tweetdeck (that sounds sort of inappropriate, doesn’t it?) to see who the cool kids are. πŸ™‚

    It’s the heat. It’s affecting my brain. Happy Monday!


    1. It must have been that clever headline. Oh yeah, who could ever resist that! πŸ™‚

      Re: The numbers game. Yeah, I find myself being bitten by that bug, too. I think to myself, “Shouldn’t millions of people be privileged enough to enjoy my biting wit?” Then it fades and I go back to feeling lucky for the real human followers that I’ve already got. πŸ™‚

      I do like how you think, though. Inception in my Timeline would have been a way better headline. πŸ™‚


  4. Deborah the Closet Monster | Reply

    I need to get better about using lists. If I’m following people, it’s because they’re saying things I want to say, but I’m following far too many people to read all tweets by (one-tenth of) everyone I follow. I’d better call this a weekend project so I can start really keeping up on everything I do want to read instead of losing it all to the “abyss,” as it were . . . !


    1. Exactly! Too much to read and too much to do. I’ve been hearing more and more experts, talking heads and techy pundits talking about this lately. They talk about the “information” that is out there and the “filters” that we use to pick out what we want and/or need from it all. I guess, bottom line, that is what I’m using Twitter’s “list” features to do. Let the abyss claim the rest! πŸ™‚


  5. same here, I got tweetdeck and love it to bits, got some people I follow mainly just because they follow me but might not have the time or the strength to read all their tweets… So 5 lovely lists/categories to go through is fine and then the rest is just on the mixed pile to read if I got the time.


    1. Good point and one I failed to mention. Yes, if I get followed by a real live human, I do tend to follow them back. I guess it’s that damn sense of gratitude I’ve got that someone actually liked me. Or clicked the follow button by accident.

      If they turn out to be an idiot and/or PITA (pain in the ass) I can always unfollow them later. πŸ™‚


  6. Being your first tweetee, I feel that I’ve let you down with my twitter silence! I feel bad that I haven’t tweeted in a year, maybe longer. I am so lazy you’d think that I would tweet and just give up on the more verbose blogging thing. I’m transferring all of my quota of words to you, where I know you will use them wisely!


    1. Yeah, feel bad! πŸ™‚

      At the very least you could set things up so that when you update your blog it automatically tweets it, too.

      Methinks you fib about the lazy thing. Methinks you have many irons in the fire.

      I already had a six-gun quota, but I’m sure your words will come in handy.


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