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, 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.