Twitter: to follow or not to follow? That is the question.

Like many who use social networking software to engage in conversation, I’d characterise myself as a heavy Twitter-user.  And the more I use Twitter, the more followers I get; it’s the nature of viral communication.  I’m now followed by 1400 + people – small beans compared with some.  Now, I follow some who don’t follow me, but that’s my choice; they have something of value to offer me.  I’m not offended if I follow someone and they don’t follow back … though it’s interesting who in the big-name stakes actually do follow back and, even at times, respond to a message.

As far as those who follow me, perhaps they feel my posts are useful or interesting, maybe even valuable – I’d hope so – but as to what that is, and why many follow me, I’m never going to know. Why? I simply never hear from them again after the auto-email from Twitter arrives telling me that I have a new follower.  I check their details; no bio – no follow for a start. Self-proclaimed experts or sales pitches are immediate blocks or no-follows, but in deciding whether or not to follow a new follower,  there’s one rule that I am pretty much sticking to come what may.

I send out a regular welcome note to all new followers telling them how I use Twitter – this is only fair I think – asking them to send me a @ message to make contact. If I don’t get this, I don’t follow. Period. Few lately are responding, leading me to conclude that they’re not reading their messages, not serious, or not real.

As I generally end my welcome message ‘I’m at the Twitter party for conversation, not the crowd.’

Author: Kate Wilson

Actor, director, teacher, dabbler with paint, serial traveller.

11 thoughts on “Twitter: to follow or not to follow? That is the question.”

  1. I’m with you on this. I have found now that I don’t follow people very often these days & I certainly don’t follow people who have no profile. Like you, for me its about quality not quantity.

  2. I finding as I’m getting involved with even more work online it becomes even harder to decide who not to add. Definitely if a person has a few tweets and is following an extremely large number with minimal following then it is less likely I will even bother to check their profile.

    I won’t knock them out due to minimal tweets or lack of profile as many new educators fail to do this.

    Yesterday I was extremely evil and made the local radio station have an extremely long conversation with me before I would add them back.

    Sue Waters’s last blog post..What Everybody Ought To Know About Podcasting: Part I

  3. I think many of us are getting more savvy when it comes to deciding who to follow or not. If I know someone is a new Twitter user (their follow/followers/number of updates) can give this away, and if their profile appears legit with bio, pic etc., I’ll take a punt and send them a DM suggesting some new user tips. This is being a good educator, yes? Cheers, and thanks for the comment.

  4. I was going to use the same blog title and just had a search first and found your Twitter follower post.

    I don’t follow many people back who follow me – I have to know them – or they have to engage me in a conversation that captures my attention.

    The idea of someone following 10,000 people and reading all their tweets is nonsense.

    I use Tweetdeck and not really understanding what I was doing, incorporated a feature that brought in all my Facebook friends updates. I don’t know most of these people.

    For me the decision to follow is entirely separate to being followed.

  5. Thanks Kate for your post – its a great articulation of your Twitter expectations – “for followers” as well as “as follower”. I’m never certain about Twitter ettiquette, & probably don’t do things “properly”. There are many people who like to be followed back, but like you (I think) I’m not really one of these folks. I’ll often follow people so I can “listen” to their expertise, ideas & links etc. I don’t expect these people to follow me back. Sometimes, I’ll be on Twitter for a while & just watch – reading updates, laughing to myself at the sillyness & funny stuff that goes on (the whole hottest100 dialogue last weekend was funny & entertaining but I didn’t participate in it), following links that tweeps have posted – and then after a while realise that I’ve not posted anything myself.

    I’m tending now to look at my new followers, and like you, I decide when I’ve seen their bio & their statistics, whether I’ll follow back. If someone as 2 updates, but has 500 followers – then I’m definitely not going to follow then, and will probably block them straight away.

    Thanks for your post, oh & enjoy your tweets (even if I’ve probably never said so – sorry 🙂 )
    Cheers, Leesa

  6. Thanks Paul. I’ve moved across to Friend Feed to engage in what I think is a better setup for proper, threaded conversations + the usual links, likes, quick comments. I still cross post to Twitter from time to time from within Friend Feed, as not all the conversationalists I follow on Twitter are using FF at this stage. I live in hopes!

  7. I don’t have nearly as many followers as you – but I am finding it hard to keep up with all the tweets – maybe when you send a message out to new followers, and they dont @ you back – they could have just missed it? – I’m trying to figure out a way, when I don’t have time to catch up on everyones tweets during the day, to at least catch up on the ones I really wanted to see, and I think there is a new Twitter application (similar to Tweetdeck) which helps you sort it a bit better. So anyway, just thinking, if anyone dosn’t @ you back when you ask them to, dosn’t mean they aren’t necessarily listening, possibly they are just drowning in volume like I am some days! – nice post – enjoyed and helpful

  8. Hi Claire, thanks for your comment. It’s always fun to get a a conversation going on a blog … we’re so used to the back and forth of Twitter! As to your point about followers missing a post … fair enough; the Twitter stream can move fast. However, I do post much the same message once a week, just in case! Hard to imagine that they miss it every time – hence my suspicion about follow bots and schemes to ‘get x thousand followers’ etc.

  9. Hi Kate,

    I’m a relatively new twitter user, and am learning as I go about the protocols of twitter. I too am not sure if I am using it properly, but enjoy reading the tweets and learning more with every passing day! (Oh well – I hope so!). At first I thought I needed to follow everyone, but now have moved to following those who interest me, and who appear legit.

    Hope to catch up with you soon at a Toowoomba catch up.

    Carolyn
    PS. Love your tweets!

  10. Thanks Carolyn! I never could understand the rush to get as many followers as possible … to each her own, I guess! Nice to meet you, and yes, a Toowoomba catch up would be nice.

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