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Following on Twitter


#1

I follow 62 people on Twitter. It is all I can do to skim through their Tweets. I see many people follow hundreds or even thousands of people. What is going on? If you are following hundreds of people do you:

a) spend hours every day reading tweets
b) use software to filter whose tweets you see
c) only read a tiny fraction of the tweets you are subscribed to
d) something else

C’mon. Fess up!


#2

With me it’s choice C – I accept that I won’t see everything. It’s sort of like the radio, where you’ll only hear things when you tune in.

Incidentally, this is why I think it’s unwise to say Twitter is replacing RSS. If I want to be sure I’m getting everything from a person/company, I’ll subscribe to their RSS feed. Twitter is more for loose/real-time stuff.

Of course, there are many different ways to use it. That’s my own two cents.


#3

It’s always C.

What you can do is, create a list for important people whose Tweets you dont want to miss. Other than that, Twitter is a non-stop show of “look at me look at me look at me.”


#4

I follow 294 it looks like, though many are businesses or other things that don’t tweet constantly.

I think I read most of it, though not all. I would say it’s less than an hour most days though perhaps an hour in total if you count time to reply and such.

Hard to say if it’s worthwhile or not. There’s definitely been some considering upsides, but it’s certainly hard to quantify. I tend to view it as marketing and ‘part of my job’ in general which also has some impact on the effort I put into it.


#5

It was a common tactic to build a twitter following by following. Follow an account, if they follow you back keep them. If they do not follow you back, unfollow them. This reciprocity approach to building a following on twitter has resulted in many accounts having similar followers and following. It’s obvious to me that this tactic was used when I see an account that is following 800 accounts and has just over 800 followers.

I think this approach is stupid. It’s not beneficial to anyone.


#6

Yes. Seems sleazy. Even worse are those people who automatically follow thousands of people (in the hope of getting a follow back) and then quietly unfollow them later.


#7

I try to skim.

In iOS, there is the “@” tab in Safari which shows you links from your Twitter feed, which can be helpful.


#8

e) are a person/businesses desperate for attention.*

*Although I think a few hundred is fine, especially if you’ve been active on Twitter for a long time. It’s when you’re in the 4-digits that I just don’t believe you actually care one iota what any of these people are saying.

There is no way to “follow” 1000 people, even in the lightest sense of the word. As @Lewis said it’s a technique used to get your own follower base. But it totally cheapens the experience of being on Twitter. I hate getting followed by some random account only to get unfollowed a week later because I didn’t reciprocate.


#9

Twitter is much more enjoyable if you turn off all follow/unfollow notifications fyi. I have no email notifications, this makes it much less distracting.


#10

Easy to say for you Mr. @ian Landsman, with your 2921 followers! Some of us with not nearly as many get just a wee bit excited when someone new follows.


#11

heh, maybe so. Though even when I had less I didn’t watch that. Then you’re tempted to follow back which all leads down the wrong path. I want to focus on the people I follow so I don’t miss much, though even at 292 I should go in and trim the dead stuff and such.

SocialBro is a decent free tool to go in and clean up old things, see the really big people following you etc. Some of y’all might want to check it out.


#12

I have a list set up for “specific people”, which contains < 10 people for whom I’d really like to see every tweet since the last time I checked - with so few people, that list doesn’t contain more than a few dozen tweets at most every day.

With TweetDeck, I have that “specific people” list open all the time, as a regular column, so I don’t miss anything important.

The “everyone” column is too much to pay attention to, so I tend to just look through there when I have some minutes to kill here and there.


#13

I seem to just skim as well. I currently follow less than 200 and during the day I can keep up pretty easily by just scanning every few hours. I feel like I should follow more but signal to noise ratio will just get out of hand. If it’s something awesome I figure one of the people I follow will retweet it so I will come across it. The weekends I usually just skip if I’m not on the computer.

My workflow is by using TweetBot with three panes open. One for my followers, and the other two for product mentions. This works well for quickly seeing if someone has a complaint or something and they haven’t added our @ to it.

I did have all my notifications turned off but now I’m on a self proclaimed mission to have more followers than my boss so it’s an important metric. I may have to just buy followers since I am not that interesting and he keeps gaining more than me. :smiley:


#14

I have legitimately followed close to 900 people and only have 300 followers. I’m an option C user. I just tune in for little bursts of content.

I am trying to clean up my follow list because there is a lot of silly noise with 900 follows. My general approach for following is if I think someone has a possibility of being remotely interesting or relevant I just follow them and tell myself I’ll unfollow if they don’t turn out to be valuable. Most of the time I don’t unfollow unless they are really annoying or useless.

I’ve found that the majority of accounts tweet pretty sparingly so even though I follow 900 there are probably 200 that I see tweet consistently. As such it doesn’t feel like completely unfocused stream of tweets. Following 900 accounts obviously makes it impossible to keep up with all tweets. I like that aspect of having a huge follow list because it prevents me from feeling like I’m falling behind and must read everything. I also really enjoy having a huge cross section of interesting people because it gives me a pretty neat curated experience during current events. I’ll have 100 unique and diverse people who are all in some way relevant to me commenting on something that’s in the news.

I just recently decided to start trying to use lists for groups of people that I want to do a better job of really tracking. For instance my bootstrappers list is one I’m reading pretty much every tweet from https://twitter.com/TravisFischer/business-bootstrapping. The list is a work in progress in terms of who’s on it. I add accounts as I see them come up in my main stream or discover them elsewhere online.

I try to limit the amount of time I invest in Twitter. On the one hand I have built some real valuable relationships and connections. On the other hand I have wasted hours and hours reading about what 900 people are watching on TV and eating for supper.