Saturday, April 26

Twitter: the following:follower ratio

In recent weeks Twitter has been plagued by follow-spam from thousands of ignorant, immature people blindly following Scoble's prescription for Twitter "success." The ethos was entirely quantity over quality, and quite impersonal -- sure doesn't sound particularly community- nor conversation- -oriented now, does it?

I follow about 250 people more than follow me. I also follow far too many people to be "intimate" with many of them through Twitter. But in my book, that's FINE -- Twitter is transient. It's a firehose -- embrace it, but don't drown yourself!

I could care less how many people you follow, how many people follow you, if you're INTERESTING. If you're engaging in CONVERSATION, if you're sharing thoughts and ideas, I say RIGHT ON.

If you're one of these mass-adding Twammers (Twitter-spammers) then I say: die in a fire. Slowly. Perhaps roasted on a spit.

Follow people because you find them interesting, not because you're trying to play the numbers game. And, don't use Twitter as your personal ego-horse or mouthpiece! Such use is pretty obvious, and not desirable in the LEAST.

Personally I think the two best ways to find new people to "follow" are 1) eavesdropping and 2) outside sources. If you see someone having an interesting conversation with someone you already follow, FOLLOW THE NEW PERSON. Also, if you have outside contact with someone -- whether personally, or through their blog or another social network, then again, by all means FOLLOW THIS PERSON.

/soapbox

6 comments :

Ann said...

Sigh..I thought we had a real connection, a real bonding on Twitter. :o)

I keep the people I follow under 200. I think I was up to 350 at one point, and it made me very sad that I was missing tweets from the people who mattered most to me.

Quietly I trimmed my list and all was good in my corner of the world--even though The Preppy Dude calls me the Twitter Terminator.

Andrew Badera said...

hi Ann :)

There are some people I keep more closely in touch with than others, particularly those who were among the first people I ever Tweeted with :)

But as a whole, I don't think it lends itself to being both a firehose of information and ideas AND a close, intimate cafe-conversation setting. I think there are better ways to keep in touch with those who matter most :)

Do you use AIM or GTalk?

- Celes - said...

I think it's fine to be a 'twitter terminator'. If you use twitter to actually listen to and talk to people, than you really do have to be picky about who you follow. I am even worse maybe, being picky about who I let follow me. I still have a fairly small twitter list, and I wonder when it gets to be bigger how I'm going to be able to go through and get rid of spam-adders. Maybe it doesn't matter, but I don't want to follow them and I don't want them following me.

- Celes - said...

I just noticed that you used 'quantity over quality'. Did you pick that up from little me? :)

Quantity VS Quality

...or is this some odd coincidence.

I must add that I don't know that I believe in coincidences. ;)

Peter said...

For me, I'm in the exploratory phase of Twitter. I'm trying to figure out what works for me and how people derive value from it.

I don't think there's any single right answer here regarding followers or following. I will say that I'm being exposed to people who normally I would not have the opportunity to interact with (or just listen to ;-)). I see this as a good thing even if I don't wholly know what to do with it yet.

I do agree re: spammers though. Like anything else on the internet, these kinds of people will pervert it for their aims. We just have to defend ourselves as best we can and not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Andrew Badera said...

@celes while it's a term I've certainly used before, your recent use of it definitely contributed to its appearance here :)

@peter I think any honest person will tell you, we're all still experimenting with Twitter. Does it have value? Does it have value in the REAL BUSINESS WORLD? Does it have the endurance to stick around long to evolve into something with value, or become part of something else with its own intrinsic value?