I’m experiencing Twitter growing pains–and I seek your advice.
After creating my Twitter account on June 9, 2008–three days after Kim Woodbridge wrote about environmental resources and engaged me in the comment section of her blog on why she uses Twitter–I’ve microblogged over 22,000 times. That’s a lot of sets of 140 characters!
But something is amiss; and I request ten minutes out of your day to explain my long-winded predicament and solicit your help.
One week ago today, I reinstalled my operating system; and the result of that process involved similarly reinstalling executable files, e.g. TweetDeck.
In recent months, my usage was comparable to how Ken Burbary uses the toolbar application; namely, I assigned subsets of people and organizations to groups. This worked well, and I was able to easily follow the stream of, and converse with, over 500 tweeps. Scroll below and you can see I was following approximately 10% of my followers.
After the reinstall, when TweetDeck was once again out of the box, I realized very quickly it would be very time-consuming to hand-pick individual accounts and place them into groups–and I opted to change my Twitter strategy and reinvent my prior following rules and follow the world!
Fast forward seven days, and I not only changed my mind about SocialToo (sorry for my stinging words, Jesse!) but am using it to both auto-follow everyone and follow my followers. I’m not using groups anymore, but configured the screen real estate to focus on search columns, like this (click to zoom):
Here’s a visual shift in my following/follower numbers between March 30 and today:
MARCH 30, 2009
APRIL 23, 2009
Everything was going hunky-dory until about 48 hours ago when Twitter’s restrictive limits prevented me from following more people. Louis Gray explained the latest news about why the policy was stupid and inconsistent.
I am not following or direct messaging 1,000 times a day, nor do the other bullets affect me. But I can’t (manually) follow a soul, despite unfollowing dozens. While I await a response from Twitter’s support team, I’m thinking Robert Scoble may be right and Twitter prefers its users to be like recent bandwagoners Oprah and Ashton Kutcher who follow less than 10% of followers.
Which leads to my dilemma: To follow or not to follow?
If you click that link, you can read an article from Neal Wiser written earlier this year about his Twitter following policy, part of a larger disclaimer:
If the choice is between following everyone or following 10%, right now, right here, I’d prefer the former–a complete 180 of everything I’ve believed in the past–and follow everyone to grow my network and gain potential value from more people to therefore pass that value on to you. But, if Twitter’s new rules prevent me from following so many people a day or blah blah blah rules, I’m now considering a third 180-turn by seriously contemplating paying SocialToo $25 to delete all my friends–everyone I’m following–and start fresh and build those I follow, those I gain value from, those who may be you, from scratch.
As an online media strategist, if I believe anything I tell other people, it’s that there are no rules in social media. Which begs the question: Do I maintain the status quo, albeit seven days old, or do I “follow” my computer reinstall, my TweetDeck reinstall, and my new Twitter following dogma–and wipe those I follow–those 6,800 or so people–clean?
I’m very tempted to pay that $25, but a little birdie in my head suggests I not be rash and not act emotionally. Such is my predicament. If you made it down this far, thank you for reading. If nothing else, maybe I planted some ideas in your head, too. It goes without saying that you can follow me on Twitter @ariherzog.