Following, according to Twictionary, is defined as the act of choosing to sign up to receive someone’s tweets.
For instance, if you click the above box (or this link), you’ll be whisked to my Twitter profile where you can click the numbers and scroll through the names.
Nobody seems to agree how and why to follow people. It’s an epidemic.
I think it is important to follow followers back, because Twitter is for two-way conversations. If someone cares enough to get my updates, why shouldn’t I reciprocate that action?
She follows over 22,000 users today.
Connie Reece counters it is impractical to follow everyone back–highlighting a poll she conducted that shows 86% of Twitter users don’t care about reciprocal following, so long as value is imparted and people are social.
As a result of the poll, I will be trimming back the number of people I follow on Twitter. If I can’t remember having any exchanges with someone, I’ll drop that person. Why? Because I’m following over 1,200 people but only paying attention to a few hundred at most.
As Jesus’ message began with 12 disciples who paved the way for a foundation of believers, Lisa suggests Twitter users should strive to strengthen relationships with their existing followers, not focus on increasing those numbers.
Being followed by a person who follows 100 people or less is far, far more valuable than being followed by someone follows 10,000 or more. Followers aren’t always there to listen to your every word and it becomes exponentially harder to be heard as everyone follows everyone else.
Echoing my sentiments last fall how I use Twitter, I adhere to a simple formula for time management:
Share Resources (70 %) – Successful learning in the 21st Century is not what you know, but what you can share, so 70 percent of my Twitter time is spent sharing others voices, opinions, and tools.
Collaborations (20 %) – 20 percent of my tweets are directly responding, connecting, collaboration, and co-creating with like-minded Twitter colleagues. From these important tweets, lifelong professional and personal relationships have been forged.
Chit-Chat (10 %) 10 percent of my Twittertalk is “chit-chat-how’s-your-hat” stuff. It is in these “trivial” details shared about working out, favorite movies, politics, and life in general that I connect with others as a human being. These simple chit chats are what have allowed me to know that I am never alone, and there is support whenever, wherever, and however I need it!
Unlike Julia Roy, I don’t need to follow the world to network and collaborate. Rather, agreeing with Connie Reece, Lisa Donner, and Mark Dykeman, I tweet with selected users who provide value to me in social media with respect to business and government. I continually aim to whittle down the number of people I follow but also add more people, so I’m following the right people for the right reasons.
I can count on many fingers the people who I’ve interacted with not just on Twitter, but on other social networking sites, and beyond into emails and telephone calls that we’re not merely networking, collaborating, and chit-chatting in 140 characters but with more verbosity and by voice. You know who you are; as I have it on fairly good authority many of you are devoted readers of my blog.
I’ve stated many times that I don’t focus on metrics but on the importance of value. If I choose to follow you on Twitter, it’s no different in concept (though for different reasons) than subscribing to your blog.
Don’t focus on who follows you or who doesn’t follow you but on contributing to the at-large Twitter community. Focus on building your foundation of believers.
One more thing: Many people follow me every day. I thank them and I thank you. Please don’t take it personally if I don’t follow back, or if I follow and then unfollow some time later. I don’t need to follow your Twitter messages to believe in you. If you have a question, feel free to add a comment below or tweet me!