[Updated from my original post written in December 2008 :: Additions are in italics]
When I first started using Twitter
about a year ago in 2007, I would follow anyone who first followed me. As Twitter has grown, I have realized that I need to be more discerning so that I don’t get overwhelmed. Here’s a brief description of my thought process.
I tend to
- people I’ve met in real life (if I liked them when I met them)
- students of mine at Georgia Southern University & Southeastern University
- PR students & faculty from other universities
- people who live in the
Savannah or Statesboro (GA)Lakeland/Tampa/Orlando areas
- people who engage me in positive ways with @barbaranixon tweets
Occasionally, I’ll revisit the people I’m currently following and make a determination if I still want to invest time in following them. Today I looked back at the last two days of tweets in my time line. And then I made a purge of about 250 people that I was following. I honestly have no idea why I was following some in the first place. Some were laced with foul language, while others just plain brought me down with their negative tone. Others tweeted about things that I’m no longer interested in.
If your tweets don’t make me learn or laugh, then quite often I don’t keep following. It’s as simple as that. However, I may add you to a Twitter list and look at the list on occasion. Or I may engage with you when I follow a hashtag like #TopChef (as we live-tweet the Bravo TV show) or #NASCAR (during races).
About once a month, I’ll visit my Followers page and hover my mouse over a name. If there’s no real name or any bio at all, I usually don’t look further. I’ll read a bio if it’s there. If in your bio you’re promising me things that I’d hear in a late-night infomercial, it’s unlikely I’ll follow you. Things in a bio that may intrigue me include:
- public relations or social media
- student affairs / higher education
- Auburn University
- autism or Asperger’s syndrome
Though it’s not hypercritical, I prefer engaging in conversations on Twitter with people who use their real photos. It’s nice to have a name and a face together.
If I make it as far as looking at your most recent tweets:
- Is there a mix of original comments, @replies, retweets and links? (If all the tweets are of one type, I usually don’t follow.)
- Do I see @replies to people I know?
- Do I think I’ll learn something from you?
- Are many of your tweets of a positive nature (not whiny)?
- Do you avoid foul language (most of the time)?
- Do you make me laugh?
If I haven’t followed you, and you would like me to, it’s generally a good idea to send me an @barbaranixon so that I know you’re interested in engaging in conversation with me. And if it seems like I’ve been talking in a foreign language here, take a look at A Twitter Lexicon.
So, what’s your strategy? How do you decide whom to follow?