Choosing Whom to Follow on Twitter: My Strategy

On December 29, 2008, in public relations, by Barbara Nixon

twitt-twitt1When I first started using Twitter about a year ago, 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 automatically follow:

  • people I’ve met in real life
  • students of mine at Georgia Southern University
  • PR students & faculty from other universities
  • people who live in the Savannah or Statesboro (GA) areas

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
  • photography
  • Auburn University
  • Presbyterian
  • 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 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?







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10 Responses to Choosing Whom to Follow on Twitter: My Strategy

  1. […] from my original post written in December 2008 :: Additions are in […]

  2. Stockton says:

    You get on the front page of digg today or something? Your site is loading like I’m on 56K 😐

  3. […] 2010-01-02T15:31:43  @CarolHoward Here's how I decide whom to follow on Twitter: [link to post] […]

  4. […] may also want to read these two blog posts I’ve written about Twitter: Choosing Whom to Follow on Twitter: My Strategy and A Twitter Lexicon. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend Prof. Sam […]

  5. […] much the same. RT @BarbaraNixon: How do you decide whom to follow on Twitter? Here’s my strategy: [link to post] […]

  6. Gee Ekachai says:

    […] RT @BarbaraNixon: How do you decide whom to follow on Twitter [link to post] […]

  7. […] How do you decide whom to follow on Twitter? Here’s my strategy: [link to post] […]

  8. […] section of your Twitter home page to ensure that users can find you through key terms.  The Public Relations Matters blog shares strategy on choosing whom to […]

  9. I follow people who are interesting: who share great ideas or who express themselves in an entertaining way. I follow people I know personally. I follow those in my own industry. I also follow those who may become clients. I follow people who frequently Tweet about key words I care about.

    I’m also careful to follow people who have views I don’t agree with or who have values I do not share. I want to learn to communicate, understand, and to foster respect. I get a little concerned that if I only follow people I agree with, I’m not going to learn much.

    There’s a much longer list of “those I will not follow.” I won’t follow those who have:

    10 or fewer posts — and are following a zillion people.
    No avatar or profile — and are following zillion people.
    Any avatar or profile overly focused on sex and violence.
    A tendency to only push headlines instead of interacting.
    Posted more than 3 times about MLM or affiliate programs.

    There’s probably more I will not follow — I tend to “know ’em when I see ’em!” (For example: a woman’s name + a string of numbers — that Twitter handle is usually an automatic “block”!)

  10. Jessica says:

    I really like this post!

    Like you, I used to automatically follow anyone who followed me but have since learned that this is not a very good strategy.

    I’ll usually follow anyone who I interact with on my personal blog, my PR blog, other PR students and professors and people whose bio’s mention social media, PR, TV, fashion, and other things of that nature. If they don’t have a bio, I usually don’t follow.

    I also look to see what they are talking about because I like a mix of personal tweets and ones that provide links and useful information. I hate reading tweets from people who are constantly spewing information. It’s overwhelming and I like to connect on a personal level as well as a professional level.

    I really liked this blog post, and may do a post on PRowl’s blog similar to this and will be sure to link to you!