in Philosophy

Changing My ‘Twilosophy’ (Twitter Philosophy)

Simplicity = Success

Twitter is one of the most valuable communication and social networking tools to date – they have taken the KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) mentality and ran with it – which has been supremely successful thus far. Where it will go from here once advertising and these so called ‘Pro’ accounts come in into play (it’s inevitable folks), who knows what we’ll be dealing with. But today, right now, Twitter allows you to establish connections with like-minded individuals and companies in 140 characters or less.

One of the pitfalls I see forming within the Twitter community is this concept of ‘Follower hoarding’ – look no further than the Ashton Kutcher vs. CNN competition for a crystal clear example of this. Jun Loayza posted a great discussion on this a few weeks ago, labeling people as either ‘Twitter Hoarders’ or ‘Twitter Snobs’.

Is Your Philosophy Killing Twitter?

Hoarders vs. Snobs

Essentially, a Twitter Hoarder is someone who follows as many people as possible, thousands and thousands, in order to get those people and more to follow them back – doing this (to an extreme) makes it virtually impossible to form one-on-one connections with everyone. In short, a ‘Twitter Hoarder’ is missing the value and usefulness of social networking – their reach may be wide, but their connection and interaction is limited.

Then we have the so called ‘Twitter Snobs’. These people are very limited in who the follow – they claim to value the connections with those who they follow, and while they may have 1,000 people following them, they’re probably only following a select 100-200 back. They are very involved with the people they do follow, but neglect the rest, rarely taking the time to reach out and follow back.

So where am I in all this? I side with the latter over the former, or at least have been up until my recent epiphany. I only joined Twitter a few months ago, back in February – and already I have established a solid network of 400+ followers. The majority of these people are bloggers, writers, designers, people who have at some point come by and commented here, and personal ‘real life’ friends. I greatly value the relationships and connections that I have forged over the past several months – and my focus has really been to nurture and develop these one-on-one connections with a relatively small audience.

A Twitter-Epiphany…A ‘Twipiphany’

But then I started thinking. I asked myself,  ‘Why am I not following half of these people back? Why am I making everyone come to me, when there are probably a ton of awesome people (such as myself) sitting out there waiting to be found? Why am I being a ‘Twitter Snob’? I had become so consumed in my own niche that I failed to realize the potential that’s out there, the virtually untapped market of awesome bloggers, entrepreneurs, marketing gurus, web designers, authors, and everyone else who could contribute to my community here at LWP, and who would more than appreciate someone like me being included in THEIR network (yeah, I’m modest too).

It was all this discussion lately on ‘reaching out’ and ‘stepping outside your comfort zone’ that made me realize that, while connections and relationships are the life-force of Twitter and social media, many of us, myself included, are pigeon holing ourselves by becoming so ‘exclusive’ in who we follow. I think there is a fine line between reaching out and expanding your audience and following and ‘hoarding’ followers. But here is what I’ve done, and what I believe all of you should think about as you travel down your path of ‘Twitter enlightenment”.

Step 1 – NIP/TUCK

Go through your follow list and take some time to do a little weed-pulling. There are going to be some people who you end up following that you’ve never talked to, never had a connection with, and provide nothing of value to your social networking experience – there’s no need for excess, so nip and tuck where you can, slim things down a bit before you expand.

Step 2 – FOLLOW BACK

There are obviously different beliefs on this – I used to think I would pick and choose who I would follow back – but now I’m willing to give everyone, at least, a chance. If someone reaches out to follow you, odds are, more times than not, there is a reason behind it. See who they are, check out their blog or website, find out a little more about them, then follow them back – forge a new friendship.

Step 3 – COMMUNICATE

This is probably the most important step in the process. Once you’ve established a mutual follower/following relationship – reach out and say hello, @ reply something to them, get involved in one of their conversations, or better yet, take it a step further, visit THEIR blog and comment on a couple discussions – People eat that **** up, myself included – we all love when new people come though and show us some love, but the old creed rings true “You get what you give”.

Step 4 – REACH OUT

Don’t wait for everyone to come to you – yes, I think part of all this should be natural, I don’t recommend getting out there and following thousands of people in hopes that they’ll follow you back. That isn’t what this is about. What it’s about is reaching out and forming bonds with meaningful people – people you can connect with. It’s possible to have a big following and connect with a lot of people. Maybe you won’t reach each person on a given day, but you can broaden your horizons without getting ‘too big’. I went to Monica O’ Brien and several of my other ‘trusted’ connections on Twitter and added some of the people they were following. Take a look at the people I’m following – 95% of them are people that are worth following and will follow you back – reach out and make some connections!

Step 5 – RINSE & REPEAT

This entire process is cyclical. Everyone you reach out to won’t reciprocate, even through all your attempts you may get some people who you never connect with. After a while, start back at step one – give it time, don’t expect everything at once, but if there’s no connection there, clean house a bit, rinse and repeat.

Final thoughts, Jerry Springer style

So there you have it, in great detail, my transition process and my new-found open-minded approach to social media as a platform. The bottom line is: You get what you give, and the more willing you are to reach out and invest in new connections and relationships, the more you’ll be reciprocated. As we continue to talk about reaching out and increasing our influence and impact as bloggers and entrepreneurs, utilizing these tools available in our arsenal are absolutely critical to achieving widespread success. BUT, always remember to never forget where you came from, and never forget the people who helped you get where you are today. Forming new connections is key, but nurturing the old ones is just as important. Take care of yourself, and each other.

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Comment

48 Comments

  1. Great post – I had subscribed to your blog, but never actually commented or connected on Twitter.

    You have a great point on the Twitter snobs versus Twitter hoarders, completely a true categorization!

    • Hey Brian. Thanks for coming by and connecting here on the blog and on Twitter. Your taking steps to reach out and grow you community, and that’s what this post, and several of my recent posts, have really been about. We become so narrowly focused, which isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ thing, but it leads to us forgetting about the rest of the world out there, and there are A LOT of people out there to connect with.

      I hope you’ll keep coming back, and don’t be a stranger on Twitter. P.S. I am really digging this coaching software link you’ve linked back to. Are you behind that? We’ll have to chat on it, it looks like an awesome tool for coaches.

  2. Great post – I had subscribed to your blog, but never actually commented or connected on Twitter.

    You have a great point on the Twitter snobs versus Twitter hoarders, completely a true categorization!

    • Hey Brian. Thanks for coming by and connecting here on the blog and on Twitter. Your taking steps to reach out and grow you community, and that’s what this post, and several of my recent posts, have really been about. We become so narrowly focused, which isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ thing, but it leads to us forgetting about the rest of the world out there, and there are A LOT of people out there to connect with.

      I hope you’ll keep coming back, and don’t be a stranger on Twitter. P.S. I am really digging this coaching software link you’ve linked back to. Are you behind that? We’ll have to chat on it, it looks like an awesome tool for coaches.

  3. Matt,

    A great post on Twitter and the follower/following idea. When I first started using Twitter, it was kind of about bringing those blogging connections to another forum, but the more people I knew meant the more people I could possibly meet through their followers, and thus more connections were established. What’s been built is a community that I couldn’t be more proud of, full of good, supportive, friendly people, and I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

    But that’s not to say that I wouldn’t welcome other people in as well. I think that Twitter is everything that you make of it. But I also think that there might be a limit, a fine line between “Twitter Hoarders and Twitter Snob,” as you and Jun describe. How do you balance that? How do you form strong relationships with the community you’ve built with a growing group of followers? How do you filter, risk missing out on conversation with someone great? I I think you’re absolutely right in your steps, that you need to take the time to reach out — but I also think that’s a two-way street. If I follow someone, I absolutely make it a point to send them a comment or connect with them in some way. However, if they follow me first, I’m hoping that they will do the same (and will then follow them back once that connection is formed). Because I can guarantee that I will welcome that conversation and be more than happy to form that connection.

    Twitter is, for me, as I think it is for you, really about the communication, the connecting, the relationships that are built. Maybe it’s about each person finding their own balance so that they can most successfully manage those relationships?

    Thanks for the post, Matt — insightful, as always!

    • @Susan – Thanks much for the comment – we’re on the same page here. I realized while writing this that this might make me sound like a hypocritical twitter hoarder, but I’m really not. I’m not out there collecting as many followers as I can – rather I am actively seeking out people who I can form connections with today and in the future.

      Like you said, I’ve built a great community here and through social networking, I wouldn’t trade the support and insight I get from all of you fine folks that take the time to come through and share your thoughts.

      But I think what happens often, with all of us, is we become VERY focused on what we’ve already developed – when there has to be a balance between nurturing the old and bringing in the new. This is easier said then done. It’s all about managing your time. I’m not suggesting you go add 1,000 people to follow – I’m recommending that you become proactive in your search for new people that can contribute to the community you’ve already established.

      Many people, these ‘Twitter Snobs’ (myself included until recently) – are very exclusive with who they follow back. I think this is fine to an extent, you by no means have to follow everyone back that’s following you. But if someone does follow you, you don’t HAVE to wait for them to say something first, reach out, ask them how they found you, whatever you can do to spark a conversation. If, over time, no connection develops, then, like I said, rinse and repeat – but I think if we were all more PROACTIVE in reaching out, we would get even more out of social networking. Because that’s what it’s there for, connecting with new people you may otherwise never knew existed.

      Find some balance, but I encourage you to shift your mindset a bit to welcome in and seek out new people.

  4. Matt,

    A great post on Twitter and the follower/following idea. When I first started using Twitter, it was kind of about bringing those blogging connections to another forum, but the more people I knew meant the more people I could possibly meet through their followers, and thus more connections were established. What’s been built is a community that I couldn’t be more proud of, full of good, supportive, friendly people, and I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

    But that’s not to say that I wouldn’t welcome other people in as well. I think that Twitter is everything that you make of it. But I also think that there might be a limit, a fine line between “Twitter Hoarders and Twitter Snob,” as you and Jun describe. How do you balance that? How do you form strong relationships with the community you’ve built with a growing group of followers? How do you filter, risk missing out on conversation with someone great? I I think you’re absolutely right in your steps, that you need to take the time to reach out — but I also think that’s a two-way street. If I follow someone, I absolutely make it a point to send them a comment or connect with them in some way. However, if they follow me first, I’m hoping that they will do the same (and will then follow them back once that connection is formed). Because I can guarantee that I will welcome that conversation and be more than happy to form that connection.

    Twitter is, for me, as I think it is for you, really about the communication, the connecting, the relationships that are built. Maybe it’s about each person finding their own balance so that they can most successfully manage those relationships?

    Thanks for the post, Matt — insightful, as always!

    • @Susan – Thanks much for the comment – we’re on the same page here. I realized while writing this that this might make me sound like a hypocritical twitter hoarder, but I’m really not. I’m not out there collecting as many followers as I can – rather I am actively seeking out people who I can form connections with today and in the future.

      Like you said, I’ve built a great community here and through social networking, I wouldn’t trade the support and insight I get from all of you fine folks that take the time to come through and share your thoughts.

      But I think what happens often, with all of us, is we become VERY focused on what we’ve already developed – when there has to be a balance between nurturing the old and bringing in the new. This is easier said then done. It’s all about managing your time. I’m not suggesting you go add 1,000 people to follow – I’m recommending that you become proactive in your search for new people that can contribute to the community you’ve already established.

      Many people, these ‘Twitter Snobs’ (myself included until recently) – are very exclusive with who they follow back. I think this is fine to an extent, you by no means have to follow everyone back that’s following you. But if someone does follow you, you don’t HAVE to wait for them to say something first, reach out, ask them how they found you, whatever you can do to spark a conversation. If, over time, no connection develops, then, like I said, rinse and repeat – but I think if we were all more PROACTIVE in reaching out, we would get even more out of social networking. Because that’s what it’s there for, connecting with new people you may otherwise never knew existed.

      Find some balance, but I encourage you to shift your mindset a bit to welcome in and seek out new people.

  5. Interesting post. However, I believe twitter is what you make of it. Everyone should decide what’s the best way to enjoy their twitter experience. It’s like for blogging, I just don’t like to read about the rules of blogging, what you should do or not. Just blog, just tweet and if you add value and have interesting things to say, people will read what you have to say and follow you. And eventually you’ll build connection with your readers/followers.

    Regarding following back my followers, personally I just don’t do it automatically. There are so much people I can follow for my own sanity, as I try to read most of the tweets. However, I do check who is following me, read a few of their tweets and check out their blogs and then decide to follow them or not.

    One thing that I find particularly annoying is the people who follow you just with the intent that you follow them back. Sometimes, if you don’t follow them, they’ll try again few days later. It’s just plain spamming.

    • @Nathalie – you make several good points, and I want to emphasize that I’m not saying, this is what you ‘SHOULD’ do – and I am in no way encouraging spamming people to get them to follow you back, that totally misses the point here.

      But you make a point that illustrates my way of thinking. You say ‘Just blog, just tweet and if you add value and have interesting things to say, people will read what you have to say and follow you. And eventually you’ll build connection with your readers/followers.’

      I think letting things grow naturally is great, that should be the majority of how connections are forged and developed, BUT I think many people ONLY do this – meaning they sit back and let everyone come to them. They may be the most interesting person on Twitter but will never reach out and be the one to follow someone else. By doing this, they miss a whole world of opportunity out there.

      The bottom line and the point I’m trying to make is you have to give and take – getting out there and meeting new people is half the battle. Letting things happen naturally is great, but it’s up to you personally to reach out, and I think if you do this more often, you’ll be surprised at the connections and friendships you can form. I’m trying it – I have no idea if my philosophy is going to pan out the way I want it to, but I’m becoming more open minded and I’m reaching out to new people – just something to think about – and if you do something similar to what I’m doing, you’ll have to let me know how it pans out.

  6. Wow, an interesting post, and an awesome new word! It’s great that you took the time to think about how you’ve been using Twitter, and that you’re so willing to try out a new philosophy. The two categories of Tweeters are definitely accurate, but I think there are also the people who are afraid of getting overwhelmed and once they find a core group of people to follow, they stop looking for more. It doesn’t mean they’re being snobs, they’re just making the space manageable for them.

    I’m not exactly sure which category I fit into. I think I’m somewhere in between. I try to always look at the feeds of new people who follow me, but I don’t automatically follow them. I don’t seek out new people as much as I would like. This post definitely makes me think about my Twilosophy, so thanks for sharing yours!

    • @Sam – I think you present a subcategory to the ‘Snobs’ and ‘Hoarders’ labels. Twitter ‘Comfies’ – Yes, totally just pulled that out of my ass, lame I know. But rather than being exclusive with who they follow back for the sake of being exclusive, these people are comfortable where they are, and as you said, stop looking for more.

      This all goes back to the ‘Don’t Get Too Comfortable’ theory – we become so content with where we are, that we stop moving, we hover, we don’t reach out to new people. And that’s where we get the concept of social networking wrong. You only get out of it what you’re willing to put in. I think it’s about GRADUAL growth – maintaining your current situation but bringing in new people little by little.

      We all have to continue learning and growing, the best way to do that is to reach out to new people. Who knows, they may be your next loyal reader, follower, or friend!

      • Hi Matt. Philosophy posts are always of interest to me with yours included.

        However, I do not think anything is ever as simple as either/or, i.e. you’re a hoarder or you’re a snob. I agree with Sam that there has to be a middle ground of sorts; And I add to that, yes, there are probably also people who identify with snob or hoarder to the extreme and varying degrees as well.

        Sam has a valid point, especially since- as it seems to me, Twitter users are from various backgrounds and levels of internet savvy. With that said, management may be an issue as opposed to just chalking it up to becoming stagnant. Also, not everyone uses Tweetdeck or other applications to manage their account.

        A part of my philosophy I guess is to actually make those connections with followers or those I’m following. And a part of doing that is only taking on what you can regularly engage with. Also, Twitter is something of a hobby, not a way of life… you may notice I do not always get the chance to participate every day due to other factors.

        Nonetheless, great conversation starter. Glad you found me and I look forward to “life without pants.”

        • @Jess – If philosophy is your cup of tea, you’ve come to the right place – big time philosophical thinker here!

          I agree that there has to be a management there – and it’s easy to lose that when you’re following a million people – I really think the takeaway here is for you to continue managing your current community of people you’re following, while not being afraid to reach out to new people who can really add something to the community you already have in place. It’s not an ‘all at once’ process – it’s more of a GRADUAL growth that should take place.

          Everyone uses Twitter for different reasons, for me it’s my prime networking tool to connect with other bloggers and entrepreneurs – and I want to be sure that I don’t get TOO content with where I’m at and neglect the huge community around me that I’ve yet to tap into.

          Reaching out to new people led me to you, which led you here, so it can’t be all that bad, right? The wheels are already in motion!

  7. Interesting post. However, I believe twitter is what you make of it. Everyone should decide what’s the best way to enjoy their twitter experience. It’s like for blogging, I just don’t like to read about the rules of blogging, what you should do or not. Just blog, just tweet and if you add value and have interesting things to say, people will read what you have to say and follow you. And eventually you’ll build connection with your readers/followers.

    Regarding following back my followers, personally I just don’t do it automatically. There are so much people I can follow for my own sanity, as I try to read most of the tweets. However, I do check who is following me, read a few of their tweets and check out their blogs and then decide to follow them or not.

    One thing that I find particularly annoying is the people who follow you just with the intent that you follow them back. Sometimes, if you don’t follow them, they’ll try again few days later. It’s just plain spamming.

    • @Nathalie – you make several good points, and I want to emphasize that I’m not saying, this is what you ‘SHOULD’ do – and I am in no way encouraging spamming people to get them to follow you back, that totally misses the point here.

      But you make a point that illustrates my way of thinking. You say ‘Just blog, just tweet and if you add value and have interesting things to say, people will read what you have to say and follow you. And eventually you’ll build connection with your readers/followers.’

      I think letting things grow naturally is great, that should be the majority of how connections are forged and developed, BUT I think many people ONLY do this – meaning they sit back and let everyone come to them. They may be the most interesting person on Twitter but will never reach out and be the one to follow someone else. By doing this, they miss a whole world of opportunity out there.

      The bottom line and the point I’m trying to make is you have to give and take – getting out there and meeting new people is half the battle. Letting things happen naturally is great, but it’s up to you personally to reach out, and I think if you do this more often, you’ll be surprised at the connections and friendships you can form. I’m trying it – I have no idea if my philosophy is going to pan out the way I want it to, but I’m becoming more open minded and I’m reaching out to new people – just something to think about – and if you do something similar to what I’m doing, you’ll have to let me know how it pans out.

  8. Wow, an interesting post, and an awesome new word! It’s great that you took the time to think about how you’ve been using Twitter, and that you’re so willing to try out a new philosophy. The two categories of Tweeters are definitely accurate, but I think there are also the people who are afraid of getting overwhelmed and once they find a core group of people to follow, they stop looking for more. It doesn’t mean they’re being snobs, they’re just making the space manageable for them.

    I’m not exactly sure which category I fit into. I think I’m somewhere in between. I try to always look at the feeds of new people who follow me, but I don’t automatically follow them. I don’t seek out new people as much as I would like. This post definitely makes me think about my Twilosophy, so thanks for sharing yours!

    • @Sam – I think you present a subcategory to the ‘Snobs’ and ‘Hoarders’ labels. Twitter ‘Comfies’ – Yes, totally just pulled that out of my ass, lame I know. But rather than being exclusive with who they follow back for the sake of being exclusive, these people are comfortable where they are, and as you said, stop looking for more.

      This all goes back to the ‘Don’t Get Too Comfortable’ theory – we become so content with where we are, that we stop moving, we hover, we don’t reach out to new people. And that’s where we get the concept of social networking wrong. You only get out of it what you’re willing to put in. I think it’s about GRADUAL growth – maintaining your current situation but bringing in new people little by little.

      We all have to continue learning and growing, the best way to do that is to reach out to new people. Who knows, they may be your next loyal reader, follower, or friend!

      • Hi Matt. Philosophy posts are always of interest to me with yours included.

        However, I do not think anything is ever as simple as either/or, i.e. you’re a hoarder or you’re a snob. I agree with Sam that there has to be a middle ground of sorts; And I add to that, yes, there are probably also people who identify with snob or hoarder to the extreme and varying degrees as well.

        Sam has a valid point, especially since- as it seems to me, Twitter users are from various backgrounds and levels of internet savvy. With that said, management may be an issue as opposed to just chalking it up to becoming stagnant. Also, not everyone uses Tweetdeck or other applications to manage their account.

        A part of my philosophy I guess is to actually make those connections with followers or those I’m following. And a part of doing that is only taking on what you can regularly engage with. Also, Twitter is something of a hobby, not a way of life… you may notice I do not always get the chance to participate every day due to other factors.

        Nonetheless, great conversation starter. Glad you found me and I look forward to “life without pants.”

        • @Jess – If philosophy is your cup of tea, you’ve come to the right place – big time philosophical thinker here!

          I agree that there has to be a management there – and it’s easy to lose that when you’re following a million people – I really think the takeaway here is for you to continue managing your current community of people you’re following, while not being afraid to reach out to new people who can really add something to the community you already have in place. It’s not an ‘all at once’ process – it’s more of a GRADUAL growth that should take place.

          Everyone uses Twitter for different reasons, for me it’s my prime networking tool to connect with other bloggers and entrepreneurs – and I want to be sure that I don’t get TOO content with where I’m at and neglect the huge community around me that I’ve yet to tap into.

          Reaching out to new people led me to you, which led you here, so it can’t be all that bad, right? The wheels are already in motion!

  9. Great pic for the post.

    I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I look at my Twitter community and feel like I need to branch out and meet new people.

    Something I’ve thought of is pretending like I’m starting my blogging and Twitter career all over. What would I do? Who would I talk to? So I’m thinking of entering some other circles to see how I can learn, grow, and contribute.

    Keep flying

    • Thanks Jun – I think if we could do it all again, there would be a lot of things we could/would do differently. I guess my question to you, and others who keep their list of people they follow pretty ‘exclusive’ is – why? I’m not knocking you at all, because until a couple days ago, I was doing the same thing – but for some reason I thought ‘if these people are reaching out and taking the time to follow me, why should I not extend to them the same courtesy and at least see if a connection can be made?

      Something in me says that if we refuse to follow so many of the people who are reaching out to us, that we’re missing at least some of the point of social networking. What do you think? (There’s no right or wrong answer here).

  10. Great pic for the post.

    I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I look at my Twitter community and feel like I need to branch out and meet new people.

    Something I’ve thought of is pretending like I’m starting my blogging and Twitter career all over. What would I do? Who would I talk to? So I’m thinking of entering some other circles to see how I can learn, grow, and contribute.

    Keep flying

    • Thanks Jun – I think if we could do it all again, there would be a lot of things we could/would do differently. I guess my question to you, and others who keep their list of people they follow pretty ‘exclusive’ is – why? I’m not knocking you at all, because until a couple days ago, I was doing the same thing – but for some reason I thought ‘if these people are reaching out and taking the time to follow me, why should I not extend to them the same courtesy and at least see if a connection can be made?

      Something in me says that if we refuse to follow so many of the people who are reaching out to us, that we’re missing at least some of the point of social networking. What do you think? (There’s no right or wrong answer here).

  11. Twitter is, for me, like a huge on-line high school with its cliques and groups and “types.” Even in high school, I was just friendly and nice and tried to get along with everyone. There were the cool kids who were nice enough but really didn’t care enough to be “super-friends,” the people who just desperately want EVERYONE to be their friends, the “way too cool for me” upper classmen who were celebrities in their own rights and I totally knew them but they had no idea who I was.

    I see these cliques in Twitter, too. The nice people who try to get along with everyone and support in their own way, the cool kids who may or may not follow or if they do it seems to be for Twitter Hoarding only (this would include most of the Brazen community for me,) the hoarders that do add everyone in hopes of inflating their numbers and thus inflating their self-esteem bubbles, and the celebrities who are all celebrity-ee and they are just self-explanatory.

    This was perfectly timed as I’ve been really analyzing my Twitter lately. I suffer from “nice person” syndrome, so I have to admit that anytime someone follows me (as long as they’re real…) I automatically follow them back. My theory is that if their Tweets are too time consuming or brain draining or various other badnesses I’ll just unfollow them at a time to be announced later.

    But that thus leaves the question, do people notice when you used to follow them but don’t anymore? Or do I worry from nice-person syndrome too much or think I’m much more important to others than I actually am?

    • Elisa – I definitely see cliques within the Twitter community – I think cliques can be found in almost any network or community – but I don’t think falling into the ‘nice person’ category is necessarily a bad thing, in fact, that’s what I’m trying to push here – be nice to the popular kids and the band geeks alike, because you never know what awesome connections you’ll make – and with Twitter, there’s no fear of being laughed at if you take the dorky freshman to prom, LOL.

      I agree that I’ll give most people the chance and follow them back – and as I said in the post, if, over time, no connection is made – then unfollowing is just as easy as following – I’m not advocating holding on to meaningless connections – you have to be smart about it. The one thing that drives me CRAZY are people who post 100 tweets a day – I think that’s one of my pet peeves – or people who post nothing all day then shoot out 20 messages at once – I think we all have our ‘Twitter Peeves’.

      I don’t typically notice when ONE person unfollows me – I know there are some apps out there that will notify you when someone unfollows, but unless it’s someone I’ve talked a lot to in the past, usually an unfollow remains pretty anonymous.

  12. Twitter is, for me, like a huge on-line high school with its cliques and groups and “types.” Even in high school, I was just friendly and nice and tried to get along with everyone. There were the cool kids who were nice enough but really didn’t care enough to be “super-friends,” the people who just desperately want EVERYONE to be their friends, the “way too cool for me” upper classmen who were celebrities in their own rights and I totally knew them but they had no idea who I was.

    I see these cliques in Twitter, too. The nice people who try to get along with everyone and support in their own way, the cool kids who may or may not follow or if they do it seems to be for Twitter Hoarding only (this would include most of the Brazen community for me,) the hoarders that do add everyone in hopes of inflating their numbers and thus inflating their self-esteem bubbles, and the celebrities who are all celebrity-ee and they are just self-explanatory.

    This was perfectly timed as I’ve been really analyzing my Twitter lately. I suffer from “nice person” syndrome, so I have to admit that anytime someone follows me (as long as they’re real…) I automatically follow them back. My theory is that if their Tweets are too time consuming or brain draining or various other badnesses I’ll just unfollow them at a time to be announced later.

    But that thus leaves the question, do people notice when you used to follow them but don’t anymore? Or do I worry from nice-person syndrome too much or think I’m much more important to others than I actually am?

    • Elisa – I definitely see cliques within the Twitter community – I think cliques can be found in almost any network or community – but I don’t think falling into the ‘nice person’ category is necessarily a bad thing, in fact, that’s what I’m trying to push here – be nice to the popular kids and the band geeks alike, because you never know what awesome connections you’ll make – and with Twitter, there’s no fear of being laughed at if you take the dorky freshman to prom, LOL.

      I agree that I’ll give most people the chance and follow them back – and as I said in the post, if, over time, no connection is made – then unfollowing is just as easy as following – I’m not advocating holding on to meaningless connections – you have to be smart about it. The one thing that drives me CRAZY are people who post 100 tweets a day – I think that’s one of my pet peeves – or people who post nothing all day then shoot out 20 messages at once – I think we all have our ‘Twitter Peeves’.

      I don’t typically notice when ONE person unfollows me – I know there are some apps out there that will notify you when someone unfollows, but unless it’s someone I’ve talked a lot to in the past, usually an unfollow remains pretty anonymous.

  13. My simple policy and Twitter philosophy:

    1. More followers the better, even if they occasionally spam me.
    2. I will likely follow you if my followers are having an interesting conversation with you, you’re doing something or talking about something that is interesting, or I just think you’re interesting.
    3. If you follow me, thanks. I will follow you back if…
    a. You have more than 0 posts
    b. You don’t have a 1,000:1 following:followers ratio
    c. You have said SOMETHING even moderately interesting in your feed (a quote, a conversation, a question, etc.). If you’re clearly JUST trying to sell something or post spammy links, I won’t follow you, sorry.

    I guess the big thing for me is that you have to actually SAY something for me to want to follow you. But maybe even more importantly, you have to find ME interesting for me to care about our relationship on Twitter.

    Over the past few days, I have picked up almost 100 followers by doing nothing more than Tweeting what I normally do… things that are interesting to me and going on in my life. But, I look at some of these followers and say, “There is NO way that they actually CARE about what I have to say.” They’re not going to visit my blog, they aren’t going to converse with me…

    So, even though I welcome the followers and follow 75% of them back, it seems like a lot of “work” to get about 5% of them actually engaged.

    This blog and my rambling here had opened up more thoughts… I’ll contain them for now. In short: Follow back, even though not everyone may be interested, there is strength somewhere in high follower numbers. (I think :-) )

    Andy

    • @Andy – I agree with your overall mantra. I think, at least initially, almost everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt and followed back – it will be very easy for you to tell pretty quickly if the person is just being a pain in the ass.

      To your point, it does take a lot of ‘work’ to get people engaged. Sometimes people will connect with a Tweet you send out, but other times, you will have to actively @ reply them directly to get something out of them (and even that doesn’t work at times). I believe in following first, and cleaning house later. I would hate to turn down someone who could be an awesome connection in the long run simply because I’m trying to be exclusive and selective in my follow process.

      And keep in mind, everyone doesn’t have to come to you – run through your friends’ follow lists and find some people that YOU find interesting and be the initiator. More isn’t necessarily better – but more QUALITY is better than less quality – I think we’re all in agreement there.

  14. My simple policy and Twitter philosophy:

    1. More followers the better, even if they occasionally spam me.
    2. I will likely follow you if my followers are having an interesting conversation with you, you’re doing something or talking about something that is interesting, or I just think you’re interesting.
    3. If you follow me, thanks. I will follow you back if…
    a. You have more than 0 posts
    b. You don’t have a 1,000:1 following:followers ratio
    c. You have said SOMETHING even moderately interesting in your feed (a quote, a conversation, a question, etc.). If you’re clearly JUST trying to sell something or post spammy links, I won’t follow you, sorry.

    I guess the big thing for me is that you have to actually SAY something for me to want to follow you. But maybe even more importantly, you have to find ME interesting for me to care about our relationship on Twitter.

    Over the past few days, I have picked up almost 100 followers by doing nothing more than Tweeting what I normally do… things that are interesting to me and going on in my life. But, I look at some of these followers and say, “There is NO way that they actually CARE about what I have to say.” They’re not going to visit my blog, they aren’t going to converse with me…

    So, even though I welcome the followers and follow 75% of them back, it seems like a lot of “work” to get about 5% of them actually engaged.

    This blog and my rambling here had opened up more thoughts… I’ll contain them for now. In short: Follow back, even though not everyone may be interested, there is strength somewhere in high follower numbers. (I think :-) )

    Andy

    • @Andy – I agree with your overall mantra. I think, at least initially, almost everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt and followed back – it will be very easy for you to tell pretty quickly if the person is just being a pain in the ass.

      To your point, it does take a lot of ‘work’ to get people engaged. Sometimes people will connect with a Tweet you send out, but other times, you will have to actively @ reply them directly to get something out of them (and even that doesn’t work at times). I believe in following first, and cleaning house later. I would hate to turn down someone who could be an awesome connection in the long run simply because I’m trying to be exclusive and selective in my follow process.

      And keep in mind, everyone doesn’t have to come to you – run through your friends’ follow lists and find some people that YOU find interesting and be the initiator. More isn’t necessarily better – but more QUALITY is better than less quality – I think we’re all in agreement there.

  15. I have actually changed my twitter strategy a bit. I used to extend the follow to everyone, but I have since unfollowed some repeat offenders. The people who used the words followers next to a giant number and a very short time period, automatically dropped. Also, if you use the same post three times in a row, dropped. These two things have really added to my desire to check my twitter feed again.

    There was a period of time where my feed consisted of too many self proclaimed Internet marketers that I was uninterested in the service. There is definitely a point where the community can be poisoned by too many people
    misusing it. This can be seen by all of the 18 year old half naked women who want to be my friend on myspace. I just hope that twitter becomes more like facebook and less like myspace in the future.

    • Ben – I feel your pain here – I feel like the nip/tuck portion of this process takes up a lot of time – especially when you are generous in your follow-back. I think it’s important to learn at least a little about the person before you automatically follow them back. There are a COUNTLESS number of ‘internet marketing gurus’ on there that have somehow landed thousands of followers – I’ll give them a chance, only to find out that they spam my twitter-feed, posting a thousand tweets a day or something way off the charts.

      Like I said before, I think there is a VERY fine line between twitter hoarding and the process I’ve discussed. I think it has to be more gradual rather than all at once. For example, maybe you only reach out on FollowFriday’s – adding people that your friends recommend? It’s important to maintain your current community while reaching out, at least little by little to new folks.

      We’re already seeing the half naked 18 year olds on Twitter – not that there’s anything wrong with half naked 18 year olds (just kidding) – but it does get pretty annoying…

      • Haha, the point I am trying to make is that I am not cool enough to have THAT many 18 year old models trying to be my friend on myspace, maybe just one or two. :)

        But seriously, I like the fact that you have proactively made a strategy for following people on Twitter. I think it is important to pull the spammers out of your feed in order to more fully enjoy the power of the service.

        • I hear you man, I don’t think I can support an entourage of 18 year old models myself. We’re already past our prime, eh? :)

          Pro-activity is key – maintaining what you have is equally important, but don’t sleep on the opportunities that are out there for the taking. This whole concept has already led a couple new people to this blog post – I’ve made some new connections with a few more, I’m practicing what I preach and so far my philosophy is paying off!

  16. I have actually changed my twitter strategy a bit. I used to extend the follow to everyone, but I have since unfollowed some repeat offenders. The people who used the words followers next to a giant number and a very short time period, automatically dropped. Also, if you use the same post three times in a row, dropped. These two things have really added to my desire to check my twitter feed again.

    There was a period of time where my feed consisted of too many self proclaimed Internet marketers that I was uninterested in the service. There is definitely a point where the community can be poisoned by too many people
    misusing it. This can be seen by all of the 18 year old half naked women who want to be my friend on myspace. I just hope that twitter becomes more like facebook and less like myspace in the future.

    • Ben – I feel your pain here – I feel like the nip/tuck portion of this process takes up a lot of time – especially when you are generous in your follow-back. I think it’s important to learn at least a little about the person before you automatically follow them back. There are a COUNTLESS number of ‘internet marketing gurus’ on there that have somehow landed thousands of followers – I’ll give them a chance, only to find out that they spam my twitter-feed, posting a thousand tweets a day or something way off the charts.

      Like I said before, I think there is a VERY fine line between twitter hoarding and the process I’ve discussed. I think it has to be more gradual rather than all at once. For example, maybe you only reach out on FollowFriday’s – adding people that your friends recommend? It’s important to maintain your current community while reaching out, at least little by little to new folks.

      We’re already seeing the half naked 18 year olds on Twitter – not that there’s anything wrong with half naked 18 year olds (just kidding) – but it does get pretty annoying…

      • Haha, the point I am trying to make is that I am not cool enough to have THAT many 18 year old models trying to be my friend on myspace, maybe just one or two. :)

        But seriously, I like the fact that you have proactively made a strategy for following people on Twitter. I think it is important to pull the spammers out of your feed in order to more fully enjoy the power of the service.

        • I hear you man, I don’t think I can support an entourage of 18 year old models myself. We’re already past our prime, eh? :)

          Pro-activity is key – maintaining what you have is equally important, but don’t sleep on the opportunities that are out there for the taking. This whole concept has already led a couple new people to this blog post – I’ve made some new connections with a few more, I’m practicing what I preach and so far my philosophy is paying off!

  17. I’d like to think of myself as a Twitoisseur rather than a Twitter Snob because it kinda creeps me out knowing that I have people reading what I’m saying, but I don’t see what they’re saying…

    So my folloing:followers ratio is usually greater than 1 – as in I’m following more than who is following me. I wouldn’t consider myself a snob because despite the relatively low numbers (~45), I still find myself stepping outside of my boundary as only 2 of the people I talk to on Twitter are people I actually know. Granted not everyone posts regularly, but my select group for the most part does, keeping usually 20-30 fresh posts every 30-60 minutes.

    I don’t use a mobile twitter, so checking updates on those 20 or so tweeters keeps me busy. I could not imagine the chaos of following more than 200 people that actively post. At the same time, I think reaching out to friends lists of followers is an excellent idea in building a good network.

    Great post.

    • A ‘Twitoisseur? I like it – I think if you put ‘TW’ in front of any actual word, it magically becomes a new twitter-inspired reference. Following the amount of people I do (around 400 right now) – I will admit, it organized chaos. But, it just depends on your approach. You don’t have to sit there all day and respond to everything that passes through. In fact, sitting on Twitter ALL day is pretty crazy (although there are clearly people who do it). If you have an application like Tweetdeck, it’s easy to run through at periodical times throughout the day and ‘catch up’ so to speak. Keep the gradual growth mindset Justin, and all will be well.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Justin!

  18. I’d like to think of myself as a Twitoisseur rather than a Twitter Snob because it kinda creeps me out knowing that I have people reading what I’m saying, but I don’t see what they’re saying…

    So my folloing:followers ratio is usually greater than 1 – as in I’m following more than who is following me. I wouldn’t consider myself a snob because despite the relatively low numbers (~45), I still find myself stepping outside of my boundary as only 2 of the people I talk to on Twitter are people I actually know. Granted not everyone posts regularly, but my select group for the most part does, keeping usually 20-30 fresh posts every 30-60 minutes.

    I don’t use a mobile twitter, so checking updates on those 20 or so tweeters keeps me busy. I could not imagine the chaos of following more than 200 people that actively post. At the same time, I think reaching out to friends lists of followers is an excellent idea in building a good network.

    Great post.

    • A ‘Twitoisseur? I like it – I think if you put ‘TW’ in front of any actual word, it magically becomes a new twitter-inspired reference. Following the amount of people I do (around 400 right now) – I will admit, it organized chaos. But, it just depends on your approach. You don’t have to sit there all day and respond to everything that passes through. In fact, sitting on Twitter ALL day is pretty crazy (although there are clearly people who do it). If you have an application like Tweetdeck, it’s easy to run through at periodical times throughout the day and ‘catch up’ so to speak. Keep the gradual growth mindset Justin, and all will be well.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Justin!

  19. Thanks for sharing this with me Matt per my recent revelation and shift in Twilosophy. I had definitely become a Twitter hoarder and now I -may- be a Twitter snob, but that’s okay with me. I’d rather strengthen my current ties and the value I provide those people FIRST, then start reaching out and connecting with others.

    Thanks for all you do in keeping me on my toes, inspired and engaged in this ‘little space’ we participate in.

    R

    • Ryan – I think a lot of us go through a similar transition. We go from hoarder (wanting to gather a large number of followers so there are more eyes on what we’re doing and what we represent) – to snob (cleaning house, so to speak, limiting the number of people we follow, and focusing on that real connection that can be established). 100 followers you continuously interact and converse with is far more valuable than 1,000 people you never talk to.

      You’ve got the right idea – keep building upon the relationships you’ve begun to establish, but keep reaching out and connecting with others gradually through time. Not that you need my advice on the subject, you’re already doing extremely well for yourself.

      We keep each other on our toes, always a pleasure bouncing ideas back and forth with you. Cheers bro!

  20. Thanks for sharing this with me Matt per my recent revelation and shift in Twilosophy. I had definitely become a Twitter hoarder and now I -may- be a Twitter snob, but that’s okay with me. I’d rather strengthen my current ties and the value I provide those people FIRST, then start reaching out and connecting with others.

    Thanks for all you do in keeping me on my toes, inspired and engaged in this ‘little space’ we participate in.

    R

    • Ryan – I think a lot of us go through a similar transition. We go from hoarder (wanting to gather a large number of followers so there are more eyes on what we’re doing and what we represent) – to snob (cleaning house, so to speak, limiting the number of people we follow, and focusing on that real connection that can be established). 100 followers you continuously interact and converse with is far more valuable than 1,000 people you never talk to.

      You’ve got the right idea – keep building upon the relationships you’ve begun to establish, but keep reaching out and connecting with others gradually through time. Not that you need my advice on the subject, you’re already doing extremely well for yourself.

      We keep each other on our toes, always a pleasure bouncing ideas back and forth with you. Cheers bro!