This has been enough of an issue over the past few weeks that I felt it warranted addressing with a post. Indeed, it’s something I should have written a long time ago. As they say, better late than never. So, I present to you my Twitter follow policy, which comes bundled alongside a lot of bonus thoughts and observations. Feel free to pick out the bits that are most relevant; indeed, I encourage you to be selective, because that’s the point.
Why Do You Use Twitter?
For me, Twitter is a tool. I enjoy using it immensely – I’m very, very passionate about the platform – but it isn’t somewhere I go specifically to relax or unwind, and it isn’t somewhere I go to hang out or chat with friends. It can be all of those things from time to time, or during the course of any given day, but these aren’t the reasons why I use the service.
Increasingly, Twitter is work. I write about Twitter on this blog, and in my actual job I work with clients on their Twitter (and social media) campaigns. Hence, my focus tends to be on the business end. I use Twitter to position myself on the very edge of the information curve. I am looking for signal. And with that data comes an awful lot of inevitable noise, and it’s up to all of us to minimise that as best we can.
I also use Twitter to share information. Why do people follow me? I would like to think that it’s because my tweets contain interesting and timely links that have value. But the real value is in the connections and friendships I’ve made and developed with a lot of talented and very cool people, pretty much all around the world. These friendships are very important to me, as I would hope that they are to you.
What is of little to no importance is just blindly following somebody for the sake of it. That’s where the noise arrives en masse, and where the signal struggles to breathe. I used to believe completely in reciprocal following – that is, you follow me and I’ll follow you – but after the Mikeyy incident I started to be more selective about who became part of my network. I stopped auto-following, and actually began to really trim down the follow side of my network. All-told I dropped about 500 accounts, most of whom were feeds, robots, spammers, mass-marketers, inactive users, 24/7 self-promoters and good old-fashioned weirdos.