December 03, 2008
I've been Twittering for a while now -- almost a year, by the looks of my Twitter archive (64 pages, 1,278 Tweets). In that time, I've developed a sort of personal code regarding Twitter usage.
To use Twitter successfully, you have to lay out some ground rules. A normal person cannot follow 20,000 people meaningfully (and yes, I know about Scoble, and no, he's not a normal person. He's Scoble.). I know a lot of people have published their Twitter rules, and I've borrowed from so many of them that I cannot begin to give them credit for any of this. Suffice to say, if I follow you on Twitter, and you've published your "rules," I've probably borrowed from you. Thanks.
The first thing you have to decide is who to follow. I didn't go out and start following everyone in sight; there are a few categories of people that I follow. In fact, I use TweetDeck so that I can follow different "groups" of Twitterers.
I follow New Media people. Podcasters, web video people, etc. People who are using new media for marketing. I learn a LOT from these people, and not all of them are big names.
I follow people of faith. If you look at the 285 people I follow, you'll find a lot of Godbloggers and pastors there. I learn from these folks, too.
I follow some political people right now. At the moment I'm testing this out, just to see if I want to keep it up.
I follow a lot of people using the Internet and Web 2.0 tools to entertain. I'm hoping to elaborate on this later on, so I won't say any more right now.
I follow people I know, or have met, or have "met" online.
So, who DON'T I follow? I don't follow people just because they follow me, even though I used to. If you follow me, I will look at your Twitter profile, read your Tweets, and see if I want to know what you have to say. I'm pretty picky, so don't be offended if I don't follow you. Interestingly, it looks like the standard dropoff time is about two weeks. If I haven't followed someone two weeks after they follow me, they stop following me. Oh well. I don't unfollow people who don't follow me -- I just decide that I don't have anything to say that they're interested in. One thing I DO make sure I do, though: if you send me an @ message, I get it. Some people only get those from folks they follow, but I get them from anyone who @'s me.
I don't follow people who only use Twitter to promote their blog. Hey, I use Twitterfeed too, but it's not the only thing I Tweet. If I just wanted to find out when you post to your blog, I'd subscribe to it.
I don't follow spammers. You know who you are. I don't follow people who have nothing on their profile. I usually don't follow people who don't include a website in their profile, but will make exceptions.
I follow 285 people, and have 212 following me. And that's enough; I want to be able to make use of Twitter, and not as a popularity contest.
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