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8 Things to consider before following someone on Twitter
Twitter has this concept of ‘following’ someone, which means that we ‘follow’ their thinking, ideas through their tweets.
According to this great article by @AskAaronLee there are about 277,559,946 users on twitter and growing by thousands every single day. The question arises, out of SO many people, who do we follow? Here are some factors I consider before I hit the button.
1. Tweets: Tweets are the first thing I read. If someone’s tweets are funny, informative, inspirational, or even random, I follow them.
Reading the tweets is essential, because it gives you a window to their personality.
Also, fully automated tweets, irrelevant and indecent tweets, too many promotions etc can be a turn off. Of course, not everyone is human on twitter.
There are tons –I mean, TONS- of spammers, bots on twitter.
We can easily report them for spam just after reading their tweets. Here’s a wonderful article by @adamsconsulting on How to spot a spammer on twitter.
2. Profile picture and background: If you have an indecent picture, or no picture at all, I ain’t following you.
But some tweeps like @bkmacdaddy and @cheth have created awesome backgrounds which will make you sit up and take notice!
3. Favorites: Believe it or not, I check the favorites of tweeps before I follow them.
It gives you an inkling of the user’s area of interests and it will help you get to know them better.
4. Active accounts: This, is very important.
I don’t see the point of following accounts whose last tweet was 2 months ago, since the chances of interacting with them would be slim.
I would gladly follow someone who tweets quite a few times everyday, since it means that the user is interested in networking daily.
5. Listings: Checking out the lists will help you find tweeps with similar minds.
Twitter lists have categories like ‘social media’, ‘writers and bloggers’, ’conversationalist’ etc, and if you do find someone with whom you have a
common thread, just follow them! 🙂
6. Mutual friends: The ‘You both follow’ and ‘Also followed by’ features comes in handy here.
I check whether I have any common friends with this person I’m about to follow. It definitely helps in building your network in social circles.
7. Followers: Normal people on twitter, ( that is- us non-celebrities) *usually* have almost same number of following and followers.
I don’t follow accounts which have a large number of followers and very few tweets, as also tweeps who only tweet links to their own site ALL day.
8. Website/link: If a tweeter has a blog, website, tumblr blog, I read it. And if I like it, I’m so following them!
One thing that this post won’t completely apply to is : private accounts.
It isn’t possible to read the tweets, in order to decide whether to follow them or not.
We can only access their tweets when we send a follow request and they approve it.
But, Twitter isn’t *just* about following and getting followed back.
It’s about being able to find all the great people on here. Finally, it’s the relationships built which will matter the most. 🙂
Thank you for this informative article.
Nicky, great post! I was drawn to it because I'm relatively new to Twitter and not a techie, so I like helpful hints! I see you are from India — I plan to tackle Indian food one of these days. Eventually!
Johnny, thanks for reading!
Jean, thank you! haha, let me know if you need any help in deciding what to eat ;D
For #7, I think people need to be more flexible with newbies. I've only been on Twitter for about 2 months, so I follow many more people than follow me. I definitely don't use the following/follower ratio to make my decision to follow someone.
Hi Nicky! I really liked the post and I have to admit that I worked the same way for a long long time and then I got to a point where life got too stressed out and I followed back most people who follow me. It is not even out of lazyness it is that I do not have the time to read all the profiles anymore.
What I do much more now though is check my timeline and unfollow people who only send out hundrets of links within a couple of minutes. I think that is so annoying. Most of the links often are rubbish anyway.
It is a long time ago that I followed someone, meaning really seeing a funny tweet check their profile and hit the follow button. I should do it more often again. Thanks for reminding me.
Awesome,awesome advice. I'm definitely RTing. Love, Goddess
Hi Marianne, I agree completely. But if I see a tweep following 2,000 people and having 200 followers plus their tweets are irrelevant, I wouldn't follow. It's just a combination of all the above points and not *just* the ratio 🙂 Thanks for reading!
Miri,Yes, people who send out links constantly can be annoying in your feed. Thank you sooo much for your comment! *hugs*
Sharon, thank you! 🙂
AWESOME!!! Definitely retweeting this one. Very helpful tidbits! L)
I'm taking the lazy route and doing a complete "ditto" of Miri's (@glitterglitzer) formula 😀 Great post Nicky, as always xo G
Thank you so much G! You're awesome. 🙂 xoxo
excellent list! reading favs is something i do to make sure the account has been active also 2 see what they tag for later viewing. i avoid ppl with very large follower numbers since it is less likely they'll have time to respond to anything.
i have a cleasing routine where i go through my new followers list and clear out any spam accounts that have been following but have sent 0 tweets…and have been inactive or sending junk. i take the time to mark as many spam accounts as possible. i dislike them that much!
That's awesome Charles! Yes, that's exactly the reason why I check out favorites too. It's great that you report spam accounts, they are a nuisance! Thanks for reading!
I'm new to twitter but really enjoying it so far. Thanks for the insightful post. I'll be sure to pass on!
Thank you very much!
Thanks for the tips 🙂
Thank you for reading! 🙂
When I first saw your tweet on this, I thought: Who's going to contemplate in that much depth which individuals to follow? But after reading, I agree with everything you've posted here. I think for smart Twitter users, this is an automatic process… We don't even know we're doing it but we are.
Krysten, exactly! When I wrote this post, I was fully aware of the reactions I was gonna get. like for eg, "Just follow people, if you don't like their tweets, unfollow". But then it's always better to first check if you like the tweets and only then follow them. Just my opinion 🙂 Thanks for reading!
Kelly, thanks! 🙂
Awesome thoughts, Nicky.. U r doin a wonderful job.. Thnx.. Tc 🙂
Hi Nicky, I just read the article and I must say…..It's pretty good. There are so many pitfalls on twitter and you highlighted the most important ones. Thank you…look forward to future articles.
@livetorque, Arun, thank you sooo much! Really appreciate your comment!
Tyrone, thanks, glad you liked this piece~ Please keep checking back for new articles, more to come! 😀
Nice post, Nicky 🙂
I came across here after you RT'd a quote of mine earlier 🙂
The last line of this is so true. Those relationships can mean so much. Today that message was sent very powerfully to me. All of the support I received at a very difficult moment (including from you) has meant so much. Twitter can be a great place to form unexpectedly strong bonds.
Hemal, Thank you! 🙂
Brooke, exactly, twitter is so much more than just a 'social network'. I completely understand what you mean. ((Hugs))
Hi Nicky, first time I have ever commented here. 🙂
I agree with many of your points, and clearly many I disagree – as I am sure you will gather. One of the big things I want to point out, is the “same or relatively close number of followers”.
I actually frequently promote against this very practice, as I am sure you know. I also don’t use the practice myself, as I am sure you also know. The account we communicate on, is but one of my many dozens of accounts.
As the account grows, I will have huge numbers of followers and very few people I follow. I only follow people who make tweets I find useful to read – and thats not many.
I currently follow 12 people and have over 70 following me. The reason is many people find my advice and my posts useful because I teach about seo and traffic, however of those people, very few actually post about traffic related things. I don’t need to read sally-joes post about her sowing blog, ot timmy-joes posts about his experiences with skateboards. These people however do find my posts useful.
I also don’t follow people who post the same information I find daily with google. I just don’t see the point. Its not useful for me. I know how to use google already 🙂
Thats just my take.
On another note, the spammer thing – I agree, and I disagree. Not all automated bots are spam, and reporting some of them will result in absolutely nothing. Example: ncc news, fox news, abc news, ect. are not paying someone to sit and make tweets. They use bots to publish and cycle there headlines. These bots, are not spam at all.
Just another take on it.
Anyways overall I think your advice is spot on, just thought I’d point out, we all do it a little differently.
Bruce Bates recently posted..A true journey – a mind blowing experience
Hi Bruce, thanks for your comment.
Of course, you did tell me the other day the reason why you follow very few people, and – I do get your point. But there are other sides to it too. As for me, I am no celebrity, hence I follow back every active non- spam tweeter. It’s like saying – “Thanks for following me, and I am grateful for it hence I’ll follow you too and hope we can connect better” But this is just my take on it. I do respect your opinion, Bruce.
And yes, not all bots are spam – very valid point.
Of course! We all do it a little differently! That is why people have different opinions, views of things – and this blog is all about my views on it. That doesn’t mean that one opinion is right and other is wrong. 🙂
Thanks for your time to comment here!