Lessons in etiquette from a Twitter Newbie

How many tweeps should I follow?

It took me some time before I delved into Twitter.  So — although I’m fairly active in the Twitter community, I still consider myself a newbie.

One of the first and ongoing quandaries we’re faced with on Twitter is who to follow, and who not to follow.  Or possibly more poignantly – how many to follow. I’ve struggled with this, but have fine tuned my philosophy.

Following too many people for certain lowers your capacity to interact.  But frankly, I find it rather elitist when someone is following just a few people – especially when they are being followed by thousands.  It’s a symbol of status to be sure — but it’s also a symbol to me of how much you value other people.  Seriously – of all the thousands of people following you, you can find just a handful that are of any interest to you to interact with?  It just seems pompous.

Personally I find it difficult to not follow people who follow me.  That’s because so many people seem so darn cool.  But following many has it’s drawbacks… your Twitter stream quickly can become overwhelming.  Which is why I love to make use of Twitter Lists.

By utilizing Twitter lists I can check in on certain types of people that I’m following at any given time depending on my mood and interests that day.  Some examples of lists that I keep:

PR-Pros – My work as an SEO who focuses on ORM (Online Reputation Management) makes me very curious about the Public Relations community and in particular how traditional PR is changing in the age of Social Media.  So I check on this list quite often!

I also obviously love my SEO and Fresh Social Media lists!

SAHM-WAHM – I love keeping in touch with the Work at Home Mom community, it keeps me sane!

And I have many more…  you can even follow lists that other people have made.

I don’t check on these people every day.  But I value them enough to follow them, and love to network with them from time to time.

I’m a lover of coincidences and so most often I just open up TweetDeck and check in with whoever is currently in my stream.  It’s fun!  I love to engage with a variety of people that are of interest to me in one way or another.  I love to help them out when I can.  Whether it’s an RT for someone who has something of value to say but not many followers (yet!) or a technical problem on wordpress that I happen to know the answer to — or simply to add to conversation someone tries to drum up.  It’s all good.

I know many people will argue that I’m diluting my followers too much to really build a strong community.  That might be so to some degree. But I’ve made so many excellent  social and professional connections on Twitter that I know this way works for me… most importantly it works for me ethically!

What are your thoughts on WHO and HOW MANY to follow on Twitter?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns FreelanceMom.com, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.

  • I set my account up (via social oomph) to auto add all users who follow me. I have an unquenchable need and bottomless desire to acquire as much knowledge as possible. The more people I follow, the more information I'm privy to and I like that.
    I'd love to hear other thoughts and comments too. ;)

  • Education is the acquisition of the art of utilization of knowledge.

  • Sure, you can follow Curbed National's comings and goings on Facebook and Twitter, but at the moment there's only one way to get a fresh-off-the-presses …

  • Pingback: wwjp » Cele zece porunci ale bunei purtari pe twitter()

  • What I find funny is when you get the email from your competitor saying they are following you. It kind of makes you think….shooo get lost …..

  • You jot down some good points. I will try to utilize them for my account.
    Bunch of thanks

  • Great
    stuff from you, man. I have read your stuff before and you are just too
    awesome. I love what you have got here, love what you are saying and the way
    you say it. You make it entertaining and you still manage to keep it smart. I
    cant wait to read more from you. This is really a great blog.

  • Freelance mom,

    The post is very informative for a newbie like me.  Believe it or not I didn't really care about all those social media networks (I hardly open my facebook account!) until recently.  I think that in this generation where technology plays a major part in our daily lives, you can't really help but go with the tide.  Twitter is a good social media to find out what's happening around you and around the world.  Your comment on how many should be followed makes a lot of sense and I will be sure to utilize that point as I continue to explore my Twitter account.

  • in my case I don't really follow to many people. I just follow limited and chosen ones especially the people I idolize when it comes to the field of sport. I normally follow them to check there updates like gigs and games. It's important for me to know and to be updated because I am a fan and a supporter to them.

  • Good post I Found too many interesting things from here, really too nice to read and gather some useful points.