February 02, 2010

Why you should follow many tweople

On Twitter there is much redundancy. The better the tweet, the more often it is echoed (copied, mentioned, retweeted, et cetera). So, if you want to catch the important stuff that is being echoed around on Twitter, you should follow enough people to increase the chances of you seeing these hot tweets when you dip into your friendsfeed.

Yes, that's what the seasoned tweople do: they dip. I consider myself among this category, and I just dip into my friendsfeed a couple of times per day. The dip only takes a about 5 minutes, and you only read the first 10 or 15 tweets or so. I am following a modest number of people (currently 489), but they generate far too many tweets for me to read. Keeping up with them would take me more time than I have in my day, and I have a life to live too. So, I can only dip. During a dip I read what I see, so the majority of the tweets from the people I follow won't reach me.

Now I can hear you think: So why bother tweeting in the first place? Should I retweet myself in order to increase the chances of anyone hearing me? Well, yes...and no. Apart from your mother (no offense mom, just joking), most of your followers will also be following quite a few other people. Reality is that your followers won't be sitting in anticipation for your tweets all day (okay, perhaps not when you are Ashton Kutscher or Barack Obama). So yes, it probably couldn't hurt to repeat yourself, but try to keep some distance between identical tweets.

The other unrealistic thing to think is that your tweets are unique. They aren't. Try this twitter search for example: "apple iPad no flash". You'll see that lots of tweople are wondering about the absence of the Flash Player on the iPad at exactly the same time as you are. But you should still tweet it, because the redundancy is exactly what makes Twitter such a great medium. The bigger the crowd that is shouting the same thing, the more important this thing probably is.

So in order for you to get the most out of Twitter, you should follow many people. I don't know how many, but I know it will depend on the type of person you are. I also know you should be selective: only follow people that you find interesting. Check their most recent tweets, check how often they tweet, check their bio. A good resource for finding interesting tweople to follow is wefollow. This service allows you to find authoritative tweople by subject. Do some maintenance on your connections every once in a while too keep your friendsfeed fresh: unfollow tweople you no longer find interesting (you could for instance use Tweepi).

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