As a relatively new member of Twitter, I was uncertain about one aspect of etiquette on this social media vehicle. The way Twitter works is that you "follow" certain people whose "tweets" you would like to read. A tweet is a 140-character message. Think of it as a very small blog posting. In turn, people follow you and read your tweets. You can find my page here.
People come to be followers in a viral fashion. They hear about you, search for you, or see your name on other people's lists of followers.
Last week, all of a sudden, dozens of people became my followers within a few hours. I was curious where they all came from, and so I tweeted a message: "I'm trying to figure out why I got a huge influx of followers within about an hour overnight. Can someone explain? Meanwhile, welcome all!"
Responses from around the world came in instantaneously. Guy Kawasaki had linked to a blog post that had a list of CEO Twitterers. I looked up Guy to discover that he had over 68,000 followers. He also was following over 73,000 people!
No wonder I had so many new friends, and so quickly. Thousands of people had read about me because of Guy. But his numbers left me wondering, and so I posed the question: "Survey question:Is it rude not to follow everyone who follows you? I c 2 patterns: Some follow all who follow them, some only follow a few." I have about 800 followers, but I follow only about 80 people.
Helpful replies again came back from around the world, and I offer them for those of you who might be interested.
kerplunker @Paulflevy I've read it's not rude, it's nothing personal. You should follow ppl whose tweets you'll actually enjoy reading/will be helpful.
movinmeat @Paulflevy you can't reasonably follow everybody; I have found that my twitter overload point is about 40 following.
leewhite @Paulflevy Following should meet your needs for connection and/or information gathering.
judsond @Paulflevy not rude, think of it like blogs, i read engadget, doubt they read my tiny blog, cool if so, but i certainly not rude if not.
john_chilmark @Paulflevy no it is not rude, some followers are just fishing.
Damjan_DeNoble @Paulflevy whatever makes you a more entertaining/insightful twitter user is the way to go... good blog habits apply too/ i.e relevant links.
MrElderCare @Paulflevy- I follow those with potential for mutual benefit. Follows are an oppy to build relationship only. Not an an obligation.
mdbraber @paulflevy I check out every new followers, evaluate their first page and only follow if they fit my interests.
jeanneendo @Paulflevy Your call who to follow. You're the 1 who has to keep up w/the msgs. People just need to understand that.If not, you can't worry.
And a DM (direct message) from a friend: "IMHO*: If you aren't a Social Media network (like Guy is), or an e-vangelist, intuition will be the best guide for whom to follow."
I am relieved! So, if you are following me on Twitter, and I am not following you, please know that I appreciate your company, but just don't have time to keep up with hundreds of people.
*IMHO = in my humble opinion