Yes, no doubt I love Twitter. I have TweetDeck open almost all the time (I have to close it when I want to focus on writing in a serious way) so I can keep up news, tips, and what my friends are doing. Connecting, learning, and chatting with people on Twitter is one of the ways I stay connected, while still working from home (which is pretty solitary). I think because I talk with people, thank people for mentions and RTs, and all that sort of thing, people follow me. I don’t, however, follow everyone back
Honestly, I can’t do it. I tried for a while, following back everyone who followed me (spammers excepted of course), but I found that I just couldn’t sift out the noise. Sure, this was just before TweetDeck came into the world, but still, as it is I “follow” some 5800 people. So I have to pick and choose who I follow. I follow all work colleagues. I tend to follow people I meet in person at conferences and such. If I don’t know you, I follow people back (or just in general) when the information they are sending out holds some value to me. Really it’s as simple as that. I track information in four columns in TweetDeck. These columns are made up of Twitter lists. I use Twitter lists because I can go switch to any Twitter client that supports lists (I think they all do now) and have my primary info sources right there. The thing is that there is a real and finite limit to this strategy. The limit is 500.
Any given list on Twitter can follow up to 500 people. That’s it. I hit that limit with my News list this week. My private lists, Friends, Colleagues, and Colleagues 2 can, in total, follow only 329 more people. Oh sure I know that is a lot. However, what this means is that at some point, when all the lists hit their max point, I’m going to have to cull the lists. I always want to find and follow new people, new sources, get new ideas. It’s that flow that helps me cover news and events well. And while I don’t see following anyone a waste, I do have to make sure that I can manage my time and attention well.
There is no magic. There is no “I always follow people from Vancouver” or “I never follow someone who does this or that” (spam excepted), it’s purely…when I read what you’ve said, am I interested.
That’s it. That’s how I follow people. I just read what people write. Same way I follow RSS feeds, if it’s interesting, I’ll read it. And most often, I don’t unfollow or unsubscribe so once you’ve got my attention, you keep it. By the way, the “trick” of following and unfollowing me (or anyone else) just isn’t going to work to get me to follow you. In fact, eventually I will block you.