I love twitter – Ok I’ve become a bit of ‘twitter-holic’ but today I have a twitter dilemma!
First things first, if you don’t know what I am talking about – “what’s this Twitter thing you speak of?” – head on over to my twitter account – www.twitter.com/zdeluca
Twitter is social networking combined with a chat site that is taking the web by storm – seriously. Mike Klingler from the Renegade Professional has put together a video training series on Twitter that tells you everything you need to know about Twitter. You can get access to the Twitter training videos for free here:
Even if you are an experienced Twitter user I recommend these training videos to you (and feel free to share with your team).
Ok – so to my “Twitter Dilemma”.
On Twitter you connect with people two ways – they have the option to become “Followers” of yours and read your “tweets”. You can then chose to “Follow” others and see what they are tweeting about. Simple right?
The Dilemma comes from whether I should Follow everybody that Follows me? I’m a sociable person (that’s why I love Social media) so I have decided that if you follow me I will follow you right back. Suffice to say as long as you don’t use profanity, negativity or prejudice in your comments/profile then I’m interested in hearing what you have to say.
This has worked well for me in expanding my audience on Twitter to several thousand people and I have made connections with people from unexpected places and industires. I liked the fact that I was being a social “Twitterfly” and now use an automated service to follow everybody that is willing to listen into my tweets.
As my number of followers has grown however the number of replies has started to increase dramatically as well. Now I find I cannot possibly reply to every direct message I am receiving as there are just too many. I have limited my Twitter time each day and just enter the conversation that is going on at the time.
I was contemplating my navel about how many Twitter follwers are too many – or is there such a thing??? Should I follow everybody? DO I need to be more selective in who I follow? No that just sounds rude – doesn’t it? Why should people listen to me if I won’t ‘listen’ back? But what if I’m not responding to them – is that then rude? Ohh I’mmm not sure – I have a DILEMMA!
So right as I was pondering, the Twitterverse threw an email at me on this very subject. The message was from Mike Dillard, of Magnetic Sponsoring fame, an internet marketing mentor of mine. I have copied Mike’s email in full (below) and would love your thoughts, feedback, and of course, tweets on this subject.
I have a dilemma Zoe…
It’s been the source of an internal debate for a few weeks now, and I’d like to get your thoughts…
I’m talking about Twitter, and the single question that we must all eventually answer…
Do you follow someone just because they followed you? Or do you only follow people you genuinely know and want to follow?
Over the past few months, I’ve done both.
After talking to my good friend and social media maven, Perry Belcher, I decided to “reciprocal follow” everyone who was following me about two months ago.
There are two reasons you’d want to do this…
1: It’s polite.
2: It helps you gain exposure, which will help increase your number of followers.
As of today, I follow around 10,000 people, and have 11,900-ish followers at http://www.Twitter.com/Mike_Dillard
Looking back, I’m not convinced that was the best move to make, and here’s why…
It’s not the number of people who follow you on Twitter that matters, it’s the number of people who actually listen to you.
And if everyone is just “reciprocal following” everyone, not because they WANT to listen to that person, but because they’re trying to increase their exposure and number of followers, then we have a problem…
Everyone’s following everyone, but no one’s really listening.
When I had 8,000 followers and followed 50, I knew that all 8,000 people subscribed to my “Tweets” because they genuinely wanted to plug into my life, and hear what I had to say.
That’s no longer the case.
And it gets worse…
Once you follow 500+ people, you have to start using specialized software like www.TweetDeck.com, just to filter and manage so many messages.
And if you already use TweetDeck like me, you’ve probably set up a custom sub-list of real friends so you can separate all of their messages from the masses of people you don’t know.
How genuine is that?
In the end, reciprocal following simply dilutes the power of an application like Twitter because it’s a behavior that’s motivated by greed instead of authenticity, just so we can all enjoy the illusion of having “more followers”.
That doesn’t sit right with me, so after many days of thought, I’m going to do some surgery on my Twitter account and * gasp * “unfollow” the 10,000+ people I don’t truly know.
If you’re one of them, please do not take it personally. It’s not.
I’m sure I’ll lose quite a few people during this process, but that’s fine. If that’s what it costs to be authentic, then so be it.
And if you continue following me because you truly have an interest in what I have to say and offer, then THANK YOU. That’s what this tool is all about.
My Twitter address is http://www.Twitter.com/Mike_Dillard
In the end, I feel that any true “following” you build in your life should be based on providing real value, not the perpetuation of an illusion daisy-chained from one person to the next.
(If you feel strongly about this as well and would like to share this letter, you’re welcome to do so as you wish).
Thanks Mike – I think?!?!? You made a clear argument for limiting who I follow to my selective handpicked group. BUT…. then I went to Twitter and read your post about starting to delete all your follows and re-establishing your list and I started thinking – “Hey Mike, if you delete me from the people you follow, does that mean that you don’t think I’m worth listening to?” In fact I tweeted you about it but the tweet hasn’t appeared in my Twitter stream so it appears I may already have bitten your “don’t follow dust”.
I extrapolated this further to how would my followers feel if I did this to them? And well…, I’m back to my dilemma because it doesn’t feel very well ‘good’. Granted there would be a thousand or so that probably wouldn’t even notice – these are the ones that Mike was talking about that just mass follow to build up numbers to blast their ads and links to. But what about the genuine ones? The ones that only tweet me very occassionally when they really would like me to ‘hear’ them? I’ve only sent tweets to Mike a couple of times and most of the time to thank him for sharing his knowledge or a great testimonial. Does that now mean I can’t do that? Infact my last tweet to Mike was to thank him for his ‘soap box’ emails -that tell it like it is. So I guess this is another one of those!??!
Hmmm – call me old fashioned (or a sap) but I’m sticking with my “Follow Everybody Back” routine. If people are prepared to follow me then they are going to recieve my tweets. I think it’s only polite to do the same in return. If you slam me with ads or ideas I object to then I can, and will, hit that ‘unfollow’ button fast (I’ll probably add the block button as well).
As my follower numbers increase it will be interesting to see if I stick with my Social Party view of following everybody or if it just gets out of hand. I know @perrybelcher you seem to handle your massive list well and still keep everybody at ‘the party’ happy! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue!
Will I reply to every direct message (DM) that I receive – No. So please don’t be upset if I miss yours in the tweet stream. I will however enjoy reading as many of these as I can in my Twitter time each day and responding to some directly. Others I may just tweet about so the Twitterverse gets to share in your wisdom. If you want a reply then please tweet me with @zdeluca on the front of your tweet rather than sending me a DM. I will continue to use tweet deck and my tweet later auto follow function to handle my Twitter account. If you are currently following me and I haven’t follwed back – “tweet me up” about it!
If I want to persue a joint venture or relationship with you (talking buisness folks!) then I will tweet you my email address and we can connect that way. Otherwise stop by and say “hi” at Twitter. Better still tweet a link to this page (please) http://budurl.com/followornot
Oh and anybody that Mike Dillard is still following, @perrybelcher, @mikeklingler, @askDKlive, maybe even @mariaandros you can help me out here, please let Mike know I’m still following him and I appreciate all that he does for our industry – I just can’t reach him via Twitter any more. Which was the only way I had ever actually contacted him personally before.
Also please let Mike know the email was so great I shared it through my blog including live links because, once again, this is a stroke of Marketing Genius and I’m keen to see how many new “Followers” he gets on Twitter as a result.
If you don’t already subscribe to Mike Dillard’s marketing advice you need to. Go to his site and sign up (and get some great training as well) here: Mike Dillard’s Magnetic Sponsoring
To everybody else follow me on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/zdeluca I’ll follow you back – yeah I will, well for now, oh yes I will – what a Dilemma!
Have an Awesome Day – Zoe
PS Don’t forget those Twitter training videos by Mike Klingler http:budurl.com/twittervids and while you’re there grab your free copy of Ann Sieg’ s newest book - “The Attraction Marketer’s Manifesto”.
You can thank me later via Twitter!