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My new Twitter rules now we have 'Who to follow'
2010-08-07: If you use Twitter, you might have noticed a new "Who to follow" section near the top of the right hand column that suggests who you might want to follow.
Presumably they suggest people who are active and are well connected to you. People your friends follow, and so on.
From a usability perspective, there's a cross next to the names it suggests. I'm unsure whether clicking it means they'll never come up again, or if it just dismisses it for now. I've certainly clicked someone's cross and had it replaced by the other suggestion on display, providing me with two recommendations to friend the one person. You'd have thought Twitter would have programmed that a little better.
I saw someone else moan that it suggests people that we've previously unfriended.
Anyway, the suggestions have generally been good and it's made me use Twitter more.
However, from an Internet marketers' perspective, whereas in the golden age you could send out a tweet to your followers and because there weren't that many others tweeting and people were excited, they'd see your tweet and consider it, nowadays people follow lots of others so our messages fly past and are only fleetingly considered. Response rates are lower. That makes it even more important for us to create a genuine dialogue. We were never supposed to be broadcasting anyway (I never was, I was generalising earlier).
Anyway, as a user, I don't really want to switch on Twitter to find a load of stuff from people I don't care about, so now we have "who to follow" I think I'd better also take an active role in unfollowing people who are, frankly, not providing interesting Tweets.
So my new Twitter routine is this.
  • Load Twitter
  • Consider friending whoever is suggested
  • Read through the tweets on the first page
  • Unfollow anyone who says nomnomnom or says they nommed some food (eg. "just nommed Cornish Pastie"). The word is 'eaten' and we have nothing in common.
  • Try really hard to reply to something
  • If there's really nothing interesting there to respond to, unfollow someone on that page
  • Do something useful
  • In the event of something taking a while to load, maybe check Twitter or make a cup of tea
I also check, once a day if I remember (so, probably once a week), who has recently followed me and decide whether to follow them back. And I probably check who has mentioned me more than once a day, and who's sent me a private message maybe once every other day.
Turn that around and you know what you have to do as a tweeter for business: connect, converse, be interesting, and be focussed.

By John Allsopp
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