Follow 1000 People on Twitter

And not go crazy…

I think I’m starting to finally deal with the idea of following more than a few hundred people on Twitter and:

1. Not being overwhelmed by it
2. Getting something out of it
3. Still having a life (mostly work, but it’s still life)

I’ll explain a bit why I’m crazy enough to follow more than 1000 people.

It comes down to three main areas:

– People who post things that are useful to me in my work
– People who post things that may be useful to my colleagues in their work
– People who I think are just interesting and worthy of a follow (subjective rather than objective)

The Additions
I call these people my additions. It’s a brain bank of knowledge as well as a barometer of what’s going on int the things I’m interested in. One-by-one they add a bit to what I know. All together I feel enriched and encouraged.

The Multipliers
Then there are the networkers who are voraciously active on Twitter and act as super-nodes connecting thousands or tens of thousands of people. In and of themselves they may not be fascinating or that useful for my work, but they act as a bridge to others.

Twitter seems to use these people as markers of legitimacy or popularity and by them following you, you get seen by more people. When you’re seen by more you get followed by more and in turn that presents a nice problem.

Taming Twitter
The problem is that Twitter etiquette says you should follow back people who follow you.

I break with this etiquette and only follow back those who interest me (see above). I’m no celebrity or big thinker in social media or marketing so there’s no fan base.

However with more numbers that follow me because of what I do, post and like, I’m more likely to follow some people back.

Until recently I tried to keep the follow back number low – around 500-600 – something I could handle.

Then I updated my core follow list. Instead of being immersed in a flow of 1000 people chattering away, I’m now linked to c. 100.

How to Follow 1000 people on Twitter

Bus vs street
That’s more like a crowded double decker bus. ¬†Okay, so the numbers don’t quite match, but I’ve reduced my exposure to a manageable number. I liken this to having all the people you care about, want to hear from and correspond with all on a bus. This bus is going down the street and you know everyone – at least a little bit – on the street.

You couldn’t possibly know all of them but you can recognise and appreciate them. Then in context you can identify and engage with them.

Off the bus, into shops
My next task is to organise all these special interest groups (design, WordPress, eCommerce, social media, UX, IA, etc.) into lists. Reading these lists will be like popping into a shop to browse around, catch up and find what’s useful. You’re not compelled to go in and can forget about it for a while if you want.

The Twitter stream as the street
Sometimes – a couple of times a day – it’s just fun to go out on the street and see what people are doing, saying, posting. You can hang around a bit, interject into some conversations and move on, but if you were there all the time you’d not get anything done. You’d be a street bum.

The next 1000
So, now that I’m following the Multipliers I’m finding that the follower numbers I’ve received have increased too.

In the last month I’ve generally accepted a higher percentage of follows – or rather converted those follows into a two-way bond – by following back. With somewhere in the region of following 500-600 people (who post interesting stuff instead of dog / lunch / relationship drivel) that doesn’t seem too bad.

Double that and you start to go a bit mental.

The brain just can’t take it any more – or at least my Generation X brain – can’t.

Double that again and it’s even more important to be disciplined and live in the list rather than being a street (or stream) bum.

I’ll report back on how it goes.

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