Recently I’ve noticed people who consider themselves ‘personalities’ don’t follow back on Twitter. For some reason, this really irks me – mostly because it just feels high and mighty. It’s also not the intention of Twitter in the first place. Twitter is a conversation, not a platform. While the mega celebs can get away with just using their tweets as a microphone to be heard by us commoners, I’m noticing a new generation of wanna-be personalities doing this as well, thinking it increases their celebrity. Frankly, I see their closed worlds as such a missed opportunity to hear what real people have to say. Too much focus on ego and follow numbers, not enough caring about having conversations to advance our world.
Here are 7 things to consider about following back, and the criteria I use for making these decisions:
1. If their work/passion touches your life or peaks your interest in any way, follow back. Personally, I won’t follow a dry cleaner located in Ohio, because there are not ways we can really help each other. I don’t follow back the scores of marijuana lovers who love to follow me since my name is Weed. (sorry, not my thing) I also don’t follow back spammers and sketchy affiliate marketing/MLM folks, just because they freak me out. (And no, I don’t want to buy a case of your natural energy drink.)
2. If you have met them or might meet them in person someday, follow back. I do a bit of speaking at college campuses, and students are starting to jump over to Twitter (from Facebook) at a much higher rate than before. I spoke at Ohio State a few weeks ago and got about 20 follows, without even sharing my Twitter handle (it was spread via word of mouth/tweets). I followed back every single student, and today I was @ messaged this: “@erinweed is now following me. #honored #inspired.” That’s just good relationship building right there…and I can’t wait to see life through the lens of that OSU student.
3. If they play in your sandbox, follow back (even if they have a different approach). There are many people working in the social entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment and self-protection industry with me, and I follow as many as I can. Even the crazy ones who I completely disagree with, I follow. This is probably the same reason I watch both Fox News and CNN – I like to get different approaches to the same story. Because really, life is just things that happen, and then a billion different people’s perspectives in response.
4. If they are someone you can virtually mentor, follow back. If they follow you, they will like and respect you a whole lot more when you follow back. Still looking to answer that ego-driven voice in your head that says, “Hey, what’s in it for me?!” It’s simple: power comes from influence.
5. If you decide to go this route and follow more people, stick to it. Don’t change your mind one day and do a mass un-follow. Chris Brogan (a popular marketing blogger) did this, and it’s just tacky. It’s like saying, “I woke up this morning and realized I was too cool for school. Peace out, little people!” I used to like Chris a lot and appreciated having that two-way channel open, but after his mass-unfollow I un-followed him…and now barely read him at all.
6. If you’re concerned about managing a mass amount of followers/messages/@replies – first get a reality check and consider that to be a ‘good problem’. Next, state in your profile you don’t respond to DM’s, or set any other necessary ground rules to make sure you still have time to get work done. Also, I’m a huge believer in hashtags and lists. I add pretty much every single person I follow to at least one list, so I can find their tweets with ease.
7. Just as I’m generous with my follow backs, I’m also just as quick to un-follow if a person turns out to be a troll. Life is too short to surround yourself with assholes. Bu-bye!
Hope this list helps you navigate your way through this vast social media community a little easier. Happy tweeting!