Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why Am I Following @ChristeWilson?

Of all the social media sites, Twitter is my favorite, especially since I downloaded Tweetdeck (it's free, folks!) and learned to better manage the barrage of Tweets that come my way every day.

For the unitiated, Twitter is a social networking service that allows users to send messages (called 'tweets') that are 140 characters in length to their friends (called 'followers'). This 140 word format is unique to Twitter and allows for quick, informal sharing of information with people you wouldn't normally include in emails or instant messages. This expands your circle of contacts to a community of like-minded people. That community is growing by leaps and bounds...Twitter has well over 5 million users.

Once your Twitter account is set up and you get the hang of sending your Tweets, you will be inundated by people who want to 'follow' you. At that point, you can make two choices: either allow or block the person and whether or not you will 'follow' the person back.
The decision to either allow or block the person is pretty simple: Do they look like a spammer?Do they seem to be offering information you're interested in? Are they fully clothed? Are their posts free of nasty words? You can check all of that quickly by clicking on the link in the message you receive about the follow.

The decision to follow or not is a bit more complicated. My example is a message I received recently that @ChristeWilson was following me. The first thing I look for is whether or not the potential follower uses his or her given name. @ChristeWilson passed that first hurdle, so I followed the link to check her out.

@ChristeWilson passed the second 'test' in that she had posted her picture. She was also following either people or sites that I was familiar with. When I first checked, @ChristeWilson was following less than ten people. Today she's up to 58.

Unfortunately, @ChristeWilson has Tweeted just four times. It appears she may be in school (a paralegal program?) in Ohio so she's probably busy. It's a good thing that I have a soft spot for paralegal students...and also note she is trying to quit smoking...YES!!!

There are other things I usually check when I'm deciding if I will follow someone:
  • Are their tweets relevant and interesting? I'll give them the benefit of the doubt here (as I did @ChristeWilson) and check later to see how they're doing. It sometimes takes people a while to get started.

  • Are they tweeting about personal stuff or are they offering information and articles? Some personal information is good for relationship building but too much is a good reason not to follow.

  • Are they engaged in conversations? Do they share common interests? These are important to my decision.

  • Are they posting least once a day? Are they posting too much? Legal related peeps are my favorites.

  • Do they have a Web site or a blog link? I like to check that to see what they're writing. If their blog is interesting, I may subscribe to that.

  • What is their following to follower ratio? @ChristeWilson's was low but that was because she was just getting started. Some will have 10 followers but are following 1,114...that's a bad sign and I will probably block them. Some will have 25,321 followers and are following 25,322...that's a bunch and it's a sure bet that they're not going to be giving me much individual attention. I probably won't block them but I won't bother to follow, either.

@ChristeWilson is off to a great start. She's using her given name (no spaces and no symbols) and also her picture. Hopefully she'll get her profile posted soon and increase the number of Tweets.

I'm watching, @ChristeWilson, and wishing you lots of success with Twitter!

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