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How Do You Decide Who to Follow on Twitter?

Chris Cree asked an interesting question in the comments of yesterdays post about my Twitter competition.

I’m curious what criteria you use when deciding whom to follow in return. Would you share some insight into that at some point?

The thing is I am not sure I know the right way to decide who to follow, I just know what I do. What I do has changed since I first joined Twitter and I am sure will evolve.

Initially what I did was to follow Twitter users who’s blogs I read, and also to look at who those folks were following and see who was interesting. There were other ways but those I think were the main approaches.

Lately though I have found for some people the best approach is to see who the people you already like are talking to. If you “over hear” a good conversation then the people in that conversation are likely to be worth a follow.

I did try following everyone who followed me but I quickly found there gets to be a point where you can’t follow everyone, and there were one or two people who I unfollowed because I didn’t like their argumentative or abusive nature. I guess you get trolls and bullies everywhere.

As far as the usual niggles, lack of posting or over self promotion, I am probably more tolerant but those do factor. I won’t follow anyone who hasn’t Tweeted yet. At least get a full screen of Tweets before following me if you want me to follow you back.

In general if you say something interesting then I am more likely to follow but more and more I am going the conversation route.

As I say, I don’t have a perfect answer so let’s have a poll πŸ™‚

How do you decide who to follow on Twitter?
Total Votes: 160 Started: March 11, 2008 1 = Added by a guest Back to Vote Screen
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Comments

  1. A interesting flip side question could be: How do you decide to stop following somebody on Twitter?

    I’ll stop following obnoxious people, and people who “overtweet.”

  2. A interesting flip side question could be: How do you decide to stop following somebody on Twitter?

    I’ll stop following obnoxious people, and people who “overtweet.”

  3. How many tweets are over-tweeting? I am one of those people who twitters a lot in a 10 min space then gets back to work and you don’t hear from me for rest of the day so I overtweet then not at all πŸ™‚

  4. How many tweets are over-tweeting? I am one of those people who twitters a lot in a 10 min space then gets back to work and you don’t hear from me for rest of the day so I overtweet then not at all πŸ™‚

  5. I use a multiple of factors to decide whom I follow on Twitter.

    1) I follow the bloggers I read
    2) Local folk that look interesting

    Those get notifications turned on, almost by default

    3) People who follow me, I add but I don’t turn notifications on until I see if they post stuff that’s interesting.

  6. I use a multiple of factors to decide whom I follow on Twitter.

    1) I follow the bloggers I read
    2) Local folk that look interesting

    Those get notifications turned on, almost by default

    3) People who follow me, I add but I don’t turn notifications on until I see if they post stuff that’s interesting.

  7. Interesting you use the local angle – have you met local Twitters face to face?

  8. Interesting you use the local angle – have you met local Twitters face to face?

  9. Interesting you should bring this up. They say you don’t have the spam problems with twitter that you have with e-mail but lately I have been getting more and more so called followers from blatant marketers. A red flag to me is if they follow thousands of people but only have a few followers. I pretty much block those people. I will also block people who either use a lot of profanity (I can deal with it but I don’t want people visiting my Twitter page seeing those from those I follow) or sometimes I will see tweets from people that I don’t understand what the heck they are saying. Twitter should make you an effective communicator and not someone who spews out a disjointed messages you can’t figure out.

  10. Interesting you should bring this up. They say you don’t have the spam problems with twitter that you have with e-mail but lately I have been getting more and more so called followers from blatant marketers. A red flag to me is if they follow thousands of people but only have a few followers. I pretty much block those people. I will also block people who either use a lot of profanity (I can deal with it but I don’t want people visiting my Twitter page seeing those from those I follow) or sometimes I will see tweets from people that I don’t understand what the heck they are saying. Twitter should make you an effective communicator and not someone who spews out a disjointed messages you can’t figure out.

  11. Yeah, good points with the red flags. Good tips also, if you do those things this is how you will be perceived πŸ™‚

  12. Yeah, good points with the red flags. Good tips also, if you do those things this is how you will be perceived πŸ™‚

  13. I follow the people already in my network, the big names, and anybody who comes across my radar who looks interesting.

    I will unfollow a person for doing nothing but tweeting their own blog posts.

    I will not follow a person whose tweets have no substance or value to me just because they follow me, otherwise I’ll probably follow anyone who follows me.

    BTW, if anyone would like to follow me on twitter, I’m here. Chris if you don’t like me putting my twitter link in here you can remove it. Seems that whenever people talk about twitter, it’s a good opportunity to find new people to follow, so I thought, why not? πŸ™‚

  14. I follow the people already in my network, the big names, and anybody who comes across my radar who looks interesting.

    I will unfollow a person for doing nothing but tweeting their own blog posts.

    I will not follow a person whose tweets have no substance or value to me just because they follow me, otherwise I’ll probably follow anyone who follows me.

    BTW, if anyone would like to follow me on twitter, I’m here. Chris if you don’t like me putting my twitter link in here you can remove it. Seems that whenever people talk about twitter, it’s a good opportunity to find new people to follow, so I thought, why not? πŸ™‚

  15. I follow most of the people who follow me, but not all. I check people out when I get the “following” notification and if they (a) are interesting or (b) follow someone I follow and aren’t somehow offensive, I add them. Some people are just following to get more followers and don’t add much to my life or online experience, so I unfollow or just don’t follow in the first place. I’ve gotten some cool connections from people my friends reply to in their own tweets — I think that’s my favorite way to find new folks to follow.

    I actually thought I would hate Twitter, but I love it. It’s a great way to connect quickly when we’re all so busy. And I’ve been really surprised by the traffic it’s sent my blogs! Nice perk.

    kk

  16. @Michael – Go right ahead, I know you are not pimping pills, pr0n and p0ker πŸ˜‰

    @Kristen – I did hate it first look but I am thankful I gave it another go πŸ™‚

  17. I follow most of the people who follow me, but not all. I check people out when I get the “following” notification and if they (a) are interesting or (b) follow someone I follow and aren’t somehow offensive, I add them. Some people are just following to get more followers and don’t add much to my life or online experience, so I unfollow or just don’t follow in the first place. I’ve gotten some cool connections from people my friends reply to in their own tweets — I think that’s my favorite way to find new folks to follow.

    I actually thought I would hate Twitter, but I love it. It’s a great way to connect quickly when we’re all so busy. And I’ve been really surprised by the traffic it’s sent my blogs! Nice perk.

    kk

  18. @Michael – Go right ahead, I know you are not pimping pills, pr0n and p0ker πŸ˜‰

    @Kristen – I did hate it first look but I am thankful I gave it another go πŸ™‚

  19. Glen Crosier says:

    Hi πŸ™‚ I’m a new reader and finding lots of new ideas thanks. Chris, have you posted on the basics of what Twitter is and how/why to use it?

  20. Glen Crosier says:

    Hi πŸ™‚ I’m a new reader and finding lots of new ideas thanks. Chris, have you posted on the basics of what Twitter is and how/why to use it?

  21. People I know and people who look interesting. I won’t actively go out and find people though, it’s usually a case of evaluating who follows me or checking up users for blogs I read.

  22. People I know and people who look interesting. I won’t actively go out and find people though, it’s usually a case of evaluating who follows me or checking up users for blogs I read.

  23. @Glen – This might help but do let me know if you have questions and I will do a follow up

    @Mike – I have gone out and found people a few times but it is pretty random for me now πŸ™‚

  24. @Glen – This might help but do let me know if you have questions and I will do a follow up

    @Mike – I have gone out and found people a few times but it is pretty random for me now πŸ™‚

  25. For this question, I wish the poll would allow more than one answer! Some of my reasons are captured in 3 of the above, though I could not select them all.

  26. For this question, I wish the poll would allow more than one answer! Some of my reasons are captured in 3 of the above, though I could not select them all.

  27. There will sometimes be people who request to be followed and only have like 3 tweets ever and those tweets look pretty shady at that. People bent on selling or exclusively marketing a product….negative.

  28. There will sometimes be people who request to be followed and only have like 3 tweets ever and those tweets look pretty shady at that. People bent on selling or exclusively marketing a product….negative.

  29. I was torn between Interesting People and those Engaged in Conversation. I went for the conversation in the end because those are the folks I find the most interesting. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for answering the question, Chris. I sometimes feel a touch of guilt when I don’t follow accounts that are following me. But it usually passes quickly.

  30. I was torn between Interesting People and those Engaged in Conversation. I went for the conversation in the end because those are the folks I find the most interesting. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for answering the question, Chris. I sometimes feel a touch of guilt when I don’t follow accounts that are following me. But it usually passes quickly.

  31. I follow those who are interesting – I don’t mind the “had lunch” tweets, but I do mind the “took a dump” ones, and that grotequery is the type that will cause me to stop following another twitterer.

  32. I follow those who are interesting – I don’t mind the “had lunch” tweets, but I do mind the “took a dump” ones, and that grotequery is the type that will cause me to stop following another twitterer.

  33. First off, I followed bloggers I knew; then people they were talking to who sounded interesting, friendly and conversational (and I keep doing that, until I get to saturation point then reduce numbers again)

    I like getting to know a few more UK based tweeters, mainly via you, so thanks for that!

    You don’t over-tweet, I really enjoy following you – good mix of stuff you’re doing, stuff others are doing, personal, random, conversational. Hard to put your finger on it but it works for me.

    I guess everyone has their own yardstick, what they’re there for, what works for them. I think you need to work with that and not feel guilty about not following people. That’s what makes the system work, people find those they listening and talking to, and can quietly stop following those they don’t.

    Joanna

  34. First off, I followed bloggers I knew; then people they were talking to who sounded interesting, friendly and conversational (and I keep doing that, until I get to saturation point then reduce numbers again)

    I like getting to know a few more UK based tweeters, mainly via you, so thanks for that!

    You don’t over-tweet, I really enjoy following you – good mix of stuff you’re doing, stuff others are doing, personal, random, conversational. Hard to put your finger on it but it works for me.

    I guess everyone has their own yardstick, what they’re there for, what works for them. I think you need to work with that and not feel guilty about not following people. That’s what makes the system work, people find those they listening and talking to, and can quietly stop following those they don’t.

    Joanna

  35. I guess I mostly do “all of the above.” But, I don’t always follow people who follow me. For example, if I see that someone is following 10,000 people, but only 3 people are following him, I tend to assume that he’s tweets aren’t very valuable, and won’t follow him.

  36. I guess I mostly do “all of the above.” But, I don’t always follow people who follow me. For example, if I see that someone is following 10,000 people, but only 3 people are following him, I tend to assume that he’s tweets aren’t very valuable, and won’t follow him.

  37. I don’t even use twitter anymore. Tried it for a while, but I got tired of opening it up and seeing “going to take shower” “back from shower” “Going to bed” “I’m awake” “Running around in a circle” “I’m dizzy” ,etc. Don’t know if I care about what people are doing all day long.

  38. I don’t even use twitter anymore. Tried it for a while, but I got tired of opening it up and seeing “going to take shower” “back from shower” “Going to bed” “I’m awake” “Running around in a circle” “I’m dizzy” ,etc. Don’t know if I care about what people are doing all day long.

  39. I cast my voe in the “engaged in conversation” arena. An addendum is: people engaged in conversations I find thought provoking about topics I can make sense of.

    I would love to see a poll about who people “unfollow” and who they “block”. I’ve been doing a bit of “blocking” lately. At first I felt guilty, then I figured, hey these are my precious moments of breath here, I’ll “sit on the bird wire” with those I want to spend time with. When the profanity gets to be too much, their website looks like a spam site, and they never enter @ conversations, I block. I “unfollow” when the self promotion isn’t balanced with comments that contribute, or the tweets are constant (all day and every 10 minutes) because I just don’t have time.

    Sounds like I’m fussy. I am I guess. But I LOVE my end of the flock:)

    EricaRKrieger at Twitter

  40. I cast my voe in the “engaged in conversation” arena. An addendum is: people engaged in conversations I find thought provoking about topics I can make sense of.

    I would love to see a poll about who people “unfollow” and who they “block”. I’ve been doing a bit of “blocking” lately. At first I felt guilty, then I figured, hey these are my precious moments of breath here, I’ll “sit on the bird wire” with those I want to spend time with. When the profanity gets to be too much, their website looks like a spam site, and they never enter @ conversations, I block. I “unfollow” when the self promotion isn’t balanced with comments that contribute, or the tweets are constant (all day and every 10 minutes) because I just don’t have time.

    Sounds like I’m fussy. I am I guess. But I LOVE my end of the flock:)

    EricaRKrieger at Twitter

  41. I used to follow anyone who had similar interests to mine (same followers, etc.). I had so much noise, though! Last week, I deleted 350 of those people I was following so that I could focus on only the people I know in real life (through the industry) or through friends (high recommendations and the like). I definitely know it’s not ideal but otherwise I get 30 tweets a minute…

  42. I used to follow anyone who had similar interests to mine (same followers, etc.). I had so much noise, though! Last week, I deleted 350 of those people I was following so that I could focus on only the people I know in real life (through the industry) or through friends (high recommendations and the like). I definitely know it’s not ideal but otherwise I get 30 tweets a minute…

  43. When I first started out on Twitter, I used Google to search for people in the same industry to file based on keywords in their tweets using the advanced search to only search Twitter.

    Then later, I started following friends I made on other social networks, and blogs I read.

    For about a month, I used to tweet frequently throughout the day. Now I have it integrated with my blog to announce new blog posts, and periodic announcements, that also replicate over to my Facebook account.

  44. When I first started out on Twitter, I used Google to search for people in the same industry to file based on keywords in their tweets using the advanced search to only search Twitter.

    Then later, I started following friends I made on other social networks, and blogs I read.

    For about a month, I used to tweet frequently throughout the day. Now I have it integrated with my blog to announce new blog posts, and periodic announcements, that also replicate over to my Facebook account.

  45. I ask myself this question just about every time I’m on Twitter. Part of me wants to find people that are going to entertain and educate me, like you did Chris, with your link to that story about Convention 2.0.

    Another part of me seeks out people that might be interested in what I have to post about in hopes that if I follow them, they’ll turn around and follow me. It’s not a perfect model, but it works occasionally.

  46. I ask myself this question just about every time I’m on Twitter. Part of me wants to find people that are going to entertain and educate me, like you did Chris, with your link to that story about Convention 2.0.

    Another part of me seeks out people that might be interested in what I have to post about in hopes that if I follow them, they’ll turn around and follow me. It’s not a perfect model, but it works occasionally.

  47. I think it’s interesting (no pun intended here) that “Anyone who looks interesting” is the winning choice. But what determines if someone looks interesting? πŸ™‚

    Cheers,
    Cindy

  48. I think it’s interesting (no pun intended here) that “Anyone who looks interesting” is the winning choice. But what determines if someone looks interesting? πŸ™‚

    Cheers,
    Cindy

  49. Have to admit I’ve never been to Twitter…Guess it’s time to try it!

  50. Have to admit I’ve never been to Twitter…Guess it’s time to try it!

  51. That darn Deb Ng made me want to join, so I did, and I thought I’d hate Twitter, but I actually like it. I get lots of traffic from there and I barely follow anyone (less than 100). I like to follow friends of course, blogs I’d like to read but don’t have time to read – because if people post links on Twitter that look good I have to click. I also follow people who are in my niches; architects (few) greenies (lots), and bloggers.

    I don’t follow people who post links with no explanation, if all they do is talk about making money online, or if they’re obviously rude. I like a little human experience with my tweets. I post, and my friends post about work but they also post about kids, and dinner, and all that “boring” stuff that connects us.

  52. That darn Deb Ng made me want to join, so I did, and I thought I’d hate Twitter, but I actually like it. I get lots of traffic from there and I barely follow anyone (less than 100). I like to follow friends of course, blogs I’d like to read but don’t have time to read – because if people post links on Twitter that look good I have to click. I also follow people who are in my niches; architects (few) greenies (lots), and bloggers.

    I don’t follow people who post links with no explanation, if all they do is talk about making money online, or if they’re obviously rude. I like a little human experience with my tweets. I post, and my friends post about work but they also post about kids, and dinner, and all that “boring” stuff that connects us.

  53. @Chris Garrett You don’t overtweet on the whole. I was a little concerned, when I first started following you, that you might. But I soon realized that, as you say, you have a sort of flurry of tweets for a short time and then that’s pretty much it. Now if you maintained that pace for the whole day, that would be overtweeting.

  54. @Chris Garrett You don’t overtweet on the whole. I was a little concerned, when I first started following you, that you might. But I soon realized that, as you say, you have a sort of flurry of tweets for a short time and then that’s pretty much it. Now if you maintained that pace for the whole day, that would be overtweeting.

  55. I (mostly) follow people which I’ve met in real life.

  56. I (mostly) follow people which I’ve met in real life.

  57. I’m not one to just randomly add people on Twitter. I do have friends who use Twitter and I find it a good way to how see things are going.

    What I don’t like, however, is that once you follow someone, they post so many Tweets that you’re bombarded with their mugs and their messages that I just unfollow them in return.

    I say, in general, I would follow someone who had something useful or interesting to say without saying too much on a given day.

  58. I’m not one to just randomly add people on Twitter. I do have friends who use Twitter and I find it a good way to how see things are going.

    What I don’t like, however, is that once you follow someone, they post so many Tweets that you’re bombarded with their mugs and their messages that I just unfollow them in return.

    I say, in general, I would follow someone who had something useful or interesting to say without saying too much on a given day.