Now that you’ve hopefully read my post Twitter 101 and are starting to follow some fun people (please send comments and tell me who you found!), you are probably getting some followers back. This freaks a lot of people out. So, before we move on to Twitter 201, I thought I’d throw out a few notes on how “following” works:
1. First, do not let the word “follow” freak you out. Twitter should have named this something else because “Joe is now following you on Twitter …” has a terribly predatory sound. Especially to women. (Especially when accompanied by an avatar with a guy with barbells who looks like he could snap your neck in two.) But do not let the term “follow” intimidate you. Think of it as “Joe wants to network with you.” Because that’s what it is. People “follow” you because they perceive you to be someone they can network with.
2. Many people have “auto-follow” set up. This is why you get immediate follows. Don’t freak out. Auto-follow means the person doesn’t even look at who they’re following, they just follow anyone who follows them. This is fine. Relax.
3. It’s considered “polite” to follow anyone who is following you. You don’t have to, of course. If you think their tweets are going to be weird or annoying, then don’t follow. But the truth is, you never know who is going to send the tweet that could be of vast interest to you. For this reason, I follow tons of people. I’m always surprised by the interesting things various people say. You can always “unfollow” someone down the line if they muck up your Twitter stream in some way (with profanity, or negative attitude, or unoriginal tweets, or whatever annoys you), but give people a chance.
4. Many people will follow you because you’re following someone they like. This is why you will get a continuous stream of followers. Here’s how it works: A Twitterer follows Real Simple magazine. She figures that anyone else who likes Real Simple is sort of like her, so she’ll just follow the last 100 of the 800+ people who follow Real Simple. If you’re on that list, you get followed, too. She isn’t necessarily following you because of your tweets, she’s following you because of your interests. This is fine. Relax.
5. If you followed 50 people from the advice in my last post, you will probably have about 25 follows by the end of the week. This 50% ratio works for a long time.
6. If you do not follow someone who is following you, he/she will likely drop you after one week. Many people give the “1-week chance” to return the follow. If you don’t, they drop you. Others use programs to automatically unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow them. The reason for this is that most people feel the relationship should go both ways on Twitter, unless you’re Shaq or Ashton Kutcher.
7. Fridays are “Follow Friday” on Twitter. Friday is a fun day to tune in to Twitter! Everyone is encouraged to send the names of their favorite people, so you can find fun new people to follow. Often they will say “Follow these top chefs: @ChefA, @ChefB, @ChefC for fun cookin’” or something along those lines so you know why they’re being recommended. They will end with a hashtag like this: #FollowFriday. The hashtag gives you a chance to search for that term. (More on hashtags in Twitter 201.) You can type in #followfriday in www.search.twitter.com (or type it in the search bar of TweetDeck) and you will get a long list of Follow Friday recommendations. Have fun!
Please leave a comment and tell me who you found to follow that you didn’t expect. …