Twitter Best Practice: follow everyone as courtesy. hang-on. no, actually don’t.
6 months ago, the Best Practice around following and getting followers on Twitter was that you must follow those who follow you as a courtesy as well as interest in others, and that the goal is to achieve as many followers as possible. It was days when Conversational web took a new leap and everybody got excited. We all wanted to listen and be heard. As exciting as it may have been, this also brought a whole host of information overload of conversations, tweets and status updates, 50% were not necessarily relevant or interesting to the listeners.
The community of Tweeters, those active as well as less active, were showing signs of irritation. Despite advice from social media gurus to dip in and out of the stream of content and not read it all, the community found it hard to follow tweets of 120 people (the industry’s agreed number of friends/foll0wers), or tweets from people who follow them but not necessarily share similar interests.
Then a shift occurred not too long ago, when industry leader Robert Scoble declared a spring clean – he is removing all those he followed to keep only those few ones that are interesting and relevant to him. Twitter was no longer the number game of who gets most followers – no longer about quantity, now it is about quality. following 3 people is beneficial as following 400, and even more, if this number provides you with beneficial and useful information.
Sociologically, this is an interesting development. a very quick one as well. In a way, we can compare it to a social gathering, where in the beginning all are excited about new people, so one is eager to talk to everyone, introduce oneself and hear about the other. But as the event develops, we are tired of talking to everyone and their wife – people stick to those who interest them.
Twitter noise was stopped by the community in time before it deteriorated to a commercial market. The community, realizing the real value of Twitter as an information exchange place, dictated a new behavior to make that shift in time.