Of course, Twitter isn't the real problem. It's not where I hang out that's the issue. It's all the people I meet there with their yummy conversations, insights and links.
I've learned a ton on Twitter, and I get most of my blog post ideas from Twitter too. But sometimes I feel like I'm looking through the dictionary for just the right word when what I really need is a thesaurus. In short, I think I'm using Twitter the wrong way.
The first step in my rehabilitation was to do something Chris Brogan did back in September: I unfollowed everyone on Twitter.
I have to admit I felt liberated as I unfollowed people. But then I felt anxious, and only felt better as I added people back. Phew.
I had a criteria in mind as I hit that follow button.
- I followed friends.
- I followed people that were leaders in cause marketing and social media.
- I followed people that I communicate with via direct message.
- I followed people that tweet awesome stuff - even if we never talk.
- I followed people that tweet a lot.
- I followed people that showed up in my "Mentions" column on Tweetdeck
- I followed people whose tweets I "favorite" for later reading.
I didn't follow back people that
- I felt obligated to follow. Yep, few of them still left.
- I followed in another way - on Facebook, LinkedIn, RSS - that is a better way to communicate with them.
- Weren't people. I try not to follow brand handles...or anyone with an animal for an avatar. If the best picture of you is your cat, I already know too much about you.
- Didn't tweet a lot.The last factor has always been an important one for me. If you don't tweet a lot you won't show up in my stream and I won't think to further investigate your tweets. I've noticed that the first thing I look at in someone's Twitter profile is how many tweets they have.
You might be asking why I don't use Twitter lists more. I never have. It doesn't seem to make sense. You're either following someone or you're not. They either have the goods you want or they don't. I don't need another list to scroll through or to ignore because I don't want to appear impolite.
I did create a couple more keyword columns to monitor topics of interest. I've always had columns for "cause marketing", "#causemarketing", and, since I started writing QR Codes for Dummies, "qr codes". I also added "nonprofit mobile", and for this week "#12ntc" and "innogive" so I can follow the Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco.
The hazard of the latter two columns is I'm finding some great new Twitter followers. I'm trying to tread carefully.
One thing my experiment had in common with Brogan's was the surprising reaction some people had to being unfollowed. It made me laugh!
Teh @joewaters called me a Stooge and unfollowed me. A lesser man would be offended!!!
— Joey Leslie (@jleslie) March 29, 2012
— Megan Strand (@meganstrand) March 29, 2012
@joewaters ummmmmm...yeah...what's up w/ that? got an email that ur following me- twitter bug or on purpose?
— Ephraim Gopin (@fundraisinisfun) March 29, 2012
I even got a few emails from people asking if I was "Ok."
Yeah, I'm okay. Now scram. I'm busy....Um, but tweet me later, OK?