Over the last two weeks, I’ve been cleaning house on my Twitter accounts, eliminating those who haven’t updated recently, adding new people I’ve discovered and choosing between profiles when somebody has the same arrangement as I do, where there is both a “corporate” and personal presence for the same person.
It occurred to me that I’m not making as much use of Twitter as I could be. Don’t get me wrong: I’m TwitterFox-ed, Digsby-ed, and Splitweet-ed to the hilt, and I do pay attention to the various pop-ups and alerts I receive. I answer direct messages and my @replies, and I imagine many other people do the same thing.
What I should be doing more, however, is learning from my followers. While those people who follow the main Inari tweets are more than likely interested in IT and the occasional business headline, that’s not to say that they are clueless. In fact, there are probably times when I would be better off retweeting them rather than trawling my RSS feeds for new material. Several are infinitely more qualified in a number of areas than I will ever be, and their Twitter presence makes their knowledge and expertise available to all.
I don’t auto-follow, as a matter of policy. I take the time to look through the profile and recent tweets of every new follower and, as stated above, periodically go through my accounts to thin out the herd and also to add new people, usually by searching Twellow for new people. This method has allowed me to craft my Twitter experience into one which is infinitely rewarding, with practically every Tweet offering another snippet of information. Granted, they’re not always relevant to this blog, or to my work, but the overall effect is of a Twitterverse geared specifically to my interests. Looking at my TwitterFox pop-up now, I see Tweets from @ubuntugeeks, @designerdepot, @MSWindows, @webrecsol and myself. All relevant, all offering information I can use.
This isn’t to say that those who auto-follow are doing anything wrong. For some, it feels like common courtesy and I’m sure that they have their own strategies for dealing with information overload. At the moment, the number of followers I have (just 170, at the last count) is manageable; I am not so popular that monitoring my followers would be a full-time job. As time goes by, it could reach the stage where I jack in my IT-related RSS feeds for Twitter full-time. After all, if my followers and those I follow are already providing the information I need, why would I need to go elsewhere?
[Image by Bertop]