It Only Took 7 Years To Follow 1,000 People On Twitter

Okay, it’s not even quite 7 years yet but it’s pretty close.

I joined Twitter in May of 2008, not having any idea what to do with it or even whether I wanted to do anything with it. I was kind of reluctant at first… now I’ve come to love it.

Tim Dennell via Compfight

Why do I love Twitter so much? I’ve talked about it often on this blog but I love the idea of engagement. I’ve talked to a lot of people on Twitter from all over the world. I’ve talked to some famous people also, most of whom followed me first. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about good people and bad people and see some folks crash and burn. I’ve seen news break on Twitter before the media got it. I’ve seen so much…

Why do I hate Twitter? Because there’s a lot of hatred and mean things that a lot of people say. Luckily, one can block those folks. There’s also a lot of noise, aka blather, which means lots of people selling stuff constantly; you can block those folks also, especially the bots.

I have over 3,800 people following me. At the time I’m writing this I’m actually following 999 people; I expect that when this drops I’ll probably finally be at 1,000, since I’d never hit even 999 before. Milestones aplenty this year. 🙂

What’s changed? Well, to get there we have to look back at why I’ve been so perspicacious with the people I’ve been following.

Engagement; remember I mentioned that earlier? For all these years, after the first six months or so, I decided I had to have criteria for the types of people I was going to follow. I’m big on criteria; gotta have rules so I’m not just adding people I could care less about and who I know could care less about me.

The criteria for people I wouldn’t follow? Here we go:

* listing your religion in your profile
* listing your politics in your profile
* listing stuff I had no interest in on your profile
* posting nothing but pictures
* posting nothing but sales links
* not having an avatar
* never talking to anyone

That’s it; those 7 things have governed the people I’d follow on Twitter… although I’d modify from time to time.

For instance, I’d follow some local people who might have violated some of the criteria because I knew them. Also, if I’d talked to someone elsewhere I might go ahead and connect with them on Twitter, even if something irked me.

Twitter Stream
Dan Slee via Compfight

The criteria has served me well. I’ve been able to talk to all sorts of people, have fewer people to follow, and pretty much move on with a pretty good Twitter life. Also, I never had to worry about Twitter wondering if I was only following people who followed me and dinging me for it; I didn’t even know that was a thing until I saw people complaining about it, including a couple of friends of mine.

For the most part I’d kept the number of people I was following under 900; I took pride in that in fact. Even at that number, I could keep up with anyone I wanted to see, and sometimes everyone. Pays to be a speed reader, and also that not everyone posts at all the times I was looking at the entire stream.

What’s happened to change things?

My post on March 2nd talked about my new social media strategy to help increase my online influence and get more people to know who I was. It’s been working wonders; way better than I could have imagined.

What’s happened is that on both LinkedIn and Twitter I’ve had a lot more people wanting to connect with me. As it pertains to Twitter there were suddenly some fairly well connected people who were noticing me and wanting to connect with me.

That was pretty cool. I had a couple of problems though, based on my criteria.

One was the religion thing. It’s never really occurred to me how many people feel the need to put their religion in their profile; trust me, it’s a lot. I had to figure out if that was criteria enough to stay totally away from people.

The second one had a lot to do with figuring out the first. The second criteria was engagement. I had to ask myself if my criteria of engagement was too strict. I mean, it wasn’t that people had to talk to me, it’s that I wanted to see people at least talking to someone. Then, as I started getting more attention, people sharing more of my stuff, people adding me to lists… I wondered if that could count as engagement.

Also, a lot of folks whose pages I was looking at had some pretty cool things they were sharing. Frankly, I found myself interested in a lot of it. And, as part of my new strategy, I wasn’t only sharing my own stuff but stuff of others, and I found that there was a lot of content I could be sharing with others that I was interested in. And, while going through the pages, I looked to see if any of the people who listed their religion mentioned it too much for my comfort.

IFA 81
Blogging Dagger via Compfight

Some did and I didn’t follow those folks. Others were fine; I could handle it here and there.

I decided it was time to open myself up a bit more and started following more people. A fully thing happens with that; more people start following you that are following some of those other folks. Yeah, I knew that happened already but it wasn’t something I dealt with in a long time.

Still, I did what I could to keep it down, kind of my own challenge. I checked to see who wasn’t following me that I was following and dropped those folks. Turns out it’s almost no one; just one person actually, and he’s my favorite Syracuse University player ever so he stays. lol

Then I started dropping people who hadn’t been on Twitter for a while. That worked some but it turns out I’ve been good at following people who still participate on Twitter over all these years, even if I don’t always see them; wow!

So… I had to talk to myself, smack myself across the face, stuff some cookies into my mouth (okay, that I enjoyed) and decide that this arbitrary number of less than 1,000 had to come to an end. If I’m going to expand, I have to be willing to expand everything (except my waistline; I’m still working on bringing that down).

There you are; the tale is complete. I’m breaking down the bonds. Some of my criteria remains steadfast. Some of it is now modified. Time to connect with some of the bigger names on Twitter who connect with me first. I mean, I’m not a snob! 🙂

What do you think of this? Do you have a Twitter strategy? Let me know; comment!

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16 thoughts on “It Only Took 7 Years To Follow 1,000 People On Twitter”

  1. All I want to know is if I made the cut, or did I get cut off? I am not big on Twitter and I need to find a way to be there without spending too much time on it.

    Love reading what you share.

    1. Rasheed, I didn’t even know you were on Twitter. Thus, I don’t think we’re connected at all. lol So, you did and didn’t make the cut; what a unique position to be in. 🙂

  2. I don’t have a particular strategy for Twitter. I used to be far more active there than I am now. I loved the engagement and then somewhere down the line I stopped using it the same way.

    Now it comes and goes. I go through spells where I am very active and periods where I don’t do as much.

    But I do try to make an effort to make it clear I am not entirely automated.

    1. I was doing the same Jack, but something just snapped in me. You know, seeing some people who, when you visit their blogs, don’t seem to write as well as you or say anything particularly special showing up on lists while you’ve been pounding away at it for a long time and no one seems to know who you are? Wasn’t jealous by any means, but decided to play the game a little bit… and it’s working!

      Then again, I love Twitter anyway, and unfortunately for me, most of the time I’m on Twitter when those posts go live anyway. I really need to learn how to sleep more. 🙂

  3. Congrats on all the followers my friend! I’d like to think it’s mainly because you’re such a likeable fella and people love to talk to you. 🙂

    I have no strategy, other than trying to get more time to engage more on Twitter. I used to but that was prior 2 blogs.

    Thanks for this great article and keep up the good work Mitch!


    1. Thanks Brenda. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m willing to engage or not, since few people actually take me up on it. Still, I share lots of stuff and, for whatever reason, people are watching more of what I put out. As I told someone else, for now I’ll take what I can get. 🙂

    2. Well if you ask me, i would say that if you are taking content from a site without letting the admin know, you are doing a wrong thing. If you want to copy some content then 1st ask for it, then add a reference link to that page on where you are gonna paste that.. Thats what i do mostly 🙂

      1. Rana, most of the time I wouldn’t do it anyway. However, if the blogs are no longer there then there’s no one to contact. And the interview part I’ve added here… actually when I got it & saved it as a draft the blog wasn’t in existence at the time, as it’s just come back up.

  4. Hey Mitch, you know me mate I’m not a big social media person. I can’t remember the last time I followed anyone on Twitter. I had a little look and I’m actually following 561 people. That figure surprises me. What surprises me even more is I have 843 followers.

    Out of all the social media sites out there though I think I love Twitter the best because it’s so much easier to post something on there.

    None of the social media sites bring me much traffic though. That would probably change if I was more active but we both know that’s not going to happen.

    1. True Peter. I love talking to people online when I can get them to talk to me. However, as you know I have other agendas also, and I can’t do any of them if more people don’t know who I am, which is kind of a big deal for me long term. Still, I fought having more than 1,000 people for almost 7 years; letting go was a major step for me, since I easily could have been following almost as many people as follow me a couple of years ago.

  5. Agreed Mitch. If it says ‘god’ or ‘christian’ or anything like that in the profile I will not follow. If it says ‘F Obama’ I will not follow. (Not saying I am PRO Obama, just saying I do not like people who say ‘F Obama’)
    When I first signed up with Twitter my friend told me to start following everyone who had #TCOT in their profile. They tend to search out their own and follow back. I did that then realized they were the F Obama people so I deleted all of them as quickly as I could.
    Do you use You can see who has not been active in a long time and a lot of other info. Easy and helpful tool.

    1. Yes, I use JustUnfollow and it works nicely.

      I learned quickly about the TCOT thing and knew better than to hook with those folks. I saw the types of things that were coming way back, and of course sometimes I’d end up in a conversation where someone would use it and then all the yahoos would come out of the woodworks. I’d block in a heartbeat; nope, I don’t suffer stuff like that. lol

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