Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Taking a mulligan on Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseI've been an active user of Twitter for close to two years now. And like any useful social media or new media tool, I've changed how I interact with it multiple times. The only constant in life is change, and a tool that accommodates my changing needs will always have a place in my metaphorical tool kit.

Thanks to TweetDeck, I'm changing behaviors once again. Previously, I was very selective of who I followed. That strategy fit me well, as I couldn't abide the constant stream of tweets from people who either A) tweeted too much for my tastes, or B) I had no idea really who they were. Neither Twitterific or Twhirl helped stem that tide (though I still use Twhirl since it allows you to be logged into multiple accounts), and obviously neither did the web-interface for Twitter itself. But TweetDeck changes things.

The trouble is this: Now that I'm taking a much more liberal approach1 to who I chose to follow, I'm not following many of the people who currently follow me. And as I've learned from my recent "growth spurts" of followers at Podcamp AZ and the NAR 2008 National conference, not following people hinders their ability to communicate with me via direct message (DM). Instead, they have to use the @ reply feature, cluttering up the Twitter stream with context-less updates. I hate that, and want to work to change it.

So if I'm not following you and you'd like to be able to DM me, follow these simple steps:
  1. Make sure your profile is complete. I still want to know who I'm following. Having a name I recognize, a bio that tells me who you are and a URL where I can get additional information helps when your recent Tweets don't give me much of a clue.
  2. Stop following me. By the way, the command is "leave" to stop following, not "unfollow". Or you can just visit my profile and uncheck "following" under my image.
  3. Follow me again. That will send me a new notification, so I can take a second look at your profile. I still have some standards1, but I'd like to consider you again.

Let's try that again!

1 - I don't auto-follow. Something has to look interesting, and I'll never follow bots or those who don't understand the toolset. It's about a conversation, not about selling. Updates are fine, but post something of value. Look for a "5 Reasons You Suck on Twitter" post soon.

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  1. I like the write-up. I've passed the "tips" to a friend of mine who just got a twitter account and read the tips myself. There's nothing like learning about the mistakes you are currently doing (DOH). Anyway, I'm liking tweetdeck.

    Thanks for the tip.
    Terry aka QueenGeek

  2. I've had a similiar experience. I used to be a lot more strict on who I would follow back, mainly because I just couldn't keep up with the volume. But once Tweetdeck let me break it out into feeds, I started following more people. I figured I had to be missing out on some good connections in there.

    Now I'm so overwhelmed with tweets I need to sit down and do a purge of some people and categorize others. I just wish Tweetdeck let you migrate configurations between systems so my work and home implementations were the same. It's interesting how Twitter and its usage continues to evolve.

  3. This is very good for a novice like myself.

    Thank you for sharing,
    David Benjamin

  4. Oh Evo!!!! Nothing would please me more than if you follow me. Please Please Please. And I want a reply to everything I say to you so I can make you got it. I wouldn't want to have to re-tweet it over and over until you respond. Oh Evo... today, you have made me a happy man.

    Oh wait, hold on.... Never mind. You started following me under your new "liberal" following rules. I feel really special now.

    hehe, ok, I'm just messing with you man. much love, much love. :)


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