I’ve been on Twitter now for about a year. Previously I had detested the site, mostly because it was too different from Facebook and I just couldn’t get the hang of it. But, since reading about the importance of the Writer’s Platform, I realized that it was an important tool and even more important than Facebook in some respects.
The following article is my Two Cents on the Social Media site and its followers. This is not written to help you navigate the site, I’ll leave that to others who have been on it longer than me. What I’m sharing here is what I’ve learned over the past year about Following People and People Following You.
Who Do You Follow?
As a writer, my main plan was to follow other writers. Although when I initially signed up, I went with people and groups who I was familiar with on Facebook. In reading an article someone else had written about who to follow on Twitter, they suggested that I follow every celebrity out there. Not just the ones I was familiar with, but…everyone! Well, I decided not to follow everyone. I mean, what do I care about people like Justin Bieber, Bryant Gumble, or Judge Judy in regards to what they have to say on Twitter. To be honest, I don’t even know if any of these have an actual account.
The idea though, is to choose celebrities that you are familiar with in the context of the TV shows watch, Music groups you follow, or News shows that you keep up with. I have written an article about The Writer and Celebrities about a year ago and gave advice about following them without looking like a Fan Geek.
One of the best ways to follow someone is to search for topics. Start with the genre you write in, then expand outwards into other genres that you read, or might take an interest in later on. Another avenue, is to look at the similarity suggestions of those you currently follow and then follow them as well. Of course, in the meantime, people will find you and start to follow you or, follow you back.
People Who Follow You
I’ve noticed within the last year that a lot of people start following me, people I’ve never heard of, nor know anything about. Of course, that’s not a bad thing. It’s a way to get to know people in general that you wouldn’t have otherwise met, had it not been for social media. You don’t have to follow everyone who follows you, and this is an issue which, I will address separately in just a little bit.
If I’m unsure of whether I want to follow someone or not, I usually start with the profile information. From there, I decided whether or not I want to follow them. If the information is insufficient or empty, then I will look at the person’s Tweets. Oftentimes, I find people will Retweet others but not offer any original content themselves. I avoid people like that because, if I wanted Tweets from other people, I can simply follow them as well.
Another type of person I avoid, is the Ad-man or the “Buy My Book” person. This is the only tweet that you’ll see from them. If it’s not “Buy My Book”, then it’s “Here are reviews from people who bought my book which is a great reason why you should buy my book” guy.
A third type of person I avoid, is the one who abuses Hoot Suite to auto post tweets to their account. I understand the method works great to promote you book once every few hours, but when you have 10 prefabricated tweets; like quotes from authors, mixed with in with promos for your book and, you cycle through them in an hour, then that’s not cool! If you’re too busy to converse with people on Twitter, then you’re too busy to have the account in the first place.
Stalkers and the “Just Unfollow” Deception
I once considered using the “Just Unfollow” program to keep track of those who have Followed me and those who have unfollowed me. The program promotes only following those who will follow you back. Because under that program, if you follow someone and they don’t follow back after a couple days, then it automatically “unfollows” that person for you. The logic is only follow those who follow back. In the context, I understand that but, if I want to follow celebrities, and I know they won’t follow me back, why would I want a program to automatically “unfollow” them?
Now what I’ve noticed with people who have use the “Just Unfollow” program is that they become stalkers and think that you have to follow them, no matter what. It seems to me that most people only follow you because they want you to follow them back. To them, it’s all about numbers. How many followers I can get compared to this person over here.
From what I’ve seen, not only does this program tell you how many people have unfollowed you, but also who actually has…by name. How do I know this? Because I’ve had one individual follow me on three separate occasions only to get me to follow them back. I’m sorry, but that’s stalker mode right there. I don’t care if you are a multi-time published author with book on the New York Times Best Sellers list and can help me reach that same level. If you keep following me just because I won’t follow you, that makes you a stalker and no amount of popularity is going to override that, at least not in my mind.
As far as people who have followed me and have suddenly stopped, I really don’t care who it is or why. As far as I’m concerned, it’s their loss not mine. Following each other on Twitter should be for the sake of socializing and gaining support and encouragement from fellow writers and future readers. If you’re doing it for the sake of increasing your numbers as statistics, do me a favor and leave me out of it. I want genuine people who will respond to my comments and allow me to comment on theirs.
For further help in learning about Twitter and how it can help writers, try Rayne Hall’s new book called Twitter for Writers.