Twitter will not save your business model any more than a hammer will prevent foreclosure on the house you can’t afford.
Me, on Twitter
If you’re on Twitter because you think it will save publishing, qualify you as a marketing professional, or are hoping for the auto-follow to quickly increase your own followers, please save me the time and hassle of blocking you and unfollow me now.
Last week, I had the pleasure and honor of being named as one of 15 Twitter Users Shaping the Future of Publishing on Mashable, thanks to my former colleague Maria Schneider, and as you can see in the above chart, my followers have almost doubled as a result! Schneider flatteringly included me among a number of people I greatly admire and respect, especially Richard Nash, Dominique Raccah, Debbie Stier and Don Linn. I’d recommend following all 15 of us, as well as Maria herself.
(Also, check out Hugh McGuire’s follow-up, 15 (More) Twitter Users Shaping the Future of Publishing and follow them all, too.)
Realistically speaking, though, even if you’re using Twitter for all the right reasons, I probably won’t follow you back.
I’ve been on Twitter for about a year and a half now, actively using it since January when I finally figured out how it could work best for me, and I’ve had a couple of very hard rules that have remained pretty consistent:
- 60:30:10 — community:self-promo:conversation.
- Always add value.
With some exceptions for family, friends and notable side interests, I primarily follow people and brands that are directly related to publishing, new media and marketing, and am militant about keeping a very high signal:noise ratio in my stream. I have no interest in using filtering clients like TweetDeck to “follow” a bunch of people I don’t have the time or intention to engage with, and I don’t tend to get into too many in-depth conversations on Twitter, preferring to move them to DMs or email after a round or two, or addressing the topic via a blog post.
(NOTE: Once they’re active, I will use Twitter Lists to group people, but it won’t be a reason to follow a ton more people.)
Prior to the Mashable surge, I used to check out my new followers on a regular basis, reciprocating or blocking as appropriate, but that pretty much became impossible after last week.
The six main reasons I don’t choose to reciprocate a follow — beyond someone being an obvious social media “guru”, spammer affiliate marketer or web-cam girl — are:
- You don’t work in, or have some connection to, publishing.
- You’re a devout member of the Social Media Kool-Aid Cult.
- You already have thousands of followers RTing your every thought.
- Your community:self-promo:conversation ratio is skewed towards self-promotion.
- Your tweets are predominantly personal in nature or your account is private.
- I don’t actually know you’re following me, and you’ve never engaged.
It’s not an ego thing; it’s a time and value management, thing.
No offense, none taken!