100 Tweets: A Report Card
I’ve reached my 100th Tweet on Twitter, a milestone of sorts, a time to reflect. Here’s some observations and thoughts.
Whom I Follow, Who Follows Me
I am following 185 Twitter users and 55 are following me. I’m pretty certain that I am at the lower end of Klout’s index, but I’m feeling real good about where I’m at and whom I associate with on Twitter.
Mine is a robust and manageable portfolio of Tweeters I follow: news distributors, government agencies, companies, municipalities, foundations, community action groups, thought leaders, provocateurs, Tweeting on the arts, science, entertainment, business, health, finance, education, and more.
These are the back-end of my Twitter existence, suppliers of information that make me smarter, more attuned, and timely. Their content and insights complement my own, spurs me to evolve and to innovate. My back-end prepares me for interactions with my front-end.
People are the front-end of my Twitter existence: collaborators, challengers, consumers, conversationalists, and counselors. I do not consider this group as potential clients. I consider them a peer network of wholesome, spirited, bright, and principled human beings: the Tweeters who follow me.
We can steer one another to opportunity, together we can create opportunity, but I would not market to these followers, at least not in the model that I’ve described here. It’s important to differentiate between a peer network and one’s clients. It appears that many on Twitter do not make this distinction.
Patterns In The Following/Followed Pools
There’s a lot of riffraff up there, and there’s also a staggering amount of potential. I’ve found it useful to consider some basic patterns of usage and structuring one’s Twitter space to enable effective use of Twitter resources.
Thought Leader Pattern
Seth Godin, an American entrepreneur, author and public speaker, is a Twitter user. His approach is fascinating, though difficult to duplicate, especially at his scale. As of this writing, Seth has 255,602 followers, and he follows no one. Zero.
The Celebrity Pattern is similar. Jay-Z has 2.5 million Followers; he follows only 11.
Thought Leaders and Celebrities essentially follow no one, publish their own content, and offer their following innovative and thought-provoking experiences This pattern can scale large and small, as might be right for the Thought Leader’s, or the Celebrities, purview and aspiration.
Two separate Twitter accounts would prove helpful
1 to manage a Peer network, as discussed above, and the other to manage a Thought Leader or Celebrity pattern. This structure separates your front and back ends, your enterprise so to speak, from your prospective clients, your Market.
At the other end of the spectrum of Thought Leaders and Celebrities, are Tweeters who follow the Reader Pattern. Readers follow everybody and everything, and have zero or very little following. If they Tweet, they do so for a small group, or for their own benefit. The Ultimate Reader would follow everything.
Follow for a Follow Pattern
I’ve met users who are following X number of users, and have roughly the same number of followers. Further, it seems that it is the same people comprising both groups. I call this the Tit For Tat Pattern, or the Follow For Follow pattern. You follow me, and I’ll follow you, although it’s possible that neither of us really has much to say.
Curator/Distributors are users with a healthy balance of Following/Followed. Curator/Distributors realize that they do not have to follow everyone who follows them, and so the Tweeters in their Followed group are largely not the same Tweeters found in their Following group.
Curators follow a lot of sources, filter and combine those for their Readership.
How many can a Twitterer actually follow with any effectiveness? 300,000? 15,000? 750? 100?
And why would a user rely on a push model for information and not a pull model, especially at large-scale?
Consider: there are 6 Billion plus mobile phone subscriptions out there today. That doesn’t mean that I want them all in my local phone book. All I really need is the couple of hundred that I might actually call. I can always reach the rest of the 6 billion if I need to.
Perhaps it’s a “collect 1, collect them all” mentality, rearing its head here in the digital age.
I am cautious of anyone who is following more than 500. I could not manage anything more than that without sacrificing integrity. Unless I was professionally aspiring to amalgamate and redistribute content, to sitting on my account 24 by 7 doing nothing but consuming content, or having a bot do it for me, there is no reason for following so many.
My strategy is to hone in on a small feed of content,
I will integrate that content with my own, communicate and iterate on that with my peer group. The rest can listen in.
When Followed, I am diligent in deciding if I should follow in turn
I take the time to understand who that person is following, and who’s following them. Go one generation out, so to speak. Be alert for sketchy characters there on the fringes, those that one is better to avoid, and so block those requests.
I ask of my target follows: Are you follow worthy and why?
I ask of those wanting to follow me: Do I and the folks already in my immediate network, consider you inclusion worthy?
- Regularly refine the list of Tweeters I follow to assure broad and deep coverage of topics relevant to the Charter articulated in my Twitter profile.
- Monitor the profiles of Tweeters who follow me, to find those for the inner-more circles, and those who might need cycling out.
I reviewed my 100 Tweets and found they fall pretty much equally into 3 broad categories:
- Tweets of original and thought-provoking work, of a small handful of industry leaders in various disciplines.
- Tweets where I am serving as a curator of sorts for a broader population of content providers.
- Tweets that lead to my more substantive blog posts, or Tweets that attempt to impart words of wisdom, to invigorate, and to stimulate innovation, in 140 characters or less.
Shift greater emphasis to Type 3 Tweets. Limit the sources for 1 & 2 to recognized pundits in their respective topical areas.
These are my thoughts for now. I will certainly continue to revisit and confirm these points of view with each Tweet milestone.
This New Yorker cartoon is paid for and used under Non-Exclusive license agreement with Conde Nast.
Cartoonist: Ros Chast, The New Yorker Collection
© Michael C. Simonelli, onthegocio.com, 2013