Actually You’re Probably All Wrong

You should use twitter this way if you plan to do this…

As the title suggests, you are all probably wrong.  Twitter is far too new and not far enough into its evolutionary process for us to know how we should be using it as a business tool.  There are lots of these so called "social media consultants" in the twitterverse and blogosphere telling us how we should be using Twitter to get results and improve our brand identity…  Or Whatever…  What a pile of utter balls.

Twitter is on the verge of going mainstream.  When that happens (and it will happen really fast) the entire dynamic of the application and its global community will change.  I don't know how it will change and I don't believe you do either.  Please correct me if you have a crystal ball.

If you follow my twitter stream (thanks by the way) you will have noticed me harping on about follower counts lately and the fact that the number of followers is unimportant if they don't genuinely have an interest in what you're tweeting about.  This is all part and parcel of the same thing.  I'm seeing a lot of relatively new tweeters out there with ridiculous UFF ratios (updates to Followers to Following) indicating the use of what I call the followback method.  A method popular with spammers where you follow lots and lots of people and hope some will follow you back.  A lot of people are using auto follows so they are guaranteed easy meat.  You can rack up thousands in days using this tactic…  Not for much longer though.  I think people are getting wise to this now, probably because they are getting spammed into oblivion.  Eventually it will just be spammers following other spammers.  Well, we can hope I guess.

It wouldn't be right to leave you mulling this over without telling you how I use Twitter and what I get out of it.  I'm not suggesting that this is how you should use it.  I am not a "social media consultant" nor do I profess to be.

How do I go about getting followers?

I don't go out of my way to.  I don't employ any tactics.  My followers are mostly people that have found me through my content or conversation.  Sure, there are a few rogues in there but they don't hang around long.  I don't have a massive follower count but I know most of them are valuable because they are following me for what I consider to be the right reason.  My follower count is growing slowly, organically and with high value.  I like it that way.

Who do I follow?

I follow various types of people who use twitter in many different ways.  I generally follow people that interest me.  That's all really.  I tend not to follow anyone that doesn't engage unless their stream is really interesting.  I like conversation.  For me it is a huge part of what Twitter is.  More often than not I'll follow you if we get a good chat going too.  I like making friends!

Do I follow back those who follow me?

I quite often do actually but I always try to look at the profile of a new follower.  If they look spammy I don't follow back.  The first thing I generally look for is @ replies.  If there aren't any on their profile I don't consider them very social and generally won't bother.  I also look at the UFF ratio.  If they are using the followback technique, forget it!

What annoys me most on Twitter?

I hate automated DM's when you follow someone.  To me it just says "Thanks for joining my spam list, I can't be bothered to talk to you in person.  You're just a number to me".  If it spams me with a link it REALLY gets my back up.  Saying that, I always give a second chance and usually DM back to see if there's really a human there at all and if there is will they engage and win me back?  Sometimes they come back to me and save themselves.  Those that don't get binned.

So there you go.  That's pretty much Twitter and I in a nutshell.  I have nothing to sell so no agressive techniques here.  However, if I were selling something I have a feeling that could work for me too because I would have people following me that want to buy my stuff…  Something like that anyway…

Sorry about the composition and terrible construction of this post.  I have no concentration tonight whatsoever and as it is not a professional blog it doesn't matter that much so I won't lose any sleep over it.  If by some kind of miracle you got this far, thank you for reading it!  I hope it is in some way useful to you.

Comments as always are welcome and encouraged!

9 thoughts on “Actually You’re Probably All Wrong

  1. To bloody right. I sometimes wonder how many people are really listening as opposed to having autosubscribed to my content for the hell of it.

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  2. while I agree with much of what you say, you are no different, yet you claim to be. There are thousands like you on Twitter.

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  3. I’ve got no knowledge of using Twitter as a “business tool”, except that spamming customers in any way is a bad idea, but there are people, myself included, who feel we have a pretty good understanding of how to use Twitter as a personal research and support tool.

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  4. @will speck: I agree with you in part. I’m certainly no different as far as knowing how to use twitter but I’m not claiming to be anything. Hopefully there are thousands like me on Twitter. Can you point them out to me? I like talking to people like me.@AJ Cann: As a research tool I’ve found it to be the best thing since sliced bread. I’ve found stacks of useful blogs through links on Twitter. I’m interested to know how you’re using it for support though. Can you explain?

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  5. Twitter is my “Beyond Google” resource. Unlike a Google search which simply returns what I have asked about, my Twitter network informs me what I don’t know about – how can you conduct a Google search on something you’re not aware of? Twitter also entertains me when I’m bored, is my DJ (via blip.fm) and shares my successes and frustrations. You can’t pick your relatives, but you can pick your Twitter network (and ditch ’em if it doesn’t work out 😉 http://twitter.com/AJCann

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  6. I’m so stealing this from AJ Cann: “Unlike a Google search which simply returns what I have asked about, my Twitter network informs me what I don’t know about – how can you conduct a Google search on something you’re not aware of?”

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  7. I will be starting on twitter soon, it’s nice to have some insight and advice on what to expect, cheers dude!

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  8. Great article. Based upon your description of Twitter it sounds as if it is following the same trending path as MySpace. When MySpace first started getting big everyone signed up and started adding everyone and bickering over top 8 and who had more friends. I think Twitter will follow the same path as MySpace and something similar in manner to FaceBook will come along replacing the once trendy Twitter.

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