In an earlier post, I talked about the idea of quality vs. quantity when it comes to building out your Twitter following. Since then, I’ve noticed two schools of thought when it comes to the art and science of Twitter following. Those that follow everyone that follows them, and those that only follow a select few no matter how many followers they rack up. Which one is the proper “Twitterquette”?
Let’s preface this discussion with a few omissions. Spammers, robots and automated accounts do not count. Most users aren’t interested in those connections unless they are providing some sort of value. Also, celebrities, sports stars and industry superstars don’t count either. You can’t expect them to really care too much about following every fan when they don’t have to. It’s not realistic nor necessary for them to do so. I’m talking about everyday, normal Twitter users with real human beings behind the accounts; those that choose to follow you for whatever reason. Do they deserve or warrant your follow in return?
I come from the school of thought that they do. I believe that by not following someone back I am in essence saying that I have more important things to say than they do. That’s not the vibe I want to give out. Don’t get me wrong, certainly there are instances where I don’t follow someone because they are simply not relevant at all, so not everyone applies here. However I work hard to ensure that I follow users that are relevant to me either socially or professionally so that the chances are better that they would in fact have useful information to share. Does this mean that I pile up quite a bit of follows that share information that isn’t relevant to me? Of course, but I don’t use Twitter to browse. When I need information, I use targeted searches that allow me to pull up the relevant information I need. What’s more important to me, is building up a large, relevant network of individuals that are interested in what I have to say. Since using Twitter more strategically, traffic to my blog from Twitter has increased to 14% (up 10%), and continues to grow. So this method works for me.
Some individuals use Twitter differently. They count on a clean, relevant stream of Twitter updates that don’t require searching through, which means not following all those that follow them. These users then either have to grow their followers through frequent, useful tweets and re-tweets, or they simply do not care very much about the size of their following.
So what do you think? Is it more valuable to return the favor for all that follow you, or to be more selective in who you follow?