Just over a month ago, I joined Twitter. It wasn’t an easy decision as I already felt overwhelmed by the amount of social media that I was involved in, but having seen numerous suggestions that Twitter was the way to get some recognition as an author, I decided I should really give it a go.
I signed up one evening. The site suggests you immediately follow about twenty people, so I picked people/organizations who I thought would be interesting. Then I did nothing more for over a week.
Imagine my surprise when, going back to my account, I found I had ten followers! All people I had never heard of. I hadn’t posted anything. So what were they following?
I did eventually send out some tweets. And added a few more people to follow. Suddenly I started getting five to ten new followers every day. Given some accounts on Twitter have thousands and thousands of followers that might not seem much, but most of these requests were again from people I had never heard of.
At first I just followed them back, it seemed the polite thing to do, but then I discovered that some of them were sending out tweets about once an hour, sometimes even more! And as you might guess, most of the posts were not-so-subtle advertising for their own books/services. A lot of those that didn’t fall into that category were inspirational quotes – now I happen to like quotes, but not in the quantity that filled up my Twitter Feed and all but hiding the interesting tweets that I might want to read.
I understand that there are some apps which allow you to organize your incoming tweets so that you can get to the most interesting ones first, but I haven’t got to that stage yet (though I will probably have to). For now, when I am notified I have a new follower, I click on their link and see how often they post and on what topics before I decide whether to follow them or not.
I’m sure this means that many whom I have not followed back will ‘unfollow’ me eventually because I will not be retweeting any of their posts etc., but I’d rather have a small group of people who I’m interested in and who might be interested in me, than a huge number of followers whose only interest is to get their message out to as many people as possible regardless of the relevance.
Big numbers on your account may look good, may even endow a sense of importance/achievement, but, in reality, who has time to read tweets from thousands of people a day? Which means you could have lots of followers, but your messages are still falling into a void. So is it really worth it?
I’m still deciding whether to continue or whether to concentrate on the seemingly more manageable forms of social media. What about you? Have you joined Twitter?
This post was originally posted on Scarsdale Patch.