I’m pretty sure I first became aware of Twitter two years ago around the time SXSWi 2007 was going on. It was fun to keep up with who was at which party and who was trying to get a cab home or to the next event.
Once I got involved with Twitter, I noticed that there were two styles of following people:
- Follow only people you actually know or want to read.
- Follow everyone that follows you (not including spammers, etc).
Steve Garfield from SteveGarfield.com apparently subscribes to #2. Steve is currently following 10,666 people @ twitter.com/stevegarfield while 9,714 people follow him. (note: Steve speaks about this in the comments below. Click Here to jump to Steve’s reply)
The question is “Which style works best for you?”.
Off the bat, following everyone didn’t work for me. That was when I was only following 200 people. I’m currently following 2,067 people @ twitter.com/billcammack, while 2,324 people follow me.
The first thing I did, back in the “200” days was make another account strictly for following the local NYC Twitterers (Yes, “Twitterers”. If they wanted their posts called Tweets and their users Tweeters, they should have named their app “Tweeter”. Too Late.). That worked well until basically all of the people I was following stopped using Twitter to make plans, favoring more private apps.
So then, there was the ability to @reply people, which means that if you make a Twitter post and put @billcammack in the message, it’s supposed to show up in my “@Replies” folder on my Twitter home page. This works, and it doesn’t work.
First of all, the way it was initially implemented, @replies weren’t threaded. This means that if I made statement “A” and then made statement “B” afterwards, if you read my statement “A” and responded to it with an @billcammack, when you clicked the “in reply to” link, it would show you my LATEST comment, statement “B” as opposed to the comment you were actually referencing. They’ve since fixed that and @replies reference the correect and intended Twitter post.
Second, if you don’t put @billcammack in the very beginning of your Twitter post, it won’t show up in my @Replies folder. I wish I remember who told me about this so I could properly credit her, but a friend of mine and I were referenced in the same post, like this hypothetical, yet probable line:
What would happen in that instance, to this day, is that @CaliNative would get this in HER @Replies folder, and I wouldn’t get it in mine. The way around this is to use search.twitter.com to search for your own screen name.
What I’ve found recently is that I mostly respond to @billcammack references, because my timeline moves too quickly for me to derive any value from watching the board. This is with only 2,000 people to follow… NOT 10,000, like Steve Garfield or 150,000 if Veronica Belmont were to follow everyone that follows her. I was already swamped with less than *half* of the current 480 people she follows, when I was reading the board back in the day.
The obvious issue here is that I would LIKE to be able to skim over everything that EVERYONE I’m following has to say, but I just can’t. Some people tend to sit on Twitter and Friendfeed and other sites/apps ALL. DAMN. DAY. to the point where you wonder how the people that hired them are getting any value out of their workday. On top of that, I tend to avoid those people on Social Media sites at all costs, because they flood your board more than 40 other Twitterers combined.
So there’s the question, and I’m hoping to answer this for myself today. Moving forward, how do I want to read Twitter? If I want to watch the board, then I need to reduce the number of people that I’m following. If I stick to @replies, I can keep following 2,000 people and never read the board anyway. I can also get @replies from people I’m not following, so that functionality isn’t lost in paring down my list.
So how do YOU read Twitter?… And, How’s that workin’ for ya?