Image by luc legay via FlickrTwitter meets my needs in ways Facebook does not. My problem was not that I had long lost friends; there were a few, but. My desire was that I wanted to meet new people. And Twitter is great for that. But then I hit a point when I realized Twitter is a party, but it is also a broadcast medium. I have a TwitterFeed account that feeds three external sources and my three primary blogs automatically to my Twitter stream.
TweetDeck. Otherwise your larger following is great a way to make your stream more representative of the people out there.
Image via CrunchBase
I am interested in these people who follow me. Once in a while I will go hang out. I will go to the Twitter pages of tens of people that follow me, and I will read and reply to some of their tweets. Some of those will reply back. We exchange a few tweets. A few of those end up friends. They know who I am. I know who they are. I notice them when they show up in my stream. Many of them link to their blog or website or LinkedIn page from their Twitter page, and when you click on them and read on them, you get a pretty good idea of who they are. These are real people. I have come across some very interesting people this way.
Look at how this seems to work. I cast my net wide. I say hello to many people to end up
Image via CrunchBasewith a few friends. That early hello part is like a politician shaking hands along the campaign trail. I am not pretending to be family to these people. I am just saying hello. Where is the smirk in that?
To many still, after all the Twitter buzz, the online thing is not real. The social media thing is not real. Real is offline. Online is not real. I am a huge fan of offline, I am a huge fan of in person. But it is not either or. Some of these great people I have met online I would never have met otherwise. Some people you meet online, you get to know pretty well, and then you meet them in person. Is that great or what? And then you realize, not only is this real, this is the only way. There is no other way.
Image via CrunchBase
Twitter as a tool to connect with old friends, and make new friends does not clash with Twitter as a broadcast medium. This tool is so simple and so very powerful. Simplicity is power.
Having a ton of followers is my stated goal. Only a few weeks back 2,000 followers sounded like a lot. Now I have it.
So I went ahead and googled up the question. How do you end up with a ton of followers on Twitter?
One way seems to be to be a celebrity, or become one. Many tech celebrities, and media celebrities and Hollywood celebrities are the top followed on Twitter. But you also have to note Ashton Kutcher is not the top grossing actor in Hollywood. His massive following is based partly on his name recognition, but it is also based on the fact that he is an active member of the Twitter community and his followers feel his presence and his love.
So, who goes there?
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I say stay away from those that are asking to sell you stuff that will increase your number of followers. But I admit to using a few tools. One is TopFollowed. It has a nonprofit feel to it. You sign up, others sign up. The service helps you follow each other at a steady clip. I think that is how I went from 600 to 1,600 and up. And they don't litter your stream with ads about themselves. Another tool is FriendOrFollow. There are about 100 people I follow who don't follow me back. And that's cool with me. But other than that, if you don't follow me, and I follow you, I will go ahead and unfollow you, or that checks my growth. After you follow 2,000 people, you can only follow 10% more than how many follow you. So you need some legroom to follow new people. I think I already have about 300 more people who follow me who I don't follow. So that is plenty of legroom right there.
I know how to go from 200 to 2,000, but I don't know how to go from 2,000 to 20,000 yet. Here is my guess. You manually follow new people. You give them a few days. Then you unfollow that 80% that did not follow you back. Having to follow and unfollow people one person at a time is a tedious process. That is where TwitIn comes in. You follow and unfollow people in batches. It does not always work for me. But I just followed about 50 new people and it worked.
Twitter has built in many checks and balances. You can only send out so many tweets any given hour, for example. I have hit that ceiling twice the past two days.
There are some of your followers, you want to read everything they have to say. There are some you want to read selectively. At the other end are followers, you are happy if they click on one of your links once, that's fine too. Think of social concentric circles. Not all followers are in the same circle.
But if you are wary of a shallow followership and shallow online friendships, make the effort. Take time to say hello to new people, read their tweets. Take time to reply to people who reach out to you. Engage in conversations. Click over to their blogs. Read their blog posts. Get to know them. That takes effort and time. But I thought you wanted deeper friendships than mass follow and unfollow. The two don't run counter to each other.
If you are constantly hungry to meet new people, Twitter is one great, big party.
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