It was just about a year ago I decided to “try” Twitter again. It was my third attempt and I wasn’t optimistic about it (in fact, in previous content I called Twitter a fad and dismissed users as narcissistic broadcasters of trivia.)
Well, a year in and I can say I’ve found a way to make Twitter valuable for me – and maybe for the people who follow me. You can see the growth in followers in the chart to the right (click it to embiggen) over the past year moving from around 60 to just under 1,100 today. I presume there must be some value as the number of followers is going up consistently as I add content to the twitter-sphere.
Another aspect of this is “who you follow” – in the same time period, the people I follow has increased from about 100 to 225 a factor of 2x growth (vs 18x for people following me.) My approach to following is this: If you are family or a close personal friend, I’ll follow you no matter what (even suffering a low signal to noise ratio.) If we are in business together or have a long standing business relationship, I’ll follow you as long as the signal to noise ratio stays above 0.5. If you are any other person, I may follow you if you have something interesting to contribute to the conversation. I tend to give people I follow a week or two to make that determination and then I am ruthless about unfollowing if you have a low-quality tweet stream.
This approach to following has yielded a high-quality, interesting tweet stream to draw from. It doesn’t matter what time it is, or where I am in the world, there is always something interesting and thought provoking to read and/or engage in as a discussion.
It was that last bit that escaped me on prior Twitter attempts: discussion and quality of tweet stream. The startup curve to get efficient is a bit steep, but once there it’s one of the best ways I’ve found to broadly engage, educate, discuss, and debate.
So if you’re a Twitter skeptic like I was a year ago, give it a whirl. It’s like the Facebook status line without all the other dancing cheese and the culture of rampant douchebaggery. YMMV.
Oh yeah, and if you’re not doing so already, follow me on Twitter @mah1.