Less Is More With Twitter

April 27, 2010 · 16 comments

How many of your Twitter followers do you interact with on a regular basis? By regular basis, I mean at least once a week or more, and in a medium where you can use more than 140 characters. Communication is hard enough with common media such as email; you cannot effectively talk with direct messages and mentions. Sooner or later you have to remove that limitation if you intend to connect or socialize beyond fluff conversation.

For a long time I resisted Twitter, as many still do. Although I had an account for quite a while I didn’t use it. During this last year I have come to understand the usefulness of Twitter. And, as time goes on I am starting to see how I can build a better Twitter following than what I now have.

For some its a numbers game,

how many followers can you get. This will piss some people off – most of my followers have no interest in me other than a number to increase their own following. Large numbers of followers give the impression of popularity. We don’t need an advanced degree to know this is bullshit. Unless you are a celebrity, an A-List blogger or have some other star quality, you only get these high numbers with automation. This is an aspect of Twitter I wish would go away.

I am guilty of following people I know don’t share any interest with me. We will never connect.

In some ways this is like spam.

Spammers depend on huge numbers to blast with messages, knowing that a small percentage will click and buy the snake-oil they sell. The inordinate number of Twitter marketing, SEO experts, Life coaches etc are working this same scam.

Of course there are people who are experts in all these fields.

The scammers have diluted their credibility in the anonymity of the Internet.

No, none of this is original and certainly not my idea.

I am guilty of following people I know don’t share any interest with me. We will never connect. Here’s an idea. Pare back who I follow to a small group of people I can actually work with. Keep a group small enough to get to know these people, and interact with them.

Show no mercy.

Dump the experts, the incessant post-a-quoters (not the occasional quote), those with political agendas and fanatical ideas, fundamentalists and pain-in-the-ass ad posters. Twitter will be posting ads, I don’t want a self-appointed life coach, a faux expert and all honey quotes. My number of followers won’t be large, but they will be quality people I can actually read, and form a reciprocal relationship based on mutual interest.

These are true Twitter friends

and people I connect with. I have talked to many of you via email or phone. Without Twitter, I would probably never have met you. And for that I am forever grateful.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

missy April 27, 2010 at 6:59 am

I like this. The very thought of the time it would take to pare down my list, though, is daunting!
.-= missy´s last blog ..My Happiness Project – How Do You Do Assignments? =-.

Hal Brown April 27, 2010 at 7:10 am

There are sites that make this easier. A couple are:
and FriendorFollow

Mari Adkins April 27, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Once a month I go through and pare down my followers list. If they’re not interacting with me, I go all rude and block them. I do the same with the list of people I’m following. People tell me – blocking is the rudest thing you can to. Well, my opinion is, if they’re not interacting with me nor I them, then why waste the time and space? block.
.-= Mari Adkins´s last blog ..writing meme: days 24, 25, &26 =-.

Hal Brown April 27, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I haven’t blocked many people. But I do unfollow with the first DM spam I get. What really bothers me is mentions from someone who I’m not following, with an ad.
I really wish most automation would be eliminated with Twitter.
Thanks for the comment Mari.

Mari April 27, 2010 at 6:59 pm

After reading your first paragraph I sent you a tweet. The irony of your topic choice and our phone conversation today has me awestruck. You’d think I had read your post before calling you, but truly it was yesterday when I put you on my list of people to call this week. Holy moley. Can’t write another word. ;0) (except my comment luv!)

Capsurz: Windproof Your Cap

Hal Brown April 27, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I’m so glad you called. Wonderful conversation we had. Great minds, etc :)
You comment Luv looks good too.

Randy Murray April 28, 2010 at 11:19 am

This is an important topic and well covered. I find too many people that just follow EVERYONE.

I highly recommend the site Practical Opacity http://practicalopacity.com/ where my friend Patrick Rhone thinks deeply about limiting the amount of conversations in SM to have deeper, more productive relationships.
.-= Randy Murray´s last blog ..50 =-.

Hal Brown April 28, 2010 at 11:47 am

Thanks Randy. I hadn’t seen this site, but will be reading it. And again, Happy birthday!

Kissie April 28, 2010 at 11:53 pm


I can’t believe I haven’t been dropped yet… guess I’ve managed to show some sort of balance. Not too far either way…not even trying to be in the middle, I only want to share a variety. I think like that, Hal.

I’m all over the place and yes most times, I like to think positive thoughts and thats what I like to share more than anything. It’s basically like what’s in me is coming out….there I go again…all over the place….it’s just me, Hal. I so appreciate the follow.

Hey, remember when you tried to “unfollow” me? I came right back to you and asked why…hahah. Hope I’m not a Twitter Stalker…. thanks for allowing the opportunity to comment.

One of my favorite subjects, good job!
.-= Kissie´s last blog ..Reprieve One Day and Someday =-.

Hal Brown April 29, 2010 at 6:37 am

Hi Kissie. I had forgotten about that unfollow incident with you. If memory serves me correct (highly debatable) I was removing some people and I took out several good followers by accident.
Whatever happened, I’m so glad you let me know.
And thanks for pointing that out. This would be a good post. I’ve had other accidents on Twitter as well.

Karen May 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Hi Hal,

I feel guilty because you and I have never spoken by phone or email, but I always appreciate your articles and your RTs. In case I’ve been lax, Thank You Very Much :-)

I firmly believe in quality over quantity for Twitter as well. My numbers have increased a little bit with more quality people that I find, but I do pare down, especially for those who tweet incessantly about nothing. Sometimes the same person will have 10 tweets in a row. That’s a little overkill – at least space them out a little!

Btw, thanks for the RT today and am returning the favour :-)

.-= Karen´s last blog ..Do You Recognize Yourself In These 6 Stages of Change? =-.

Hal Brown May 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Thank you Karen. No need to feel guilty – you and I support each other. And you have some wonderful posts.
Time is the greatest factor in all things social media. Social media has to be rationed, else we get compulsive about it. :)

Marian Schembari May 4, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I really like this post, Hal. I actually just recently started working with an author who paid a marketing company to set her up on Twitter and Facebook. When I took over the accounts I saw the company had her following TONS AND TONS of spam – lots of “make money fast” guys and lots of porn. How is this okay? If only more people understood how effective Twitter can be when worked appropriately, it would be a much more pleasant space.

That, or if we had more hours in the day to connect with everyone ;-)
.-= Marian Schembari´s last blog ..LinkedIn Mondays: Has networking become impersonal? =-.

Hal Brown May 4, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Thanks Marian. Coming from you that means a lot. Agreed, the “Follow back” groups and sites and companies don’t get you much in the way of quality – not in my experience.
One person at a time.

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