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Our twitter follow back policy
September 16, 2011 7:01AM
by: evolvemy.com
  The 20th Century is over. The rules of business have changed. By the time many leaders realize this, they... (more)


The 20th Century is over. The rules of business have changed. By the time many leaders realize this, they won't be leaders anymore. ÖWelcome to the new rule book.

Catalyst from Ted Coin√© 


My Twitter Follow-Back Policy

Iím going to share the policy Iíve changed to September 2011. It works well for me. I've seen a big difference in the quality of followers and following since I've changed from "exclusive" to "inclusive" Social Media.  You can adopt this policy for yourself or not, as you wish.

Ready? Itís really straightforward.

I follow everyone back on Twitter. (Just about).

There, thatís my policy. Hereís why:

  1. For whatever odd reason, Twitter limits how many people a person follows. If you follow a bunch of ďcelebritiesĒ and news outlets that donít follow you back, youíll hit a wall at 2,000 where you find you canít follow anyone else. And even if your follow-followee ratio is close enough that Twitter lets you slip past this stupid, arbitrary wall of 2,000, you still have to stay within a close ratio to continue following more people. So any time you donít follow someone back, youíre limiting who else they can follow. Thatís not nice. Be nice by following them.
  1. Ted Coine explained that automatically following back is the ethic of the medium. Itís what you do, he said. A lot of us still act that way, and so this rule has served me well in making some really cool friends and acquaintances along the way.
  1. In this way, Twitter is pretty much the opposite of Facebook and LinkedIn, where everyoneís always asking, ďDo I know you?Ē This open, ďWeíre all friends hereĒ culture really works for me. Iím friendly in real life Ė Iím the youngest of 6, always looking for social gatherings Ė and Twitter lets me be gather online as well.
  1. Much more importantly (to me), hereís why I follow everyone back: Iím not more important than my followers. Indeed, Iím grateful every single time a person compliments me by following me. Itís their way of saying, ďHi Dean! I want to get to know you better.Ē For me to snub their kindness would be ungracious Ė and if I were ungracious, I couldnít look my Mother in the eye. [I'm on a lifelong crusade against arrogance and making my Mother proud.]
  2. On that last point, following back is consistent with my status as an Entrepreneur, Experimentalist and Automate the Predictable, Humanize everything else. How on earth can I tell people to provide value to your Contacts, which is based entirely on manners, when I am impolite myself? So for me, itís an easy decision.  I know some of you will find these to be strong words, especially that last part. Let me repeat: this is MY follow-back policy. These are my reasons. You may have perfectly legitimate reasons for not observing my practices, and Iím sure they work for you.  Now, itís time for the caveats:
  1. When I follow a new person, I typically give them 7 days, to follow me back. If they donít choose to, thatís perfectly fine. But at that point I unfollow them. I literally do not follow a single human who does not follow me as well Ė at least not for more than a week. No one is that important to me.
  1. I use a client (Tweetdeck) to manage my Twitter stream. I basically ignore my ďAll FriendsĒ feed. Instead I set up columns on Tweetdeck that search for key words, hashtags I enjoy, or for lists of special people Ė my core friends, mentors and educators. I recommend you try something similar.
  2. I regularly check in withtweeteradder.com to manage my list, and to find new people to follow who share my interests, which are mostly business, leadership, social media, IT professionals and customer service.
  1. Tweeteradder.com is great. It lets me find and follow people with similar interests. You can see when they last tweeted, so you can only follow active Tweeters. You can unfollow accounts that are clearly spambots or that have become inactive. Poke around the site. Thereís a lot to learn.
  1. One last thing: do I follow wack-jobs, which to me includes some members of fringe political and/or religious groups that offend me? Hmn. Iím always wrestling with this, but typically yes. I figure engagement is a great way to find common ground with those whose views are different from mine. Often, even if their beliefs in one area make me squirm, in many other respects we find all sorts of common ground. If they really, truly alienate me with their tweets, then yes, theyíre out. Thatís pretty rare, though.
  2. And I unfollow spammers with impunity. Glee, even. There seem to be more and more every week, and they all suck.

Okay, thatís my short (*ehem*) write-up of my follow-back policy for Twitter. Iím really interested in your comments. I know this one in particular is not universally agreed upon. Let me have it, if you feel so inclined. My favorite thing about Social Media in general is that Iím always learning.


"New thinking.  New Results"