Last summer I changed my Twitter philosophy. Prior to that, I was following 123 friends and didn't really care what anyone else had to say. I had no room for the extra noise in my life. But I realized I was missing out for two important reasons: 1) I was inadvertently communicating to the 2,000 people who followed me that I didn't care what they had to say. Like talking to them was more important than listening to them. And 2) I was missing the opportunity to add value to more people than I could ever possibly meet.
So I decided at that point that I would aggressively broaden the number of people I'm following. This change led to a 1,900% increase in friends and an 815% increase in followers. Some people ask how in the world I can possibly manage that many followers.
Here is what works for me...
- I decide which tweets come to the front of the line. To do this, I use the list feature in Twitter. Everytime I add someone, I decide whether they show up on one of my lists. My current main lists are: Family and Friends, Pastors and Leaders, Coaching Network and Pop Culture. Between these four lists I follow 150 people and read 100% of their tweets.
- I use Tweet Deck on my computer and Twittelator Pro on my phone to view tweets from those on my lists.
- In Tweet Deck, I also run a column with "all friends." I breeze this a couple times a day to read tweets and scout new people to add to one of my lists. I always find interesting stuff.
- I use Tweet Adder to find new friends to follow. For example, I ran a search for anyone who had "executive pastor" in their bio and automatically subscribed to their tweets. This system can be completely automated once you set it up.
- I attempt to follow everyone who follows me. (I also use Tweet Adder for this, but it isn't perfect, so please let me know if I missed you!)
- I also use Tweet Deck to run a constant search on @timstevens. He isn't me. But he gets LOTS of @mentions directed toward me. So I just constantly monitor his @mentions so I can see anything directed at me.
- Most days I get more than 200 direct messages. And most of them are auto-replies, but I skim everyone looking for personal DM's. I also look for porn sites (they usually stand out with creative avatars) and immediately "block" them. So far I've blocked 230 accounts.
- About once a month I run TwitBlock on my account to check for spam or porn. It is real easy within the program to block the sites that rise to the top of the list.
- Because I'm a stats geek, I use Twitter Counter and Twitter Analyzer to track growth, retweets, @mentions and more. Again, my goal is to add value to people, so seeing how much I'm re-tweeted or mentioned gives me an indicator of how much value I'm adding.
This probably sounds more complicated then it is. But I look at Twitter as a tool to broaden my influence as I follow Christ and lead at home and in the church.
What questions or thoughts do you have?