I had a great reply from Cindy Frewen Wuellner over on this post and thought it was a good topic for another, so here goes.
Cindy’s question was that to do with having trouble following over 4500 people and keeping up with them all. At my suggestion she took a look at Refollow as a way of analyzing the people she follows and added:
Of my followings, none are ‘dead’ or ‘lazy’. No way to easily cull; I like them all. How do you suppose our friends w/ 20-40k ppl manage their twitter streams. @ImadNaffa says he just uses groups.
It is a good question Cindy. I follow over 3000 now and it is partly because I don’t want to miss anything, when I find interesting people I want to add them to the stream. But as I mentioned in another post, you can’t read everything, and no-one should expect you to.
Remember when the internet first started to get going in the early 90s and new people arrived who weren’t just the experienced techies? They started to read everything they found which was of interest. Pretty soon there was a cult of content consumers and everyone said ‘the internet is a time waster’. Then in the dot com boom the same thing happened but it had pictures.
Today we say the same thing about twitter but we have missed the point – twitter isn’t about browsing (though it is nice to browse a bit, I do this on the train) it is a tool for networking. Whatever you do you can’t have deep meaningful relationships with thousands of people, but you can build them step by step. Do this by search.
How to do it? Set up detailed advanced searches using the advance search on twitter for subjects of interest, geolocation and so on. Pick up the RSS feeds and add them to a reader, or put the searches into hootsuite or tweetdeck and make columns. Then when anyone (including people in your stream) tweets about your topics you can read a list of just those tweets and start engaging.
You can still read the stream too, but don’t try and read everything, you’ll just burn yourself out!
What matters here is what your objective is. My technique requires you to have one. Why not set up a behaviour that will deliver it?
Image: A Direction to Follow by batega