When I started using Twitter back in 2009, there were many strategies to manage the size of your account.
Some teaches you to not follow your followers. It seems that having many followers while following as little people as possible reflects authority.
“Twitter Gurus” were even preaching that we should follow as many people as possible and then unfollowing them once they become your followers.
But some say that to follow your followers is a form of courtesy.
In the end, I felt that the first strategy wasn’t fit for me and I had decided to go with following my followers.
As a result of that, I was often criticized for following over 130,000 people on Twitter. People are always asking me if I can follow conversations of 130,000 people. Truth is, I can’t. And I don’t.
Question is: Why do I follow so many people?
1. I don’t know anyone on twitter
I didn’t know anyone when I started back in 2009, and no one knew who I was. I was one of the first among my friends to join Twitter.
Since I didn’t know anyone, I initially followed less than 100 people, and had approximately the same amount of followers as well.
I didn’t know what to do with my account, but one fine day, someone responded to one of my tweets about posting a new blog post. He wasn’t someone I knew or someone that knew me. He was a stranger.
That conversation was what made me fall in love with Twitter since 2009. I was able to connect with someone without any boundaries. That was when I knew I had to connect with more people.
I wanted to give people access to reach me whenever they feel like. I did end up following a lot of spammers, which was damaging my Twitter stream. I had to slowly remove them and thankfully it worked.
These days, anyone can simply reach, ask questions, or talk to me through direct messages on Twitter. So although I don’t keep tabs on all 130,000 people that I follow, at the very least they can keep tabs on me at any one time.
3. It takes two to connect
I always felt a “follow” was like a business card, you should exchange it with one another. Having said so, this theory works well only when those people that you’re ‘exchanging’ with don’t use your email to spam you.
I always felt that it takes two to connect. When someone shares an interest to what I have to say and is following me, I need to follow them. Since they took the time to introduce themselves to me, I’ll introduce myself to them. It’s common courtesy.
I did try to not follow people back although they have engaged with me and they decided to unfollow because when they reach a point, they had to unfollow those who did not follow back.
4. Random encounters
For some reason I believe in random meetings and chance encounters.
Once, someone who was my follower, and whom I was following, sent me a DM because he saw my tweets about attending a conference. However, we haven’t even spoken to each other on Twitter before the direct message that he sent. So he was a complete stranger to me. It turns out that he was also attending the same conference.
We met up over drinks during the conference and had a great chat. We still talk till today.
Starting and seeing how others had huge followers, I was going after the numbers too.
Believe it, people do judge the amount of followers you have. Just like how people are looking at klout score too. Scary huh?
Following my followers has helped me to know great minds in business too.
Since I follow people and people follow me back, I am lucky to have the opportunity to connect with so many of them both directly (tweets, DMs) and indirectly (RTs, Comments on my blog). This two-way connection is much more accessible for my followers and to the people that I am following.
I’ve even connected with many them further on other social networks as well.
Having said so, what might have worked for me might not work for you. You don’t really need to follow 130,000 people on Twitter. Do what you think is best for YOU and experiment with what you have in mind.