My new Twitter policy

When Twitter first started, I thought what a load of pointless nonsense, and left it well alone. But somewhere along the way I signed up, largely out of curiosity I think, but later finding it useful as a means of communication whilst out on a walk (by linking through to my Facebook wall I could let people know I was safe). Then I found a few people that looked interesting and it mushroomed from there. Now I’m drowning in tweets and don’t have time to read them all. And spotting the good stuff amongst the drivel is becoming increasingly difficult.

So yesterday I decided a cull was in order, and it seems I’m not the only one who feels that way. As I sat down to do it though, some other things occurred to me.

Firstly, quite a lot of people on Twitter seem to be obsessed with getting followers. Why ? I can understand a business wanting that but an individual ? Must be an ego thing. Chasing numbers of followers is fortunately something I’ve never really done. Yes, I’ve had a little congratulatory smirk to myself when I’ve passed a milestone number, but that’s more about saying to myself that I must be putting something out there that some people like. But from today, I just don’t care and people can follow me if they wish, and not if they don’t.

Secondly, the whole #FollowFriday thing just reinforces the whole game. Rarely comes a Friday and I haven’t followed someone recommended by a #FF. But how many of those turn out to be of value rather than noise on my timeline ? Very few I think. And you sort of feel under pressure to do #FFs yourself to counterbalance the fact that people are recommending you. I’m giving this particular game up, and only going to do #FF for truly special people and things that are useful. That also means I’m not going to be clogging up other people’s timelines with endless thanks for being recommended on an #FF. As I will no longer worry about how many followers I have, it will surely be of no relevance to me if I’m being #FF’d. Other than to work out who appreciates what I’m tweeting or blogging.

Thirdly, I don’t use lists enough. I’ve set loads up but never really used them to filter my timeline. I’m going to be doing that a lot more. And everyone I follow is going on a list – if I can’t put them on a list that groups things I’m interested in hearing about, they can’t be of much interest to me can they ? I’m doing this now while the number of people I follow is only around 300.  Once it gets to be more, I’ll never do it.

And finally, I’m going to purge the people I follow. Some may be upset, and threaten that they know who unfollowed them. Tough, if all you care about is keeping up your list of followers, then you’ve confirmed I’m doing right by culling you! But some of the people I unfollow, I will simply be transferring to my business twitter account where it may be more appropriate.

So, in conclusion, from now on Twitter is going to be about the outdoors folk I like and find interesting, my real-world friends, and useful things like news, weather and travel information. Oh, and Masterchef keyword bingo, of course.

Rant ends.

2 thoughts on “My new Twitter policy

  1. I understand what you are saying, I miss a lot of stuff due to trying to catch up with the timeline, esp if Ive not been on for a day or two, and Ive only just broke the 100 followers mark. As for #ff’s, I did my first real lot of #ff’s yesterday, only for some new followers who may not of heard of other folk. The reason I dont really do them is that everybody I follow already follow each other ! I only joined Twitter in September for the sole reason of finding “outdoors” people easier than googling every time I fancied reading blogs or needed to find stuff out. I only follow 150, and keeping up with that is sometimes a struggle. I too should make more use of lists. Thanks for writing, a good read.

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  2. I have 2 twiiter accounts, my personal twitter @rasculous is mainly football banter and catching up with friends and retweeting @walksandwalking posts. My @walksandwalking account is purely commercial and I use it for outreach. I re-post each of my articles on twitter about 3 or 4 times and change the hashtags to try and attract new audiences to my site. Twitter is the 6th biggest referrer of traffic to walksandwalking.com and it is also a source of new content for me to write about and I’ve found some brilliant walking routes suggested by others.

    Someone recently sent me a message about a historic walking route from Waltham Abbey to Epping Town, I did the walk the following weekend and posted it on my site straight afterwards. Within an hour or so I gained an extra 50 followers, of which one was an influential councillor who retweeted to his constituency.

    My Walks And Walking facebook page doesn’t get anywhere near the same levels of engagement but it does still get me some website traffic. I try and use the channels in the correct way – you use facebook for your friends and twitter for who you want to be friends with.

    In terms of using facebook and twitter to keep in touch with people when you are out walking, I think that’s a great idea although I try and keep my phone turned off when walking so I can focus on spotting any wildlife. When I do use my phone it’s normally texting my wife to say I’ve got lost again so will probably be home a little later than forecasted!!

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