Apr 09

The Top Five Reasons I WILL Follow You On Twitter

Blog 7 + FT + Proven By Science3 comments • 779 views


For some reason I keep getting suckered into clicking through tinyURLs to things like this old Mashable piece, in which someone lists their reasons for NOT following people on Twitter and then all the comments crew slap each other on the back for realising that Twitter is like “a business networking event”. Since business networking events are some of the grimmest and most insincere occasions on earth it seems odd to want to recreate that vibe online without even a complimentary vol au vent, but each to their own.

Reading it though I thought some positivity was needed. So here are the reasons why I would follow back a complete stranger on Twitter. Of course I should point out that there’s no reason said stranger would follow me in the first place: beardy blokes working in social media are no scarce resource online! But in the event that a slip of the finger lands @tomewing on your list here’s what I’m looking for.

1. AN AMUSING ICON: Or at least something that isn’t passport photo meets nervous grin. Ideally it’ll be a kind of visual signature that makes you stand out amongst the rows of drab mugshots in my ever-unfurling tweetdeck.

2. STUFF I DIDN’T ALREADY KNOW: Doesn’t have to be about my job. It could be a fact about a 13th century Antipope for all I care. Far better someone who can make me interested in something I didn’t know I could be, than someone retweeting orthodox opinion on stuff I spend half my day thinking about.

3. AN INTEREST IN MORE THAN ONE THING: Parliamentarians used to call it a “hinterland” – the stuff you do when you’re not on the job. Chances are if you can be engaging about the rest of your life you’ll be interesting about the professional stuff too.

4. A MANAGEABLE FOLLOWS LIST: This is purely selfish – if you follow more than, say, 1000 people, what are the chances you’ll give a monkeys what I have to say?

5. YOU’RE HUMAN: Obviously it’s easy to spot Russian Spambot Hotties but there are more subtle pointers to your being a replicant: for instance, one dead giveaway is if you use a cliche like “passionate” in your bio to describe your job. Ah, I know, you think it makes you sound more human, but that’s because – yr a lizard! I can see it in your flickering green eyes.

You don’t have to tick all these boxes – and even if you tick none of them I might follow you anyway. And who cares if I do or don’t – I’m a nobody and Twitter is a cocktail party for passionate entrepreneurial experts who are going places! Yeah! No, sorry, I meant: there’s no right or wrong way to use the service and Twitter is a rainbow flower gathering full of sharing and conversation. Phew – glad we got that sorted out!


  1. 1
    Simon on 11 Apr 2009 #

    So with no.1 you are standing against the business networking thing, which is good. My linked in is currently photo-less as it won’t let me use columbo (a copyrighted image) and I have never had a “glamour shot” taken of me.

    I think it is easier for me to say why not to follow someone, since I generally have pretty lax criteria. No robots, no contact collectors, no high frequency, no overtly sincere networkers, no niches that don’t interest me. So, pretty much the same as you :)

  2. 2
    Tom on 11 Apr 2009 #

    It would probably be easier for me to say why not too, since most of mine are thinly inverted negatives! Actually another menace is the follow/unfollow type – who keep re-following you to get their name in yr inbox. There are a couple of bands who do this to me. Whereas I’m following one band who never talk about their band, and I even checked out their music. Not my cuppa sadly, though I wished it had been…

  3. 3
    sethmissile on 16 Apr 2009 #

    Brilliant post! I’ve been sharing your line of thinking on this subject for a while now. Really dug your analogy of a business networking event. I can’t stand those things because they are so insincere. And my BS filter is really sensitive, so it usually is screaming at those things.

    I’m sure there’s some witty analogy for that, but it escapes me right now.


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