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How to stay sane while following 36,000+ people

I hear it all the time – how on earth can you follow 36,000 people on Twitter?

Well, the answer’s simple… But first some background.

Twitter: what's the right number of people to follow

(Warning, I’m going to be blunt in this post, and it may tick you off. Just keep in mind that I’m telling you my opinion on my own blog. You’re welcome to disagree in your comments, just be polite.)

  1. I’m not here for fun or entertainment. I’m on Twitter to build relationships and to make money. Therefore, everything I do on Twitter needs to have an ROI, so whether or not I do anything has to pass the “is it likely this will yield a positive return on investment?” test.
  2. I believe that if I want to influence large targeted groups of people, I need large numbers of people who are in my target market to follow me.
  3. It’s not accurate, but there are a large number of people who believe that large numbers of followers equals success. So, part of their criteria for choosing the people they will follow is whether or not those people will follow them back.I know, there are a large number of spambots that capitalize on that too, but that’s life. I’ll tell you how I deal with that in a minute.
  4. Therefore, since I want a large number of people to follow me, I’ve decided to reciprocate by following them back. I scratch, they scratch, both our backs are relived of itches.

Of course, this results in my following a large number of people. So how in the world do I read every post made by 36,000 people, many of whom post useless drivel on a consistent basis?

(Here’s the blunt part I warned you about…)

The answer is simple, I don’t.

I don’t read every post made by 36,000 people. I don’t even try.

But then again, I don’t know of anyone who follows large numbers of people who does.

Wait Don, aren’t you being dishonest? I assume that because you followed me, you’re reading what I say.

No, that’s not what I promised. I only promised to follow you, NOT to read everything you post.

Just as you don’t read everything I post!

You have your agency, as do I. Each of us choses to do what is most worthwhile in our lives. And reading every post made by 36,000 people doesn’t have an ROI.

Here’s what I do.

  1. I read everything that comes up in my Mentions feed – everything. So, if someone replies to me, I see it, and usually reply to it. Yes, I hold conversations, but only at your request, not by forcing myself uninvited into your conversation. (BTW – most of my conversations are held via DM, and (horrors) even email or (double horrors) the phone – I use the technology that works best for the issue at hand.)
  2. I make extensive use of groups – putting key people into groups and reading most of what is said by those people. How do you get into a group? Either hit my radar screen some other way, or start a great conversation with me through replies or retweets.And, once you get in a group, if you’re posting drivel, you’re banished. Sorry, but I try to live in a drivel-free zone as much as possible.
  3. I make extensive use of searches – proactively seeking out conversations that make sense for me to be a part of.

Everything else gets ignored 99% of the time.

From time to time, I do scan the main All Friends feed. But rarely.

Don’t I miss lots of important things as a result of this?

Possibly, but anything that’s truly worthwhile will become a meme, and will get picked up in other places. It will hit my radar screen.

Meanwhile, I can follow 36,000 people without going absolutely bonkers.

And you can too! You just have to get over the feeling that following someone on Twitter is a deep commitment to them, requiring you to read, ponder, and participate in everything they post, regardless of its drivel score.

I simply won’t do that. I make choices. And I live with the consequences. As do you.

What does this mean to you?

Here’s the real question – should you do the same?

It depends:

  1. Are you disciplined enough to ignore everything but what you choose to call important?
  2. Do you want to have a huge impact before you become a celebrity?

Than perhaps you should do the same. It’s up to you!

Feel differently? (Come on, I know you do…) Tell me so by placing a comment below!

Don Crowther
 

Don Crowther is a leading marketing, business strategy and online marketing expert. He helps companies ranging from Fortune-500-level giants to entrepreneurs make more money online using proven strategic and marketing techniques.

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