OK, so I just wrote a whole bunch of waffle and deleted it. Let me try that again and go straight to the point: How do I personally choose who I follow? I am very purposeful about finding great people to follow, so first I check out those who are following me, they get first look in, and secondly I search all kinds of interesting topics and hashtags. I want diversity and realistic and people who are keeping it real rather than any one box, or sticking only to the “popular”. There are a lot of bright newbies out there I have no doubt. So here are my criteria for whether I click that “follow” button:
- Do they look interesting? I like this one because it has no boundaries. I like interesting people and just about anyone real and congruent can fit this category. I am always looking for people “outside the square” or who have fallen between the cracks somewhat. Something does need to draw me in, but there are no limits to what that could be.
- Do they “look” real? There was one girl who followed me with thousands of followers since January but only 2 tweets ever within 5 minutes of her signing up. Call me stupid, but she doesn’t look real to me, and really, it doesn’t matter if she is real or not, I am not going to learn a single thing from her, or be encouraged by anything that she says or does because it is all silence… So nope, if they don’t look real then I don’t click.
- Who do they follow? Last week as I was looking through potential people to follow I checked out someone who by most measures looked really interesting. But when I looked at who he follows, while he was a male, the page of followers were almost exclusively female, young, with a spattering of cleavages and pouted mouths through the list. In many ways I think that we are who we follow, who we support, who we care about, and who we want to see. This guy appeared (and I am open to the fact that I am wrong) to enjoy that kind of genre and that is great for them. But it just isn’t my kind of tribe.
- Are they “Keeping it real”? That person in the last example had a twitter feed that was all about wholesomeness, yet this was not reflected in who he follows, and as you know, I am not about incongruent masks or double standards. I want variety in who I follow, but I need them to be proud of who they are, regardless of who or what that is.
- Who do we have in common as followers? Now that I am building communities for myself and getting to know people, increasingly as I “check someone out” as a potential to follow, I am noticing that some of them already have a bunch of people who I already know and follow, following them. Sometimes that is enough for me. Because of the respect that I have for many of the people I follow, having 10 of them already following someone is a pretty good recommendation for me. If I am too tight on my criteria then how will I ever find the fabulous people who are outside of the boxes that I build for myself?
- Numbers mean little to me. I am not drawn to people because of massive follows, but I wont say no on that basis either. We are all at different places in our Twitter journey. The other day I followed three people with less than 20 friends and only a few tweets. This is because I myself was brand new only a month ago and a whole bunch of people took a chance on me, whether by choice, accident, or whatever, they gave me the chance to prove myself. I want to do the same for others. Now to be clear, they all appear to belong to one of my tribes or another. They are either Chronic illness … writers, bloggers, memoirists… or a bunch of other things that I find appealing. It doesn’t mean that I will stay following them forever, if they become inactive, uninteresting to the extreme, or become spam in any way then that doesn’t really work for me. But I’d love to give them a chance…
- I also check through those that I follow on a regular basis. I am obviously not always right and social media is a great place for all kinds of bad people to hide. So for me follows aren’t set in concrete and if I follow someone based on the best knowledge that I have at the time, it is always good to double check that choice a few weeks later…