Quality not quantity: giving Twitter another try

Lifting up the whale

I have always tended to view Twitter in the same way as an RSS feed – it’s a distribution mechanism rather than a forum for exchange.

When I get a DM, a retweet or a mention, it’s nice and I try to reply but otherwise, there are just way too many tweets streaming past to pay attention.

But I think I may be making a mistake.

My hypothesis is that the problems I have with Twitter arise from the obsessive pursuit of quantity (how many followers) rather than quality (the type of interaction I have with people on Twitter).

So, this is what I’m doing in my experiment:

  1. Unfollowing most people, except people I know, have interacted with on my blog or elsewhere, do business with or find genuinely interesting (or I accidentally click on the wrong button!)
  2. Repeat until the number of tweets falls to a reasonable volume each day, perhaps 100-200
  3. Keeping a Twitter window open on my desktop
  4. Continue posting original, interesting content from my blogs to Twitter
  5. But also make more effort to RT other people’s tweets and comment
  6. And also write one or two tweets a day specifically for Twitter

My criteria for success are after, say, two weeks:

  1. I begin to find Twitter interesting, useful and worthwhile
  2. I reconnect with people that I had lost touch with
  3. It provides some interesting material for my blog, my work or my personal life

So, let’s see what happens. Tweet me @mstibbe with your comments, thoughts and tips!

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6 Responses to Quality not quantity: giving Twitter another try

  1. TC/Writer Underground April 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    I find myself in charge of a client’s Twitter account (add that to the list of sentences I never thought I’d type), and I contribute to a pair of others. Apparently, I just don’t have the 140 character gene. It works OK as a virtual RSS feed, but writing tweets just for Twitter hasn’t proved very efficient.

    Sadly, I’m no Andy Borowitz.

    I do find Hootsuite an extremely useful tool for monitoring multiple Twitter accounts, including search terms related to client markets.

    • Matthew Stibbe April 21, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      We use Hootsuite intermittently. I liked Tweetdeck until Twitter bought it and gutted it.

  2. Robin Capper April 21, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    One answer to Twitter overload is Lists. I use them to classify people I follow or want to keep in touch with without following. It reduces the overload factor in your main feed but allows you to review, and interact with a much larger group.

    I follow a few hundred folks but have several thousand in lists.

    • Matthew Stibbe April 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

      I probably should have done that. I’m guessing some people will auto-unfollow me if I don’t follow them back. But if they’re only following me because I increase their stats, I’m not sure I’m doing them any good anyway.

  3. Marian Cates May 6, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    When I started on Twitter some years ago, I would follow everyone who followed me. These days I follow only those whose ideas I’m interested in.These are not my personal friends.They are my idea friends, and I look forward to their tweets.

  4. Allister Frost May 7, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    I think of Twitter as the place I go to find “people I’d like to know”. That way it serves a very different purpose to Facebook, LinkedIn and the other big networks. It’s best to start small, only following people who tweet about stuff that interests you. Listening to the chatter without talking back is fine, even expected by experienced Twitter users. After a while you’ll want to talk back to a select group of people and before long you’ll have a small cluster of really interesting people that you now know thanks to Twitter.

    Quality beats quantity every time…

    And I second the shout out for Hootsuite; having all your networks in one place makes it far easier to establish listening/engaging as part of your daily routine. Socialbro is another fabulous tool that can really help when paring back a ‘following’ list and when looking for interesting people to engage with.

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