Twitter 101: Friends and Followers

Class Objective: Friends and Followers

  • Considerations when making friends on a new playground
  • Finding friends to follow

First Day of School – How to be a Follower

It’s hard to be the new kid in the cafeteria…while some people jump in head first, most like to dip a toe in first.

Q: How do I start following @MeeseMusic
on Twitter?

A: @MeeseMusic
can be followed doing the following:

Go to their page:

If you are not already following them, you’ll get the option to “Follow” them. Click on the button.

Before: Option to follow

After: Confirmation you are now successfully following

Numbers don’t lie, so keep the numbers in mind. (I minored in math so I <3 any numerical).

@MeeseMusic has 789 people following them (at post time.) However they are only following 56 people:

Number of Followers >> Number of Following

I.e. 789 >> 56

Normally in this case (where the numbers are so significantly different), the people @MeeseMusic are following people are the only people they want to show they care about. This is a good indicator that these tweeps are well worth following and time has been invested to only follow a select subset.

Why do some tweeps not follow everyone following them? Possible (and perfectly valid) reasons:

  • They have 2 million+ followers and know they won’t be follow that much tweet traffic (remember twaffic) so they only follow pertinent tweeps they’re more likely to respond to.
  • They appreciate being followed but only want to see tweet messages they know about.
  • They are already a household name and don’t need to follow people to be followed. A lot of times, to get to the word out about your tweets, you’ll follow people to get them to follow you back. Your number of tweeps grows from this over time.
  • They want to promote specific tweeps. For example, @GoogleVoice has almost 17,000 followers but they’re only following 3. These three are part of the Google Voice team…anyone looking at their profile will instantly ask, “Hmmmm, why is @GoogleVoice only following 3 people?” You feel compelled to find out who are the 3 and why!? They were very specific about who they followed because they wanted to attract attention to other tweeps. Consider if it’s important for people to know who you’re following before you start following everyone under the sun to your timeline.

    Many restaurants only follow the local chains on Twitter; this is the case with many businesses. *Will you have multiple twitter accounts specific to location, etc.? Take the time to create a standard naming convention: or MAIN<[4 char of street name, etc.]> That way, regardless of where you are, the user can find your business again in another area. (Keep it short and simple.)

    For example: Bello Pizza has restaurants all over America and each one will have a Twitter page.

    @BelloPizza will be the main head quarters/HR department…and @BelloPizzaSATX & @BelloPizzaLACA will be regional locations that can offer specific discounts or events.

Several ways to find people to follow:

I’ve only been actively been using Twitter for about a month now and a half so I’m not expert follower. (However, to instill confidence I HAVE already written a couple Perl programs with the Twitter API – details in a subsequent post…)

3 Main Ways I find People to Follow:

  1. Brute Force – you’ll know it when you see it…(consider this the “browse” option.)
  2. Pattern Matching – You know who you want to follow, just need to find them…
  3. Backtracking – someone’s following me…should I follow them?

Geekette Alert: Did you know the three I listed are also common computer algorithms? An algorithm is a problem solving method with specific execution instructions. See their wikis here: Brute Force search, Pattern Matching search, and Backtracking

Although I originally planned to keep all this information in 1 post, my next 3 posts will highlight these three methods, turned out to be just too long for 1 post!

Future Twitter posts will also include details about specific Twitter tools I used for efficient delivery, calculating your Twitter grade (see how you’re doing…), and how to write your own Twitter program!

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