Twitter 101: Friends and Follows III

3rd Main Way 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


By definition, backtracking involves problems where you already have potential solutions, now you just have to figure out which one is the right one for you.  Similar to brute force, the first place to browse potential followings is your follower’s list.  In this case you go through your own list to see if there are tweets or profiles that catch your eye.  You can also this is on an individual basis, as you’re alerted to new tweeps following you (by default you receive an email per new follower, in real time.)

Before following them ask yourself:

  • Is this a real person? It’s very easy for programmers to script a “twitterbot” which goes out and randomly starts following everyone!  A good indicator is the number of people following them versus the number of people they’re following.  If he’s a 500 people and only 2 people are following him, there’s a good chance he’s not worth following.  Check out his profile if the username or first/last name are not intuitive.  (Another reason to take your time picking a name…)
  • Is it ok if this person sees the information I’m tweeting? (If your privacy is set to high, make sure you know who you’re letting follow you…)  Protect yourself, there are iPhone apps that give your exact GPS location…make sure you are comfortable with that information being sent out.

If everything checks out start following them.  If you don’t like their tweets you can always “unfollow” them (by click on the same button you clicked to follow them in the first place.)

Check out my next posts, I’ll go into 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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