I think I have finally heard a decent way to use Twitter. Anne Jackson posted this on her blog and I thought I would share it. Anne is a cool chick and she is doing something cool right now. She is in India helping raise awareness for Compassion Children. If you don’t sponsor at least a dozen or so kids, go check it out.
Here is her blog post:
FOLLOWING CONVERSATIONS – NOT PEOPLE – ON TWITTER
It still happens.
Every once in a while I’ll meet someone who says, “I would have DM’ed you on Twitter but you don’t follow me.”or someone will post on Twitter how they’re deleting me because I don’t follow them back.
I’ve written about why I only follow a handful of people before (mainly because I don’t want to manage another inbox of Direct Messages – I have an email address, email me for the love!), but since have changed my strategy to become even more involved with conversations on Twitter. However, I still only follow a small group of people.
Let’s say all the people who follow me on Twitter and myself were in a big room at the same time. My friend Joe is somewhere in this room talking about his wife who just had a baby. I’m across the room by the food table eating a cookies. And cupcakes.
And in between us are 3300 other people talking.
Now let me ask you a few questions:
Am I going to hear my friend Joe over all the other conversations?
Am I even going to be able to make sense of all the noise 3300 people talking at once?
Last night when I twittered someone, “I don’t follow people on Twitter…I follow conversations,” he replied, “How can you engage in conversations if you don’t know they exist?”
Fair enough. I used to be a web-only Twittergirl. I have since moved on to TweetDeck, which allows me to better manage my small group of friends, but it also allows me the option to create and save groups based on searches.
Searches on TweetDeck are amazing. For instance you can search for simple themes you may be interested in like “church” or “baptism” or for me, “church burnout.” I also have searches set up for “Mad Church Disease” so I can see who’s talking about it and engage with them. Other fun searches that can help you engage in conversations with people you don’t follow are “Just finished reading” to see what someone just finished reading and what they thought or “Great post by” to see great blog posts you may have never found on your own. Clicking on others’ RTs (Retweets) and Retweeting things yourself is another way to introduce your followers to a new conversation.
Overall, unless you have a real strategy behind Twittering, by following a ton of people, you’re not networking. You’re only following a lot of noise. Sure, you may occasionally find a nugget to chew on, but a lot of other well-deserving Tweets will fall through the cracks and be buried in the chaos of the masses.
For example, a friend I work with follows me on Twitter. It was three weeks into my online media fast before he knew what I was doing, and it was because I told him face to face. He hadn’t seen the flood of Twitters about me quitting for Lent. Even as a close friend, I got buried in the noise.
If you truly want Twitter to be an effective social networking tool, strategize *somehow* (it doesn’t have to look like mine) or clean house. If you want it to be a flood of noise, keep hitting the Follow buttonand let the Tweets roll on by.