5 reasons to follow you on Twitter; 5 reasons to un-follow

Is Twitter a fad; an addiction, or a revolutionizing business / social tool? Twitter has elements of a hot fad that will need to evolve if it intends to survive and outpace challengers: Miley Cyrus followed the rage only to collect 2 million followers and then drop them like a bad Billy Ray mullet.

For many others, it is highly addictive and has been well documented and ‘mockumented’ as such by many (see the Twitter Whore below). Shopping website Retrevo.com undertook a study of social media use and found that the addiction sometimes doesn’t even break for sex (or until shortly after the happy ending): 36% of under-35 users admitted to checking Twitter/Facebook/texts immediately after sex. The defacto post-coital addiction, the cigarette or scotch has been replaced by Tweets. Doesn’t this sound or feel like the behavior of a booze hound or heroin junkie?

Twitter, the leading ‘presence’ or ‘micro-blogging’ tool, is also revolutionary. This year alone it has rocketed in use from being in the top 1000 most used websites, to being in the top 13 most used websites (and this excludes mobile access / use from Blackberries and other PDAs). Regular, almost perfunctory visits to news sites, RSS clients or sites, and even Facebook, are being replaced by Twitter.

However, as is often the case with most things in life (and virtual life), the devil is in the details and the quality of the tool depends on the quality of the content, and the individual writing it (Tweeting). So with the devil in mind, here are 5 reasons why I (or others) will follow you, and 5 reasons why I’ll ‘unfollow’ you.

5 Reasons to Follow:

  1. Good Tweets: short, to the point, aptly descriptive with a link to more (article, post, etc.) on content that meets my interest and profile. I could care less if you’re having coffee, or your plane just landed, or you got new lipstick.

  2. Strong profile: your profile isn’t blank, or simply limited to a MySpace link or a strange iPhone number; it should state who you are, your role in business / life, and your expertise / interests.

  3. Open conversation: lots of quick posts and links, rather than a string of ‘replies’ or insider conversations with one or a couple of individuals.

  4. Original thought: by all means highlight and repeat article and blog posts and links, but I’m not interested in strings of ReTweets from others, I prefer the original.

  5. Leadership: demonstrate thought leadership and keen eyes for good content and articles within an acceptable timeframe, but not every 5 or 10 minutes. Please see a professional about your lingering emotional insecurities if you feel the need to Tweet strings of 5 or 6 consecutive Tweets in a 10 or 20 minute span – otherwise known as spam.

5 Reasons to Un-follow:

  1. Sheep: do you comb Twitter and follow as many people as you can just so they can follow you? See the above about emotional insecurities (especially you, Ashton). If you are following more than those that are following you, or if the ratio is even close to 1:1 then you really better have strong Tweets. Honestly, if you’re a sheep, then your shallowness lowers your esteem in the eyes of others, and frankly, you look worse then if you never had a Twitter account.

  2. Spam: there’s no surer way to turn-off a follower than issuing lots of consecutive Tweets in short succession, many times per day. In fact, if you’re Tweeting more than 12 times per day then it better be meaningful or as entertaining as a Three’s Company rerun. There are some, like @Mashable, that I generally really enjoy, even though he Tweets several times per hour. However, even on the strength of his Tweets, he’s pushing his luck and I find myself irritated when I see his face too many times on the first screen of TweetDeck. I generally issue 3-6 Tweets per day.

  3. Gossip: there’s enough fluff and crap on ET, TMZ and those other cesspools of anti-journalism; I avoid those, and avoid Tweeple who repeat it. Occasional gossip and jokes are encouraged, just keep it to a minimum and make sure it’s well-founded. Ditto the ‘insider conversations’ best exemplified by teenagers or wannabe teenagers that have pages of @replies that make no sense to an outside reader.

  4. Profile: why would I follow you if I don’t know who you are, your expertise / interests lie, or worse, you try and disguise who you are?

  5. Bad Tweets: Twitter isn’t a replacement for conversation, so don’t try and use it as a debating tool or the school sandbox. Some of my favorites: “What’s up guys?” and “I really think, and I’ve given this much sober thought, that Britney Spears is a true, American hero … (blah, blah).” You get the drift.

You get the point; be a good Tweep, not a twirp.

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