I don’t go out actively looking for new people to follow, but when somebody else follows me, these are the reasons why I’d turn around and follow them back:
10. Your tweets show a sense of humor.
If I laugh hard enough when I scan your most recent tweets, I’m in. I don’t even care what you do for a living or what we have in common – if you’re funny enough, then I’ll follow you because my workday could always use more yuks. Some examples of people I have nothing in common with and follow anyway:
I probably won’t catch up on the tweets they sent overnight or on the weekends, but I’ll look forward to ’em as they come in during the day.
9. You have an awesome profile photo or name.
For evidence, I give you the profile photo of @GDruckman.
Without even reading Geri’s profile, scanning his recent tweets or meeting him in person, you just know he’s going to be funny and unusual. And sure enough, he is.
Another example is @RobotsNoFollow – Eric Myers of Quest. It’s an inside joke for web site coders, and not only is the name funny to me, but the profile photo is hilarious. This could be a They Might Be Giants CD cover.
8. I know you in real life.
This is an instant pass. If I’ve worked with you, talked to you at a conference, or drank beer with you, you’re in.
I’ll then go into the list of people you’re following, and I’ll raid it looking for other people I know in real life. For example, I’ve had Quest Software people follow me, and through their friends I’ve found other Questies that had sneaked onto Twitter. Even if I don’t like you, I’m probably going to follow you if I work with you, because I wanna know what’s going on.
7. I’m friends with your spouse.
I’ve found that interesting people tend to marry other interesting people. Generally speaking, my friends’ spouses are really cool.
6. You use Twitter often, and show pictures every now and then.
If I glance at your Twitter profile and your last 20 tweets are all within the last week, bonus. I don’t want to follow people who are just playing with it and they’re not sure whether or not they’ll use it, because often, they don’t.
If you post interesting pictures with something like TwitPic, that’s a bonus. The key word is “interesting”, though. No pictures from the supermarket checkout line.
5. You have a lot more followers than friends.
If you’re following 5,000 people and you have 5,000 followers, that tells me you probably only got those 5,000 followers because you went out and followed people like crazy so they would follow you back, or you ran some giveaway to attract people.
If, on the other hand, your Twitter ratio looks more like Jeff Atwood’s, then that tells me there’s a lot of people interested in what you have to say. I’m going to look closely at your page before I decide to take a pass.
4. You’re interacting with other people I know.
If I glance at your most recent tweets and you’re carrying on conversations with other people I follow, that’s a good sign.
If you’re just yelling at them trying to sell them something, that’s a bad sign.
3. You suddenly follow me on other social networks.
If I get notification emails that you suddenly started following me on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and LinkedIn, I’m guessing you’re pretty serious about stalking me. That’ll make me stop and wonder more about who you are, because we’ve probably met somewhere that I didn’t remember.
Or you’re just a stalker freak, and I like knowing who those people are.
2. Your blog posts are announced on Twitter.
If you hook up your blog so that whenever you post an entry, it tweets, then that’s a big plus.
I use Twitter for a casual diversion during the workday – I’ll glance over at it when I’ve got a few free minutes, see what’s going on, and interact with friends. If I notice that you just posted a blog entry, I’ll go read it, and I might respond on Twitter if I’ve got comments or questions. It’s nice to have that realtime interaction with other bloggers.
And Reason #1 Why I’m Following You On Twitter:
You’re involved with something I like, but you’re not an “official” account.
These people are allowed to break all my Twitter rules:
- @CWGabriel – Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade, my favorite web comic
- @DellServerGeek – Scott Hanson of Dell
- @DontTryThis – Adam Savage of Mythbusters
- @GrantImahara – Grant Imahara of Mythbusters
- @Jseadub – Adam Savage’s spouse (that’s not really rule #9, because I’m not “friends” with Adam, but you get the idea)
- @Seamoss – one of the founders of Ping.FM, a service that lets you update all of your social networks at once
Notice that these are PEOPLE, not corporate accounts. Even though I think Anthony Bourdain is a genius, I don’t follow @NoReservations because it’s a boring corporate account.
This probably sums it all up pretty well – if you’re doing fantastic work, people are going to want to follow you. Going after a high-score-Twitter-follower-count is putting the cart before the horse – or to be more accurate, putting the marketing before the product.
More of My Twitter Articles
- My Simple Twitter Book – free download for a limited time
- Top 10 Reasons I’m Not Following You On Twitter – wondering why nobody’s following you back?
- Top 10 Reasons I *AM* Following You – how I pick who gets past my virtual bouncer.
- Twitter T-Shirts and Coffee Cups – you can get Twitter shirts with the fail whale, or get your own Twitter profile on a shirt.
- Twitter RT, OH, HT: The Slang Explained – I talk about what these cryptic terms mean and how to use them correctly.
- Twitter Client Demo Video – I show you TweetDeck, Seesmic Desktop and Orsiso, three different Twitter clients.
- How to Make a Bigger Twitter Profile – when people glance at your Twitter profile, they make a snap decision about whether to follow you. Give them the information they need to make a good decision.
- Browse All Posts Tagged “Twitter”
- How To Start a Blog – decide why you’re blogging, because that’ll affect the type of blog you start and how you build it.
- Browse All Posts Tagged “Blogging”
Want More Blogging & Twitter Tips? Follow me on Twitter. I tweet whenever I post a new blog entry, so you’ll always know when I’ve got new stuff. See you online!