Twittequite is Dead
I recently attended the Engage Collaborate Commune seminar. In a breakout session, I got into a conversation about followers to following on Twitter. There is a large divide between those who believe in follow-backs, and the picky party. I fall into the latter category. For now, we will address them as Party A, and Party B respectively. Here is the reasoning behind each…
“My philosophy is to follow everyone who follows me. If someone takes the time to follow me, I’m going to honor that by following them and attempting a relationship and conversation,” argued Cindy Ratzlaff from the Engage Collaborate Commune breakout session.”
She continued, saying, “Those interested will eventually become very visible to me and me to them. The others fall away and don’t distract me. I use Twitter lists as my most important tool in that regard. They help me filter the stream. I’ve been contacted by media, booked for speaking engagements and gotten major new accounts all through Twitter and my feeling is that if I hadn’t followed folks back, I may have missed some of those opportunities.”
This is my own opinion… It’s all about the pre-screen. I personally believe you shouldn’t follow everyone that follows you. With such a broad audience, not aligned to a target demographic, it’s too easy to have nothing in common with the person/brand you are following. That’s the main reason I test the value before I even follow. I find this saves headache in the long run. It helps me figure out if your brand can offer value to me, and if I can offer value to your brand. Otherwise, we’re just two Twitter ships passing in the night.
Other than that though, Party A isn’t built to sustain conversation. So where’s the logic in that? Some might argue that the brand is the common tie, but if all you talk about on Twitter is your brand, you are missing the value of relationships.
In many ways, my pre-screening tells me if we’re compatible before we talk. If we are compatible, then I’ll approach Twitter like a themed party. I’ll go around, meet people, strike up conversations and see where the interests lie. Sometimes you talk about yourself (brand), other times you talk about nonsense (Charlie Sheen). Isn’t that what being social is all about? Party A seems more like this…
Everyone has something to say, it’s loud, and there is no pause to listen.
A year or so ago, I would have said Party A was the way to go because of it’s simple Twittequite (etiquette on Twitter built around the concept that following is a sign of respect.) But after a few months of 500 followers and following 500, it was impossible to cipher through the imposters and pick out the conversations worth pursuing. Here’s the bottom line. If you are using Twitter for awareness, then you have nothing to lose by going with Party A. If you are using Twitter to engage, incite trial, provide customer support, or create advocates for your brand, Party B should be your method of choice. Although I only follow 186 on Twitter currently, I would put the value of my conversations with them up against many of those who subscribe to Party A. If you’re ready to get serious about your brand, then forget this chivalrous notion of Twittequite. Like chivalry, Twittequite is dead.
So, which party do you follow?
Hit us back…