How We Follow

Tire Tracks Disappearing into the Desert

Choosing who to follow on Twitter is like the tagline of any action movie sequel: this time, it’s personal.

Talking to fellow PRBC-ers made me realize all the different barometers people use to decide with whom they interact on Twitter. There is no right and wrong way, I guess, except spam-following. Which is totally doing it wrong. But discussing what makes someone followable or not is, I think, valuable because lots of us still aren’t sure what our personal rules should be.

Take me, for example. My following patterns make me look more like a schizophrenic than an even-keeled adult. I started on Twitter by following people I knew but soon saw that some of my friends (God love ’em) just weren’t good follows. Then I started following people I didn’t know but wanted to: journos, bloggers, Stephen Fry, people who said smart things. Then I started stealing a lot of Christina’s good follows because, dang, that girl knows everyone. A bio, I think we can all agree, is key in the follow decision. If there is no bio or URL? No can do.

My unfollow rules are more carved in stone than my follow rules. I usually hit the unfollow button after a series of irritating tweets that could be of no benefit to anyone, anywhere in the world. (One can be forgiven, but six is my limit.)

Now I’ll let the other PRBC-ers chime in with their follow rules.

Kate says: “I usually follow anyone back if they have PR/public relations or communications in their bio. I follow writers (@redheadwriting), journalists, fellow Quinnipiac people, PR and MarComm people. I also follow fashion, John Mayer, Mo Rocca, and Obama. There is a rare instance when I will follow someone with protected tweets.”

Danielle says: “I review people’s recent tweets (usually about two pages worth) and analyze the content of their tweets. My goal is to be a good source of relevant, industry-specific (i.e. PR) information for my followers, so I am looking to follow people who can supply me with that information. Besides those sources, I follow people who provide content related to my extracurricular interests (i.e. baking & cupcakes), media, people I meet at networking events and, on rare occasion, a celebrity. People who auto-dm me are typically unfollowed.”

Chris says: “I typically follow people based on their photo and what their last tweet was. Of course if they interact with me I follow them as well. I enjoy fun people, if someone has a stream of fun things I can interact with, then I’ll follow.”

Marie says: “I will follow back anyone that talks about anything remotely interesting. Primarily I follow back parenting and social media/PR peeps, but if someone talks about music, home decor and/or sports I’m down. However, if their streams are filled with ads, there’s no interaction, or they look like they are a porno star, I won’t follow them back.”

Keith says: “I follow people within the areas that I have both personal and professional interests (PR, marketing, baseball and running), with more of an emphasis on PR and marketing folks, since I get a ton of great info, resources and blog posts from my Twitter followers. I also like to take a nice look at people who retweet my blog posts or who have really passionate things to say about the PR business, as they interest me and I find it easier to engage with them.

“Major turnoffs with Twitter followers are those that only tweet promotional things for themselves or for their business, or who have an overly snarky/elitist attitude about who they are and what they do within the social media space. I’m not looking for someone to tell me why everyone else is wrong and they are right; I’m looking for people to follow that want to help those around them get better at what they do and enjoy life.”

Christina says: “I joined Twitter for two reasons: to learn and to build relationships with people I would never have met before. When I first joined I searched for people that were passionate about the things that interest me: public relations, music, travel, coffee, etc ;). I then sought out the people conversing with their community and tweeting information, articles, that they thought were interesting. Now that I’ve found my niche/community, I turn to my peers and see who they are connecting with and who  they recommend on Follow Friday. I’ve found some great new people via Twitter lists too.

“As far as ‘follow back’ goes I’m more apt to follow back if you’ve conversed with me. Don’t just hit ‘follow stina6001’ and never introduce yourself. You’re following me because we have things in common (more or less) so just say hi!”

If y’all have an interesting or efficient way to figure out who to follow, let us know in the comments.

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