I used to think that I should follow fewer people on Twitter than the number of people who follow me. When I had 100 followers, I felt that I could follow up to 100. When I had 1000 followers, I felt that I could follow up to 1000. The reason? I didn’t want to be a loser.
3 TYPES OF TWITTER USERS
I had divided Twitter users up into three groups based on their ratio between the people they follow and their followers:
- The snobs: These people follow like 5 people but have hundreds of thousands of followers. Well, that might be overstating it a bit, but the ratio is generally at least 1 followed to 10 (or more) followers.
- The average: These people have approximately equal followers; generally a ratio of 1-to-1 (somewhere thereabouts).
- The losers: These people follow lots of people but aren’t followed by nearly as many. Their ratio could be 2-to-1 or 5-to-1.
I wanted to be average. I knew I would never be popular enough to be a snob and didn’t want to be a loser by coming across as a desperate follower. (That sounds a lot like high school, actually, and that’s a depressing thought). I know I’m not alone in this thinking; I’ve heard the “Twitter snob” reference on more than one occasion. And there are lots of apps and resources that talk about getting people to follow you.
I CHANGED MY THINKING
Recently I changed my mind on this issue. The catalyst was my review of my LinkedIn account. On LinkedIn, I’ve indicated that I am an open networker (that’s the “LION” acronym you often see), which basically says that I accept all invitations from others.
I made the change in LinkedIn because I’m a writer. I write more effectively when I’m listening to other people. I want my writing to be relevant, interesting, and to transcend traditional thinking to teach people new things. In order to do that, I need to be widely connected and I need to listen to a lot of people, both inside and outside of my target markets. It made sense to adopt that “widely connected” mindset in LinkedIn and I’ve recently realized it makes sense to adopt the same mindset in Twitter.
ARE YOU LISTENING?
It applies to you, too. I don’t think you need to be a writer for this to be a relevant truth. We all benefit more when we listen: We remain relevant; we build up our Rolodexes; we hear problems and needs; we break down barriers and transcend traditional thinking.
It’s valuable to listen… and that’s why I’m joining the losers by following more people on Twitter.