According to the Hammeritelyesque named When did you join Twitter? I first ventured in early January 2007, as most early users I then duly ignored it for for a few months while writing dismissive blog posts, which I can no longer seem to find, about what a giant waste of time it was. Then I actually started using it and slowly gathered followers, got more involved and now really should be thinking about undergoing the twelve step programme.
With now over three years fairly constant usage under my belt, I’ve become a bit reflective and seeing someone else welcome a new follower the other day jogged my memory of how the way we use Twitter has changed over its very short existence, though I guess internet years are somewhat similar to dog years, if not more so.
Anyhoo, below is an rough evolution of how I think Twitter following has evolved from the early days which has been knocking around my head for a while, enjoy and feel free to add your own suggestions, if they are any good I’ll do a revised version. Mebbe.
- After waiting for ages and checking several times a day notice someone has followed you, check them out immediately, follow them back immediately
- Still checking several times a day, you now send tweet a hand-crafted welcome twee to each new follower and then never speak to them again
- Follower numbers are steadily climbing, i.e. you’re almost to triple figures, so you auto-follow those who follow you
- You still use auto-@replies but now you bung as many handles as your standard witty welcome will allow in 140 characters
- You realise you’re now following 50 horny Brittany’s, 200 social media guru’s and handful of web marketing experts who haven’t upgraded themselves to guru status as yet
- Half the social media gurus and all of the web marketing experts have auto-DM’d you a spammy welcome message
- Stop the auto-follow
- Numbers are still climbing and you realise you may be spamming your followers, so you stop the auto-welcome
- Briefly consider the auto-dm option
- Feel dirty and pretend you didn’t consider the auto-dm option
- Add request to your bio for new followers to @ to say ‘Hello’ and perhaps get a follow back
- Eventually take request off bio as no-one ever seems to do as requested
- Fall into a steady pattern of watching numbers climb, occasionally checking to see if anyone interesting now thinks you’re interesting
- Occasionally user tools like Twit Cleaner to root out dead accounts
- Get frustrated by lack of bulk unfollow.
- Unfollow anyone who hasn’t tweeted in over a year. Feel oddly guilty.
- Get oddly over excited when sharp rise in numbers is due to real people following you, not spammers – do not greet or acknowledge in anyway
- Try to remember to flag interesting peeps on fridays, remember every Saturday. Feel guilty, briefly
- Create various segmented lists of you those you follow
- Never check lists
- Get excited when the ‘lists you are on’ number goes up, get disappointed that it’s another Twibes based one
- Resolve to remove yourself from Twibes. Forget.
- Get annoyed that Twitter’s new who to follow tool seems to suggest following people you’re already following
- Find out that you are mysteriously not following them anymore
- Re-follow them
- Ignore rest of list who are people you have previously definitely unfollowed
- Wait for Twitter to come up next evolution in follow management that will no doubt frustrate and infuriate in equal measures