[twitter]A debate is raging on the twitternets about people who don’t automatically re-follow followers.
Some believe there is an unwritten rule that mandates when someone chooses to follow your tweets, you should automatically follow their tweets.
Twitter can be a great way to develop a community, get your news, and generate traffic for your blog. … It just seems like common courtesy to follow those who follow you, but does this result in information overload?
First off, is mutual or reciprocal following the predominant behaviour? I think so, though I haven’t seen any empirical data or surveys on the subject. I receive an occasional coolly-worded tweet from somebody on Twitter that implies that I should be following them presumably because they’re following me.
I take a decidedly lightweight approach to social media. If I haven’t met you or don’t know you personally, I’m not likely to add you as a friend or follow you. I currently follow about 200 people on Twitter and it’s still too much.
Follower count doesn’t matter. What matters is who you follow.
Robert Scoble has called Twitter the World Wide Talk Show, and while he may find it effective to auto-follow each and every person who adds him to their feeds, there are those of us who appreciate some signal in their noise.
I treat Twitter as a news source. I follow influencers, be they local or international. The people I follow on Twitter add value to my feed and give me information I can use. I would hope people add me based on that reason as well.
To paraphrase what Brogan says – it’s not about me, it’s about you. If I think you’re valuable, I’ll follow you – if you think I’m valuable, you’ll follow me. The two are mutually exclusive.
I follow Kevin Rose because I find it interesting to read about the adventures of a dot com entrepreneur. He probably wouldn’t find it interesting to follow the travails of a radio dj and media junkie in Vancouver. He adds value to me, I don’t add value to him.
And there’s no harm in that.
The problem I have with Facebook is the moment I allow someone to follow me, Facebook reciprocates the follow and my feed gets inundated with their information, photos, invites, groups and status updates. Being a public figure, I can’t really lock down the Facebook profile for fear of missing an opportunity to reach and out and communicate with my audience.
Twitter, however, lets me lock down the messages I read while allowing me to broadcast and communicate to as large an audience as possible.
Facebook is a wide community with everyone yelling and screaming at the same time and becomes difficult to follow. Twitter lets you manage the noise in your signal for a much more useful experience.
Twitter has leaders and followers. We all follow leaders, but leaders don’t necessarily need to follow the followers.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.