I was an "early adopter" of Twitter, but a late "convert", somewhat tracing the usage arc of the system (going from the folks who text their friends with meaningless crap all day in the early months, to the current "firehose" of information in nearly real-time). Until relatively recently, I had a pretty trim "follow" list, just certain people in certain industries who wrote certain types of Tweets that I found useful/fascinating. However, over the past few months, my list has grown five-fold, and it's gotten to the point that my somewhat obsessive habit of reading every post, every day, has become a HUGE time sink.
I was just reading an otherwise very interesting post from a gal over there which included this:
Now, I currently follow (and am followed by) 400-500 folks on Twitter, which is getting to be more than I can possibly keep up with. What I don't get is how one can even TELL that thousands of Twitterers "share interests" with you, since it would be realistically impossible to READ that many posts on a regular basis, let alone tens of thousands! How can you find "friends" in that crowd?I went out and followed thousands of people who shared interests with me. Many of them followed me back. Six months of doing that and I had gone from 4,000 followers to 20,000 followers. I’ve also met a ton of new friends.
I have become very lax in even looking at people who follow me on Twitter (I get an e-mail telling me when somebody does, but I've not even opened those for the past few weeks, not having time left over from my current Twitter reading to "get around to it", and having a dread of adding in MORE reading ... and I'm not up to 500 people yet!
What I'm trying to figure out is HOW one can have a "meaningful engagement" with thousands of people without actually READING what they're saying ... how does this work??? I've asked a couple of folks who have five or six figure follow lists, and they tend to say that they read their DM's (direct messages, which I almost never get), and their @ mentions (places where they've been name-checked in other people's tweets, like "@BTRIPP") and nothing else. To me, that would be almost like NOT FOLLOWING anybody ... they're not "engaging" with the other people, they're not interacting, they don't even SEE it unless "it's about them".
Now, I realize that a LOT of these people are trying to make their living pretty much on Twitter, and having five, six, or even seven-figure sets of "followers" is essential to drive volume to whatever it is they're selling. But I find it frustrating to either dismiss or ignore folks who are (for whatever reason) "reaching out" to follow me just because I can't take much more data flow!
I, frankly, would very much LIKE to have some feedback from the Twitterverse on this, but when I started posting about it, the 140-character limit was making it impossible to even adequately frame the question, so I'm doing this post here and will do a bit.ly link to this.
I've been putting off setting up something like TweetDeck or HootSuite because of my typically lengthy "comfort curve" with new systems, those would let me "sort" folks into categories that would allow me to pay various degrees of attention (i.e., read ALL job listings, occasionally look at what's coming in from "courtesy re-follows", etc.) to various Tweets, but it still leaves the issue of engagement and interaction hanging.
Anybody with particular insights on all this want to opine on it for me?