Culling Strategies in Twitter

23 Jul

In Twitter’s highly dynamic social network, it’s important to have a culling strategy as a way to connect to only the best, most interesting people. Here’s mine.

I start when someone wants to follow me. First, I don’t automatically follow people back as many do. In fact, I don’t automatically let them follow me. I review their bio, if they have one, and read a dozen or so tweets. If they are hardcore SEO “experts” I block them. If they are pornbots, I block them. If they are kids tweeting about their inane lives, I block them. If all their tweets are in a language I can’t read, I block them. If they don’t tweet, I block them.

So, yes, my culling strategy starts by cutting down the number of people I permit to follow me. A few people protect their tweets initially, forcing users to ask

permission to follow. I believe that limits the number of potential interesting people in your network. I say, let strangers, even the downright strange seek me out, then let the block function do its magic if need be.

Next, like most folks on Twitter, I follow those whose content I appreciate. But, as they say in investment circles, past performance is no indicator of how those I follow will act in the future. So, I regularly review those I follow. Occasionally, my initial impulse to follow someone was misguided and I discover that I no longer appreciate their content, so I unfollow. But my main reason for dropping people is that they have ceased tweeting. I allow for a hiatus of a month or so, but if their quietude goes beyond that I figure they have quit, got bored, maybe even died. Who knows? Doesn’t matter. They’re gone.

Finally, once in a while, I return to my followers list and review folks against the criteria I apply when I learn someone new is following me. Occasionally I will discover someone who has sneaked through my filters or has changed their spots and become a tweeter I do not appreciate, so I block them.

Having a good Twitter culling strategy for both those you follow and those who you let follow you requires a bit more effort, but it makes for a much more enjoyable social network.

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5 Responses to “Culling Strategies in Twitter”

  1. Shefaly July 23, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    I have a strategy for “following”. My criteria are public and they were written about on Twitip since Problogger thought they were cool. See: http://bit.ly/yBO0

    Accordingly, whoever fails my test gets sent to Room 101. I do regular culling to keep my stream relevant to me. If people follow me, that is great. Fine if they don’t. I have no issues. Many don’t follow me but converse with me. I too converse with those whom I don’t follow. But if someone following me has a protected stream, and esp no bio, I have no hesitation in blocking them right away. I do not follow anyone with a protected stream. I don’t think anyone is so fascinating or unique in 140 characters that it is worth protecting. :-/

    • Mark Everett Hall July 23, 2010 at 11:49 am #

      >>I do not follow anyone with a protected stream. I don’t think anyone is so fascinating or unique in 140 characters that it is worth protecting. :-/<<

      Hilarious and brilliant. (Or vice versa.)

  2. Mitch Betts July 23, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    Mark: I use a similar strategy. In addition, I have two tiers of following someone else: (1) real following and (2) just adding ’em to one of my Twitter Lists but not really following. In the latter category, they aren’t in my regular Twitter stream, but I can see what they have to say when I (less-frequently) check one of my topical Lists.

    • Mark Everett Hall July 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

      Very clever, Mitch. An excellent way to ease in marginal or Twitter newbies into your stream. Thanks.

  3. Mitch Betts July 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    One more strategy: I have a private VIP list of people I follow — those whom I follow most closely and most often (daily). For me, the VIP list has about about 100 of the 500+ folks I follow. These are my can’t-miss folks. (And you’re on my VIP list!) If I don’t have time to check my whole Twitter stream, I can at least monitor this “short list” of folks.

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