Forget Everything You’ve Ever Learned About Twitter

You should always follow back everyone who follows you.

Only follow back the people that you feel can give you value.

Twitter is all about conversations.

Twitter is all about resource sharing.

You should get as many numbers as you can on Twitter–it’s all about quantity.

You should keep your numbers small so that you can create quality relationships with people.

Uh-huh. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there. And there’s a lot of folks out there who are trying to make money by “teaching you the right way,” yours truly included.

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I’m not trying to put myself out of business. I do genuinely believe there is a wrong way to be on Twitter, and there is a “more right” way of being on Twitter. But the truth is, this stuff is new, and it changes every day. Not so long ago, I was telling people that they should spend more time on Twitter “offering value,” and less time in conversation. But recently, I feel like things are shifting for me. I’m not saying you shouldn’t add value to Twitter–you should add value to all of your social networks–it’s incredibly important. But Twitter is also about creating and maintaining relationships with people. Relationships based on trust. That could someday lead to business.

The inspiration for this post comes from two podcasts that I recently listened to on my long drive up to Penticton last weekend to speak at the #Eat.Drink.Tweet. conference.

The first is by John McLachlan and Harriet Fancott on the Full Bleed Arts Marketing site. John talks about how he is actively culling the people he is following on Twitter, and why.

Then I listened to this really interesting podcast on Freakonomics Radio called Is Twitter a Two-Way Street? The hosts talk about how they have hundreds of thousands of followers, and yet follow no one back, and the ramifications of making that choice. They also talk to Justin Halpern, who got a book deal and a TV series out of his twitter stream: “Sh*t My Dad Says.” Justin follows just one person.

Here’s what I think. Rules are good. But rules are also made to be broken. I think, get a handle on the rules, figure out the game on Twitter, and then feel free to rewrite them so that they work for you.

In other words, go with your gut.

After you take my class or buy my book, of course. 😉



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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 7

  1. I wonder if there aren’t going to end up being multiple paradigms for Twitter behavior. The “follow one-mass followers” model for S*@$ My Dad Says. The “follow everyone back” model. The “cull who you follow” model. Etc.

  2. Great thoughts here Rebecca and thanks for sharing!

    Anybody who has to great fortune to live in the YVR area do take one of Rebecca’s course and for sure buy her book, I did, and WOW – there quite the SM and SN world out there waiting for you to seize the day!

    Maybe the tune “three coins in the fountain” also holds true here: “one for luck”, “one for love” and “one for me!”



  3. Another good one. I love Full Bleed Arts Marketing because they never fail to speak with passion and from the heart (which they mix with smarts), & that’s what you need for art, or why do it? I do agree that intuition and your gut will guide you. At least it does me.

  4. I tweet a lot and interaction is the thing that works for me. I agree with Gydion in that there are many ways of working it on Twitter. Make it work for you. Do what’s natural. Sidenote: I unfollowed Sh*t my Dad Says because he didn’t follow me back (ha ha that was a joke; although, I did unfollow him because I’m not really into that kind of thing 😉

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