I love twitter. I mean I really really really love twitter. It’s so much fun and really quite useful. Twitter is fully a part of my days and is quite fully integrated into my life at this point. Being this addicted to twitter makes it hard to step back and understand how others use the service. I’d say it’s a safe bet that applies to a lot of us based on the barrage of crap and criticism Rand Fishkin (@randfish) takes everytime he raises his head on twitter.
Let’s face it, there’s probably nobody else in our little corner of twitter, that gets more crap for not following everybody back. As of right now Rand has 4740 follwers and only follows 9 people himself. What does this mean? Well, it could mean that Rand is using twitter as a broadcast medium and not a conversation medium like the rest of us. Is that true? Let’s look:
hmmmm – looks like any other twitter stream out there. Actually, it probably has more @s than a random page of my tweets.
I hopped on IM with Rand today and we got chatting about twitter and how he uses versus how I use it and I think I get it now. Read on for an examination of how we use twitter differently and how I think Rand could engage better on twitter with out it costing him too much time and focus.
Let’s talk about Rand first because it’s easy to break down his twitter methodology. Rand follows 9 people that important to him personally. He only follows those nine because he doesn’t want to miss anything they tweet and if he were to follow hundreds of people his important 9 would be too easily lost in the flow. Rand also has most everybody he follows sent to his phone. Imagine if he added just one more follower: me. I alone would mess up that system entirely.
Rand also doesn’t use any tools. He used his mobile, and the web interface. If those are the only tools you use and want to actually keep up with anything then yeah, 9 follows is pushing it.
Rand’s basic twitter philosophy is to follow a handful of personally important people fully and then use search.twitter.com to look up anything else. That’s fine. I get it. It’s just exactly opposite of my philosphy. My philosphy is to follow a ton of people and then go to their individual feeds as necessary to back read and catch up when needed. I use twitter to see what people are talking about right NOW and then jump in. Rand uses twitter to see what his circle HAS BEEN talking about.
I follow a bit over 600 people right now and it’s always growing. I have one rule about following people: If you @ me I will follow you back once I verify you aren’t a bot. It’s that simple. How do I manage to follow that many people and not miss too much stuff? I’ll tell ya and maybe Rand will even adopt some of these ideas and have more fun with twitter.
First off I use TweetDeck on my desktop and run twitter on a second monitor along with IM and email. Communications is a monitor to itself. TweetDeck rocks because it allows you to group and segment your twitter feeds in a variety of ways and display the custom feeds in side by side panels. My TweetDeck has several panels:
- All Friends
- Replies – all @oilman responses
- Group: Oilman – gotta keep track of what I’ve tweeted
- Search: MrsOilman – keepin and eye on the wife
- Direct Messages
- All Friends
- Replies – all @randfish responses
- Group: Randfish- gotta keep track of what he’s tweeted
- Group: Rand Clan – put your 9 in here
- Search: SEOmoz – track mentions of the company
- Direct Messages