Why Rand Fishkin Doesn’t Follow You

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:

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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
I could make it more detailed but that basic config works for me. Here’s how I suggest someone like Rand could use TweetDeck:
  • 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
Here’s my TweetDeck:
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ok – let’s move on to Mobile.

When Rand says “mobile” I’m assuming he means SMS only because he has a Windows Mobile phone and there is crap for apps for those things. Possibly he’s using the mobile web version of twitter but is pretty awesome suckage as well. Rand, if I’m wrong let me know and I’ll update this section. Using twitter via SMS alone sucks. I don’t blame anybody that has a low follow count if this is the case.

I have an iPhone and I died a little inside when I bought it but I love it for twitter. There are a ton of decent twitter apps that make using twitter on the road a breeze. I use twitterfon as well as bookmarking some custom search results in Safari. I use the custom search results in a effort to avoid bumping up against twitter’s annoying API limits. I don’t have a single person I follow sent to my phone via SMS but I do have all Direct Messages sent to my phone. I do that mostly so I can entertain you all by tweeting my cell phone number when I’ve forgotten to add the “d username” to the SMS. All in all I much prefer using twitter from the desktop of laptop vs my iPhone but it’s very managable either way.

So why doesn’t Rand Fishkin follow you? Honestly? Cuz twitter simply doesn’t factor into his life the same way it does into yours and mine. If you think that because he’s not following you he’s not paying attention you are sadly mistaken. 

Sorry to all you that thought I was going to slap Rand around hehe. Sure, I’d love to see him engage more on twitter. It often feels like twitter is the bar at a conference and we’re all mixing and mingling and moving around have a good old time and Rand is standing by the entrance trying to decide if he should come party with us. Rand, come on in. The beer is cold and people are friendly. Oh, and my twitter id is @oilman if you ever want to follow me back 😉

Affiliate Summit West 2009 – Oilman And A Giant Crab

Wow – was Affiliate Summit already a month ago? Crap. They were super cool to give me a press pass and I’m only now getting around to writing up my thoughts on the show. Sorry Shawn.

I wanted the stir to die down so I could re-engergize the coverage…yeah…that’s my story.

As many of you know I started my SEO career as an affiliate selling Phentermine and Viagra. Back then there was no real affiliate community like we see today. I’ve been out of the game for several years now so you can only imagine my jaw was on the floor when I showed up in Vegas last month. The place was crawling with affiliates, merchants, technology companies, and affiliate network companies. The show floor was packed. I haven’t seen that many booths at conference outside of maybe SES NY in a long time. You literally could hardly move through the aisles. 

The other thing that really struck me was how well attended the vast majority of the sessions where. People were hungry for information and by and large were asking very well thought out questions. I even unoffically joined the SEO panel with some of my good friends (@davesnyder, @cshel, @ericlander and @scottpolk). I ran around with the microphone doing my best Vanna White impression. The panel went really well. We even wound up with this great video review: 


On the last day of the show I was having coffee with Heather Paulsons and ran into a long time friend of mine, Kris Jones, from PepperJam. We talked at length about the lack of crossover between the affiliate conferences and the more traditional confernces. I can safely say I will be working hard this year to make it to ASE09 in NY – maybe even as a speaker – hint hint ;). 

The show was refreshing to me and I’m motivated to use some the that time I spend watching TV in the evenings to get back into some affilaite marketing for a little extra pocket change as well as some new learning opportunities. I’m actually starting to learn how to do some PPC for my own stuff but don’t tell all my SEO buddies – they’ll disown me.

This was my second Affiliate Summit. I went one of the very first shows years ago and I am absolutley impressed with what Shawn and Missy have built over the years. Well done. I’ll be back.

As a parting gift – here’s me with a giant crab at ASW09:


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Martin Schaedel – One In A Billion

A long time friend of mine was tragically killed in a plane crash this week. If you didn’t get the chance to meet the mysterious and charismatic Matin Schaedel then you missed out. I had the opportunity spend a fair amount of time with him over the years at various conferences here and abroad and my life, both personally and professionally, is better for it. 

I met Martin for the first time in London in 2002 and I remember thinking to myself “How did that kid get in here?” Then I spoke to him and found myself speaking to a bona fide business man that had knowledge and ability far beyond his years. For years after that I was constantly amazed and baffled when I would hear about his business exploits. If I can be half the entreprenuer he was I’ll be happy. The connections Martin made over the years are truly impressive and I’ve never met a singler person that didn’t out right love him within 30 seconds of meeting him.  He took us all along with him in some way or another by always thinking of his friends and including us in opportunities at every possible turn.

Martin my friend, I wish I’d had more time and been more intentional with our friendship. Rest In Peace.

Thanks to Brett Tabke for sending me this picture. I’m glad to have it:


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More memories of Martin:

  • Morten Lund
  • Dave Naylor
  • WebmasterWorld
  • Fred Wilson
  • Danny Sullivan
  • LA Times
  • Twitter @martin
  • Silicon Alley Insider
  • Martins Flickr Stream
  • All Things Digital
  • Vote Damnit! I Would If I Could.

    Generally when somebody tags me in one of these blogger meme things I just ignore it but this one is worth commenting on. So watch the video then read the post then have a beer or three if you like.


    You all know by now that I’m Canadian.  I know you all know because pretty much none of you pass up the opportunity to make a joke about it. I’m cool with that. I’m secure in my Canadianism. With that security and national pride comes a propensity to vote. Voter turnout in Canada in 2006 was 47% of the population or blazing 64.7% of registered voters vs 59% in the US. Honestly, until I researched that I thought the numbers would be way lower. I thought that because, to be blunt, I simply don’t care. I should say I simply DIDN’T care. Now I do. What’s changed?

    I don’t live in Canada anymore. I move to the US just in time for an amazingly interesting election and just in time to watch the economy fall apart around me. I also have kids and I worry about their future. When I lived in Canada I didn’t (free healthcare etc etc). In short, I’ve grown up and it occurred to be that part of being an adult is doing my part to make the world a better place. Yeah, I know, that’s a nice platitude and you can probably get it printed on a decorative plate to hang on the wall but there’s simply not a better way to say it.

    Make the world a better place. Go vote. I think the world will be better when we use your voices to propel it in a direction. We may not agree on the direction we want to move but we can all agree that where we are right now is not a place worth staying.

    I can’t vote but you can so don’t waste it. I’m gonna go hassle my wife right now to make sure she’s registered.

    What are you doing still reading this? Go register…

    Tagging: Jeremiah Andrick, Rhea Drysdale, Kenny Hyder, Lindsay Perkin, Monica Wright

    Microsoft Advance08 Live Blogging

    Hi all – I know it’s been a long long time since I posted anything to this blog so I thank all you that have stayed on as subscribers 🙂

    Today I’m attending Advance08 at Microsoft. The line up of speakers for this event is absolutely amazing:

    • Bill Gates
    • Michael Eisner
    • James Cameon
    • Arianna Huffington
    • Philippe Dauman
    • and more

    I’ll be live blogging several of the key presentations but here’s the catch: I’m blogging it over at the Visible Technologies blogs at www.visinsights.com.  So tune in and enjoy the day with me.


    Where is Communicado? Not sure but I’ll mostly be hangin out there for the next few days as we pack up the big truck and move the fam to Gig Harbor WA.

    It’s funny how right after a conference the Linkedin and Facebook invites start flowing in fast and furious. I’ll get to all you folks in a week or so and confirm all your friend requests.

    To all you long lost friends that have emailed…I got the emails and it was great to see you all again as well. I’ll work on some specific replies when I can. Yeah MDS, I’ll drop you a line soon 🙂

    Hang tight peeps – see you on the flip side.

    Viva Las Vegas

    Well I’m part way to Las Vegas for Pubcon. Based on the weather reports rolling in last night for the Pacific Northwest, it was doubtful I’d be in Vegas today, but after reading a morning weather post on Vegasguy.com, as usual, it turned out that the weather people were a bit off. Seems there’s a Pineapple Express rolling our way but it’s moving slower than expected. Yay for me cuz now I can play craps today. I’m on 6 or 7 panels this year – a couple as speaker and most as moderator. I really need to not be so helpful. Hopefully craps and booze will still figure prominently into the mix. Stop by a session and say Hi. Here’s a shout to the Victoria SEO Posse I met on the flight down here. First round of drinks you guys when we get back. Let’s hit Swans and scare away the ladies with our wit and geekiness. Here’s a pic of how a Pineapple Express is formed (from wikipedia but no link – choke on it wiki).

    I’m A Twit

    yep – I swallowed the blue pill and signed up for twitter. I gotta say it’s kinda like crack. I now know that Danny is at Disneyland and going on rides and that Vanessa is having ziti for Buffy night. My life is measurably better now. For those of you that care you can follow me at www.twitter.com/oilman.

    10 Biiiiiiilllllliiiiiooooonnnnnn Dollars

    I clicked on Search Engine Land in my feed reader today and nearly crapped in my best pair of GAP jeans. Barry Schwartz posted a piece about Facebook. The title is “Microsoft May Buy $10 Billion Stake In Facebook” and the content is:

    Microsoft Is in Talks To Buy Facebook Stake from the Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is in talks with Facebook to place a $10 billion stake in the company, giving Microsoft a 5% stake in Facebook.

    Everybody I sent that too read it the same way I did: MS is dropping $10B into Facebook. That’s actually not the case. If you read the WSJ piece you’ll find that MS is looking to drop somewhere in the neighborhood of $400M for a 5% stake. The math on that gets you to $10B. C’mon Barry – linkbait is linkbait and I’m totally on board with it but I think you’re completely misleading this time.

    My favorite line in the article is:

    The company expects this year to have a profit of $30 million on revenue of $150 million, according to people familiar with the matter. Based on that, a $10 billion valuation for the company is sky-high.

    Sky-high? SKY-HIGH!! I hereby award the understatement of the year to the WSJ.

    I still don’t understand how turning me into a zombie, throwing sheep at me, giving me virtual drinks and allowing me to know when you’re at work, at home, on the bus or picking your nose is worth a potential $10B but maybe I’m just stuck in my ways at the tender age of 34.

    Feel The Love

    Must be a boring rainy day around the world. The LinkedIn and Facebook friend requests have been rolling in fast and furious today. I’ve literally received more requests today than in any previous month. I even accepted a few. Some are people I know and drink with at shows and others are people I really barely know or don’t know at all. For example a VP of a television network wanted to link up. Cool. Can you bring back Firefly for me?

    btw – social networks are one thing but don’t abuse my IM. There’s been a rash of folks getting my AIM id from somewhere and starting up a conversation in the middle of my day. I don’t really mind that so much as after a couple minutes of the usual pleasantries the next message is “Hey do you have a digg account?”. If I didn’t hardly know you before you added yourself to my IM list do you really think that I’m sitting here waiting to digg shit for you?