How to Get Value from Twitter as an Individual

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I've been a fairly active user of Twitter, since March of 2007. Now, not being someone famous, I don't have 10's of 1000's of followers, just a bit over 2000 as of the writing of this blog. When I first started I thought that it would be a really good way to connect with lots of people that were in fact famous but it turns out famous people don't really follow you back.

Oh, before we go too far, let me define famous. For me famous people are business people and thought leaders in the startup technology and marketing space, which is where I myself work. For you famous could be thought leaders in your career space or in your personal interests and hobbies.

So, tonight I was clearing out my Twitter account of people who haven't followed me back over the last 30 days (using Tweepi) and I really solidified in my mind what I wanted out of Twitter and how it could really benefit me as an individual (I have spent lots of time building Twitter accounts in business, but for an individual it is different).

What I want from Twitter is pretty simple:
  1. I want to form a general information sharing relationship with people in the geographic area I live in - Boston.
  2. I want to connect with people in the startup space so that I can find out about new startup companies and events that are beneficial to startup companies.
  3. I want to find out about things that can help me be a better marketer
  4. I want to be entertained every once in a while.

In thinking this through I realized that I didn't need to be connected to or followed back by famous people, I just needed to connect with people who have a good balance of following and followers, who were fairly regular tweeters about the things that we are jointly interested in and that were primarily living and working in the same metropolitan area.

Now, before you say "but how will you know about what the thought leaders a.k.a. the famous people are thinking if you are not connected to them?" Well, quite simply I get most of my thought leadership fill by subscribing to their blogs and seeing things come through on my rss feed, so I was really rarely missing anything from a Chris Brogan or a Seth Godin or the likes. Truth is I am much more interested in what my local Boston friends have to say after having read something by the thought leaders.

So, what is my advice?, it's simple really; follow people in the cities or states you work in, just in case you meet them on the street, follow people who have a good balance of followers and following (not someone who has 6000 followers and only follows 60), follow people who are active in the things that interest you in your career and in your hobbies, and follow people who are always throwing in something random, as they will entertain you, and most importantly follow people people who have an actual comment on a tweet and not just retweeting something that came down the channel.



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Ed Loessi

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