Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Depth Of Your Friendships At Twitter

Sex and the City

Guy KawasakiImage by hawaii via Flickr

I must admit there have been times when I have struggled with doing a Guy Kawasaki on Twitter: follow everyone who follows you. Should I? Should I not? I decided against the idea. For Guy Twitter is a broadcast medium. Noone else does that part better than him. His tweets get retweeted more times than that of any other. He is numero uno.

And there is Bhupendra Khanal, the top tweet in Bangalore, as in the one with the most followers:

Business Analytics: Twitter : Why unfollow who dont follow you?

He is a software guy, a CEO, who has come up with this program that allows you to follow or unfollow people about 50 at a time. He is brutal. He sees no point in following those who don't follow him. His following shot up to over 20,000 in a matter of months.

I decided I am biased towards an organic growth of my following, so I did not go down the Bhupendra route either, although we were and are good friends.

I found at Twitter what I did not find at Facebook. After I signed up at Facebook I realized my number one urge was to say hello to people I had never met before. Next thing you know I had about 1500 friends there. Then I signed up for this Facebook group that shall stay unnamed, and started emailing people in that group. Facebook deleted my account. 1500 friends gone. That was unfollow Facebook style.

I got another account, and now I have 500 friends, almost all of whom I personally know. Some are online friends I have never met in person, but we have interacted online enough that it feels like friendship. And I have over 40 friend requests and counting that I have decided to not accept, not decline either. If I end up chatting some of those and becoming online friends, I might still accept some of them.

At Twitter not only do you get to follow absolutely anyone you wish to follow, my number one dig has been this idea of being able to follow luminaries in the tech industry. Once in a while you come across this blog post or that which has recommendations of the people you get tempted to follow.

And clicking on the follow button is not enough. How well do you know them? Could you recognize them in your stream two months later? Could you name the company they might be associated with? Can you remember at least one blog post of theirs you have read?

How do you do all that? You spend some time on the profile pages of the people you follow. You read their intro. You reply to some of their tweets. You go read a few posts on their blog. You get to know them well enough that the next time they show up in your stream, their tweets look extra interesting to you. Each tweet by that person helps you know them a little better.

If you do that well enough, you just might strike a two way friendship, or rather followship, with a person who until recently was a distant celebrity to you. Like Craig Newmark, or Darren Rowse.

Goal: A Billion People On Twitter
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I Talked To Google Through Twitter And It Worked Like Magic
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TweetDeck, Power Twitter, Twitter Globe, Better Than Facebook
TCC: Twitter Community College
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Mitch Kapor Now Following Me On Twitter
I Get Twitter

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