Follow Friday: A Suggestion

I love follow Friday. It’s a fun way to share with other tweeters who I follow and who I think should follow them.

But recently, I’ve been rethinking the way I do follow Friday, and this has actually kept me from doing it most Fridays. These are the changes I would make:

First: One person per tweet. I see so many tweets that have five or six people I should follow, and often times the names get lost among the text.

Second: A short reason why this person should be followed. My biggest beef with follow Friday has been that I have no idea why I should be following these lists of people, and it doesn’t matter if the list is coming from a tweeter I highly respect. In fact, I think it only encourages twitter spam because spammers have easy access to other lists of people to follow. However, if someone gave me a reason why I should follow them, I would be more inclined to at least check their twitter stream.

I suppose my ideal FF tweet would look like this:

#ff @ap_stlye for great grammar tips and immediate updates to the stylebook.

Several of these a day on Friday would be appropriate in my opinion, and would give me a better idea of who I want to follow.

What do you guys think? Is follow Friday fine the way it is or does it need to be amended?

‘Tis Better to Retweet Than Be Retweeted

give blogpostYou have thousands of followers, which means thousands of people are seeing what you are saying. But traffic to your blog has not significantly increased, your messages are never retweeted, and your Klout score is in the dumpster.

Do you want to build a stronger network on twitter?  Do you want to increase the number  of people who follow you? Do you want to increase the number of people who retweet you?

Try helping out your followers. The more you help your followers, the more they’ll help you. It’s as easy as that. If you keep 3 basic ideas in mind while tweeting, your twitter network will grow stronger.The concept may sound a little Zen at first, but trust me, it works. Continue reading

“WTF? I can’t retweet that!”

Recently, via twitter, I discovered that our incoming University of Oregon president Richard Lariviere has set up a blog. Because our outgoing president hasn’t been the epitome of transparency, I think this is pretty exciting.

So I decided to retweet that to all my friends, just in case someone missed it. Here was the original message:

Incoming UO president Richard Lariviere’s got a blog — check out his latest dispatch: http://tinyurl.com/UOnewpre….

So I retweeted the message:

RT @UOregonNewsIncoming UO president Richard Lariviere’s got a blog: http://tinyurl.com/UOnewpre…

Copied and pasted exactly from the original tweet. I did forget to add a space between “UOregonNews” and “Incoming,” and I did delete the unnecessary “–check out his latest dispatch,”  but other than that I copied and pasted it directly from the original message.

There was only one difference: the link that they posted worked. The link that I copied and pasted didn’t.

For a tweeter such as UOregonNews, I think it’s important to make sure each tweet is retweetable and fully functional. But I’m pretty sure most tweeters, who would normally retweet things, would think it’s worth it to get the original URL from UOregonNews, go to a URL shortener (such as http://bit.ly), fix it and RT the whole thing.

So instead of adding a fancy custom TinyURL that is impossible to fit into a tweet, go with something short. For example, we know the tweet is coming from @UOregonNews, so is it necessary to add UOnewspress into a tinyurl?

Bottom line: Function over form.

Why I’m following THEM

I know, I know. In an earlier post, I laid out exactly how picky I am when it comes to following different people, and now I’m following 2 people who followed me first. It seems hypocritical. What did they do to get me to follow them that was different than what everyone else does?

  1. They are tweeting about something that interests me. Right now, I’m obsessed with the state of the Republican party. This is not because I’m necessarily a Republican (I do have some fiscal conservative leanings), but I’m interested in how one person is using his personality to become the face of the party. I’m also interested in the bailout plan (aren’t we all) and how that plan and the President’s budget is going to affect our economy. @jaredmck saw a tweet I made about the bailout and followed me. I checked out his tweets, and I found out he is pretty passionate about the bailout too. That simple commonality was enough for me to follow him.
  2. They respond to my tweets and engage me. @jaredmck responded to one of my tweets after I started following him. @ashlandweb followed me first, then responded to a question I posted on twitter with an insightful answer. I didn’t think twice about following that person back.

Simply put, these two people were interesting to me and they both engaged me. So I’m following them… for now. When two tweeters follow each other, it’s has gotta be because benefits are mutual between the two tweeters. Otherwise, they’re just wasting time.

Tweeting the State of the Union

I love tweeting events (except for the Oscars; I’m not a fan unfortunately). Not only is it fun to give my insight, it’s fun to read and respond to what other people are saying about the event. Especially if the person tweeting is actually present at the event.

One of the people I follow is @johnculberson, a republican representative from Texas. While I do not agree with a lot of what he says, I can always rely on his updates to get the mood and feel of Washington. Check out some of his tweets:

We are all reading thr official copy of speech and waiting – these lights are blinding

All our seats are first come first serve – we sit wherever we want – the Congressmen on the aisle got here real early

This is always an awe inspiring experience no matter who is President – we celebrate our Republic and our great institutions tonight

It’s a type of live reporting that you cannot get on your TV screen. Politicians with mobile devices that connect to twitter can give you a feel of the speech that no reporter can accurately duplicate. The same goes for the Oscars (although I don’t know of any celebs up for nomination who tweeted during the event).

The only thing I wished was that I had a group of politicians at the event grouped in a search bar so I could interact with more of what they were saying. That would be a new direction Twitter could go in: featured groups that aggregate the tweets of prominent people at an event that tweet (like tweeting congressmen and senators at the State of the Union) . 

I found that tweeting from my iPod touch was the most effective way for me to watch the event and make updates and commentary. @johnculberson used TwitterBerry, which didn’t allow him to look at replies. I’m interested to find out how people tweeted from their computers (for example, if they watched it live of Cnn.com and had a client like tweet deck running in the background). 

Tonight helped me realize that tweeting can make political events more democratic. It can give us a platform to interact with our politicians and political events, and it also provides a medium for us to voice our opinions to politicians that listen.

My thoughts on #followfriday

Today is #followfriday!

It probably looks odd for me to celebrate Follow Friday, especially after I wrote an entry about me not following people back. And while it’s true that 103 people is hard for me to keep track of, I always have room for an interesting tweeter. I just don’t have enough room for another “social media expert.” I’m following a couple of those already, and their advice is more than enough for me.

So having said that, I’m eager to follow other people that cater to my interests, and I’m big on sharing my favorite tweeters with others.

There is, however, one type of tweeter that I will not follow, even if I am interested in them. Those are the tweeters that only tweet when they post new blog entries. We have a couple of those on my campus that try to follow me, and every once in a while I’ll get a blog or a newspaper following me on twitter.

I think that both of these types of accounts are redundant and I will not follow them. I can sign up for an RSS feed of a blog I like, and I know when to check most news papers for updates (for our on campus newspaper, it’s 12:30 a.m.).

That’s not to say I don’t follow bloggers who post their new blog entries on twitter (I’d be a hypocrit because I do this too). But if the blogger isn’t bringing anything new to my twitter feed that I can’t get on his blog (for example, a blogger that only tweets his blog posts), why would I follow that blogger?

So just to recap, Follow Friday can be good, and I feel that certain types of tweeters are unecessary to follow. Agree with what I said? Think I’m being too uptight with who I do and don’t follow? Feel free to leave feedback.

Dear Tweeters (AKA, why I’m not following you)

Dear Followers,

First of all, thank you for following me. I am flattered that you think what I have to say is important enough to appear on your twitter feed.

Second, please don’t be offended if I don’t follow you. I am following 103 people right now, and that’s a lot of tweets to keep track of. Some people tweet 10 times an hour at sporadic periods, and I usually only follow those people because I like what they are tweeting about. In fact, there are some days where I just look for the tweets from my personal friends and ignore what everyone else is saying. No offense, but I can only read so much about new social media trends and PR strategies.

I do read through the tweets of everyone who follows me when I get a notification that someone else is following me. I check to see if what you are tweeting about is of interest to me. In short, I evaluate every person who follows me to see if I want to follow back.

It’s not too difficult to find out what interests me if you search around the internet  (I’m a PR student [but I’m already following a lot of pros already], a fan of video games and studying the Japanese language, hope this helps), and this is reflected in who I follow.

I usually follow people that my friends suggest I follow (such as @bethevans, who is a former co-worker and a pro), so going through one of them is a good way to get me to follow you. If you message me on Twitter or leave a comment on my blog, I’ll probably wind up following you back.

So please understand when I decide not to follow you back. My twitter stream is cluttered as it is, and finding time to read all of it can be difficult.

Thanks for understanding,

Bryan

PS: If you’re doing RtK and I’m not following you, message me and I’ll fix that.