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Follow Back Policy

I decided I need to adopt a “Follow Back Policy” or perhaps explain mine. Once upon a time, I followed back anyone who didn’t look like spam, had tweeted within the last <insert whatever # you want here> days, and who generally looked human. I avoided anyone who did not have a picture, who hadn’t tweeted lately or had a really low # of tweets, and anyone who was just RTing stuff all the time. It wasn’t long before I realized that the people who were RTing stuff were valuable because then I didn’t have to follow all the people they were RTing because I still saw the same content.

But then I looked at my twitter following list, and saw that I had almost 3000 people I was following. It was a mass mess, I realized I couldn’t really “read” or “follow” anything because it was all getting lost in everything. I decided to quit following back for awhile, but then I realized I was missing out on great people. There was nothing wrong with adding people, but I need to work on pairing down the nearly 3000 I already had.

I removed over 1000 the first time I paired down. I lost 200 followers in about 24 hours. At first I thought, “Great, what have I done?”. I was sad, and continued to watch my #’s drop over the course of a week or so. Then it kind of tapered off. Now I know, it was for the best. The 200 or so people that removed themselves from following me, weren’t really following me anyway. They obviously didn’t think what I had to say was worth continuing to read, and I am okay with that. Why were they following me to begin with? Because they too, had an auto-follow policy.

Over the course of the last week or so, I removed EVERYONE that I followed – except anyone that was “locked” but that I wanted to keep – just so I wouldn’t have to re-request them again. It was not easy, and it took a huge amount of time but I did it and I feel great. Slowly I have been following back. The first day I had over 200 people I was following again, but they were 200 that I honestly feel are important, contribute, have conversations with me, RT my content because they obviously like it, etc.

So what is my policy now? I still follow people back. It’s on a temporary basis though. When I get a new follower now, I tend to glance through what their last few tweets have been – are they having conversations? Are they relevant to what I am looking for out of twitter? Are they looking for an “auto follow” (usually evident by follower/following ratio).

I meet new people everyday on twitter and find awesome people to follow, but I just couldn’t keep up with the thousands I had. And I do go through my follower list all the time and look at what people are tweeting to see if I should follow back. I’m afraid I’m missing people, so I keep checking. But I am not going to auto-follow anymore. I do reply to all @ replies I get though, and always will.

Don’t let it discourage you that I am a little more picky than I used to be. It isn’t that I don’t want to meet new people with common interests, and it isn’t that I won’t follow back after we’ve talked a couple of times – I probably will – but I absolutely could not keep up with all that was going on before.

For a really good article about this…. read this.

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