Follow Me, Follow You: The Correct Twitter Protocol

As a relative Twitter Newbie, I’m often plagues by the question of whether or not I should follow people back.  On the one hand, I think it’s a compliment to be followed in the first place and so I’m happy to return the favor.  However, on the other hand, there does seem to the unwritten Twitter rule that if you have a low follower to followed ratio, people are less likely to follow you.  Yes, I know.  It’s complicated, this world of 140 character thoughts.

So what do I generally do? I guess it goes like this:  If you follow me, I will look at your profile.  No matter how many followers you have, if you have not filled out your bio or included a photo or logo, I won’t follow you back.  I just hate looking at that egg in my timeline. I also try to stay away from spammers but TrueTwit helps with that.  After those few rules, however, I do follow everyone back.  There, I said it.  I follow everyone back.

Why do I take this leap of faith? Because Twitter is, after all, a community.  And aren’t we all in this community to meet new and interesting people?  I want to be part of this community and therefore, I need to give others the same chance.  Erik Qualman cited Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs when he stated that after the basic needs of security and survival, a person’s greatest need is to feel accepted.   When someone follows you, don’t you get that little shiver of excitement?  When you see your number of followers climb, do you not do a little dance of joy? I know I do.  It tells me that people actually want to hear what I have to say.  So, as a sign of respect, I will listen to what you have to say as well.  That’s what we do in a community.

Despite my tendency to err on the side of following, I do have some reasons for unfollowing as well.  If you are only tweeting for self-promotion, you get the boot.  Nobody wants to be friends with someone who only tells you how great he or she is.  Also, if you post nothing but quotes, sorry, you’re gone.  If we have nothing in common, I may keep you around for a bit but it’s hard to be friends with someone you have nothing in common with.  And lastly, though I’m a bit embarrassed to say, I do, very occasionally, unfollow for no good reason.  After all, we don’t like everyone we meet, no matter how nice they are or what they have to say.

So, in the end, if you are a real person, with interesting thoughts and can listen as well as tweet, then we’re in this together for the long haul.   Twitter is, after all, a community of individuals, wanting to feel connected to something that’s bigger than they are and wanting to share their story.  So come on and follow me at @ADRsocialmedia.  You know I’ll follow you back.

What are your reasons for following or not following.  I’d love to hear them.

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