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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Some thoughts on "following" on Twitter

Possibly the coolest thing about Twitter is that you "follow" people. By word of mouth or by searching out people with the same interests, or by finding their twitter name on a list. You chose whose voices you want to hear. Or be aware of. The people you "follow" don't necessarily follow you back. In the case of the celebs with thousands (or even millions) of followers they can't possibly be reciprocating the 'follow'. Yet they are keenly aware of how far they are 'reaching' out into the Twitterverse.  They just have their own personal list of who they chose to follow.

Your list of who follows you and who you follow is all public knowledge (unless you keep that under lock and key which is your right but defeats the whole beauty of twitter and is not part of this conversation. I am speaking only about public accounts.) .as is your entire stream of tweets. So, at any time you can pull up what someone has said, who they follow and what that person has said and who they follow...

I find this fascinating. When you see someone's twitter stream you see who they are having conversations with. Who they really listen to, who in their opinion has authority. Then you see who that next person listens/talks to and on down the line.

If the people you have chosen to follow in the first place have similar interests as you well then you will quickly find yourself in an entire community of like-minded individuals. You are making the acquaintance of people you can commiserate with, learn from, grow with, who can encourage you and whom you can also cheer on.

If, like most people, you have a number of different interests you will probably find that you have a number of these different communities residing in your twitterverse.

Personally, I first went looking for other knitters.

Then the occasional musician or actor or celeb that I enjoy and was curious about.

Then, came the SAHM's (stay-at-home-moms). Then, even though I am way past having kids (ok, it's only been 5 yrs since Jake was born but I was already too old then) I seem to gravitate toward some younger women just starting out on the Mommy trip. I am sensitive to the issue of postpartum depression having suffered terribly 16 yrs ago.

Then, I love writers. I personally love mysteries and a well written romance but the genre doesn't matter. Writing is something I will never be really good at so I admire their craft the way I admire any artist working in a different medium than mine.

I have also added a number of other artists just because they are well, artists. Photographers (I have two degrees in Photography), some painters, some IT designers, some print media types. No rhyme or reason here other than they are artists who seem to have something interesting to say.

Finally, because I have become an Etsy seller I also follow a number of other individuals from there.

I almost forgot, the reality show folks. I follow a bunch of folks from SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance) my favorite reality show because they work their asses off and the dancing is pure art not the simplified crap they do on Dancing with the stars. (Although a couple of SYTYCD alum are pros on that show too). Plus a few from PR (Project Runway) and Ryan Seacrest from AI (American Idol).

You would be surprised how many of the people from these different communities overlap. Like me, the people I follow also have a lot of different interests.

Nationality, religion, sex, sexual orientation, race, age. None of these things that so often divides us in the 'real world' apply here. I follow those who have interesting points of view, open minds, who speak candidly but not cruelly. I quickly 'unfollow' those who only use Twitter to sell their stuff. (I tweet about the things I list for sale but limit it to just 1 or 2 tweets per item.) I don't mind cursing so long as it is not all the time or gratuitous. Personally, fuck is one of my favorite words in the English language. I just try to use it sparingly in my tweets. I once lost followers instantaneously when I combined the words 'ass' and 'rape' in the same sentence. Oh, well. That is their prerogative and the beauty of chosing whom to follow. Or not.

So, that gives me what? Seven distinct communities that I am either a member of in some way or that I listen and pay attention to on a regular basis. They are:

The Knitters
A few musicians & actors
The Moms (young & old)
The Writers
The Artists & Craftspeople
The Etsy Sellers
The dancers, designers, and singers trying to break into their dream profession

They are me.. We are Twitter.



You can follow me @BrightEyedDyer

2 comments:

  1. That's interesting. I've never really thought about the categories of people I follow on Twitter or why I follow them. Hmmm. I'm going to have to think about the method to my Twitter madness now.

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  2. I often wonder how or why someone found me and follows on Twitter. You wrote an intuitive blog post that had me snickering and I enjoyed your thoughtfulness to following. You gave me a reason to follow. See you on Twitter. @Exit178

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