It was tough at the time. Now I have done it, it feels fine. Just as I can suggest five people to follow on Twitter in 2009, I can also suggest five people I am no longer following on Twitter!
Oh, I know that each of the five is, in their own way, brilliant and successful. And I still read their blogs with passion. But, for one reason or another, they just do not fulfil my criteria. And, as I become increasingly familiar with how Twitter operates, my criteria have become everything.
You see my reason for Twittering is not fun. I have a private life for that. Rather it is the many ways Twitter can help you to develop skills to cultivate a community that really count. You need to work out how whom you want to follow and by whom you want to be followed. The more focused you are, the more useful Twitter becomes.
My criteria for following are these
- you must in social media marketing/PR or new media journalism. So I am looking for people who are constantly introducing me to good ideas. This is work after all, fun though it may be.
- I want to learn from those I follow. So you do not have to be a star of social media to give me great insights. Often, quite the reverse.
- you need to update regularly. I probably want you to stick to one theme so I know where you are leading me.
- please don’t give me too many insights into your personal life. I am following you for professional reasons, not private.
- if you follow me I will meet all those criteria above.
So who have I stopped or am about to stop following?
- Michael Arrington. The editor of Techcrunchproduces one of the essential reads for our sector. Unfortunately his Twitter uses the tools of social media to achieve a very traditional goal. His Tweets merely “push” out links to the latest postings – I have an RSS feed for that. He does not get involved with the conversation. His sheer volume of followers as an excuse is undermined by Robert Scoble’s extraordinary interaction.
- Kevin Rose.The founder of Digg has a record number of followers. His Tweets read as if he is introducing you to some real intimacy. But, hang on, is there not a distinction between hearing about the size of the pizza he is ordering and the details of where he thinks Digg will develop next. Not surprisingly, we hear all about the former and little about the latter. Is there much difference between Rose’s Tweets and a corporate one, both selling a heavily craft image?
- Jemima Kiss. Thank god for the Guardian’s New Media reporter. We have no other such person in the UK who can match her for sheer journalist values and enthusiasm. So why are her Tweets so often about problems with her keyboard or “push” links to Guardian stories? What about more of the insights of which she is more than capable?
- Darren Rowse. Problogger, and increasingly Twitip, are essential reading for all bloggers. But I have hovered over the “follow” button this week as Rowse has kept us updated on the progress of a tummy bug making inroads into his family. Social media does encourage intimacy with readers but it should be a constructed rather than a real identity on show.
- Jim Connolly. Classic problem. Great value, just too many Tweets.
Who would you stop following and why?