Up and down with Twitter

I had someone making jokes at my expense because I only had 67 followers on Twitter. So I thought I'd see how easy it was to increase this.

Well, quite easy. First of all I followed the advice in our EdSpace blog to follow a top 250 twitterers. But of course these aren't my core interest, so I sought out a few decent IT industry twitterers and followed them too.

It took me about two hours to do this. Two and a half hours later I had 267 followers. The next morning I had 619.


Now to read all those twitters...oh. Most not interesting, interesting ones lost in a wall of facile noise.

So what did I learn? Well, software that filters out streams is vital. So I use tweetdeck with a stream for friends and another for those I know provide good info on my areas of interest in IT. As for my mass of other followers, well, it's just a little ego trip (to which I have no real objection, of course).

Interestingly the number of my followers gradually reduced over the next 2 weeks. It's now at 577. Still a bit to do to catch up with Stephen Fry at just over 503,000. But I'm sure he reads all the posts.

Comments (14)

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  • 1
    Andrew Carpenter wrote on 18th May 2009

    You can't be that serious about getting new followers or you would have linked to your twitter profile in this article.

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  • 2
    Brian Runciman wrote on 18th May 2009

    I think the post demonstrates a certain ambivalence, but still, fair point... http://twitter.com/BrianRunciman

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  • 3
    Paul Andrews wrote on 19th May 2009

    Followed your advice above and your twit and have added 20 followers in 15 minutes. Not sure all of them are people i would like to follow though.

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  • 4
    Morgan Strideback wrote on 19th May 2009

    Why does it matter how many people follow you? Even if you can increase your followers they are not actually following you. This is pointless. I wouldn't just invite strangers to my birthday party to make me look cool.

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  • 5
    Cathy Malcolm wrote on 20th May 2009

    I'm afraid I can't help thinking, if the people just get on with the activity they are currently involved in, they wouldn't have the time to twitter about it. It sounds like the ultimate waste of time to me - college students and the unemployed unite!! (thanks all, rant over)

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  • 6
    Stuart wrote on 22nd May 2009

    Morgan: I thought that was half of the point of Twitter - letting people with short attention spans stroke their egos by posting short snippets of inane drivel and getting lots of followers (half of whom will probably be spam blogs trying to get extra links). Yes, there might be some important stuff there (at which point why not post it on a real blog or just a website?) but a lot of it is people unnecessarily publishing personal information that the majority of the world doesn't care about (unless they're the voyeuristic types).

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  • 7
    Gary Walsh wrote on 27th May 2009

    Twitter makes much more sense as a business tool than as an ego-stroking tool. Rather than having a weekly call as a catch-up, just follow people in your team or virtual team to find out what they're up to, who they've met, identify any new opportunities, etc. And since you could tweet during dead time (i.e. sitting in reception, waiting for a train) you wouldn't have to be unemployed to find time to use it... Of course, you'd want it to be inside the firewall so the great unwashed couldn't find out what you're been up to.

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  • 8
    Alex R wrote on 28th May 2009

    My company has also starting to use Twitter as a communication tool (still too early to say how effective it will be): ................. However I have come across an issue I cannot have my Private Twitter Account open at the same time as my Work's one, have to close one then open the other, so cannot leave open which is the point re my works one.

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  • 9
    Jason Taylor wrote on 29th May 2009

    Why not use a fully automated Twitter poster to enhance your position within the Twitter community, there are many automated applications and softwares around now including http://www.twitterxtreme.com

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  • 10
    Campbell Taylor wrote on 29th May 2009

    Alex R - check out Seesmic Desktop - allows you to have multiple twitter accounts. I find twitter is a good source of leads for interesting info I might have otherwise missed and yes filtering out the noise is important but isn't that the same as the chat round teh watercooler? http://twitter.com/campbell_taylor

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  • 11
    Jason Plant wrote on 29th May 2009

    Alex: use seesmic desktop, this allows you to have multiple twitter accounts (and facebook if you want). It can combine all your streams into one view. You can also use it like tweetdeck and create your own streams to group your contacts. I believe in the next version of tweetdeck multiple accounts will be available too.

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  • 12
    Chris Matchett wrote on 29th May 2009

    I spent most of my time blocking people on Twitter instead. I've got a nice core of ITSM Tweeters in my list that are more valuable to me than Ashton Kutcher and snake-oil salesmen. http://twitter.com/riChchestMat

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  • 13
    Alex R wrote on 1st Jun 2009

    Thanks Jason, Campbell & Jason, unfortunately as a work PC with only standard licensed software I cannot use this at work: However I will investigate it for home use anyway:

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  • 14
    patC wrote on 4th Jun 2009

    Have all the fans of Seesmic Desktop noticed that the privacy policy is "Coming Soon"? I am NOT comfortable with that so I will not be signing up just yet . . . I may do so "soon". :-)

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About the author

Brian is Head of Content at BCS and blogs about the Institute’s role in making IT good for society, historical developments in computing, the implications of CS research and more.

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