I know a semi-influential dude who told me that he’s looking for interesting people to follow on Twitter — but he will only add new followers as he finds them interesting and/or if it’s someone he knows.
This philosophy is part of the whole ain’t gonna follow just to get followers methodology that some people use to manage their online presence; however, I think it’s a failed and outdated approach to social media. Sure, you don’t want to follow someone who is a total dolt; however, if you think you can discern personalities or interests by glancing at a profile and making a snap decision, you’re wrong. (That’s like trying to determine whom to hire for a job by just looking at the resume.)
I use SocialToo and I just follow everyone who follows me. I use TwitterSearch to see who’s talking about things that interest me, and I follow those people. Finally, I unfollow people who try to sell me something, act in an inappropriate way, or try to convert me to their religion.
I don’t have many rules, but those are it.
There’s also the theory that you can somehow manage conversations on Twitter. I say — if you follow more than 20 people, you are already awash in chaos. Why spend time pretending to manage the conversation when you could be having those conversations with awesome people? Sure, I use Untweeps and TwitterKarma to manage my populations, but the joy of social media is that you can jump in & out of discussions at your convenience.
Another tip? I use search engines and filtering tools on Tweetdeck to figure out who’s talking about something that interests me. I jump in and have a conversation with those people. If you want to keep your numbers low and have focused convesations on social media sites, that’s fine. I just think you should get off Facebook and Twitter and get on the phone if you want to engage in deep and private discussions.
Am I wrong? Is it possible to manage the noise and the voices online? Do you have a good methodology?