After a year of experimenting with microblogging on Twitter I’m getting back to what first drew me to it.
I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon last spring when I started noticing all these “Follow Me on Twitter” buttons on other Mom Blogs.
I decided that I wanted to be like all the cool kids too, and got myself a Twitter account.
I was mostly there to socialize. It was fun to have little conversations with people I knew from reading their blogs, and to read everyone’s little quips and pithy thoughts.
For a long time I had around 200 followers, and I followed less than 100. I was pretty selective about who I followed. I even went as far as to block other people from following me if I thought they added me to their list just to pad the numbers on their account.
Then I started reading all these articles about how Twitter could be used as a networking tool and a means of marketing and self-promotion.
Would Twitter be the tool to launch Mommie Daze into the Big Leagues? Would someone read my clever tweets and offer me a book deal? Would companies be flooding my email with requests to advertise on my blog?
Look, if you’re at all serious about blogging, no matter how small your readership, don’t tell me you’ve never had such dreams. You have to be a little narcissistic to believe anyone cares about what you have to say in the first place.
I started following more people. And more people started following me. I was up to over 700 of both in about a week. Not a million like Ashton, but not bad for my little corner of the social media world.
Then I logged into Twhirl, and there were all these tweets from people who’s names I didn’t recognize, and whose 140 character blurbs didn’t interest me. And I couldn’t find the tweets from the people I did want to keep up with because they were lost among the crowd of others.
I signed up for TweetDeck, and tried to sort the people I followed into groups. But the process of clicking on each profile, and visiting each of their websites to determine if they were relevant to me was just to slow and grueling.
Twitter wasn’t fun anymore. I couldn’t interact like I once had, and even though I tweeted everyone one of my Pulitzer Prize winning blog posts, I was not living a life of fame and fortune. I pretty much stopped using Twitter, except for my blog posts that automatically tweeted, thanks to Twitterfeed.
I decided to try Twitter again a few weeks ago. First, I stopped automatically tweeting every single one of my posts. I realized it was probably kind of annoying, and maybe a little like spamming everyone following me.
Then I set out to weed through the 765 people I was following. I had to get that number down to something more manageable. I knew I was bound to loose followers if they discovered I’d dropped them. But I decided it was worth it to get back to enjoying Twitter again.
I found two tools helpful in whittling down my follow list. I stared with Huitter’s Mutuality tool which lets you mass unfollow people who don’t follow you back. I want an interactive experience. There can’t be interaction if we don’t mutually follow each other.
I did give exceptions for some big names whose tweets I wanted to keep up with. Let’s face it. Really famous tweeters simply can not follow back everyone who follows them.
Then I used MyCleenr to remove any inactive accounts from my list of people I followed based on the criteria of two months or more since their last tweet. Again I gave exceptions for people I actually knew, hoping they’d be back.
Using those two applications I quickly reduced my list to under 450. I’ve lost around 10 followers since I started this. I’m sure there’ll be more once people realize I’ve dropped them.
Currently I”m in the middle of going through the people that I still follow. So far I’ve removed another 52. Already I’m getting more out of Twitter again. I actually have tweets coming up that I want to read.
Social media is an amazing phenomenon with so much potential. People have used it to go farther than they ever imagined. It is an effective marketing tool. It’s also just a lot of fun. And I think that’s the key. However you use it, whatever you use it for, it has to be enjoyable. Otherwise, what’s the point? If your Twitter account or your Facebook page or even your blog is a source of stress, I say re-evaluate how you use it and why. Then get back to what you love.