Tony Hue

I'm a broke college student with a minor in blogging.

The Best Way to Find Better People to Follow on Twitter

How many people do you follow on Twitter? 50? 100? 1000? More? I currently follow 85 people and let me tell you, it’s quite exhausting. Keeping up with everyone’s latest tweets sometimes feels like trying to treat patients in two hospitals located on opposite sides of a city. No one ever told me how stressful it would be when I signed up for Twitter.

Of these X number of people you follow, how many of them provide valuable content on a consistent basis? Are there people you follow so memorable and entertaining that you hit retweet before you even read their newest tweet? I know I have.

The point is, these are the people that can help you discover better people to follow on Twitter. Let’s take for example @JoethePlumber. At first mention, you chuckle to yourself after recalling his hilarious tweet from last night:

“What an awful day. At every house I visited today, I had to constantly remind people that my real name is Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher. FML”

Twitter is about following people who share the same interests and tastes as you do. If @JoethePlumber likes to tweet about Nascar, politics, and his name all day, then it’s likely you’ll find that the people he follows also enjoy tweeting about Nascar, politics, and their name.

For example, I have an interest in web design. I start by scanning my list of people whom I currently follow, searching for someone who tweets a lot about web design. Let’s use @smashingmag.

Important note of advice before proceeding! Take a look at the person’s total number of followers. If the ratio between followers and followed persons is close to one, then it’s likely that the person has an automatic follow feature set up. In other words, this person probably is not “keeping up” with the same 20,000 people who follows him/her.

Alright, let’s continue. Taking a look at @smashingmag’s statistics, we see that he follows 376 people and has 103,542 followers. Not too shabby. Best of all, these 376 people he follows is likely people he intends on staying updated on.

smashingmag

So, let’s check out the list of people @smashingmag follows.

Looking at the first results, @usabilityblog catches my eye immediately. First, I own a blog. Second, I care about usability, which is a part of web design. Perfect fit, so far. Let’s see @usabilityblog’s bio:

usabilityblog

Huh? Göttingen? Sorry, man. I speak English only. Sometimes Chinese. Spanish if I’m having a really good day.

So @usabilityblog was a swing and a miss. Don’t lose hope yet though. Let’s try it again.

Scrolling further down the list again, I notice @designshack. The username contains the word design. Bingo! Let’s check this one out!

followdesignshack

According to @designshack’s bio, he/she/they enjoy providing “Daily news and inspiration for designers.” Another very good signal.

The next step is to actually read the timeline (the “tweets”) Man! I think I just wet my pants cause that’s what you call valuable content! Now, if I correctly follow the tutorials provided, I might just be able to produce a breath-taking Contact page.

Without further hesitation, I click on the follow button. Time will tell, whether this decision proves beneficial or regrettable.

realfollower
Image by Geek and Poke

How do you decide on who you want to follow on Twitter? Let me know in the comments section below.

Comments

  • March 5, 2010

    I don’t know. I think you’re article is good but overgeneralized. For example, I’m a pastor, and I tweet a lot about my work, the bible, and the church. I also mix in articles and comments about liberal politics. I follow political conservatives, atheists, and non-Christians, many of whom follow me back.

    I also disagree that if someone has a follower-to-following ratio of near to one that they are using an auto-follower of some kind. Some people simply follow everyone that follows them. That’s another valid way of finding interesting followers–you let the cream rise to the top.

    Good article. Made me think.

  • March 5, 2010

    Well, I follow people with the same interests as me. I am a graphic-web-designer/geek… So if I find someone that is like that and even more, I usually check the timeline and follow them. But also, I follow people that just seem interesting that are following me :D

    Great Post!

  • March 5, 2010

    I personally use followerwonk and/or wefollow to search for people that states to be something: designer, teacher, etc., second step, read their timeline to see if its actually an interesting people to follow

  • March 5, 2010
    evan irianov
    @evanirianov

    yeah, as i only follow my fellas and certain people with similar interests and topics as mine..
    sometimes i do conversation with someones without even follow them. it’s still fun though..

  • March 5, 2010

    I used to automatically follow people back, long ago when I was lonely and pathetic. Now, people are lucky to receive a cursory glance from my mauve colored tower. If new followers have an actual picture of themselves, a cool name or any of another random qualities that I may or may not presently have any idea about, I might visit their account.

    Twitter is not worthy of stress, other things like flaming toes, singed eyebrows or worse yet, malfunctioning DVRs are ideal stress inducers.

    Hmmm:
    http://loneplacebo.com/secret-way-find-better-people-follow-twitter/

  • March 5, 2010

    Nice..I never actually looked at this from the angle you are talking about…thanks for that! I did understand that choosing to follow somebody with similar interests is the correct way to go about doing this however the follower/following ratio was something I never paid attention to..until now!

  • March 5, 2010

    I tend to follow most of those who follow me, at least give them a test. If they are just posting, RTs or flooding – I unfollow quickly. I am not going to follow anyone who is just ruining it for me. Occasionally I look for new people to follow but not often. I can barely keep up with those I do follow.

  • March 5, 2010

    I was on a follow back rampage for the last several months, got so bad my stream was unreadable. I recently unfollowed 3k people, and I am actually able to connect with people and interact again on Twitter. I actually like Twitter again!

  • March 5, 2010

    I need followers and it will help me a lot, thanks for sharing

  • March 5, 2010

    I do the same as you, but I also go to twellow.com to find people to follow. I find it’s pretty easy to find categories that match my interests there. I can then see how many people they follow/follow them and take a look at their tweets. That’s how I’ve found some of my favorite people. I also go to people I find myself paying a lot of attention to and look through their followers. They usually have people who have similar interests to myself.

  • March 5, 2010

    I agree with @JeremyHoover. My ratio is close to 1, but I don’t autofollow anyone. I just accept most people unless they are obvious spammers or porno brokers. My thinking is why not? Among those many followers could be some interesting ideas, resources, even business. I use Twitter lists and Tweetdeck to filter down the stream to a manageable size and serious of targeted subjects. Works for me.

  • March 5, 2010

    well i just know after reads this article, before that i follow without the rational between follower and following. thanks..

  • March 5, 2010

    Being a graphic designer I prefer following people from the similar industry. I’m following people from all over the design and art industry. Automatic following doesn’t work for me.

  • March 6, 2010

    My follower to friend ratio is very close and I will vehemently argue your point that when that’s the case the person doesn’t “keep up.” That’s the danger of making sweeping generalizations …. it can set you up for debate. I can give you five quick examples of people who have the same situation: @buzzedition, @adamsconsulting @joycecherrier … all Twitter “superstars” known for not only “keeping up” but keeping it real, creating community, massive amounts of engagement and tweetage of amazingly interesting content.

    My point – don’t judge people who have many followers and who follow many in return until you really know who they are. IMHO, they are a large part of what makes the Twitterverse so wonderful.

  • March 7, 2010

    I read all tweets by people I’m following so I always try to keep my following number under 40. How I choose who to follow… I look at their tweets and think “Is this something I can bear read whenever I’m signed in on Twitter?”. Which is why I don’t like private accounts (unless I know the person personally)…

  • March 9, 2010

    I actually spent some time last week using this method to acquire new followers. Like you said in your blog, time will tell whether they anything intelligent to say with regards to your interests. Good post, thanks

    Jon

  • March 10, 2010

    I’ve actually used your method right from the start and had good results – but the Location the user set is most of the time not really an indication of the language they tweet.

    I had to choose myself between german (my mother tongue) and english – and I tweet mostly in english (except if someone who knows me @replies me) – So my location Italy will tell you anything about the language and if you can read my tweets.

    Anyway – my tip is to look at the tweets to see if you want to follow them.

  • March 10, 2010

    Great Article and very useful.

    I am involved in vacation rental and real estate in the Riviera Maya, Mexican Caribbean but I am also interested in IT tecnologies and marketing issues so I follow people who is in the same industry and post information or has similar interests like me.

    By my side I post information about my business, actual event if applicable and my interest. Most of the time in english however I speak spanish as well.

    Thanks!!! I will follow on Twitter as well.

  • March 10, 2010

    I follow people who I’m interested in and who talks about the topics I’m interested. I’ll create public lists to share but if I think someone I’m following might drop me for no good reason I put them in a private list.

  • March 15, 2010

    I am going to disagree on one point. Twitter is not about following people who are the same as you. It is much more interesting to follow a wide variety of people. I try to follow people who are engaging and who have a fresh perspective. I enjoy their insights and comments because they are different from mine. Twitter gives us a chance to hang out with people we not otherwise get to know.

  • March 16, 2010

    I agree with Kimberly, it is interesting to follow a variety of people. The value is I get information about topics helpful for me outside my expertise or interests.

    I have also a similar number of followers as people I am following. I do manage this without Apps.

    I unfollow spammers that follow and unfollow as soon as I follow back. I unfollow spammers whos link always leed to the same MLM or article without varying what they tweet.

    Secured accounts, when people want me to follow them I want to read their tweets before deciding to follow them.

    Larissa

  • March 20, 2010
    webaction
    @webaction

    I don’t expect to see ‘valuable content’ on Twitter, I expect only interesting tweets. Valuable content is available on blogs, websites, books … If ppl I follow have something funny to say, share useful link, quote some wisdom or give semi-opinion in 140 characters or less … I’m fine with it completely.

    I try to follow everyone back, except bad bots (some bots are actually cool) – if someone added me who am I not to follow back? Chuck Norris? After lists are introduced there is not valid reason not to follow back, that’s just being polite.

  • April 1, 2010

    It’s interesting that there are such extreme opinons in regards to following people back. I am very picky about who I follow, and will always explore a twitter account that follows me before deciding to follow back, because I enjoy reading all the tweets in my timeline, and picking up interesting information or funny quotes to pass on to my own followers.

    I have tried this technique, and have found some interesting people to follow, but am surprised at how much I had to sift through. I guess everyone has many different tastes, and follows a variety of twitter accounts. Perhaps checking business & corporate twitter accounts to see who they follow would be more beneficial, because they would most likely only follow accounts that relate to their products or service.

  • May 28, 2010

    Not sure what works best. I’ve been doing a search on my area lately and finding people who post a funny or interesting tweet and follow them. No idea how to get people to follow me, I have about 7 real people and about 10 bot looking ones. I don’t follow the bots back but do the real ones.

  • May 28, 2010

    Yeah, This article is a great one. Thanks for sharing these tips

  • May 31, 2010

    I’m still a beginner and my intention is to follow back all followers that have interesting things to say, especially in communication, design, drawing, illustration and technology. At least until my stream gets too much. I scan my whole time-line so far. That might change.

    But those who tweet only once or twice a month or too much such as every ten minutes are unlikely to get followed.

    I’ve not seen any articles yet on who reads their whole stream whether in real time or in the periods when they sit down to check things out. As opposed to those that ignore what they’ve missed ie overnight.

    Will Twitter become a real time only thing? Or should we time shift within it?

  • June 5, 2010

    I use many methods to find those who I want to follow on Twitter (and hope will ultimately also follow me back, or course!). And by the way, I have about a 1 to 1 ratio of followers and those I follow , and I DON’T autofollow! Nor do I expect someone to autofollow me. :)

    Some methods I use:

    1. I use the Twellow directory or another similar one to find tweeters with similar interests as mine.

    2. I use the “twitter search” engine which is on my Twitter page (and is of course on each tweeter’s twitter page) as a way to find like minded tweeters. When looking to find people with the same interests or values, I put a keyword or hashtag keyword Into the search engine.

    3. Speaking of hashtags, I frequently participate in hashtag chats that match my interests, and as these chats are running, or shortly thereafter, I choose several people to follow that I find interesting. They usually follow back if I follow first, as we have just had a good exchange of ideas in the hashtag chat.. Some of these chat tweeters follow me first. If a tweeter follows me first during a hashtag chat, and I like his tweets, I will follow return the follow, after first checking out his Twitter Profile page. :)

    4. I look at the lists other tweeters have ‘placed’ me in with twitter’s new “list function.”. On each tweeter’s own Twitter Profile Page, he can find the number of lists he has been listed on, and by clicking on that number, can then view who compiled each list, and the name of the list (subject matter). These are the ones I often follow back. Or shall I say always follow back, if I like their tweets and we have matching interests and values. I believe “lists” are one of Twitters best new features.

    On Twitter, there are so many ways to find people with similar interests and values as your own on Twitter. Just be creative and find the method(s) that work best for you! You’ll have followers and be following many in no time. And these mutual followers (friends as I call them) will be followers well matched to you! Have fun getting those quality mutual followers!

  • July 23, 2010

    i completely disagree with the assumption that if you have 15k followers but follow 17K then you must have a program. I got on twitter to network, and i got on twitter 2 years ago if i were using a program i should be at 50 or 60K by now. I painstakingly well now i have an intern who painstakingly goes through and weeds out the spammers and ppl who chose to stop following me. I have over 5K ppl in my tweetdeck list/columns. I find if ppl like chrisbrogan, or mchammer or sallyhogshead can follow ppl back then i can and should try to follow ppl not spammer back. The whole point for me to twitter is to interact NOT to speak at ppl but interact with ppl.

  • July 26, 2010

    I choose people with relevant tweets on topics I’m interested in utilizing primarily http://www.socialoomph.com and tweepi.com (among others) to make my selections.

  • July 26, 2010

    I’m just super-curious about what method you used to reach this bit of advice you chose to share with us:
    “Important note of advice before proceeding! Take a look at the person’s total number of followers. If the ratio between followers and followed persons is close to one, then it’s likely that the person has an automatic follow feature set up. In other words, this person probably is not “keeping up” with the same 20,000 people who follows him/her.”

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