Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quick Tips on Following LOTS of People on Twitter

My friend Rick Whittington just asked if I had any tips on effectively following large numbers of people on Twitter. Given the fact that I currently try and stay in touch with 3,500+ people, I've had a little experience in this area.

My first piece of advice to Rick (or anyone else grappling with this issue) is to let go of the fact that you can actively read all of the people you follow's updates. It's a sad day when that reality sets in but it is what it is.

My second recommendation is to start using a client like Tweetdeck or Twhirl. In the case of Twhirl, I often kept it open on my desk (in the background) and left it set to the "@" tab. That way, I could respond to messages directed at me but didn't pay close attention to the live stream. In the early morning, at lunch and in the evening, I could dip into the live stream to see what folks were up to.

As a follow on to number two, Tweetdeck takes this strategy to a whole other level because it allows you to watch up to four different groups of people. Personally, I chose:
  1. a group of about 50-75 people I want to actively pay attention to
  2. my replies or "@'s"
  3. all of the people I follow and
  4. the people I work with.
One final thought (if you don't want to use technique 2 and 2A) is to bookmark the 10-20 people you follow most actively and then make a point of visiting their twitter.com/user page once or twice a day.

Hope that helps! If anyone else has good ideas on how to more effectively follow large numbers of people on Twitter, feel free to share in the comments below.

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  1. I've also tried setting up RSS feeds in my Google Reader for specific people's tweets. The only prob is the feed doesn't update often and you may see tweets that are a couple of hours old. Good thing, no need to go to multiple twitter pages. I just check Google Reader throughout the day for new tweets and jump in if relevant.