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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Keeping up with the Joneses

Just a quick note here to let folks that read this blog regularly (all 9 of you) that I am starting to post some unique content on my work blog. I only mention this because in the past I’ve tended to cross-post most content.

In this particularly case, a post I co-wrote with colleague, Bill Fanning, Would you Join a Toothpaste Community became more interesting because of the 25 comments that resulted from the post. My follow up post, Ball Bearings, Men’s Underwear and Drano Oh My! is predicated on the fact that you read the Toothpaste Community post. Clear as mud?
Sorry to jump you through hoops, especially if you’re reading this via an RSS reader. Dare I ask that you consider adding my other blog to your feed? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Background on my “Breakthrough” Hiring 2.0 Post

Back in March, I wrote a post titled “Hiring in a 2.0 World.” If you haven’t read it, it’s an interesting way to think about including social networking into your hiring (or “being hired”) process.

That’s not the reason I did this Utter-cast however. It was to give some background to my friend, Ken Burbary as to why this was a “breakthrough” post for me. As you’ll hear in the audio portion of this utter-cast, it was a big post for me for three reasons:

  1. I learned that being prescriptive was the way to go – it’s much easier for people to derive value from your thoughts if you keep things in a box and give them actionable steps on how to do what your recommending that they do.
  2. As a result of being prescriptive (and selectively reaching out to a few friends for feedback) I got dozens of thought provoking comments AND several other add on posts
  3. Combining numbers one and two (along with the savvy of Doug Haslam http://twitter.com/dough was doing some PR for us at the time), the topic garnered interest from US News and World Report and the Boston Sunday Globe.

So there you have it Ken. Hope that helps!

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Hubspot Keeps Delivering the Value

Last night, I got a direct message from my friend, Mike Volpe, who is the VP of marketing at Boston based company, Hubspot. In his DM, Mike was letting me know that Hubspot would be releasing an informative report this morning on the “State of Twitter.” If you use Twitter as an individual or a business, I would highly recommend that you check out this report as it is chock full of valuable and informative statistics.
With that said, I’m actually not going to write abou the report. ReadWriteWeb and Techcrunch along with many others have already covered that angle (some before Hubspot was ready). Instead, I want to talk about what Hubspot does well. The have learned the incredibly important lesson of “give before you get.” Just take a look at their site which includes freebies like:
With that said, I have to admit that I was a little skeptical of Hubspot CEO, Brian Halligan, when I first met him several months ago. We were on a MITX panel together along with Chris Brogan and Chris Penn. During the panel, I could tell immediately that Brian was smart and that he got it but I wondered if he might be too far over on the dark side of “using” social media for business. Based on subsequent conversations with Brian and Mike along with watching how Hubspot behaves in the social media “sandbox,” I not only discovered that I was wrong about my initial assessment but also that Brian, Mike and team were in fact REALLY good at tying business goals together with social media outcomes.
I was reminded of my admiration for Hubspot the other day during a webinar I did with Ann Handley of Marketing Profs and Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester. One of the slides in Ann’s portion of the presentation — focused on creating great content — mentioned Hubspot (see below). Between that mention and Mike’s DM last night, I felt compelled to give Hubspot a Stroutmeister “shout out” (that’s a reference to my blog vs. me talking about myself in the 3rd person btw).
To that end, what other companies are doing a great job creating content and sharing it freely with their consituents? I’m always looking for companies to write about, interview or invite to join me on panels etc. If you know of anyone, DM me or leave a comment in the space below.