Apparently it has become “en vogue” to dump most of the people you follow on Twitter and follow just a few hundred. I currently follow over 15,000 accounts, which is close to half of the number of followers who follow me. So, why do I follow so many? Here are some reasons:
I’m naturally really curious: I am a naturally curious person and I like to learn and meet new people. I can’t do that if I am predisposed to think that already know everyone who is fabulous and interesting. Nor do I believe that there are only a few hundred people who have something of value to say to me. Following a lot of people gives me an opportunity to get exposed to even more content.
I use lists: While I like finding interesting people to follow, I don’t always have time to view what everyone is saying, so I use lists to cultivate the core group of people whose updates I want to get on a daily basis. That allows me to “have my cake” of following a broad range of people and “eat it too” by spending more time with the lists. As people pique my interest, I move them in and out of my core lists.
I am secure with who I am: I guess some people think that it makes them look more important or cool or something to have lots of followers and only follow a few back. That doesn’t concern me.
I ignore DMs: Some others have claimed that they don’t’ follow a lot of people because they can’t keep up with all of the random and spam direct messages from followers. I don’t typically use that feature of Twitter, so it’s not a problem for me.
It’s about relationships: It’s harder to build a relationship with someone you don’t follow.
That being said, I don’t follow everyone who follows me. If you are following me and I am not following you, most likely it’s because of timing. I try to look at profiles to see if they are of interest when I pick followers, but sometimes I get busy and you get lost due to bad timing. I also tend to favor those who have interacted with me a few times, so interaction is a good way to get back to the top of my mind.
I also try not to follow people (although there are exceptions) who tweet to porn stars, use misogynistic language or the like. Once in a while, you don’t have enough of a track record for me to assess whether your tweets are interesting to me.
And finally, sometimes Twitter or Tweetdeck accidentally unfollow people who I really do want to be following. I’ve got no answer for that one.
Anyways, that’s my explanation of how my Twitter use might be different than some of my peers. Perhaps it gives you an idea of how you may want to broaden your Twitter horizons.