Let’s face it, there is more than enough noise on Twitter without hearing from people you have no interest in. The longer you use Twitter however, the greater the chance of you following accounts that provide no value and just take up space in your feed.
I’ve been using Twitter for nearly 6 years, and every day I find content that ranges from incredibly useful to couldn’t care less about, a result of a number of factors that range from people I even forgot I was following from the early days, to people who have changed the focus of their content, and people curating from the same source.
There’s a process I regularly undertake that I want to share with you, to continually optimise the feed of content I get from Twitter.
It breaks down into three areas (or 4 R’s if you want to get specific):
While it may seem obvious, understanding what you want from your feed is the first step. We all have multiple interests, and it’s important that your feed represents that diversity. From there, you can use things like Twitter lists to curate the feed further.
Visit the sites you regularly read, and find if they have a Twitter account. Click through and read some of their tweets to make sure they are providing content that you think is interesting (more on that in the next point).
And a final note here is to give Twitter’s recommendations of accounts to follow a thorough look over before to follow leave a lot to be desired. More often than not, these are promoted accounts of celebrities that, in my view, will do little for you getting any value out of your feed.
Review and Reciprocate
As you begin following more people, sharing their content, and creating your own, you will begin to grow your own following. Twitter’s growth has been built on reciprocation of people following each other.
It’s important though that you not trade quality for quantity. Even after 6 years on Twitter, I’ve built my following to only around 2,700 people for a number of reasons:
- There is only so much capacity for consumption of information
- There is a great deal of duplicate content being shared
- I review every person who follows me to decide who to follow back
Consistently high quality, useful content is hard to keep going. Those who are leaders in their space, and therefore people you should be following, do it well. Eventually, some accounts begin churning out the same old thing, automate too much, or switch their focus to something you are no longer interested in. Because of the nature and speed at which Twitter moves, you may even see content from people you forgot you followed.
It’s important that you don’t let low quality consistently cloud your feed. As in the last point, you have a finite capacity for information. So if you are getting less and less value from certain users, unfollow them to up the quotient of good content.
This will also make sure you keep your following balanced.
Once you go past following 2,000 people, Twitter imposes a limit on the number of people you can follow in relation to following you. While the actual number is unpublished, from personal experience the ratio is around 10% (as an example, if I have 2,500 people following me, I can follow up to 2,750).
It’s important though to make sure this practice is in line with Twitter policy.
Over to you…
With 270 million active users and over 500 million tweets sent per day, it’s an imperative that you learn how to separate the signal from the noise. Building a solid base from which to glean useful information is the first step.
Have you found any other useful ways of building a quality feed? Let me know in the comments below.
Here’s an infographic of the key points above:
This post is referenced in my SlideShare – 6 Steps to Better Twitter Citizenship