I am fairly¬†new to Twitter, but¬† I am not new to marketing. I have been posting regularly, trying to add value and trying to contribute to the community. When people started following me, I was honored. I would carefully examine their Bio, their latest tweets and links to see if they added value. If they did add value I would follow them back. If they were not in my space or a space I was interested in, I wouldn’t follow them.¬†Throught the day I would notice my follower stats would rise and fall. What was going on? Were they not interested in what I had to say or did I¬†say something that was offensive?¬†I have to admit I felt a little self-conscious. Well, it turns out that a lot of people on Twitter will only follow you if you follow them back–they are gaming the system.
Having spent a lot of time in Marketing, I understand how and why it is important to rank high in search result pages. I also understand that the art of “optimizing” for search is about getting away with as much keyword stuffing and link baiting as possible without hurting the user experience or getting penalized by the Search Engines. So, I also understand why people are doing the same thing in Twitter.¬† I read posts by Robert Scoble on the authority ranking controversy, and¬† I agreed with his philosophy, “No I am not going to be a part of this. I will build my network on solid, social marketing principals.”¬† Then I see Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan and others doing, advocating, and practicing the exact opposite strategy. The “follow anyone that follows you” approach will help grow your reach as quickly as possible. Even in the beginning Robert Scoble had the same strategy. Why do you think he follows over 20,000 people? He must believe they add some value or he would stop following them.
What I have decided to do:
- Follow people who add value to my network.
- Contribute to my network – add my own brand of value and comments to the conversation.
- adopt the “follow me I’ll follow you” approach.
- Use applications like TweetDeck to filter my TweetStream so that I can monitor the users that matter to me (Yes, @Scobleizer you are in that group!)
You can follow me on Twitter here @LaryStucker
So, I guess Twitter isn’t really broken. It is following the same path of all of the other networks that reward popularity.¬† In the end I suppose a company will come along, like Google, and find ways of making meaning out of this system. A true Twitter rank will probably emerge as an algorithm based on followers, Keyword usage, and retweets.
Let me know your thoughts on the state of Twitter, the “follow me and I’ll follow you” philosophy, and the Authority controversy?