I try not to write posts about only Twitter, because many people who read my blog are not on Twitter.  But this is one of those I just needed to write. I’ve made a change to the way I follow people back so thought I’d explain:

Old Method

As you may know from my Indispensable Online Tools post, I use Topify to inform me when I have a new Twitter follower.  I rely more on those emails versus looking at the follower list in Twitter.  I also have a filter setup in Gmail so all the new follower notices go into a separate folder, which works really well so they don’t clutter my inbox.

For my personal account, I don’t want to auto-follow, as I don’t think I’m interested in everyone who is necessarily interested in following me (but on @WebinarListings, I do auto-follow).  I feel strongly about reviewing each new person… My thought process is, you never know who you might miss if you don’t look at each one!  The problem is that they pile up really quickly, and keeping up this pace is overwhelming.  At one point last week, I had 600 new followers to review, and was stressed out just thinking about it.

New Method

I resisted changing for a long time, as I really didn’t want to do anything differently just because I now have 7,500 followers, than when I had 75 followers.  But, unfortunately, I just can’t keep up!  So, here’s the new plan…. if we interact, I follow you.  Pretty simple.  After all, that’s what social media is about, right?  Interacting, and building relationships.  Am I upset that I might miss out on great people who follow me and I don’t end up following  them back?  Yes.  Might I follow some people who I have no interest in what they have to say?  Yes.  But, both of those are worth it to streamline this process that has gotten out of control for me!

So, if I’m not following you, and you want  me to, just send a tweet to me at @BostonMarketer.  Not sure?  Look for your face below :-) or check out DoesFollow.

What do you think of this new method?  Do you have any other suggestions to handle the overload? How do YOU manage your new followers?

Twitter Mosaic of some of the new people I’m following:

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    • http://twitter.com/jeraa2t Jerry Rogich Sr.

      I was wondering how you were going to manage it all. You are doing a great job btw. I just dabble a bit for fun. My hobby is communications so I find this space an interesting extension to what I have been doing for many years.

    • TheBetsy

      Rachel-
      I've toggled back and forth from auto-follow to review to if you engage me. It is hard to find the right balance, one that works well.

      Engagement and conversation is the point, but sometimes you find you're just speaking to yourself on Twitter.

      Interested to hear your experience….

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      Yes, it IS tough…. going to give this a shot for a while, but have a
      feeling it will stick!

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      Thanks Jerry!

      ======

    • http://www.redgiantconsulting.com Tamara Gruber

      Hi Rachel, I think the new policy makes a lot of sense. I still review each new follower but the task can be daunting at times. I wish Twitter made it easier by including the bio, location, and last 10 tweets in the notification email so I would only need to click on the ones that looked interesting.

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      Try Topify.com… they do that, and it's MUCH easier. You can also reply to
      follow back (works for DM's too!). Thx for the comment!

    • http://michelletripp.com michelletripp

      Hi Rachel, I've been against auto following in the past, but lately it's starting to seem appealing again… because like you, sifting through new follows once a week takes so much time. Not that I don't appreciate it, but I carefully review every follower, and sometimes I just can't get to the in box for a week. And some weeks I don't have the hour or two to spare. Nothing against my followers, it just takes time to return a follow. I'd almost rather spend 20 minutes creating lists in hootsuite than two hours analyzing my topify emails.

      Your new policy sounds pretty good, though. You're going to end up following only the people who genuinely want to connect which means you'll be able to focus and build much more valuable relationships. Curious how your experimental strategy pans out!

    • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

      Thx for the comment Michelle! I obviously agree on not having the time! I
      still worry about missing some good people, but sometimes you just can't do
      it all!

    • http://twitter.com/rikerjoe Joe Williams

      Hi Rachel – I agree with your new method: “if we interact, I follow you.” In recent days I've started reviewing my follower list and have been cleaning up based upon the above. Thanks for the tip on Topify.com – I'm going to check it out.

    • Anonymous

      Keeping up with new followers is tough! It can get noisy sometimes. Probably the best argument for auto-following I’ve heard is that “it’s just polite to give my followers the option to DM me.” I don’t auto-follow for my personal account (my following is around the 2000 mark so it’s not at the OMG overwhelming point yet to keep up) but for the @oneforty account we do auto-follow. It’s a tough thing. It leads to us being followed by this huge group of people Tweeting under the #Teamfollowback and #teamautofollow hashtags that we have to sort through because they are just looking for follows and not relationships. However, following the community members back has worked out for us because we’ve been DM’d on issues and we able to resolve them personally via DM – and you have to be following each other to do that.

      • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

        I’m never seen those hashtags before! But, I agree, for a business (i.e.
        @WebinarListings) — especially with customer service issues, I autofollow.
        For personal, I don’t.