Wondering why people follow me on Twitter?

About 6 months ago I got curi­ous as to why people were fol­low­ing me on Twit­ter. Basic­ally I asked them… and then found out some rather inter­est­ing things, both about why they were fol­low­ing me and also about the evolving etiquette around Twit­ter inter­ac­tions.

This has turned into a two-part post. Ini­tially I was going to address both the pro­cess I used, and the res­ults, but once I writ­ing about the pro­cess, I real­ized the post was  too long to digest at once. So, I’ll get to the num­bers in the next post.

On to the pro­cess.

How do I know when someone’s fol­low­ing me?
If you look under the Notices tab on your Twit­ter Set­tings page you’ll see the check­box beside ‘New Fol­low­er Emails:’. Check it and you’ll be auto­ma­gic­ally emailed every time someone starts fol­low­ing. Simple ‘eh? Without this fea­ture, know­ing when someone star­ted fol­low­ing me would have been much more dif­fi­cult.

Ask­ing the question…it’s all in the ques­tion.

Ini­tially, I thought a simple DM (Twit­ter Dir­ect Mes­sage) along the lines of ‘hey, thanks for fol­low­ing me, how’d you find me?’ would suf­fice. But no, it’s too simple, and didn’t really get much of a response. I think it ten­ded to put people off by it’s brev­ity, and it was gen­er­ic; it looked like the DM could have been gen­er­ated by an Auto-DM script.

Auto-DM is cur­rently con­sidered bad form as many people inter­pret the Twit­ter to be at its best with live inter­ac­tion, and the DM chan­nel to be reserved for inter­ac­tion that may not be of interest to all of  your fol­low­ers.

So, I settled on this pro­cess to review can­did­ates to sur­vey:

  • Click on the link to the new follower’s pro­file in the New Fol­low­er Email.
  • Check out the fol­low­ers details: loc­a­tion (if any), interests, web page, tweet­ing his­tory and con­tent to see if they’re inter­est­ing to me.
  • Look for a ‘mes­sage fol­low­er’ link under the Actions sec­tion of their pro­file. If it’s not there,  they don’t want to be soci­able, so I won’t both­er them by fol­low­ing them back. In my case, when I fol­low you, it’ll say ‘mes­sage bgri­er’ as indic­ated in the image to the right.
  • If the pro­file or a quick review of recent tweets reveals that all this fol­low­er is writ­ing about is a ‘new money­mak­ing sys­tem’ or ‘SEO secrets’, then I’ll use the link on the line below it and block them from receiv­ing my updates. I effect­ively van­ish from their ‘fol­low­ing’ list. I have no time for these type of spam accounts.

Over the peri­od of my inform­al sur­vey, both my ‘tweet’ fre­quency and my fol­low­er counts have increased. I don’t think one is a sig­ni­fic­ant res­ult of the oth­er, as dur­ing this peri­od, Twit­ter has gained a lot more pub­li­city, and spam-fol­low­er activ­ity has increased. The tweet fre­quency may have had a small impact.

Regard­less, it’s inter­est­ing data and is dis­played in cool charts 🙂 As you can see in the Tweet­Stats chart below, I have been increas­ing my online activ­ity.

And my fol­low­er count has also grown, as indic­ated in this Twit­ter­Counter chart.

All right. I’ve seen sig­ni­fic­ant growth of fol­low­ers over the last few months, and of those, a pretty good seg­ment of people have taken a moment or two to explain why they fol­lowed me. Dig­ging into those details will be the sub­ject of my next post, but in the mean­time, let me ask you a ques­tion.

Why do you think people are fol­low­ing YOU on Twit­ter? Post your answeres in the com­ments below.

A few Twitter tips for TV media

TV Test Pattern of Color Bars - Broadcaster's Twitter TipsRecently I had the oppor­tun­ity to help intro­duce a loc­al TV news anchor to the rather con­vo­luted world of Twit­ter, via Twit­ter.

That ses­sion gave me pause to think about what the TV news media really knows about this new media and its den­iz­ens.

So, to save repeat­ing myself, and per­haps help a few oth­er TV types enter into the Twit­ter-sphere, here’s some of the items we’d dis­cussed.

  • What’s Twit­ter all about? Check out the best Twit­ter intro. video ever.
  • What’s an Avatar? Avatar = your icon, just anoth­er name. You use them on many net­works, Face­book, Linked­in, Twit­ter, etc. Here’s an example of an Avatar gen­er­at­or.
  • Short­er tweets work bet­ter. You’ve only got 140 char­ac­ters. Terse works in Twit­ter. Not like broad­cast. Don’t be con­ver­sa­tion­al. Get to your point quickly.
  • What’s a ReTweet? ReTweet­ing or RT is when someone spreads your tweet to their list of fol­low­ers. I RT your mes­sage, and my tweeps see it. That’s why short tweet is bet­ter, it leaves room for RT without major re-edit­ing.
  • Tweet about some­thing that NOBODY ELSE HAS. This is where you add YOUR value to your fol­low­ers. Wire ser­vices are all on twit­ter. Plug some­thing exclus­ive to your broad­cast (and say so) rather then some­thing that moved on a wire ser­vice.
  • That being said, sub­scribe to all the Twit­ter wire ser­vices and news organ­iz­a­tions in your geo­graph­ic region. Oth­er­wise you won’t know what’s hap­pen­ing in the Twit­ter-sphere that’s import­ant to your broad­cast.
  • Mon­it­or men­tions about your Twit­ter account using http://search.twitter.com. Just enter your @username as the search cri­ter­ia and you’ll see all the men­tions of your account.
  • Remem­ber, Twit­ter is a Social Media. Inter­act with your fol­low­ers, don’t just ‘spam’ them with announce­ments of a story you’re run­ning in your next news­cast. Inter­ac­tion is key to devel­op­ing and main­tain­ing an audi­ence in the Twit­ter-sphere.

*** UPDATE *** I found this excel­lent list from the Poynter Insti­tute. If you’re get­ting your feet wet, this is the place to start!
*** UPDATE 2 *** Here’s anoth­er great list I plucked off of a recent #journ­chat (Twit­ter form­al chat for journ­al­ists, writers, blog­gers, etc)

So, did I miss any­thing? Please feel free to add to this list in the com­ments. Oh, and feel free to fol­low me on Twit­ter 🙂

eeePC Netbook Ubuntu mod and a bit of fun

As you can see, I’ve man­aged to get Tweet­Deck installed on my lan­guish­ing eeePC 8G Net­book.

Ori­gin­ally we’d picked the eeePC up as a light web browser, but found the nat­ive Xan­dros OS a bit weak.

Time passed and we’d not had time to really explore the poten­tial of this little guy…until now.

First off, the OS needed a rework. I was con­sid­er­ing a TinyXP (stripped down) Win­dows XP install, but decided against it for a num­ber of reas­ons.

Then Easy Peasy was released. It’s a fork of Ubuntu Linux, optim­ized for the require­ments of the netbook’s smal­ler form factor (screen, key­board, wifi, etc).

Cut­ting to the chase, the Easy Peasy install­a­tion went per­fectly, fol­low­ing these instruc­tions.

Then, to make this refreshed net­book work for me…it needed Tweet­Deck (the ulti­mate Twit­ter cli­ent) which runs on Adobe AIR. Ubuntu and Easy Peasy don’t include AIR, but lucky for me there was a simple walk­through which I’ll sum­mar­ize here:

  1. Open the Ter­min­al
  2. Down­load the file from here using the wget com­mand:
    http://airdownload.adobe.com/air/lin/download/1.5/AdobeAIRInstaller.bin
  3. The name of the file is AdobeAIRInstaller.bin
  4. Save the file in the Home folder (Places > Home Folder)
  5. Run this com­mand:
    chmod +x AdobeAIRInstaller.bin
  6. Now run this com­mand:
    sudo ./AdobeAIRInstaller.bin

The nor­mal installer will open, install it. From now whenev­er you down­load a .air file, just double click it and it will be installed.

So this means we simply browse to the Tweet­Deck down­load page, click on the Linux Ver­sion, and select ‘install with Ado­beAir­Installer’ when promp­ted by the oper­at­ing sys­tem.

Poof done! Tweet­Deck now installed and the eeePC net­book can now play with Twit­ter like the big boys.

What to know when changing website hosts

A couple of weeks ago I found the fol­low­ing in an email from my web­host:

Your web host­ing account for bradgrier.com has been deac­tiv­ated (reas­on: site caus­ing per­form­ance prob­lems).
Although your web site has been dis­abled, your data may still be avail­able for
up to 15 days, after which it will be deleted.

After a quick call to the ever-help­ful cus­tom­er ser­vice line, I’d learned that I’d exceed my alloc­ated CPU or SQL cycles. With my simple little Word­Press blog.

It seems that a plu­gin (or two) had taken too many resources too many times for them. They are a very large (per­haps the largest) web­host offer­ing unlim­ited everything…except CPU and SQL cycles.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “What to know when chan­ging web­site hosts”