I love Twitter

Let me just start by saying I used to be sceptical about its value and did not have a personal account until @inboxtranslate was created for our business. It did not take long to learn how to use it, how to best make use of the 140 character limit and finally to love it. I like its succinctness and the way content is shared. I am not an expert and this post is not going to share tips and tricks on how to use Twitter, but just my personal view.

To follow back or not to follow back? This is the question

There is so much contradictory advice out there regarding this issue that it can be confusing. Now, some people say it’s common courtesy to follow everyone back (unless they are robots/spammers). I disagree. Following and following back should come naturally; it’s not a tag game. We follow interesting accounts of people and businesses that have something to say and bring value to the community. That does not mean we expect them to follow back. If they do, great, it means we are doing things right and we share interesting content.

There is another tactic I have heard about. X follows you with the expectation to be automatically followed back, and then later will unfollow, hoping you’ll never notice and unfollow them back. Honestly, I just don’t get it. What is the point of this chase? We have unfollowed people, but not because they were not following back, but maybe because they don’t tweet (and their last update was 3 months ago) or they tweet in a language we don’t speak and therefore we cannot access what they share.

And if people unfollow you because they don’t like what you tweet or tweet too little or too much, well, it is their right not to follow you. I sincerely hope that people who stopped following @inboxtranslate did it because their only purpose was to be followed back.

For a great Twitter experience, it matters more who you follow than who follows you.

Should you investigate?

There are a number of software/websites that can help you keep track of your followers (who unfollowed you to be more precise). Unless you are interested for the reasons stated above (to unfollow them too), there is no reason to use them. There is another thing that I don’t like: their terms and conditions state they have access to your Twitter account (makes sense) and can post on your timeline. You must have seen those annoying automated messages with how many new followers/unfollowers someone has. It doesn’t really bother me and I would not unfollow someone just because from time to time a message like that makes its way into my feed. But I don’t like the idea of a robot being in control of my tweets. Ok, maybe in control is too strong, but you get my drift.

How to best use Twitter?

Since I am no expert and there is plenty of advice out there on when, how much and what to Tweet, I am not going to delve into the topic. All I can say is you should keep it interesting.

If you have a Twitter account, have a look at what we share and, if you like it, follow @inboxtranslate. To give you an idea, we tweet about languages, translation and interpreting, books but also other interesting stuff.

What is your take on following back? Do you follow everyone back? Do you track who unfollows you? Do you unfollow someone who doesn’t follow back? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Comments (4)
  1. Sarai said
    August 13, 2013

    Hi Alina, thanks for your interesting blog post – I haven’t had much time to read your blog up till now and I feel like I have been missing out in a BIG way! You have given some interesting insights and I agree with many of them – particularly the following/unfollowing points. I think a heavily populated Twitter feed is impossible to manage – in fact I briefly considered having one account for translations related stuff and one for physics and space related stuff. It might work out better. The only problem with that great idea is that it means signing in to and maintaining two different accounts, which is just more work, and considering that I don’t get to Twitter more than twice a week (unless things are REALLY quiet), I’m not sure I’m ready for that just yet.

  2. Alina said
    August 13, 2013

    Thank you for your kind words, Sarai. You are right, more than one Twitter account would be difficult to manage, although it may make sense in certain situations. As for following/unfollowing, as I said, if I like what someone has to say, I will follow them, without expecting to be followed back. If they do follow back, that’s great, it means I am doing the right thing and I am tweeting good stuff.

  3. October 29, 2013

    What an excellent, sober article Alina.

    Like you I had an account for ages and hardly used it. Then a couple of months ago I decided to do a bit of tweeting about voice care (I am a voice over coach) and people seemed to like it. So I’ve been doing lots since.

    However when searching for guidance on how much is too much, I noticed the advice was contradictory from ‘don’t over-tweet’ to ‘the more tweets the better’. At times the do’s and don’ts of Twitter etiquette seem to border on the hysterical and can be enough to put you off completely.

    Thinking of flag waving about your success? Forget it – such tweets are narcissistic (say some blogs) and you will lose followers. But surely Twitter now has promoted tweets which are pure advertising. Where’s the consistency?

    I follow people I like the sound of and favourite tweets that are in my sphere of interest ie subjects related to the voice and voice overs. Occasionally I try and say something mildly amusing.

    From the small amount of experience I have so far, my advice is do what you feel is best for you. If people retweet you, chances are you are doing something right.

    Please follow me @ …… oops sorry I nearly did the unthinkable.

    • Alina said
      October 30, 2013

      Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words and insightful comment.

      I do agree that there is a lot of contradictory advice, but I’d say to find your own balance and see what best works for you.

      As for the unthinkable, I’ll do it for you :) If you are interested in voice-overs, you can follow Gary on Twitter – @VoMasterClass.

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