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Who and why do I follow on Twitter…

Twitter BirdUntil a few weeks ago I had an auto-follow set-up, and I would randomly check and weed-out from these auto-follows. (Auto-follow is offered by many twitter apps and what it does is blindly follow those who follow you)

Then one day I decided to get off it and see what happens. I had chosen to auto-follow not because I was trying to get more followers but because I was lazy. So it was easy to get off that wagon. Ok, not that easy 🙂

Now that am going to choose who to follow manually, I’ve been giving some thought to what am looking for when following people.

This makes a huge difference I have realized, following authentic people helps connect better, prevents spam and on the whole makes twitter a much better experience.

Here are the things I am going to look out for, (did I miss something, pls add-in).

1. A photo – of a person and not some inanimate object. It so much better to know people by face rather than just an ‘@’ ID.
2. A bio – Helps me get to know the person and also understand what they are about.
3. Last tweet – I want to follow active people, if someone hasn’t posted for more than 3 months – hey! Whats the point.
4. Non-Spammers – I am sick of those spammy direct messages.
5. No-Bots – No place here for robots. I don’t care and don’t want to hear what they say.
6. Connectors – Most importantly people who connect with me or talk to me… People who want to genuinely be friends and not just hit on me…

What do you look for on twitter? Why do you connect with or follow tweeple?

Photo Credit –

January 8, 2010   1 Comment

Using Twitter for promotion – Part 2: How to engage and interest tweeple with your tweets

Tweeple In my last post on How Twitter is like a Newspaper we talked about choosing a target audience for your promotion and researching their needs and wants. But, just posting what they want isn’t enough. It is important to build variety, connect with tweeple, not spam and balance your tweets along with promoting yourself.


Don’t limit yourself to what you are doing or your area of work, look at how you can build-in variety. For e.g. Apart from tweeting about what Outdoor Corporate Training you are doing, your tweets can be about –

1. tips on outdoor activities
2. your learning from your programs
3. latest developments in your field
4. quotes on the outdoors and training
5. humor based on outdoors
6. good blog posts
7. recommend others who are good in the field

These are some examples but you should not limit yourself to them either. Look at all that your audience would be interested in; and remember that they would also have varied interests.


Don’t be a robot and just post headings and links. Share information about yourself and what you are doing; but in an interesting manner. People may not be interested in knowing what training session you are doing but they sure would like to know how you overcame a certain challenge.

Follow and watch what tweeple talk about. Reply and start conversations with people. Make your presence felt but tweet meaningfully not just because you have to say something.

Search on twitter with keywords related to your field of expertise and help tweeple out with answers and suggestions.

If you find an interesting tweet or information, retweet it. Passing on information helps your followers and also builds a connection with the person who posted the original tweet. E.g.

RT @devakishor The best tutorial/guide as to how we can use Linkedin

Use the ‘@’ symbol not only to reply but to also draw attention and connect. (Read my post on ‘How to use the ‘@’ on twitter to your best advantage’)

Use hashtags to help people find your tweets. Hashtags are just like tags on blogs only add inline to your tweet. To create a hashtag simply place the ‘#’ symbol before a relevant word. E.g. #outdoor

For finding relevant hashtags being used in your field search or what the hashtag ?! – both are hashtag directories.

Use the #FollowFriday hashtag to recommend people. When suggesting people remember to include the reason for recommending them.

Watch your twitter stream for questions or someone asking for help. If you know someone who can help or answer the question make sure to recommend them. Connecting people is a great way to network.


No one likes to listen to only one person talk in a discussion room. Hence remember tweet but don’t overdo it. If your tweets clog your followers timelines there is a high probability they will unfollow you. I personally think you should tweet between 10-30 times in a day and no more.

If your tweet is not relevant to everyone and just one person – DM (Direct Message) them as there is no point in telling the world about it.


The last but most important point to remember is to balance your tweets. A good mix of information, answers, replies, retweets and promotion will keep your followers happy and bring you more followers.

I recommend only one promotional tweet in every 10 tweets and about 5-7 retweets in a day. The rest of your tweets can be a mix of information and replies.

How do you twitter? Please share your best practices in comments. Thanks.

September 22, 2009   2 Comments

Using Twitter for promotion – Part 1: Imagine Twitter to be a newspaper…

Twitter's like newspaper It’s not about what you are doing or what you want… Promotion done right is about what your audience wants and needs.

A couple of days earlier a friend asked me how he could use twitter to promote himself and his work. Our long discussion motivated me to write a series about twitter and how to use it right. With no further delay, here’s the first…

Imagine a newspaper. It has headlines, news pieces, editorial, advertisements, etc. All of this gets divided into local, regional, national and international. Another way it gets split is politics, entertainment, sports, finance, etc. There are a lot of sub-divisions in one newspaper.

If you walked down your street in the morning you would see different newspapers lying at your neighbours doorsteps. There are a large variety of newspapers available and people choose their paper based on the kind of news and reporting they are interested in.

Do you see how twitter is like a newspaper? – Its has 140 character headlines with links to more, a variety of tweets depending on the persons interest, self and other advertising and followers who can choose tweeple to follow depending on interest.

So how does a newspaper decide what news they would run and how they would report it? And how do you think they could increase their readership? Newspapers choose news based on the areas they have experts in and what their audience wants. But if they want to increase their viewership they first need to look into what kind of readers they want. After deciding the target audience they need to find out what their new audience wants and deliver.

Twitter works similarly; if you want more followers you need to first list out the kind of audience you want for yourself and your work. Then research the interests of your audience using a tool like Twitter Search to understand their needs.

Now that you know what information to provide to capture interest and give people a reason to follow you, remember that too much information can also turn people off. So my next topic in this series is how much to tweet and how to balance it.

So what do you relate twitter to?

Photo Credit: Xeni

September 15, 2009   3 Comments

Twitter – Should you tweet with responsibility?

Twitter today is ‘the’ place to be; it’s where everyone seems to hang out. With more than a million users signing up every month, it’s seeing phenomenal growth. When using twitter you can talk about anything, air your views & opinions, promote a product or service, give breaking news… you get the picture right… As long as your message is within the 140 character limit you can say anything.

A lot of companies and people are using twitter to promote themselves; maybe not directly but yeah, twitter helps them track people’s opinions, get feedback, keep in touch, etc. This has become so important that companies have started to hire people with a job role that just requires them to be on twitter. Celebrities are taking to twitter too. It’s a way for them to interact with their fans, build a relationship and if they aren’t doing it already soon they will be promoting their brands.

I find twitter a brilliant tool for me to keep in touch with my friends, send them messages (all in one go), promote myself & my work and network with the right people. However I think this has to be done with a certain sense of responsibility since the world can see that I said and I am influencing people. Of course you may say I am entitled to my opinion and if someone wants to believe me or follow me blindly, that’s their problem. True! No doubt but it still is my social responsibility to not give people the wrong notions.

Let me give you an example – Gul Panag, an Indian actress who I quite admire as she doesn’t fit the typical actress mould (Links below)is quite active on twitter. Yesterday Gul tweeted about her bullet (bike) being delivered at the set after being serviced and how she was looking forward to riding home at 2 am. Am sure she was bombarded by her fans with questions on which model, how she rode, what speed and what not. One reply to a question I did notice was about the type of helmet. Let me paste the messages for you here…

gulpanag – @pleomorphous sort of.. It’s a hybrid actually, full face visor , bomber pilot type
pleomorphous – @gulpanag Thats what I meant by “fancy half-face helmet” 🙂
gulpanag – @pleomorphous it’s ok I am a safe rider. What’s good for a fighter jet pilot is certainly good for me:)

Now like I was saying before tweeting with responsibility is important and even more so for a celeb as there are a lot of people listening and celebs can influence them quite a bit. Celebs are also trendsetters. To me this attitude of Gul was not acceptable, she was telling her 2,664 followers that it was ok to wear a helmet that makes you look cool, no matter that it doesn’t protect your head. I’m not sure what others had to say but my reply and another in my timeline are below.

pleomorphous – @gulpanag I applaud your optimism, all the best. 🙂
freya3377 – @gulpanag @pleomorphous Ofcourse Gul, the bullet open to the elements is as safe as a jet and comes with a parachute 🙂
gulpanag – @freya3377 you ride one I assume, from your knowledge;)
freya3377 – @gulpanag Ofcourse 🙂 think it might be a good idea 4 u to promote safely when riding. 🙂

Surprisingly Gul says on her site “the single greatest contribution every celebrity- film sport or any other kind can make is to lead by example” – Read more

So the gist of my post is that tweeple should tweet but with responsibility. What do you think?

Please leave a comment or tweet me.

Gul’s Official Site
Gul on Wikipedia

May 30, 2009   1 Comment