What’s the anatomy of a Twitter Follow?

Recently Tamsen McMahon published a really great infographic on the Sametz Blackstone blog.  It’s a decision tree that maps out paths for determining whether a tweet might get re-tweeted.  The graphic includes subjective filters (“Is it interesting?”) and practical factors (“Am I busy?”) to consider for those trying to spread the word about something on Twitter.

We might add other subjective filters like “Will this be a ‘me-too’ RT?”  Sometimes you can really like something for its own merit but don’t want to be caught up in a wave of adoring fans.  A direct message might have more meaning.

Mark W. Schaefer, with his friend Dr. Hanna, added another layer to being effective on Twitter.  Dr. Hanna gathered statistical data about achieving optimal effectiveness with tweet volume, time of day and even tweet format.

Both of these interesting posts got me thinking about why we choose to follow certain people.  When I gain a new follower, I take a look at their profile description and tweets.  Do they sound like someone I could sit next to on a plane?  Are their tweets one-sided or robot-like?  What kind of stuff are they into and does it interest me?  Do their links help me discover something new?

Do you follow me?

To help make some sense out of the “To follow or not to follow” question, I offer this simple graphic.  Starting at the top, what we share/do comprises our Twitter profile.  From that activity (tweets/content), someone can figure out why you’re there. That leads to the pieces written about in Mark’s post before branching off to general personal characteristics (which probably apply as much offline as on, further demonstrating our online life is merely an extension of who we are IRL).

Why do you follow those you follow?  A sense of obligation?  A desire to be in the midst of things?  Education?

Anatomy of the Twitter Follow Heather Rast






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