Happy Twitter Addict

Twitter Profile

This is part 1 of the Products I Can’t Live Without series.

For about the last six months I’ve been wanting to clean out my Twitter feed and reorganize my lists. I had been following back everyone that follows me, and it had just become too hard to find good content regularly. Twitter is my main source for news and content (I have two computer screens set up at the office – one with TweetDeck up all the time, and the other I use for the rest of my work). And, when I’m not at my desk I’m checking Twitter about every hour during the week. So, not having a steady stream of quality content was driving me a bit crazy.

Over the holidays, I finally had a chance to revamp my Twitter. And, I set up new rules on whom I’ll follow.

I used two standards to set up these rules. The first, Tony Hsieh‘s rules on what to post on Twitter. He uses the anagram  “ICEE” to remember it.

  • Inspire
  • Communicate
  • Educate
  • Entertain

I generally used these rules already for what I post on Twitter, but now I’m using them as a benchmark for whom I follow too. I want people and brands to inspire me, communicate with me, educate and entertain me.

Similarly, I used the AOL’s definition of valuable original content (which I wrote about here and here) as a benchmark for whom to follow. Per AOL,

Unique Content + Quality (trusted, fresh, relevant, authentic) Content = Valued Original Content.

With curation running rampant on the web (note, I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing), I come across many people sharing the same content. I want a steady stream of new (or, unique) content. So, I’m going to start following more people that either write original content and/or are excellent curators of content. In both cases that content has to be highly relevant to my intrinsic interests and their manifestations (social media, technology, entrepreneurship), and the person tweeting the content must be a trusted/authentic source (e.g. a successful VC or entrepreneur, an innovative marketer, a trusted journalist or blogger etc.)

The New Rules

So, here are the new rules for whom I follow:

  1. If someone I know or have met follows me, I’ll follow back (friends, colleagues, industry professionals, etc). These are people with whom I’m going to want to communicate
  2. I also will follow anyone that I deem will provide me with valuable original content that inspires, educates or entertains me (again, these individuals have to be sharing content that is highly relevant to me and have authenticity in the subject of the content they’re sharing)
  3. I will follow/follow back anyone that makes an intelligent remark about or reply to one of my tweets. A simple retweet is not enough, and the individual doesn’t necessarily have to agree with my tweet. S/he just needs to add value to the conversation – to be a valued community member, as I write about here
  4. I follow products that I regularly use, and that I’ll want/need updates on

And, that’s it. Four simple rules.


To help me organize my stream and community, I set up the following lists

  • big-fuelers – Big Fuel is a social media agency I used to work for. This is a list of people I worked with there, and helps me keep up with them
  • wcg-ers – WCG is the marketing and communications agency I currently work for. Again, this list helps me keep up with my colleagues
  • su – Syracuse University is my alma mater, and we have a very tight Twitter community. This is a list of anyone I’m connected to from SU.
  • startups – is a list of VCs, entrepreneurs and people I know that work at startups
  • marketing – is a list of everyone I know and follow in marketing (note: this list used to be called social media marketing, but really social media is ubiquitous across marketing channels. So, now the list is just called “marketing”
  • clients-past-present – is a list of brands I currently work with, or have in the past. It partially serves as a disclosure should I tweet anything about them, but also helps me keep track their activities
  • products – is a list of products I use regularly and want/need updates on
  • testing – is a list of individuals I’ve decided to follow/follow back, but want to test out their content before I put them in my main “filter” feed
  • filter – is my main feed. It’s the only list/feed that I refer to regularly. This is a list of everyone that has passed the follow test and are providing the best content (e.g. I don’t need the brands in the “products” list in my feed all the time; I just want to reference them every once in a while. So, they’re not included in the “filter” list)
  • nyc
  • la
  • san-francisco
  • austin
  • seattle
  • boston
  • boulder-co

The location lists are based on cities where I have lived, travel to and/or want to travel to. I’m hoping these lists will help me figure out people that I can connect with when I’m in those cities. Some I’ve met in person, and some I’ve only met through social media. Either way, connecting with them in person when I’m in town will help deepen those relationships.

The Result

Since revamping my Twitter stream, I unfollowed about 500 people, so now I’m only following 361 people. I actually went through and looked at every individual’s profile and tweets before deciding whether or not to continue to follow them, and how to list them.

My “filter” list/stream is now on fire. I have a constant stream of quality content – more than I can keep up with really (but, that’s a high class problem and a much better situation than the one I was in before). Also, I’m testing a product called Undrip – a San Francisco-based startup that is attempting to help individuals filter through all the noise in their streams and identify the best content in real-time, or from the last 24 hours or 7 days. I’m hoping this product will increase my efficiency in consuming and curating quality content for my community.

I’ve also lost about 60 or 70 followers. But, considering I un-followed about 500 individuals, that’s not so bad. Plus, it’s about the quality of the community, not the quantity of it. I preach that to clients all the time, and it’s the truth. I’d rather have less, but more engaged individuals following me than more, but less engaged individuals.

In fact, I have 590 Twitter followers, 441 Facebook friends and 391 LinkedIn connections (1,422 total across the three networks on which I’m most active; many of those people are duplicative – i.e. I’m connected with them on more than one of the networks). Klout measures my True Reach (the number of people I influence, both within my immediate network and across their extended networks) at 826 people. That means I’m influencing/engaging with 58%+ of my community at any given time. I’d say that’s pretty good!

My True Reach on Klout

I also noticed that, since revamping my Twitter stream, my Network Impact (which measures the influence of my network) increased about 10 points to a score of 33. So, not only am I now engaging with a higher percentage of my network, but that network is more influential on average!

My Network Impact on Klout

I was already addicted to Twitter. It’s my first source for news and information that I care about, and a way for me to connect with people and share ideas. But now, after the revamp, I’m a happy addict. More than ever, Twitter is a product that I can’t live without (or at least don’t want to). Thumbs up!

Thumbs Up

2 thoughts on “Happy Twitter Addict

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