To Follow Or Not To Follow: That is the Question on Twitter

You go through the ritual once every couple of days. Unless you have auto-follow, that is.

How do you decide whether or not to follow someone back on Twitter? I fielded the question on Twitter and here are some of the responses I got.

@CWarfield: shared interests; no spam or useless “eating a ham sando” posts

@rtstrategy: re following back: educational/entertaining content & signs they are engaging.

@alewi854: They need a good bio and tweet regularly RT @andrewspoeth: what do you look for when considering to follow someone back?

@walkerjill: but not tweet TOO MUCH! RT @alewi854 good bio & tweet regularly RT @andrewspoeth what do you look for when considering to follow ppl back?

Take a look at your newest followers in Twitter and decide who to follow back. My process involves a CTRL+click on each profile name to open up a new tab for each person. Next, I scan profile information and tweet stream. Looking at these, I consider:

1. Interests of the Twitterer

How closely do they match mine. I tend to keep open to various interests, unless it’s something like sharing wealth or getting rich quickly.

2. Follower count

I don’t look for a large number of followers. More important is a balance between Following and Followers. If the person is following way more than being followed, it’s a red flag.

3. Tweet volume

Check number of tweets against number of followers. If this person’s tweet volume far exceeds the number of people who follow them, it’s likely an indication of boring tweets.

4. Quality of content

What would be described as quality on Twitter? I personally look for tweets that are:

  • thought provoking
  • funny
  • resourceful
  • current
  • generous
  • engaging

A twitterer should have a healthy balance between original content, retweets, and engagement with others. It’s also encouraging to see the occasional question – an indication this twitterer is interested in listenting.

Image credit: / CC by NC SA

Skittles Viral Campaign Holds a Mirror to Twitter

Skittles, a candy produced by Mars Incorporated, created a bit of an online uproar on March 1 when they made a dead simple, yet effective change to their web home page, Instead of a rainbow-colored product site as one would expect, users saw a Twitter feed for the search term Skittles.  The page was superimposed by an intercept survey asking users for their age, and acceptance of a simple terms and conditions statement:

“Just a heads up: Any stuff beyond the page is actually another site and not in our control. This panel may be hovering over the page, but SKITTLES® isn’t responsible for what other people post and say on these sites. Click the box below to acknowledge that you know SKITTLES® isn’t responsible for that stuff.”

Tweets containing the word ‘skittles’ automatically appeared on the new Skittles homepage, along with any tweets making reference to the change as they contained the same keyword.  The buzz on Twitter grew to a point where Skittles became the number one trending keyword in buzz monitoring tools such as Twitscoop.

skittles twitter trend


Several Twitterers used the opportunity for creative expression:


Incidentally, this user claimed that Skittles look like a Rick Astley YouTube video.

Users quickly caught on to what Skittles was trying to achieve with the campaign, but were also having fun in being part of the action.

skittles tweet

Others gave in to the urge of turning a new found brand awareness into actual consumption.

skittles tweet

With this social media marketing campaign, Skittles effectively held up a mirror to the Twittersphere, a mirror which reflected and amplified whatever ‘skittle’ was thrown into it.

It will be interesting to see if and how others brands follow suit.