5 Lessons 5,000 Twitter Followers Have Taught Me

You’ve read it right — followers, not the people that I follow… I do realize that the more traditional way of learning that we use on Twitter, Google+ and other social networking platforms is to listen carefully to the people we follow, and learn from them. Well, if you know anything about me, you know that I’m a huge fan of transformational leadership. And the key principle of it is to stay open to learning from the people that follow you, allowing room to be transformed by them.

Today I’ve passed 5,000 Twitter followers mark:

As I saw it, I took a screenshot of the follower-count, and tweeted:

http://twitpic.com/87pn98 – Flattering to know that 5,000 people care to listen to my Twitter rumblings

But as I pondered on it for the next few hours, I realized how much there’s beyond followers following you. These folks have transformed my views and approaches in ways most of them don’t even know about. So, in my today’s post — with sincere thanks all these guys and gals — I’d like to outline the 5 things that they have taught me since July 16, 2008. These are:

Lesson #1: Don’t follow to be followed — I made this mistake initially (over 3 years ago), but quickly realized that it helps no one. So, a few months into my use of Twitter, I re-evaluated my approach to it, and started following only the Twitter accounts that were of genuine interest to me. And guess what? Some of these folks don’t follow me… But why should this even matter? I follow them to learn; not to be followed.

Lesson #2: Filter ruthlessly & courageously — That follow/unfollow button is a powerful one! It’s akin to our TV’s remote control: when you don’t like the show, you move on… Now the adverb “courageously” is an important one. Whatever anyone says about social media “snobbery”, don’t listen, and do what works for you. Your time is valuable. Cut the noise, filtering out what doesn’t add value; then rinse, and repeat.

Lesson #3: Engage in conversations — Most of the things that I’ve learned on/through Twitter, and all of the business that I’ve landed due to Twitter (and my estimates show that $80,000+ worth of contracts I signed were directly or indirectly influenced by my tweeting), was due to my participation in conversations.

Lesson #4: Share generously — One of the major goals of social networking platforms (including Twitter) to make social sharing (please, do not confuse with broadcasting!) an easier task. So, about a year ago I’ve made it my rule — share everything that I find of interest.

Lesson #5: Stay your authentic self — Some say you want to maintain separate accounts for personal and business stuff. It may work for some people, but being my own personal brand, I, like many others, have decided not to split my tweets. You’ll see me tweeting pictures from my fishing trips, and links to photos and videos that I find of interest. Of course, most of my tweets are about the things that fascinate me in the digital world (and online marketing, in particular), but keeping it all in the same place with the other things that matter to me has proven to be a good branding strategy. Kind of like Bill Marriott’s blog posts, only more personal, you know?

If you’re following me on Twitter, thank you for making it such an amazing ride!!

10 thoughts on “5 Lessons 5,000 Twitter Followers Have Taught Me”

  1. It’s impressive you’re only following 63 people. I’ve trimmed mine down, but added a handful after #ASW12. I was down to 210, but am now at 218 (and I read every single thing each of them tweets).

  2. I never understood folks who follow someone in hopes of earning a follow back… What is the point in that? I also don’t care much about the klout score (relevant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0huJJfeMSQ8)

    If what you share is of interest to me I’ll follow 🙂

    If someone is in desperate need of irrelevant/fake followers you can easily buy them for less ($0.03/ea to be exact).

    1. Good point, Kush, and thank you for chiming in.

      $0.03 per follower? At TwitterCounter.com the price seems to land more in the vicinity of $0.50 per follower. Who’s selling them for $0.03 a head? 🙂 …just wondering.

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