6 Reasons I Don’t Follow You On Twitter

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photo credit: Rosaura Ochoa via photopin cc

Sure, this blog post’s title seems a bit snobbish. Snarky even. Try not to take it personally. I follow thousands of people on Twitter. If you’re not one of them, there’s likely a good reason.

Unlike some people who have a passing relationship with Twitter, I have a full-fledged Twitter strategy. Twitter is an amazing free professional development tool that I use every single day. I look to Twitter for education information, articles, useful web tools, and ongoing conversation about learning.

My Personal Learning Network is important to me, and it changes frequently. I depend on my PLN, so I manage it carefully. I follow people daily. I unfollow people daily. It’s never personal. For me it’s professional. The remainder of this post illustrates my Twitter strategy.

6 reasons I don’t follow you on Twitter

1-You have egg on your face

It’s okay the first day you are on Twitter to have the social network’s standard profile image–an egg. Honestly, replacing the egg on your face with a picture of you–not of your dog or your favorite team’s mascot–should be the first or second item on your set-up-my-Twitter-account agenda. You’re on Twitter to communicate, so show the world who you are. If you have egg on your face, I don’t follow you.

2-You are a blank page

After uploading a picture for your Twitter profile image, write a detailed description that says who you are. I look for teachers, school administrators, bloggers, presenters, and others on Twitter who will contribute something to my education library. If your profile description is a blank page, I don’t know what you’ll contribute to my PLN, so I won’t follow. This brief tutorial on setting up your profile will help you get started on Twitter.

Twitter egg
Do you have egg on your Twitter face?

3-You talk a lot but you say little

I follow only a few people on Twitter who average 30-50 tweets per day. They tweet from important education conferences and they participate in powerful hashtag chats on Twitter. When these people tweet, others listen. Some people tweet 30-50 times daily, and not a single message has value. These folks treat Twitter like Facebook, sharing an endless stream of non sequiturs that only a close personal friend or family member would want to know. Still others tweet link after link to their free book or their Amazon affiliate page. Admittedly, I share book and affiliate page links occasionally but never more than two or three times a month. Give me a valuable quote or a link to an article on a new technology or controversial blog post. Ask me a question about something I tweet. Invite me to a Twitter chat. Drone on about the ineptitude of your hometown hockey team, and I won’t follow.

4-You visit Twitter as often as your most hated in-law

Twitter is about engagement. If you tweet a link to a thought-provoking video today, but I don’t see you again for a week, I’ll unfollow faster than you can say, “See you next month.” I have thousands of friends on Twitter. Do I read every tweet by every person? No, but I know if they’re active. How, you may wonder. I use several third-party Twitter applications that tell me just how engaged my PLN members are. I program the apps to show me who has not tweeted in over a week. As harsh as it sounds, I unfollow most people on that list. If you have nothing to say, hang out on Pinterest or Diigo. Twitter and I need your voice, so be active.

5-You don’t speak my language

One of the coolest things about Twitter is that is is a global learning tool. I have PLN members from dozens of countries around the world, and I value their thoughts and opinions, as they bring a unique perspective on education and parenting. Friends on Twitter from other cultures who tweet at least occasionally in English are friends for life. However, if you tweet constantly in a language I don’t speak, I can’t follow you, because I can’t understand you.

6-You are selfish

My friends on Twitter are givers. They share amazing content. They congratulate me and others on our successes. They retweet my content, so others can benefit. In short, they care. If you want to build a powerful network on Twitter, you must be a giver. Share thoughtful material and interact in personal ways occasionally. When someone tweets something you love, retweet it. They’ll appreciate it.

Use these tips wisely, and intelligent people on Twitter will want to follow you, including me.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books and other series that provide right-now solutions for teachers and learners. Mark is the author or publisher of dozens of books, including Bestseller Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 150,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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