In: Twitter18 Feb 2010
In my previous post, I discussed about the first things that we could do to follow people on Twitter. In this second part of the series, I would like to touch on how we could follow people on Twitter by Recommendation.
Recommendation is probably the best way to follow people on Twitter, especially when we trust the source of this recommendation, which could be from your friend, a reputable user or a leading website.
To make this a bit easier to digest I am going to divide these recommendations into two types. One is what I would call Passive Recommendation, and the other one is, yes you’ve guessed it, Active Recommendation.
What I mean by Passive Recommendation is when we don’t need to do some pro-active work, i.e. no need to go out there and find people to follow ourselves. Instead, the list are provided for us, delivered via several channels. It’s the Lazy Route :)
Here are some examples of these so-called recommendation channels:
Remember those friends I mentioned above? The ones who successfully managed to ‘drag’ you to join this ‘party’? Well, they must have some people that they are following. And more often than not, they will gladly recommend you some of these people. But even if they won’t recommend anbody, you could just go to their Twitter Page, and follow whoever they are following :)
Twitter Recommendation (a.k.a Suggested Users)
This is a list of users that Twitter thinks we would be interested to follow. It is presented to new users during the registration process. And if you’ve missed it the first time, or if you want to find more users, you can go to Find People section on your Twitter page, and choose the Suggested Users tab. Of course, there is no obligation what so ever to follow these people, but nevertheless there is no harm to check it out from time to time, even if it’s just for fun :)
List of Recommended People to Follow on Twitter
Once in a while, someone would write a blog post, sharing a list of people that he/she thinks worth to follow.
You can just go and check one of these and follow the user on that list. For some examples of these type of recommendation, go ahead and check out my “Ultimate List of People to Follow on Twitter” post.
Sometimes it’s not easy to explain what #FollowFriday is, especially if somebody is new to the concept of Hashtag or just a plain tagging.
But the idea of #FollowFriday is basically the same as the idea of writing down the recommended list that I’ve mentioned above, except that with #FollowFriday, you list the Twitter Usernames on your tweet, and that you should do it only on Fridays, and every tweet must have #FollowFriday hashtag.
Micah Baldwin was the guy who invented Follow Friday, and you can read the history of #FollowFriday on his blog post. #FollowFriday has become a major meme in Twitterverse and some people do it religiously every Friday. And as usual, the developers didn’t want to miss the opportunity to build a myriad of 3rd Party apps which were built just to serve this purpose. Brian Cray has a list of tools that you can use to monitor FollowFriday stream.
- Recommendation Service
The recent Twitter Boom, which resulting in a massive increase in Twitter Sign-ups in a very short time, has produced a horde of newbies who were eager to join the party but know no one, or even given direction in to how to find people to follow. Sure the Twitter suggested list could give them a jump start, and the barrage of #FollowFridays that comes every Friday might give them hints on whom to follow. But even this has caused more confusion than clarity (with people sending endless #FollowFriday Tweets). There was a common feeling that we were missing something, that we were lacking a central repository where anybody can create, manage and share their recommendations in one place. Sure enough, the developers swiftly followed this by creating, shall I say, List Repositories.
Two of the most used of these so called repositories are TweepML and Lunch.
The problem with lists that individual people were making (like the examples on my previous post) are that first of all people were writing it in any form they pleased, and second of all it’s a real pain to try to follow each person in that list (you have to click to the individual Twitter page, and follow the person there). It’s just not practical and it’s wasting a lot of time.
TweepML is trying to solve this problem. First of all, it’s a centralized repository of lists, which means you can find all lists that had been created in one place. Moreover these lists are tagged by keywords, and they are searchable. Secondly, for every list, you are able to follow ‘all‘ or ‘some‘ of the people that are on that list in one click of a button :) And lastly, and this probably a little bit geeky, TweepML tried to set a standard, in term of data exchange format, to represent this list. This means that the list would be portable and ‘machine’ readable, i.e. any application that support this standard would be able to read and use the same list format.
Lunch is a similar service where you can put together your own list. Unlike TweepML, it lacks the one-button follow functionality. You can read a nice review about Lunch at this blog post.
By now most of you would have already gotten the new Twitter List functionality integrated to your Twitter account. In one way, this new functionality could be a big blow to the 3rd party services which offer similar functionality, like TweepML and Lunch above. But as TweepML had posted on one of its blog post, these 3rd party services would have to adapt (or die). Indeed TweepML is doing just this by allowing you to import any Twitter List to TweepML very easily.
As for the Twitter List itself, although it is quite a powerful feature, it doesn’t come without limitation. So, there is always room for improvement, which can only be provided by 3rd party services.
The last service that I would like to recommend is what I called the Recommendation Bot. Basically, you use this service by registering yourself, and it will go away for a couple of days, presumably doing a lot of calculation on your following and followers, and come back with some recommendation of people whom it thinks you should follow. This recommendation could be based on the fact that the person had been retweeted a couple of times by one or more of your followers, and/or because some of your followers had written testimonials on this recommended person.
One recommendation bot that I’ve used is Mr. Tweet. After login into Mr.Tweet, the bot will go away and calculate your profile and come back in a few days later via DM saying that your recommended list is ready for viewing. Meanwhile you can check some recommendations based on your followers. It will regularly DM you from time to time with updated recommended list.
Those are some of examples of Passive Recommendation. I hope they can help you to find more followers :)
On the next post, I will go through examples for the Active Recommendation.