I tweet using the name @philpresents and I tend to focus mostly on presentation advice, mostly in English although sometimes in French.
I tend to leave personal details to Facebook, although I do have a personal Twitter id (@philwaknell) which I use from time to time. By all means follow both of my Twitter IDs if you want.
Here are some basic points which describe my use and expectations for Twitter.
Mutual following – or lack of. I follow people because I’m interested in reading their tweets, and for no other reason. I will not follow people just so they can follow me back or because they follow me. Likewise, if I follow you because I want to read your tweets, that doesn’t mean I expect you to be interested in my presentation tips. Twitter is not Facebook – a follower is not a friend, and following does not have to be reciprocal.
Therefore don’t expect me to follow you back unless you tweet regularly about something which interests me, in a language which I can understand (mainly, English and French).
Quality, not quantity. Some people use automatic tools to mass-follow thousands of people, hoping that those people either use similar tools, or instead will manually follow them back. Personally I wish this were not possible, and I believe it’s abusing a good platform. I won’t do it. I prefer to have a few hundred ‘quality’ followers who are interested in reading my tweets, rather than have tens of thousands of ‘followers’ who in fact don’t read what I say, but only use me to gain an extra point on their ego-trip follower count.
So if you use a robot to gain followers and feel falsely influential, don’t expect me to play ball. I’ll follow you if you tweet interesting things. Following me is not a condition for that. But if you follow tens of thousands of people, I don’t believe you’ll read every tweet, I don’t believe you’ll read mine, I wonder about your well-being if you need that kind of ego-trip, and I therefore wonder whether you are really the kind of leader whose tweets I want to read. There are a few exceptions who follow thousands but truly interact (@unmarketing for example) but they are few and far between.
Interaction. I enjoy having conversations on Twitter, and I take care to respond to every personal and direct message I get. I like other people to do the same. I will retweet anything I see which I believe my followers will enjoy reading. I don’t need you to thank me for retweeting, although I don’t mind if you do. I usually thank people for retweeting my tweets, although sometimes I forget. Forgive me that – I’m only human. I know you are too.
Advertising. I don’t mind if you use Twitter to try to sell me things. If you do it excessively – and especially if I’m not interested – then I can just unfollow you, which you should not take personally. If you want to use Twitter to market your services or products, that’s fine by me, and if I’m not your target audience, then you shouldn’t mind if I don’t follow you. Likewise, sometimes I will use Twitter to market services or events which I think are of interest to my followers, and judging by my company’s success at selling out events using only social media (zero advertising budget), many of my followers are interested in them. If you are not, that’s fine, and if you prefer not to follow me, that’s fine too.
Languages. I follow a number of people who tweet in two languages, even if I only understand one of them. I just skip past the ones in languages I don’t speak. Likewise, please do the same with me. While most of my tweets are in English, I live in France and do much of my work in French, so I will sometimes tweet (and retweet) in French. If you don’t speak French, please just skip past those ones.
Repeat tweets. Sometimes I will tweet multiple times about the same blog post. This is a proven way to get more hits – which means to have more people read something which interests them. I am not on Twitter 24×7 and although I don’t follow thousands of people, sometimes things drop off the bottom of my Twitter timeline, which means I miss tweets and the articles they link to. I’m sure that happens to other people too. Therefore I will tweet a few times about the same post, over a day or two, to ensure most of my followers get a chance to see there’s a new post waiting for them, and I’ll tend to tweet it differently each time. I will never flood your timeline with dozens of tweets, so please accept my multiple blog tweets are for sound reasons and not to bug you. Tell me if I overdo it though.
#FollowFriday. I don’t always participate in ‘Follow Friday’. In many cases it would just be the same few names each time. I could do a special #FF for great Paris start-ups, for example, but most of my followers would not be interested in them or their French-language tweets. Instead, I manage a couple of lists (presentation experts for example), so if you’re interested in whom I recommend following, check out those lists. Naturally, if you want to recommend following me on Follow Friday, I will be grateful, but I won’t automatically reciprocate unless I truly believe that most of my followers (a) should follow you and (b) don’t yet follow you.
Should I follow you? Here are the questions I ask myself when I am making a decision on whether to follow someone. This could be triggered because you’ve started following me, or because I’ve seen one of your tweets, or because someone has suggested following you.
- Who are you? If you have a photo and a short biography, that helps. No photo or bio? No follow.
- Are you a real person or a robot? If you follow tens of thousands, likely you’re using a robot. No pulse? No follow.
- Do you tweet in a language I understand, at least part of the time? I’ll check your last few tweets to find out. No comprendo? No follow.
- Are your tweets interesting to me? Again, this is based on your last few tweets. No interest? No follow.
- Still here? Then I’ll probably follow you, for as long as these conditions remain true – and regardless of whether you follow me.
That pretty much sums up my Twitter policy. I might change it from time to time. Thanks for reading – I’d like to hear your reactions.