I use Twitter, and it is a great source of information, news and links. (Follow me @teach_j) I’ve made professional contacts via Twitter. Right now I have about 400 followers. I hate that term, but it works. I follow about 360 people right now. Most are people, a few are news organizations or professional organizations.
I read Robert Scoble’s You are SO unfollowed this week. (@Scobleizer) Now, I use Twitter a little differently than he does. I also don’t have his thousands of followers. But I don’t agree with how he follows people necessarily. I have a few rules for how I decide who to follow and who to bin.
1 – Don’t be a robot. I hate it when I tweet a term and then I get six new followers who are spambots related to that term. I try to check my follow count about once a week and weed out spambots.
2 – Have a description – a.k.a. be someone. I prefer to follow people in my field, journalism education. I do follow journalists, educators and tech people. Those are all related to what I do. I also follow a few college journalism students too.
3 – I prefer a photo. I’m not 100 percent against you not having a photo, but at least get a logo or an avatar. Too often no photo = spambot.
4 – Tweet. If you don’t ever tweet, why should I follow you. It would be a waste for me. Nothing to read, ever.
5 – Don’t try to sell me anything, especially something inappropriate for a teacher to have on their Twitter profile. I immediately delete anyone trying to sell anything not directly related to my job.
6 – Don’t Twitter burst. I delete people who clog my Twitter stream with endless updates. I have a few exceptions to that rule, but only because they have really interesting content. Let others get a Tweet in edgewise. Rest your digits peeps.
7 – Reply. Check your @me and DM (direct messages) and get back to those people who ask a question or show an interest in your domain. Be real, be kind and be a human. I delete people who only Tweet to hear themselves Tweet.
8 – Don’t follow celebrities. I just don’t do it, OK except for John Hodgman. (@hodgman) But he’s just too cool not to follow.
9 – Do follow a few news feeds. But don’t get carried away. Follow one or two or else your Tweet client will just be news noise.
10 – Finally, don’t be a potty mouth. I’m not a prude, but I am a teacher and my Twitter identity is based on my profession. I use it to learn as a part of my personal learning network. I won’t follow people there who cuss a lot. Sorry.