If Only Tweets Were Calories

I wrote here at the beginning April about my increasing Twitter usage and said that I was going to put myself on a twitter diet. Well, I’m happy to report that I do much better reducing my tweet output than I do my caloric intake. And, I didn’t even need a twittervention to do it!


My latest TweetStats show a healthy reduction in volume during April, and it looks like May will continue the trend downward. Unless I get real chatty this week, I guess. We do have Dell’s earnings announcement on Thursday, and I have been known to live tweet the analyst call. But, that was a rare occasion when I got to be in the room with Michael Dell and the executive leadership team during the call.


It looks like I’m still talking to many of the same people as I was before. Is that good or bad?

It shows that there is strength and longevity in relationship begun through Twitter. Connie Reece and Susan Reynolds have both been in my twitterstream for at least a year now, I think. I wonder if I’m missing out on something by not talking as much with new people, though.

Which leads to the question of how many people should you follow on Twitter? I have really slowed down on following new people lately. The most recent adds to my twitterstream have primarily been from the growing cadre of Dell employees twittering. It has gotten really hard to keep up with 461 people! When you follow a lot of people – and, especially if some of those people update a lot – others who rarely tweet get lost in the stream. If they don’t direct messages to me specifically, I may never know they’ve said anything at all. I could un-follow some of the high-volume tweeters, but if they weren’t interesting I wouldn’t have been following them.

So, I suppose I’ve been dieting on followers, too. Or, maybe a better analogy would be to implement an exercise program for that area. Reducing my calories (tweets) is a good start, but to be a really healthy twitterer, I probably need to strengthen my muscles (followers). I think I’ll need to concentrate on which are most important (helpful) to get me in the right shape for the next phase of my life.

If only I really knew what that was!

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  1. Marina Martin · May 27, 2008

    If you ask your Twitterstream a question and you usually get a satisfactory answer, you’re following a good number of people. If you regularly don’t get an answer, you should follow more people (or be more engaging). I don’t think you have an engagement problem at all, as I usually see you cross my stream 🙂

    Twitter is about community, not about numbers. Since there’s no obligation to read anyone’s tweets, I have notifications turned on to my cell phone for people who are of particular interest, and tracks turned on for keywords of particular interest. Beyond that, I sometimes tune into my entire stream and catch some interesting tidbits that way.


  2. Tim (@Twalk) Walker · May 28, 2008

    I’ll echo what Marina said about engagement — both in general and in terms of your own.

    It’s always interesting to me how different people experience & use Twitter very differently. I follow less than 350 people, but I’ve been tweeting ~2,000 times per month. Too much? Not enough? YMMV! : )


  3. Connie Reece · May 29, 2008

    I followed under 250 people for a long time, then last fall I finally decided to increase the number. But once I hit 500 it started getting difficult to manage. Fortunately, some new tools came out (Twitter Replies, Tweetscan, and now Summize) to help manage it. I use SMS tracking to catch any mention of my name so I won’t ignore someone who wants to have a conversation. What I miss, is the random aspect of joining in other conversations. The tradeoff is, as you’ve seen, the deepening of relationships with those you frequently communicate with.

    I try to add local followers these days, because I want to know more people right here in Austin and be able to get together for tweetups. Because nothing beats face-to-face networking; Twitter just helps facilitate that.

    Like Tim, I tweet a LOT. But I try to make the majority of them @ messages so not all my followers see them. And I’m not offended when people unfollow me because I tweet too much. If they’re not following many people, my tweets will dominate their Twitterstream, and I’d probably unfollow me too. 🙂


  4. جک · June 4, 2008



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