As you might already know, I stopped using my @jimconnolly Twitter account on 31st of January; one of the top 50 most followed Twitter accounts in the world. The reason for this, was that following tens of thousands of people took up way too much time – largely because of the hundreds of Direct Messages I received each day, (usually over 500 a day and occasionally over 1,000).
By trying to’ do the right thing’, I got it all wrong!
I got it wrong. As a community builder, I wanted to follow everyone who followed me. This worked initially; until the numbers grew so huge, so fast, with SO MANY people feeling the need to Direct Message me! The reason the numbers grew so fast, is because I wrote a LOT here about Twitter and this is a very well-read blog. Each post is read by thousands of people and I have posts here with 200, 300 and in one case, a post about Twitter which has over 600 comments.
In just a few months, I attracted over 23000 followers. At the time, even Chris Brogan (a Social Media genius), had taken 2 years to attract just 15,000 more followers. My Twitter account grew too big, too fast.
Following so many people back is what caused my problem.
I would still have seen ALL the @jimconnolly messages sent to me, without following everyone back – and these were almost always the most valuable. PLUS, I would have had MORE TIME to respond and connect with more people, because I would not have been ploughing through several thousand Direct Messages each week. But it was too late – So, I decided to leave that Twitter account.
Tweeting again “small time”
I had a ‘chat’ last Thursday with Laura Fitton @pistachio, and explained what had happened with my account and why I was no longer using it. Laura is a REAL expert when it comes to Twitter and has always been super helpful to me. Laura explained that I could actually clear the account, so I could keep the same Twitter user name (which is my actual name,) and use it to follow friends, clients and contacts.
In 5 minutes, I had lost well over 23,000 followers.
I had an account with 0 following and 0 followers.
As a result, my @jimconnolly account is active again – BUT this time, I am only following friends, clients and those who actually want to chat with me, (which will be quite a large number in itself.) If I am not following you on Twitter and you want to get in touch without sending a tweet to me (for whatever reason) – you can contact me WITHOUT being limited to 140 characters. After all, I have always been extremely easy to get in touch with.
I’m VERY contactable without Direct Messages!
- You can call me on 01427 891274 if you need to speak with me.
- You can email me via the blog, if you want to write to me.
- You can get in touch with me via a comment on the blog, if you want to share your feedback with thousands of other people.
- You can send a message to @jimconnolly via Twitter if you want to share your message in 140 characters.
- You can even write to me via snail-mail – My FULL postal address is here.
I think you would agree, I make it very easy for people to get in touch.
The ‘right’ way to use Twitter!
It’s weird – we live in a society where it’s ‘cool’ to say “I’m learning all the time,” yet it’s ‘uncool’ to say; “I made a mistake and I’m putting it right!” So, I’m about to be very uncool!
I believe that each person should feel free to use their account however they want; so long as it’s not breaking any of Twitter’s rules. For me, it’s all about the value of the connections I make and NOT how many people I have following me. The value is in the quality, NOT the volume!
Robert Scoble @scobleizer follows 65,000 people. Darren Rowse @problogger follows around 9,000 people and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams @ev follows around 900 people. Each uses Twitter the right way FOR THEM.
All I know for certain, is that following over 20,000 people was wrong FOR ME.
I hope you can appreciate my decision and maybe even learn something from my experience.