1. Maintaining Value in Your Twitter Stream

    Since joining Twitter, I found that one of the most difficult tasks is effectively maintaining the quality of my Twitter stream. When I first joined, I would follow just about anyone, clogging up my timeline with useless tweets from people I didn’t know or care to interact with. Over the years, and through trial and error, I’ve come up with a fairly solid method for curating my follow list.

    First, A Few Caveats!

    I realize that not everyone uses Twitter in the same way that I do. I tend to not follow everyone who follows me. If you look real, and you don’t look like an RT machine, I’ll give most people a chance. If you’re the type that follows everyone and then gets value through 3rd party tools instead of through monitoring the stream then this technique might not apply to you.

    Also, this method is time intensive, it takes work and attention to monitor it. However, once you have the process down, you should be able to effectively be able to manage your followers as part of your day-to-day process.

    The Process

    First, organize all the people that you follow into lists on Twitter. I’ve created numerous lists that are typically one to two words at most and which are descriptive enough to make the lists obvious. This can take quite a bit of time, especially if you’ve got quite a few people that you follow. However, if you really want to get serious with Twitter, you should invest the time.

    Second, create a private (or not) list called “Trial Follow”. Each time you find a new person to follow that you’re not sure about, throw them on the “Trial Follow” list and follow them via that list for a week or so. If actually read the tweets in your stream on a day to day basis, you’ll be able to track the person and the content of their tweets. At the end of the week, I go to the Trial Follow list, reviewing the tweets and weeding out those that either don’t add value, or interact, or those that are just spammy.

    Once you’ve weeded out the people you don’t want to follow, re-list those that are left into the other appropriate lists over the course of a week.

    I find that this method allows me to expand my list of people that I follow with compromising the value of the stream.

    Thoughts? Questions? Ideas? How do you manage who you follow?