How I Live and Breathe Twitter

This is a companion post to How I Live and Breathe Google Reader. A few people have asked for some of my stats, so I am sharing them too.

Twitter Profile

Objectives behind using Twitter

Different people use Twitter for different purposes. My objectives are:

  • Get fresh tech news as fast as possible.
  • Learn what leading tech experts and analysts are reading and understand their opinions on current tech topics
  • Share fresh tech news and my views
  • Make a few friends and have fun.

I use @ScepticGeek as my professional account for my key goals, and @Palsule as a personal account for the last. The remainder of this post focuses on my @ScepticGeek account.

I think defining your objective behind using any network or service is important as it helps define the kind of social graph and relationships you build using it.

My Sharing Policy

I share tech news and opinion pieces about current tech trends. I try my best to keep my Twitter feed a relevant signal. I don’t tweet all of my friends’ blog posts just because they’re my friends.

I realize this may be construed as anti-social behavior among social media experts, but as I explained in Role of Curation in the Attention Economy, I don’t wish to increase noise for my followers and am more interested in curating my Twitter feed to keep it relevant for my followers.

My Follow Policy

My objectives drive my follow policy. I typically follow people who break tech news. I also follow people who may not break news themselves, but who constantly live in the breaking tech news world and are always sharing fresh stuff.

The key principle behind my Follow Policy is Relevance. Thus, I do not follow all experts and people I admire. A person’s greatness isn’t always proportional to the relevance of their Twitter feed to my objectives.

Because I follow relatively few people, some folks assume that I only follow “big shots”. That simply isn’t true. Sometimes, I also follow people who @Reply me with interesting comments on what I share.

I am constantly following new people and unfollowing some of them. This is a continuous process and I am brutal in curating my following list. Sometimes, I use the following benchmarks in deciding whether to unfollow someone:

  • Have I liked/retweeted any tweet or article shared by that person within the last month?
  • Can I explain to myself why I follow a person given my objectives?

Lastly, I don’t care if the people I choose to follow, follow me back or not.

What “Follow” Means To Me

To me, a Follow is more than a social gesture. A Follow means that I try my best to read tweets, read the articles being shared, listen, answer questions when I can, offer help where possible.

Twitter as a Conversation Platform

A great many people complain that Twitter is not suitable for having conversations.

On the other hand, a great many people I admire and respect, from top tech bloggers and editors of leading tech blogs, to VCs and media/journalism experts, unaware of this inherent limitation of Twitter, continue to use it for meaningful conversations. So do I.

My Reply Policy

I make an effort to respond to each and every @Reply, as long as it is being made in good spirit and doesn’t reek of fanboyism.

Attribution Policy

I try to attribute my sources as far as possible, as I described earlier in Thanksgiving via Attribution.

On Automated Tweets

From Google Buzz + Reader + Twitter + Facebook = Noise: “When you auto-share, you’re not a human on that network, you turn into a bot. Bots are what we call spam.”

I neither use any tool that automates tweets, nor do I typically follow those who do.

Tweet Format

I try to make each tweet meaningful for my followers. My usual format is:

“Original Post Title” <Link> by “Author/Blog” /via @source /my comments if any

Frequently, the original blog title is either too sensationalistic or entirely misleading or link-baiting. In such cases, I dispense with the original title entirely substituting it with my own.

My URL Shortener

I use Bit.ly as my preferred URL shortener. Here are my Bit.ly stats for the past month:

My Bit.ly Stats Jul 2010

My monthly stats typically range between 500 to 3000.

Though Twitter mostly works in real-time and I live in India, it is interesting that my followers are primarily based in the United States and EU.

Klout Score and Classification

For those who’re interested, my Klout Score varies from 58 to 62.

My Klout Score

According to Klout, I am a “Thought Leader”:

Klout Classification

I usually avoid ending my blog posts with the customary “You can follow me on xyz here” plea, but I will make an exception for this post. So if you’re interested in tech news, do follow @ScepticGeek on Twitter! :)

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  • marfi

    Awesome piece! Testimonials like this are really helpful for everyone bulding clients, curation platforms etc. (incl. me) so thanks a bunch!

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Thank you!

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    I retweet/share whatever I find interesting, not nearly as focused as yourself Mahendra. Fun to see how different folks use social sharing services. I keep my follow stream very lean so I can read nearly every update from the few folks I decide to listen deeply to.

    I do see a hefty amount of repeats on popular news between Robert, Louis and yourself and across services (Google Buzz).

    Appreciate your dedication to signal.

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Thanks, Mark. Appreciate the feedback!

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    I prefer your tweet format, but it's tough on my mobile phone (extra clicks and cut and paste are far from friendly).

    The information format of:
    <title><url><author><source><comments>
    feels very effective as a reader.

  • http://www.metaphorsandsimiles.com/ Dave Richardson

    There are so many different ways to use Twitter and that's the utter genius of it. Interesting to observe how disciplined your Twitter usage is.

  • http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/ Atul Karmarkar

    Mahendra, this is a superb, well written and well thought out post, not to mention quite insightful too.

    Thanks so much for sharing your views.

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Thank you, Atul! Appreciate the feedback.

  • http://twitter.com/1to1Discovery Juli Monroe

    Very thoughtful post and completely in line with a series I’m doing on my blog this week. I’ll tweet out the link and post it to my Facebook page as supplemental reading. Thanks!

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Thank you, Juli. Appreciate the comment and share!

  • http://www.sharelomer.com SharelOmer

    Good post, i will love if you could view our service for social community management that try to solve some of the problems and tell me what you think :) (in beta now…)

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Thanks.

    Not sure how I could use or contribute, since I don’t interact with any blog’s or organization’s community!

  • http://www.sharelomer.com SharelOmer

    I think you can help since you are a blogger (the service is for you) who is passionate about his community :)