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To Follow or Not To Follow?

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Hi everyone.
     I (finally) got on twitter end of last year. My plan is to start growing a platform so when I land an agent and so forth, I won't be starting from scratch then.
       Sometimes I get followers that I don't care to follow back. Some are self-published that post snide or negative remarks about agents. Others just don't add any real value for me.
         I read that it is polite to follow some one back in an ideal world, especially if you have 7 followers and they have 143. And yes, part of Twitter, and writing, is networking, but I don't want to over time be one of those people who have 894 followers, and be following that number or more.
      I don't want to come off as a snob, neither do I want to follow some one because it's "politically correct", if you will. Some thoughts, please?
#1 - January 17, 2017, 05:12 AM

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I don't follow everyone back who follows me, and not everyone I follow follows me back. I don't worry about it. I would just follow anyone who you would genuinely not mind seeing in your feed and not worry about using it as a marketing tool for yourself yet. Let it grow organically. Worry about a good website for yourself if you want to construct a professional online presence. Good luck!
#2 - January 17, 2017, 05:38 AM
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I agree with dinalapomy. I don't follow everyone. If I know they're a Blueboarder or are an SCBWI member, I'll (generally speaking) follow them back. I block those people who have thousands or millions of followers who are just "faces" for some sort of marketing effort (those sneak in somehow, so I periodically go through the people who are following me and block them).

YOU get to decide who to follow, and who follows you. Build your Twitter house the way you want it to look, otherwise it just becomes a drain of energy.
#3 - January 17, 2017, 05:56 AM
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I don't follow everyone who follows me. My purpose on Twitter is to be part of the kidlit community, keep up on kidlit news, and to get a feel for what publishers/agents are up to. It's perfectly fine for you to define & control your social media use. My news feed is 85% kidlit/writing/art related. (I do follow some local non-writing related feeds to as a way to find out about local events that may interest me & I've found since the election that many of the people I enjoy following are posting about politics amongst their writing/art/life posts.) I do my best to ignore the political posts (I'm Canadian so there's not much I can do about US politics anyway!)
 I have unfollowed people (on twitter/facebook) if I find that the majority of what they post is not interesting to me or affecting my mood.
#4 - January 17, 2017, 06:12 AM

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I don't follow everyone who follows me, by a long stretch. Chief on this list are those who have tens of thousands of followers and followees and are just hawking wares of some sort (usually self-published books) and don't know or care a fig who I am (but probably followed because it says author in my bio). Then there are those who appear to be porn. :sigh

When I joined Twitter, I decided that my identity there would be "writer." So I mainly follow writers, but certainly not everybody. I will usually follow SCBWI or BB people. I "keep an eye on" agents or editors of interest, but don't per se follow them unless we have some sort of connection. That's just my personal choice.

I tend NOT to follow people who say in their bios, "I follow back!" and I don't like to be DM-ed or tweeted by folks who thank me for following. It's not about tit-for-tat, or accumulating numbers. Twitter can become a time suck (though not as much as FB, in my experience), so use it in a way that builds value for you. Like others have said, for me it's a way to keep as current as possible with the kidlit community and the opportunities there (which are often tweeted before they're announced in other ways, IF they're announced in other ways), and to stay in contact with peers in yet another way. While I haven't found Twitter useful for actually *making* friends, I have found it's the primary way of staying in touch with a few that I don't have contact with in other ways.     
#5 - January 17, 2017, 08:23 AM
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I don't follow people back, either, unless I know them in some way--either local writer community, the Blueboards, or an author whose books I have read. I don't post much on Twitter, so I can only imagine that most people who follow me are looking to boost their own follower numbers, and I don't have time for those games. If I am on Twitter and reading, I want my feed to be full of things I care about seeing. I'm sure it makes some people annoyed, but anyone who's professional is not going to give two figs one way or the other. They know your time is valuable.
#6 - January 17, 2017, 09:35 AM

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Thanks for the great advice, y'all. I feel better about "ignoring" some followers.
#7 - January 17, 2017, 11:22 AM

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You're already more Twitter-savvy than I am. I can't navigate that jungle! (But then, I took a long time to be comfortable in the Facebook  and Blogger worlds.}
My gut wants to say-- follow who you want to follow.

But here's one reason not to listen to me...  :slaphead --

A  general grasp of social media as a whole is to think of it as a two-way, not a bullhorn. I finally like blogging now. But I find that many who blog don't think of it a social place. They never comment or show any sign of interest beyond their own posts. Unless they're super famous, the result is that while others may or may not be reading their posts, the comments dwindle to next-to none. Similar to Facebook, also.

So if this is not a keen interest in others (and what they have to say) for you, but only a "platform-building"  as you noted, you should seriously consider the give and take aspect. That does not mean following the most distastefully pornographic, just the ones that are all right.
#8 - January 17, 2017, 11:58 AM
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Hi Katie. When I first started, I followed nearly everyone who followed me. I had in mind what type of presence I wanted on Twitter and I've pretty much stuck to that. (At this point, it's my only form of SM.) I had the good luck of finding wonderful writers. Brenda-Drake's crowd seemed to be rich with the kind of community I was looking for. Now, I'm more selective. I'm also looking for other pools of writers. #kidlit is a good one. I like to follow people who are just starting out. I rarely follow people who have a lot of advertising on their twitter. Politics have become a powder-keg. For that reason, I have to limit my use or it becomes something like the Dementor's kiss to my writing and creative energy. If you'd like to look at my profile, I'm @mbowords. *No pressure!  ::-)
#9 - January 17, 2017, 12:11 PM

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Oh! One last note. I had a lovely weekend listening to Pam Munoz Ryan--hosted by @SCBWI . She, like several (many?) other prolific writers is not on Twitter. Nor does she blog. It's a nice reminder that our writing comes first. Cheers!
#10 - January 17, 2017, 12:14 PM

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It's a nice reminder that our writing comes first.

That^!
#11 - January 17, 2017, 12:24 PM
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing Aug 2012
THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR, Hometown520 July 2011

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Pam Munoz Ryan--hosted by @SCBWI . She, like several (many?) other prolific writers is not on Twitter. Nor does she blog. It's a nice reminder that our writing comes first. Cheers!

Our writing does come first, but it doesn't hurt to remember that Pam Munoz Ryan was Pam Munoz Ryan before Twitter. And before blogs (which have pretty much passed from the scene as far as must-dos). She and others got published and *stayed published* before these things existed. The industry doesn't have to ask them what they're doing to get themselves out there, you know? They're out there. The rest of us have more need to be seen as making an effort.
#12 - January 17, 2017, 01:58 PM
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mrh - - I completely agree! The thing I was trying to convey was not to get overly stressed by all the things we're told we Must do. Do what you can, but remember, our books or articles or artwork is top priority. (And when we are on SM, watch out for time consumption or how it's affecting you.)

Cheers!
#13 - January 17, 2017, 02:24 PM

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I don't use Twitter very often because I have found that some of my contacts hav e far too many tweets to keep track of (my cousin, for example, has over 3000!). I only follow those I know,unless they have a relevance to my interests, namely chocolate& writing.
Those who follow me from distant places or I see as suspicious I just block. I merely regard them as trolls.
Maybe I'm wrong, but unless you have a common interest, like writing, etc., what's the point in having that person following you? It's nonsensical to me.
#14 - January 18, 2017, 10:59 AM

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As a general rule I will follow back any writer whose content is appropriate for my YA audience. I have even followed back some romance writers (ones with PG book covers and tweets). People posting beautiful pictures or inspirational quotes will also get a follow back. I even don't mind following back some of those indy book sellers (again, content dependant). The way I see it (1) you never know who is going to have a tweet that inspires you (2) a follow back can put a smile on someone's face (3) as writers we should support each other.

On the other hand...I never follow back eggs with no tweets, anything even vaguely porn related, people selling electronics/clothes etc, people tweeting in a language I do not understand and I am a little leery about people who do not post original tweets (retweets only).

That is my two cents.

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#15 - March 03, 2017, 09:02 AM

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These are all good suggestions! Choose people to follow whose content you'd like to see in your feed. I try to stay away from tweeters featuring vulgarity, violence/horror, politics, and unrelenting selling of products.
#16 - March 04, 2017, 09:27 AM
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I agree! Besides, I think some people use some sort of computer program to follow. For instance, if I like a post about Hawaii, next thing I know travel agencies are following me. And if I don't block them, more and more agencies will be following. They are not really following me because they like my tweets and retweets.
#17 - March 04, 2017, 10:44 AM

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I follow back most people who follow me, because of the social aspect that 217mom mentions, and because on Twitter following people is much less of a commitment than it is on, say, a blog. On Twitter there isn't (or at least shouldn't be!) the expectation that your followers see and interact with every one of your tweets.

But like LadySlipper, I have gotten somewhat more selective. Accounts I tend not to follow:
feeds that seem to be nothing more than a "buy my product!" stream, with self-promo in every tweet
p*rn
feeds for products (for example, if you happen to mention coffee in a tweet, you'll get a bunch of coffee businesses following you; I tend not to follow any commercial accounts other than chocolate and book sellers!)
accounts with no tweets
accounts that seem to be run by bots
accounts that are nothing more than quotations by famous people
hashtag overusers and abusers
people who tweet things I find offensive

And sometimes I don't add an account even though there is nothing offensive about it, just out of sheer fatigue.

My favorite Twitter feature is lists. You can create public or private ones--I have both. I have a couple of private lists that include the people whose tweets I most want to see (like my agent, my IRL friends, etc.). It's a great help in organizing my feed, and seeing more of the content from the people whose thoughts I most want to read.

#18 - March 10, 2017, 11:05 AM
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