Tao Of Twitter Author Talks Follower Count, Retweeting And Lists

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We recently interviewed Mark Schaefer, author of The Tao of Twitter. We discussed a variety of topics, like Twitter's lack of a TweetDeck-like interface, real-time search, the Twitter directory and embeddable timelines widget, and Klout score.

He had some other points to make that we didn't use in any other articles, but were still worth sharing, so here you go.

In The Tao of Twitter, Schaefer suggests that those who think quality matters more than quantity (in terms of followers) are naive or liars. We asked him how important follower count is, and if this mentality is unique to Twitter, or does the same philosophy apply across Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and others.

“Again this depends on your strategy," he tells us. "We are free to make Twitter whatever we want it to be.”

“I believe that to use the platform effectively for business, you need both quality AND quantity," says Schaefer. "For example, If you’re in sales, you need a lot of contacts before they become sales leads. And you need a lot of leads before they convert to sales calls and you need a lot of sales calls before you make a sale. So, it’s a numbers game.”

“To some extent, the same is true of Twitter if you’re using it for business," he adds. "You’re more likely to create business benefits if you have a larger pool of quality, relevant people following you.”

Schaefer also shared some thoughts about curation and Twitter lists.

When asked about how much tweeting of other people's content is too much, Schaefer says, “I’m not sure that there is any strong rule of thumb on this. Most research shows that tweets are more likely to be read if they are spread apart by at least 30 minutes. Tweeting the content of others can be a great networking strategy. Nothing says I love you like a re-tweet now and then. Over a period of time, you’re likely to get on somebody’s radar screen if you are making an authentic attempt to connect with them and share their great content.”

“If more than 90 percent of your tweets are nothing but links and RT’s, you’re going to get dinged by some third party applications aimed at helping people discover relevant new users," he adds. "If all you are doing is constantly re-sending links in a mindless way, you’re really just a bot at that point and who wants to connect to a bot? In my mind that is simply a mis-use of Twitter.”

We asked Schaefer if a large percentage of Twitter users are using Lists, or if it is more of a power user tool.

“That’s a great question, " he replied. "I’ve never seen any research to even give me a clue as to what that percentage might be. I would say though that once you follow 200 or more people, lists are simply a way to survive on Twitter! You need something to help you cut through the noise. I would guess that almost anybody with 1,000 or more users has discovered lists by now!”

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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