Shortly after I started following Brian Fanzo earlier this month, he tapped into a vein that I’d been considering for a while, namely the division of audience among one’s twitter followers. Or, to put it more plainly, do the different groups of folks who follow me get really annoyed when I tweet about different topics?
— Brian Fanzo (@iSocial_Fanz) April 5, 2014
My position on this topic has gone back and forth a couple times over the years, but then again, so has my level of Twitter activity. (One of these days I’ll tell the story of how Twitter got me the job I have today.) As it stands right now, I have two personal Twitter accounts, one for general use and one specifically for gaming topics, as well as admin over a third account for the gaming podcast I co-host. In some regards, this may seem like I’ve already over-compartmentalized things, especially given my statements last week about how higgledy piggledy my blog topics are and will continue to be.
Then again, I know that on my personal account I have followers who come from different audiences and are probably following me for different reasons. Right off the top of my head, one could easily group Phoenicians and others who are interested in local topics in one bucket and online marketing (SEO, Social, Inbound, etc) in a second bucket. When I’m tweeting about one of these topics multiple times a day (such as when I’m at a conference), I’m very certain that I’m turning off anyone who’s not in that bucket.
Is it better to retain this kind of diversity on one account, and allow my self-expression to be more authentic, or should I do something like what Brian displayed above and create further accounts that are more genre specific, to avoid spamming the feeds of those who may only be following me for a certain set of topics? Is curating your tweets self-censorship, or simply part of good modern etiquette?
Enter the Paranoia
While I had these thoughts in mind, I hadn’t reached any particular decision, other than to be mindful and let folks know before I knew I was going to an event that may result in a very streaky set of tweets. Then over the weekend, I stumbled upon this tweet from one of my personal role-models (for both professional development and online reputation):
@arnicas I reviewed your last few hundred tweets before clicking follow 🙂 you share really interesting stuff IMO
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) April 20, 2014
Whoa! “Last few hundred”!?
Option 1.) Assume this is an exaggeration
Option 2.) Presume this is a tactic unique to Rand, perhaps something brought on by his mustache
Option 3.) Consider that this could be something a great many people do, especially thought-leaders or potentially helpful contacts
Since putting my head in the sand is rarely a position that I can take and still rest easy, I’m going to lean towards Option 3, and act accordingly.
First thing I thought, “what are my ‘last few hundred’ tweets about, and would I follow someone like me?”. To that end, I did a quick analysis of recent tweets, though I stopped at the last 50, because the data after that was skewed by a streak of tweets I sent out whilst ranting on the #DSP14 conference. I decided to sort my tweets based on the topic or expression conveyed. Below is a quick pie chart of breakdown.
I may have played it a little “fast and loose” with the Bragging and Ranting tags, but I didn’t want to mince levels of severity. I also didn’t separate @mentions or replies, but rather applied the same sorting system to those ones. In all, @mentions accounted for 34% of my tweets in the last three weeks; not a horrible engagement rate I think.
Know what is horrible? The fact that I am three times more likely to complain about something than to directly help someone else. If I combine retweets with helpful tweets (which were mostly @mentions), the numbers are a little closer, but still not really racking up the karmic balance.
That’s a Diverse Mix
Getting back to the meat of the issue, though, this small sample size seems to illustrate that my tweets are distributed across an array of topics (marketing, sports, nerdy stuff, local topics, tv, my attempts at fitness, etc). In my mind, this represents the natural thought patterns that many of us have, and I’ve just been more apt to tweet about something than to sequester it into a different medium. Perhaps this conundrum is unique to me because I don’t use Facebook, and really only use Google+ for a narrower set of topics.
I’m sure I could probably turn my Twitter account into a more organized, more efficient method for generating leads, making professional contacts and engaging on industry topics, but that would require segmenting or neglecting all other audiences, and I’m not convinced that anyone in the industry would continue to follow me if I removed the authenticity and personality from my output. (I’m just using marketing industry as a proxy here, the same would hold true if I skewed strictly towards localism, gaming, coffee, haberdashery, etc.)
If this means that when the day comes that Rand’s reviewing my tweets and deciding whether or not to follow me, he will be greeted with a massive hodge-podge of daily thoughts, at least I’ll present something more well-rounded and hopefully a more fun experience overall.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or personal experiences on the this topic. Either leave a comment below or reach me via Twitter or email.
- Might Curators Be An Answer To Twitter’s Signal To Noise Problem? (battellemedia.com)
- What Could Curation Possibly Mean? (blogs.loc.gov)
- Content Curation Tools: The Ultimate List (business2community.com)
- Editorialized Curation: A Boon to Your SEO? – EContent (press release) (news.google.com)
- Social Media Curation Guide (moz.com)
- 11 Things You Didn’t Know You Were Doing Wrong on Twitter (hubspot.com)