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Mike CJ

Totally agree with you Scott. In fact I wrote a similar piece on my blog telling the world I was sick of being told how to Tweet. Everybody seems so intent on putting a structure and rules around it, when it's the very anarchy that makes the thing so interesting.

Stefanie Phillips

LOVE No. 3 about not having to follow people back.....I've thought that for a long-time, auto followers are so self-absorbed that they are mostly just interested in what they say THEMSELVES, probably don't acutally READ any of the tweets of people they follow -- they can't possibly keep up with that many people. YES quality not quantity!

Scott Fox

That's a nice post, Mike. Thanks for stopping by to introduce yourself.
I agree that there are "best practices" but it's too early to call them "rules" or "laws". The anarchy is still busy evolving into a new and powerful marketing medium.

Stefanie - LOL. Thanks for the validation on that. I also have not understood the fascination with auto-follows. Glad to hear that at least one person agrees with me!

Bamboo Forest - PunIntended

I've seen a few people convey it's not necessary to follow everyone who follows you. What I find ironic, though, is the person or people (don't remember exactly) who made this exact argument followed thousands upon thousands of people when I checked his twitter profile.

Seriously... People who follow thousands upon thousands are only interested in one thing: promoting themselves. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing either... merely... it's telling.

If every twitter user followed thousands of people, then tweets would have no value at all. What users would notice a tweet when they're following 40,000 people?

Terrace Crawford

Love the post! As far as following everyone back, I started doing that but only because I use a twitter tool that filters through the noise to my close friends and colleagues.

--Terrace Crawford

Char James-Tanny

Nice list...thank you :-) Everything works out so much better when you do what is right for you.

Pamela Williams

Scott, fantastic post. Loved this: "A lot of Twitterati seems to think it’s an obligation to follow back everyone who follows you. Even dumber is auto-following everyone back." Yay. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.


Good post - and glad someone's addressed the 'private club' aspect that's giving people completely the wrong impression about Twitter's very aims!

Disagree with you on the Auto-DM's tho. I reply to people who speak to me personally.

Scott Thornton

Great post. I completely agree with the sentiment of the anarchy continuously evolving. I'm sure that for many of the lucky few who were in on the twitter 'secret' since its inception, there must be growing pains for them to deal with - as they try to embrace the perceived ignorance of newcomers.

But it's inevitable that as the medium approaches mainstream, change happens - for better or worse.

My thought was that trying to hold onto what once was and trying to enforce these "rules" seems to go against the whole community 'spirit' of twitter in the first place. A little tolerance and teaching can go a long way.

Sarah Bourne

I think the funniest thing is when "Twitterati" claim that you should use Twitter the way you want, but then turn around and issue proclamations about what to do/not do.

I can't imagine why some people follow me, and I'm sure some people can't figure out why I would follow them. I think overlapping social circles are much more interesting.

Solidly in your camp, Scott!

Chip Noon

One more great lesson for me in social media. Thanks for the observations.

Paul Oliver

Nice post.

I try to keep my pet twitter peeves to myself, but I cannot stand it when these gurus try to tell me how to run my Twitter and then they are constantly asking "Please RT". I'm not going to RT something because you asked nicely, I'll RT it if I like it.


Thank you for publicly stating what I've been thinking since I started twittering earlier this year. I initially thought I was just over sensitive to the constant scolding regarding how to properly retweet or #followfri, etc. I also thought there seemed to be a high schoolish attitude that in order to be part of the in crowd on twitter you had to have a large number of followers.

I actually had to stop following some of members of the Twitterati because it was making me feel bad about my twittering habits.

I'm a big proponent that twitter is what we each make it and not defined by an elite group of twitters.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

Befuddled by rudeness

Here's what I don't get ... People (not bots) who follow me, and then I follow them, Later they tweet something I find interesting, so I @ them, sometimes with a question ... and then they never reply. And these are not newbies unfamiliar with the tools. While I agree with you wholeheartedly that anarchy of twitter is a plus, I also believe some of the commonsense rules of human exchange still apply. Would you initiate a relationship and then immediately ignore the person when they speak to you? Of course not, unless you're in junior high maybe. As you wrote, these people are following too many. Quality is generally better than quantity. And if you can't acknowledge someone messaging you who you followed in the first place, well, that's just rude.

Lee Ingram

I totally agree with you on all three of these, Scott. Luckily I'm still only following enough people that I can actually read what they're saying and visit their links (if I'm interested). I do find that now with the HUGE influx of twitterers that it's rather chaotic, but I think that's part of the growing process. I've been using it for a couple years and nobody really seemed to do much with it until late last year. Surprising, really. It's always been a great resource, but now it's a great resource because the "famous" internet marketers are telling us how to use it. Yeesh.

Scott Fox

Wow. Thanks for all the great comments and support everyone.
Glad to hear that I was not the only one who wasn't "getting it" when hearing this sort of advice!
Scott Fox


Love it. Respecting individuality is key to dealing with any human endeavor.

Scott Kingery

Excellent list! I 2nd what someone said above about retweets, I'll do it if I like the tweet and not because I feel some obligation to. Same goes for every meme that comes along. Sure, some are fun but you don't need to be feeling guilty for not following like a sheep.

Kai Lo

I somewhat disagree with #3. The only people I won't follow are spammers. I like to hear from everyone as much as possible regardless of their expertise level. If you have a lot of followers and you're not following most of them back, it's like you only want people to listen to you but you don't want to listen to them.

Kishau Rogers

I love this post Scott! However, I would take it a step further and state that people should simply do what works FOR THEM. This includes auto-following. That's a choice as well. I don't auto-follow and I can't imagine how you could effective follow 50,000 folks, but who am I? I'm assuming that it's working for the folks that are doing it. If it's not, they should have the good sense to change their strategy.

Bottom line: People should digest the plethora of ideas for using Twitter, then define & follow their own guidelines.

Scott Fox

@everybody - what a great and thoughtful bunch of comments. Thank you for stopping by.

It sounds like we have struck a nerve here: people should do what suits THEM (thx Kishau) and embrace the seeming anarchy to see what works for them on Twitter to suit each individual audience and personality.

I look forward to following a lot more people if you all keep up with this sort of thoughtful dialogue!

Maria Simone

Love this post...and so true. wish everyone would just "be" and stop "correcting".


All good stuff bro. Thanks for the post!

Barbara Swafford

Hi Scott - I think you nailed it. I wondered about following everyone who followed me, but when I read their tweets I knew it wasn't something I was interested in. I use TweetDeck and enjoy the capability of organizing into groups. That makes is so much easier to stay in touch with my blogging buddies and others I like to hear from online.


Hear Hear. I'm pretty new to Twitter and I often don't use it because I'm worried I won't be playing by the 'rules'.

Now that I know I'm not the only person on the Web who believes there are no rules, I think I'll go and tweet about something that actually interests me.

Scott Fox

@Dave - LOL! Glad to have been of help.

As Maria, Garrett, and Barbara suggest above, too, let's all do that. I bet that will be more fun, educational, and even better for business, too.


Good Primer on Twitter. Just started using it and it is a tool.

Miranda Ma   aka   Hsiao Chuan Ma

Dear Scott:

Thank you for these useful tips and clarification!

It's a fantastic way to get us clear ahead!

One small suggestion here though - Is it possible for you to design a "Print" button (besides the "e-mail to a friend" one) so that we could print out the main article without those info. on both sides? Just a thought to share with you!

Again! Thanks for teaching!

* Miranda *

Joe Garde

totally agree with all the points you make Scott.

greg cryns

Nice post, Scott. My sentiments too.

Now I will RT it as soon as I find your Twitter name!


Been on twitter for about 3 weeks. I have seen a moderate boost in traffic. Mostly traffic from people just browsing for more followers, but traffic none the less. Next step: learning how to build a stronger network and convert these additional eyeballs in to fans and sales. come check me out.


Donna Caissie

At the risk of offending millions of people, Twitter feels very high school to me. There's the "in crowd" and then there's the rest of us (guess you could call us the "out crowd"). Back in high school, I would've given my right arm to be a member of the in crowd. Now that I'm considerably older, I don't give a rat's ass.

Scott Fox

LOL. Donna this really made me laugh. I think you're pretty on target with that!
Thanks for the comment.


LOL I agree with Donna as well! If I go to follow someone and see that they have 40,000 followers and follow 78, forget it. I don't care who you are, why would I want to add noise to my stream, noise that is a one way deal? I can RSS their blog and get the meat of anything they have to say and leave out the noise. No big.

My ratio is about 1 to 1 @ 3k and I enjoy it, I skim, and comment, reply, or favorite what I find interesting, what's interesting "to me". And, we all make noise. Brilliant to me is noise to someone else.

How you use Twitter is your personal gig, end of story.



Great comments, totally agree.

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