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How I Use Twitter – Who I Follow and More

As I cross 3,000 followers on Twitter today I am reflecting on the journey down here and the good tidings it has brought me. When I started using Twitter seriously, I thought I needed at least 10k followers before I could start to see its dividend. I was wrong. When I started, I had less than 300 followers and wondered how on earth can my voice be heard in this universe of 20 seconds expiring tweets. Then my last question was how will I always have something to say. As it will turn out, I appeared to have mastered a lot of things and got exciting dividends.

The journey from 300 to 3,000 was interesting, to say the least. So here’s not how I got the following but how I use Twitter.

First, I unfollowed

The first thing I did when I realized that I will be spending a lot of my hours on Twitter was to curate my fields. I couldn’t help it seeing all that I was seeing before then every day. It was either useless to me or toxic. I’ve always been the type that optimizes for knowledge. Anything less than knowledge is a waste of time if I will be spending that many hours. And that’s about 3hours daily on average.

So what does this curating my fields entails?

I started with unfollowing everyone that I do not understand why I was following them in the first place. Yes, for me then, if I can’t point to a reason why I followed you, I unfollowed immediately. Sometimes back, I’ve followed some people in a “follow for follow” request, they were the next I unfollowed after those I couldn’t tell why I followed them. How did I know them?

Here’s a thing I noticed on Twitter, those who do “follow me I follow you back” don’t have the kind of knowledge that I’m looking for on their timeline. And I don’t say this to diminish anyone. It is just an observation as it relates to what I am looking for. So all it took to figure out those to unfollow next was to check their timeline and I will be sure to not find anything other than some RTs and comments asking for a follow back. To be candid I wonder why the following matters to anyone if they are not offering some sort of value in return. Well, we are looking for different things.

The category of those that I unfollow goes on and I am still not done. I also unfollowed every corporate account that is not innovative in their engagement or that I have nothing to do with. I didn’t follow any influencer that doesn’t make me more intelligent. I don’t follow those with large followings already. Especially those who I can’t escape whatever they post whether I follow them or not. A good example of this is @dmuthuk. I like his content a lot and even though I don’t follow him, not a week goes by that I don’t see him on my timeline. By my estimation, if I follow him, I will be seeing too much of his content and I don’t want that. Yes, I am that deliberate. It’s the reason why I get better with every hour that I spend on Twitter. 

You see, every follow you make on Twitter is a contract you are making for your thinking to be challenged. It is a contract for your life to be shaped. It is a contract you are making for you to be influenced. If that’s the case, you can as well choose to be deliberate about the kind of people that challenge your thoughts, shape your life and influence you.

Unfollowing is not enough, you have to deliberately follow as well. Some of my followers have told me things like they unfollowed everyone that they follow to follow everyone that I follow. There is brilliance in that. It took me about 6 months of aggressive curation to come up with my following. And I’m still working on it, improving with more following and more unfollowing.

For those who may want to follow those that I follow though, there’s a caution. It’s not the most effective way but I won’t dismiss its effectiveness. Like I mentioned earlier, every person I follow has a reason. Having such a reason for me is the height of optimization. You should get there.

Those who do that also do so because they want to have a sneak peek into my information digest. However, my following is not all. I have some more.

Using LIST on Twitter

We all fall for confirmation bias as human beings. We like opinions that amplify our own opinion. So we’d rather follow those who agree with us over those who challenge our thinking. Or even outrightly oppose us. I am no different but I find a balance.

Investment knowledge is a big topic for me and I have found a lot of brilliant people on Twitter on this topic. Following all of them would mean investing topic alone would take 90% of things that show up on my timeline. I consider that counterproductive and maybe even self indoctrination. So I only followed a few and created a list for every other that I found fascinating. Fascinating here doesn’t have to be that I agree with them nor they with me. Rather, it means a command of knowledge at what they do. Such LISTs (I have many of them) have helped me to maintain a diverse and more intelligent timeline.

If I’d allowed a 90% investment content on my timeline, I’d be given to 24/7 confirmation bias. Thinking that’s the only world that exists.

That’s not all about how I use LIST. I also use it for my research. The most recent list I created was done because I found a new love. After listening to Josh Wolfe conversations on a couple of Podcasts, I became fascinated by the subject of human progress. Such fascination is of course why I shared a tweet like this:

To sustain my interest and have an easy frame of reference, I started building a new list called “past and future”. Past and future is a list that has strictly people who are studying and sharing their ideas on how we got here (past). And people who are building technologies that could shape the future or those investing in it. It’s been an interesting list so far.

A lot of these lists are private so you can’t find them. LISTs are incredibly powerful. Those are just two ways I’ve unlocked their power that I thought I should share with you. I definitely have more.

But you see, while some are seeing Twitter just as another social media, I’ve simply used it in ways that you might not have thought off.

DMs

I keep my DM open so that I won’t have to follow anyone before they can send me DM. More importantly though so as to allow for serendipity. I believe at this stage of my Twitter life, locking my DM will be an obvious absurdity. A time may come (though I don’t see it happening) when I will lock it. For now, it’s forever opened so send me all those opportunities and send me the questions.

DM is an important feature of Twitter that unlocks opportunities. Closing it is just equal to closing the room to those opportunities as well.

Of course, this is about me. Remember it’s how I use Twitter not how you should use Twitter. I am not on the platform just to play away time. I’m on it to become a better person and for opportunities to locate me easily.

Read the second part – How I Use Twitter – Beyond The Surface

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