Hitting the friend/follower wall: twitter

by vernsanders on February 4, 2011

I’m in the middle of a series of updates about social media and ministry…

The backstory is this…

In April, 2009, my friend Doug Lawrence convinced me–not a social butterfly–to join Facebook. From time to time I’ve updated my progress (here, here, here, and, most lately here), and it is that time again…

In this round I’m going to do a number of posts on the “nuts and bolts” of what I’ve discovered about social media (SM). Hopefully what I’ve learned will be useful.  I should remind everyone that I’m not a social butterfly…some would say more like a social cocoon… :)

Up today? The dreaded 2000 wall…

It is relatively easy (although not as easy as it used to be) to friend/follow up to 2000 people. But when twitter imposes that wall at the 2k level, things change…somewhat. The trick all along is to be consistent and disciplined at how you make the system work for you.

I am assuming in what follows that you want to use SM for business/ministry purposes, and that having more followers is better than less followers (as I’ve said before…it’s just like high school again…).

There are two approaches for this.

The first is is to use a piece of software, like tweetadder, tweetspinner, or the like, to “automate” the process of what is being called “follower farming.” If you are interested in this, I highly recommend that you read a comparison review of these two products here. I have a friend who uses one of these programs, and he has more than 20,000 followers. You’ll see why this might be important in a minute.

The second approach is to “do it yourself” as I have done.

One of the disadvantages (in my opinion) of a follower farming program is that in amongst your large follower list are a lot of “spam friends.” Those are “people” who are often not really people, just bots who send lots of tweets…I mean LOTS of tweets. You also end up with a lot of “MLM” or “real estate” or “holistic” or whatever friends who follow indiscriminately in order to build their own lists. One follow tends to lead to another in these categories…

SM, at its best, is about social interaction. A large list can be a powerful tool for marketing, networking, and interacting, but it can waste a lot of bandwidth sending messages to people who really aren’t interested in you, or what you do. My friend doesn’t mind this, as his attitude is that you never know what will help you (or your business or your ministry) through the magic of “friends of friends.”

A large list means more influence, and the opportunity to help or sell to more people (and anything over 20k is a large list…to put that into perspective, though, Oprah’s twitter list is approaching 5 million(!)…which means when she recommends something it gets what is called “the Oprah effect”…but she only follows 20 people).

But, for me, I really want to interact with people who are genuinely interested in what I do, and what Creator can do to help them.

So I, as regularly as possible, go through my twitter follower list and unfollow people who don’t seem to fit that criteria. Often that means going to their twitter page and reading the first page of tweets to get a better idea of whether there is a match. If the page is full of the same tweet repeated ad nauseum, they’re gone. But if they are posting about church music or ministry, or something else I am interested in, they stay. It is a constant judgment call, and I tend to err on the side of my friend regarding “friends of friends,” but I feel like I have control of my own list.

Next up? Hitting the wall on facebook.

In the meantime, I would love it if you would share your experiences with social media. Got a story of how social media helped or burnt your ministry? Please leave a comment below.

Ipod shuffle status: 2622 (Reverie – Julian Bream and John Williams)  of 7875

Get my EBook The Choir in Modern Worship



{ 1 trackback }

The Burma Shave Imperative
February 18, 2011 at 7:09 am

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Previous post:

Next post: