I have come to really like Twitter.  So much so that I have to tell myself to take a break once in a while so that I can get something done.  Twitter levels the playing field and allows anyone to share what’s on their mind or what they’re doing.  It’s a great way to extend your ministry, bless others, and create connections.

Where Facebook is about affiliation (who you know or have known) Twitter for me has become about affinity (what do we have in common?)  I really like finding others with common interests and passions and following each other.

That said, unless you’re a major public figure, you’re probably finding followers the way most people do; by searching for like-minded individuals, following them, and see if you get a follow back.  If you do, you’ve made a connection.  Good day!

So let’s say you’re trying to expand your Twitter community and you’re having trouble getting people to follow you back.  Here are some reasons why this might be happening:

1. A user name that’s difficult to understand. Zboy1509YO might mean something to you, but it doesn’t do a thing for me.  Try keeping your user name as close to your real name or organization’s name as possible.

2. No picture. The Twitter bird is cute but I don’t want to see that graphic all up and down my time line.  Use a picture of YOU.  I’m interested in connecting with other people, not their dog, car, or favorite beverage.

3. Incomplete bio. I’m going to let you in on a secret.  I like to follow people back who share my same interests and affinities.  If I see that you’ve followed me, I’m going to check your bio to see if you’re someone I’d like to follow back.  Add a link to your blog (not your sales presentation) there.  If there’s no information there, I’m going to assume we have nothing in common and not follow you back.  The key is to make me work as little as possible to find out if you’re someone I would like to follow back.

4. A protected profile. Sometimes I like to read a few of your tweets before I decide whether or not to follow you back.  You send me a follow.  I click on your name to see your Twitter profile and I see a padlock.  “Tweets are protected.”  How do I know you have anything interesting to say?  I’m not taking any chances on a protected profile.  No follow back!

5. All of your tweets include a link. If I see links on all of your tweets, chances are I won’t even read them to see if they’re interesting.  When 100% of your tweets are links to your web site, chances are you’re only interested in driving traffic or selling something.  I’m in it for interaction and community, not to read 140 character commercials every few minutes.  With that said, I do follow those links when posted by people who have other things to share too.

6. You’re building a fan club. One of the worst Twitter travesties I’ve seen is when people thin out the number of people they’re following to cause a greater gap in their followers to following ratio.  Look, if you’re a major celebrity, it’s understandable to have 100,000 followers and only be following 25.  The sad thing is that I’ve seen people in ministry drop followers to appear more popular (or something).  It’s one thing to unfollow others who aren’t following you back but come on!  Unfollowing people who are following you because you want a Twitter ego boost?  Shame!  Twitter is about connection and community, not about building up your fan base. Ministers should be especially aware of this.  So, if you unfollow me, don’t expect me to keep following you back.

The key is to represent yourself with clarity and, as I said earlier, make it as easy as possible for people to discover if you’re the kind of person they’d like to follow back.  It’s about affinity and community, a really cool thing in this day and age.  Keep building your community (not your fan club) and we’re in for a great time together.

What are some things that cause YOU not to follow back?

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