How do you handle a crowd of followers?

My article on “Why do I need 10,000 followers” seemed to tap into the frustration and anxiety of many people who are struggling with the meaning of our new Twitter relationships. One Twitter friend, who I have never met, called me and discussed the issue for an hour!
If you haven’t read some of the blog reader comments, please do — they’re great! The article also enabled a lively debate on Linked-In. I wanted to cross-pollinate the conversations and those folks allowed me to re-print just a small selection of their insights:

Steven Soshea

“If I happened to accumulate 10,000 followers through organic growth, I would consider that to be a good thing. There’s no way you can have “an effective, reasonable connection” with everyone … Like a famous musician, actor, or even writer, you’re not going to be able (or want) to spend all of your time connecting with your fans.
“To be quite blunt, I’m only going to spend a certain amount of time with them, collectively and individually. So my engagement with Twitter isn’t going to scale proportionally to the volume of my followers … I’m very happy to have this asymmetric relationship …”
“Once I was following 400+ I found that it was just too much to keep up the same quality level of interaction. That web page just seemed like a huge wave of noise coming at me. One approach I’ve found helpful is to segment and to create individual Twitter ID’s for different sectors with which I work … I also use Tweetdeck or Seesmic to review the multiple accounts independently or collectively at a glance.”


Nancy Scott
“Before I follow, I read somebody’s blog carefully to see if I can connect with their knowledge and their perspective. I started out primarily following marketing bloggers, but have expanded to following all manner of folks who interest me.”


Mark Ruvelson
“I’m not sure what the magic number is as far as how many followers you should have, or how many people you can actually keep up with following … I have a friend who’s tweeting on behalf of his business, and his approach is to follow as many people he can and grow his community through follow backs. OK, so he has close to 2,000 followers, I have just around 300. Is his group more valuable than mine? Larger yes, but maybe not better, as I’m not so sure how relevant some of his followers are. I’ve chosen not to follow his approach; I feel like the right thing for me anyway is to keep on posting clever, interesting tweets, and let the community grow at its own pace.”

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