Shirt Status: Wear Your Facebook Status

Shirt Status proclaims that you should turn your Facebook status into an actual T-Shirt. Not an entirely new concept, but it is interesting in that they offer a semi-easy way for you to do this without you needing to tinker too much in a graphics program. Basically, they start you off with a default Facebook status laid on top of basic template design, akin to the Facebook status thought bubble. What’s neat is that you can change the status to whatever you like and they’ll print it for you … errr, Spreadshirt will print it for you.

Interesting concept, but, there are some flaws, in my opinion. First of all, they use Spreadshirt, which means YOU (without the help of Shirt Status) could easily design your own T-Shirt in a similar style, even if you’re not a Photoshop guru. Secondly, if you did do it yourself via Spreadshirt then you would probably pay less because you’re making it for yourself and won’t need to mark it up for profit (unless of course you’d like to charge yourself more than you’d like, then by all means go ahead). Finally, if you did do it yourself then the you won’t be stuck with the Shirt Status logo on the shirt (making it a bit more Facebook-ish).

So if you’re in the market for a Facebook status themed T-Shirt then I’d say 1. Use Shirt Status if you’re lazy and just want your product as quickly and as easily as possible, and 2. Don’t use Shirt Status if you think you can design your own status graphic (easy) and would like a cleaner look.

Shirt Status T-Shirts are available now for $19.95.

Guy Kawasaki’s Design A Book Cover Contest: A Good or Bad Idea?

I should first note that I do not consider myself to be a graphic designer in any way. I wish I had the skills of the artists whom I profile on a daily basis, but alas, I do not. Having said that, I’d like to talk a little bit about the controversy surrounding the Design A Cover project set forth by Guy Kawasaki on the crowdsourcing site, CrowdSpring.

Two days ago, the former Apple Evangelist, social media guru and Alltop founder, posted a call for entries for people that were interested in designing a cover for an upcoming book project of his, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. Kawasaki used the site CrowdSpring to open up the contest to those who were interested. CrowdSpring is a site that individuals can use to find professional designers to create things like logos, stationary, illustrations, and even clothing designs. Here’s an excerpt from the CrowdSpring About Us page:

By helping Buyers reach countless creatives across the globe, we’re changing the game for the little guy. Now small businesses, one-man shops and individuals anywhere can tap into a global pool of creatives for logo design, web design, company name, product name, packaging design, and many other graphic design, industrial design and writing projects. – CrowdSpring

Soon after Kawasaki posted the contest offering on CrowdSpring he of course let his Twitter followers know, all 258,000 plus. To the surprise of many, there was what seemed to be a backlash from a subset of Kawasaki’s Twitter followers. Designers revolted and accused Kawasaki of offering “spec work” that in effect ripped off the designers that entered and would have a negative effect on other designers within the industry. Here are a few of the Twitter comments:

“@frenden @GuyKawasaki add that up for all the people involved and that’s a LOT of free work for nothing” via @progressions.

“@GuyKawasaki If exploiting the hard work of others equals a pay off, I’ll pass.” via @frenden.

“@GuyKawasaki How about you just use your money to hire a legitimate illustrator rather than taking advantage of the inexperienced? #nospec” via @LandauArt.

Those are some strong words right there coming from experienced graphic designers (Frenden and LandauArt).

So, let’s back up a little but. Some of you might be wondering: What the heck is “Speck work?”

Spec work (short for speculative) is any job for which the client expects to see examples or a finished product before agreeing to pay a fee.

Basically, a client offers a job to any designer interested in the job. The client then, theoretically, receives multiple submissions from a variety of designers. He then picks the one that he likes the best and then pays that specific designer. The other designers who also submitted their work will receiving nothing for the work that was submitted and rejected.

Designers tend to prefer clients review the portfolios of various designers and then offer the job to a single designer that best fits their needs. The designer would then negotiate his/her rate with the client and would then design the project for that client.

Seasoned designers often hate the concept of “spec work” because:

  1. the designers commits time to a project, but is guaranteed nothing in return.
  2. the designers are forced to prove their worth when in fact the potential client can simply refer to the designers portfolio.
  3. some designers consider spec work to be a major ethical flaw.
  4. “unlike other industries is unique in that the intellectual property is put into your deliverable, and when the client asks for you everything you have to put into the project to think about purchasing.” via Andrew Hyde.

So now that you understand what “spec work” is and why many designers loathe it, let’s discuss why I think Guy Kawasaki’s Design A Cover Project is not so bad of an idea. In fact, I think it is an awesome idea.

First a few facts.

Guy Kawasaki is an established figure with a reputable background. He is respected within the tech industry and thought to be a forerunner in the social media movement.

Crowdsourcing*/spec work has become a major part of the social media movement. There are many examples in which large company’s provide an open call to designers to submit their work with no guarantee of payment. Threadless, for example, receives thousands of T-Shirt design submissions each week and only prints a handful of new T-Shirts each week. Needless to say, there are many people that submit to Threadless with no guarantee that they will receive payment for their work.

However, as Andrew Hyde has pointed out before:

“Bandwagon fallacies don’t work for a lot of things, including this. If you are talking about ThreadLess, they have done a very good job a) paying their designers fair market value b) involving a community in the beauty of design that traditionally would have been left out and c) making clear that the designs are done for the love of design, not for a 3rd party to profit off of.”

But I have seen other up-and-coming T-Shirt design contest sites use the same model and not pay nearly as much as Threadless. Some of these sites pay $500 or less. And let’s not forget that Threadless, when first starting out, did not pay market value like they do today. Hyde also notes in point c: “designs are done for the love of design, not for a 3rd party to profit off of.” But come on, at the end of the day Threadless loves design BUT they also love bringing in the money. They are a business, a multi-million dollar business that thrives on spec work.

UPDATE 1 (8/2/2010 at 10:45 am): Some people in fact do not consider what Threadless does to be “spec work.” Here’s one reason why according to Creative Pro:

Some designers believe that sites like threadless.com are a better alternative to cattle-call contests. Threadless produces t-shirts based on artwork submitted by designers. Winning artwork not only gets printed up but also bags the designer $2,000. Why is threadless different? Members of the site — designers themselves — vote on each design. It’s a collaborative community-based decision rather than the edict of a client who may not be well informed about the nuances of successful design.

However, if I am going by the definition of spec work provided earlier, “any job for which the client expects to see examples or a finished product before agreeing to pay a fee.” then I have to say that Threadless is in a fact a form or a type of spec work. It is true that the designers vote on submitted designs and the chosen designs that go to print are a combination of Threadless discretion and communities votes. But at the end of the day, though, there are still many, many people who submit to Threadless who spend countless hours on a project before they are selected as a winner and if they are not selected as a winner then they do not receive any payment. They do, however, retain all rights to the artwork and can resell or submit to other sites or even produce the product on their own. Does the community involvement not make what Threadless does spec work?

Back to Kawasaki’s Design A Cover project. Why would I do it?

  1. If you are an up-and-coming designer, with little to no real world experience then you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  2. It’s not just about the $1000, but it’s what could potentially arise from you making a connection with Guy Kawasaki.
  3. Kawasaki is a big time player in the social media world and tech industry. He tweets a lot, but more importantly, he engages with his community of loyal followers and friends through multiple mediums.
  4. In fact, he is already engaging with his community in regards to this project. Submissions are already being seen by thousands on Alltop and comments and feedback are plentiful.
  5. Even if your design is not selected, there is a good chance that it will be seen somehow. In fact, this is what Kawasaki did the last time he ran a similar cover contest in 2004: Design Eye For The Startup Guy Contest. There is even speculation that non-winning cover designers may make it to the back of the cover sleeve.
  6. Kawasaki’s rate of $1000 is reasonable and competitive. This site (Alpha Advertising) offers a professional package that is priced at $1000. This designer (Archer Graphics) specializes in book covers and charges $800-$900. And there are a few more here that charge the same or similar rate.
  7. If the design is not selected, it would make for a good portfolio piece.

At the end of the day, I think Kawasaki’s Design A Cover project is an excellent idea and a wonderful way to network and build your portfolio. Professional designers may not think this and rightfully so. They have the experience, payroll, and contacts to allow them that right. They have the right to refuse work and offer their own rates. Up-and-coming designers may not have the same privilege and may jump at the opportunity to work with Kawasaki to get their work out there and rightfully so – they should not be persecuted or looked down upon for this decision.

As an outsider looking in (I’m not participating in this contest) and as a non-designer that is enthusiastic about social media, I must say that this battle between Kawasaki and a select subset of designers has intrigued me. Let’s not forget the old saying of you get what you pay for. Kawasaki may not get the most renown book cover artist to design his cover, but he is doing what he does best for many years now – engaging with his community in a positive and interactive way. He could easily pay someone $5000 to design a cover for him, heck he could pay much more than that. But that’s not what he does. He engages his community. This is him doing exactly that.

This Design A Cover project is not about ripping off professional artists, but rather, providing an opportunity to those who 1. are not as fortunate as those professional designers that are on a steady and current payroll, and 2. simply want to enter just for the heck of. If in fact Kawasaki did go the “review a bunch of portfolios” route, he would be ignoring almost all of the people that fall under type #2 (those that simply want to enter just for the heck of) – bad idea considering he would be ignoring a large portion of his rabid fans, a death move for a social media guru like Kawasaki. And of course, up-and-coming designers tend to have small network, which would theoretically reduce their chance of being reviewed by Kawasaki. By crowdsourcing the book cover design, Kawasaki is not only reaching out to all designer types, both seasoned veterans and fresh up-and-comers, but he is also extending the offer to his large fan base.

Guy Kawasaki is definitely using social media to his advantage. Is he abusing it? I don’t think. Is he making the experience interactive, fun and enticing? I think so.

What do you think? I know that I am probably opening myself up to a can of worms BUT I’d still love to hear what you have to say about the issue! Let your voice be heard and leave a comment below.

*I use the term crowdsourcing synonymously with spec work HERE because in fact, crowdsourcing as we know it is a form of spec work. It is an open call to large group of people to get a particular task done. Threadless considers themselves to be a company that thrives on crowdsourcing. However, I should note that in the case of Threadless, both the designer and Threadless retain all rights to the designs. At CrowSpring, the buyer (in this case Kawasaki) becomes the “sole and exclusive owner and copyright proprietor of all rights” pertaining to the design.

Here’s an excellent video from SXSW 2009 that looks at spec work from both perspectives:

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

Hello Humongo Nation!

Last year the Plaid Nation took the road and stopped over at the Threadless headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. Since then, the ad agency formerly known as Plaid, The Greatest Agency in all the land was renamed to Humongo!

Every year, the Humongo Agency embarks on a nation wide social media tour stopping over at some of the most creative places and visiting some of the most creative people in the United States. Humongo Nation, as it is called, is a “rolling celebration of creativity and a demonstration of social media in action.” Every aspect of the Humongo Nation tour will be documented on their website, Humongo Nation, and of course they will be tweeting, checking in on FourSquare, and blogging. They will also be hooked up to live GPS so that you can view where they are on a map at all times! They will be travelling around in a Ford Flex that will be equipped with 2 live “Flex” cameras that will be set up inside the van so that you can be the number 1 voyeur of the Humongo crew.

The Humongo Nation tour kicks off on July 19, 2010  in Portland, Maine and will include stops in Boston, Washington, Miami and a slew of other cities!

Here’s a peek at the Pre-Tour video, keep you eye out for a few Threadless tee appearances!

And here’s the video of their visit to Threadless last year:

101 T-Shirts For Social Media Gurus, Facebook Fans and Twitter Addicts

Are you a social media guru? Are you on Facebook 24/7 connecting with everyone humanly possible? Have you leveraged Twitter for all that it is worth? If so, then the following list of 101 T-Shirts for Social Media Gurus, Facebook Fanatics and Twitter Addicts may be of interest to you. At the very least, it will help you prepare your wardrobe for the next über geeky social media or tech heavy conference, because we all know that wherever the geeks go, so do the geeky T-Shirts.

101 Social Media Shirts

I’d love to hear which one of these are your favorites and whether or not you own any of these tees! And if you know of a Social Media related shirt not on this list then please tell me about it. Leave a comment below in the comments section and let me know!

If you enjoyed this post then please, please, please, tell you’re friends about it! A simple Tweet or post on your Facebook page will help to get the word out, and a link back on your blog would be greatly appreciated!

Facebook Like Co-Tee TV

If you stumbled on this blog via Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere then welcome! Please feel free to peruse the site and if you like what you see then I’d recommend adding Co-Tee TV as a friend on Facebook so that you can stay up-to-date on future posts!

1. You Like This by NerdyShirts, $19.95.

You Like This

2. I’m The Mayor of Your Mom on FourSquare by Rizzo Tees, $16.

I'm The Mayor of Your Mom on Foursquare

3. Dislike by Busted Tees, $16.99.

Dislike

4. Nice To Tweet You by ShirtCity, $19.95.

Nice To Tweet You

5. The Coupons by Chop Shop, $20.

The Coupons

6. I Like Wikipedia by Headline Shirts, $15.

I Like Wikipedia

7. d @skywalker by Cathie Tranent (RedBubble), $23.94.

Skywalker DM

8. I’m Not A Blogger I Just Tweet A Lot by Twitter Tees by Threadless, $18.

I'm Not A Blogger I Just Tweet A Lot

9. #ThisShirt by Busted Tees, $10.

#ThisShirt

10. Digg & Reddit & Stumbleupon & Del.icio.us by NerdyShirts, $19.95.

Digg & Reddit & Stumbleupon & Del.icio.us

[Read more…]

Cultbook: 400 Million Users and Growing

When I first joined Facebook I felt as if I was part of the cool culture of educated geeks who seemed to agree with my sentiments that the bigger and more established Myspace sucked ass. When I first signed up for Facebook, I was happy to see that the little teeny boppers were gone, as were the annoying background flashing GIF’s. There was no music that instantly streamed every time you loaded a new page – thank goodness! The Facebook interface was clean, easy on the eyes and a pleasure to navigate. You needed a .edu email address to register. There was a time when Facebook felt exclusive.

Those days are gone.

NerdyShirts sums things up succinctly by characterizing Facebook as Cultbook. With 400 million users and growing, including those teeny boppers that I so happily left behind when I abandoned Myspace, Facebook is turning into the modern day MySpace. Facebook is no longer exclusive. Facebook is Cultbook, 400 million users strong and growing.

Cultbook is available now from NerdyShirts for $14.95 ($5 off this week only).

Cultbook

And for you Facebook loyalist, be sure to get the You Like This tee, also from NerdyShirts for $19.95.

You Like This

And of course, this post would not complete if I didn’t ask you to Like Co-Tee TV on … Facebook!

Facebook Like Co-Tee TV

The Coupon Tee

The newest tee from the Chop Shop is pretty killer. Instead of a design comprised of 50 or so silhouettes, they have a design that features 19 funny, mock coupons! If you’re a tech nerd or web geek, you’ll find at least one coupon here that will tickle your funny bone.

The Chop Shop is offering the aptly named The Coupon Tee in 5 different colors (Eggplant, Silver, Cranberry, Orange, White). The shirt is available now for sale for $20 ($2  extra for American Apparel tees).

“19 various coupons for tech nerds and web enthusiasts. Special offers not seen on any other t-shirts anywhere! They range from 30% the droids you are looking for to 50% off any 1 ring of power in either styles for men or dwarves. Other offers will get your mom off Facebook and make it so that someone sees one of your tweets. Order it now and start taking advantage of all the glorious offers!”

Disclaimer: Not all offers valid and cutting coupons out of shirt will render shirt full of holes.

The Coupon Tee

The Coupon Tee

The Coupon Tee

The Coupon Tee

The Coupon Tee

10 Essential Tips For The Traveling Blogger

Traveling does not have to hinder your blogging. Instead, you can use this time as an opportunity to engage and interact with your community even more. There are many tools available to you and with the prolification of wifi hotspots in major cities, getting on the web while on the road is as easy as ever. Your next vacation might be just what your blog needed.

Disclaimer: I’m a very Mac-centric kind of guy and because of these you’ll notice that a few of my tips make use of making use of the iPhone. I’m sure the same tips would also apply for any other smartphone, such as an Android, Palm Pre or BlackBerry.

10 Essential Tips For The Traveling Blogger

1. Use location based social networks to keep track of where you’ve been.

I’ve been using Gowalla for a few months now and just started using Foursquare at the beginning of my last trip. Both of these location based social networks allow you to “check-in” and ultimately track where you’ve visited during your trip. In my opinion, Foursquare is the better option of the two and I will tell you why.

The great thing about Foursquare is that often times special deals will appear when you check-in to certain places. For instance, after I checked-in at a small cafe on Powell Street in San Francisco during my last trip, a little icon popped up on my screeen mentioning that another establishment nearby had a special deal waiting for me if i checked in there as well. Gowalla recently announced that it has partnered with the likes of Adobe and Chipotle to hand out special offers, but why wait, take advantage of what Foursquare has to offer now.

Here’s another example: When we did the Napa Valley Wine Train, I was awarded with a physcial voucher for eight free glasses of wine on board the wine tasting train. The “mayor” of the wine train, who was there at the time, actually greeted me and handed me a voucher. How awesome is that? Pretty awesome, I think.

  • Use Foursquare to keep track of where you’ve been (because you know you’ll blog about it later) and to score some awesome deals.

2. Use Google Docs To Store Your Itinerary.

Google Docs is a life saver. Why? Because even when your laptop is not available, your documents still are (give that you’ve got a computer with Internet access available). That’s the beauty of cloud computing. Even when you need to rely on the dreaded hotel computer running some argaic version of Windows, you’ll still be able to access your itinerary by simply logging into Google Docs.

  • Keep your travel itinerary safely stored in Google Docs.

3. Bring An Extra Media Card.

This tip is a no brainer. I always bring along an extra media card for whatever camera I am using. I typically take enough pictures during the day to fill my memory card up to the max. To make room for the next day of photo filled sightseeing, I upload my photos to my Mac.

But what if I forget to upload my photos before I leave the hotel? The last thing you want is to have to spend time flipping through your photos on your camera trying to decide which ones to delete just so you can take even more photos. Have an extra media card ready and this will be a non-issue.

  • Bring an extra media card just in case you forget to upload the photos from your camera.

4. The iPhone Makes For The Perfect Travel Companion.

The built in GPS on the iPhone and the plethora of apps make it a powerful travelling companion. Lost? Use Maps on the iPhone to help you find your way to your destination.

For instance, during my 2008 visit to San Francisco, despite having pre-printed Google directions, road changes and sign removals ultimately caused me to get lost in the middle of wine country. The solution? We found a Wal-Mart that was nearby, used the GPS in the iPhone to track our location, and then input the address of our destination. The iPhone got us out of that little pickle in no time.

  • The built in GPS on the iPhone makes getting lost a thing of the past.

5. Yelp Can Be Very Handy.

Bloggers need to eat. And for those times when you need to deviate from your itinerary, the Yelp app is a real lifesaver. We spent an afternoon during our most recent trip to San Francisco exploring the Mission District. And although we had planned to eat at a certain restaurant beforehand, it unexpectedly closed just as we arrived there.

With the Yelp app for the iPhone, we were able to find our location and got suggestions as to what other places around the area were highly recommended by other Yelp users.

And if you blog about food, Yelp comes in handy since you can draft a review of you experience right into the app itself. Neat!

  • Use Yelp for times when you need to deviate from your itinerary or when you’re feeling spontaneous.
  • Draft reviews of your experience directly within the Yelp app.

6. Use Notes and Voice Memos To Capture Ideas On The Go.

When it comes to capturing a passing thought in your head, you don’t need a fancy app. The apps you really need come built right into the iPhone. I recommend both Notes or Voice Memos to document any ideas you have while on the go.

Most of this post was written on my iPhone using notepad (and then edited later in my browser) while I waited for the Urban Outfitters on Powell St. to open. I was killing time before my shuttle was scheduled to pick me up and drop me to the airport. The idea for this post came to my head and so I started typing, errr, tapping away.

  • Capture passing thoughts, ideas or concepts using Notes or Voice Memos on the iPhone.

7. Make Sure Your Hotel Offers Some Form of Free Internet.

If you’re a blogger then you live and breathe the Internet. It might be practical to find a hotel with free Internet access. You’ll often have to pay to use the internet from the comfort of your room but a hotel that has free wifi access in the lobby makes life that much easier (and cheaper).

  • When booking your hotel, search for ones that provide free Internet access.

8. Backup While On The Go.

We all know tht we should back up our most important files (and probably even the not so important ones). Sometimes, uploading your travel photos to iPhoto is not enough. After all, hard drives do fail. An easy backup solution is to use Flickr to upload your full-sized and high resolution files.

If you plan on uploading a lot of photos to Flickr then I recommend that you invest in a pro account. Regular Flickr accounts limit you to 200 “viewable” photo uploads. Worried about other people viewing your more raunchy travel photos? Set your privacy to private and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Alternatively, you could use cloud backup services like the Mozy Unlimited Backup and Backblaze to back up your stuff on the fly whenever you have Internet access on your computer.

  • If you have a Flickr Pro account then use it to back up your travel photos.
  • If you rather keep your previous travel photos private then set your privacy setting accordingly.

9. Don’t Let Your Blog Go Postless.

The savvy traveling blogger does not let his/her blog go postless for the duration of their vacation. That would be a mean thing to do to your dedicated readers! Have a few posts prepared and have them autopost while you’re gone. You can do this easily in WordPress by changing the date of post. I recommend at least one autopost a day, especially during weekdays.

  • Prevent a blog dry spell during your vacation by preparing a few posts beforehand and having them set to autopost.

10. Keep Your Community Involved While You’re Gone.

To do this, I use a combination of Twitter and Foursquare/Gowalla. Keep your community in the loop and they’ll feel like they’re on vacation with you.You might also receive a few vacation tips from locals or tweeps who have lived in the area you are visiting.

Also, you can automate your WordPress blog so that it sends out a tweet each time one of your automated posts are published. With this set up, it’s like you’re not even gone.

  • Use a combination of Twitter and location based social networks to keep your community involved while you’re gone.
  • Twitter Tools will allow full integration between your WordPress blog and Twitter.

I’d love to hear what tips you have when it comes to blogging on the go! Leave a comment below in the comments section and let me know!

If you enjoyed this post then please, please, please, tell you’re friends about it! A simple Tweet or post on your Facebook page will help to get the word out, and a link back on your blog would be greatly appreciated!

Co-Tee TV Facebook Fan Page

Someone Is Reading My Shirt

Some of us spend more time interacting online than we do in real life. Oh come on, you know who you are! This tee from SnorgTees was made for the twittercentric, the tweet pro, the RT-maniac. Because true Twitter fans tweet in real life. And this shirt helps to make that happen. Buy from SnorgTees for $14.95 (regularly 18.95).

Someone Is Reading My Shirt

Someone Is Reading My Shirt

How To Follow People on Twitter

So the other day I was reading a post over at the Assault Blog titled Why Twitter Followers Are Worthless. The author argued that:

1. “If you can’t mobilize your followers for feedback, links, retweets or an opinion: they’re worthless.”

This is somewhat true. When I first started blogging about a year and a half ago I used my existing Twitter account to send out links to posts that I’d do on this blog. For the first month or so I received minimal feedback or retweets.

I was following a ton of T-Shirt people and yet no one seemed to care about my content. The main thing that I learned is that Twitter is a two way street. Unless YOU care about the people that YOU follow on Twitter then YOU are worthless to THEM.

Once I started providing my opinions to tweets I’d read over Twitter, leaving feedback and retweeting I started to notice that people would do the same for the content that I pumped out over Twitter.

Twitter is a two way interactive street. Provide worth to your followers and the people that follow you will be worth their weight in gold 100 times over.

2. “Twitter is a vehicle for word of mouth, but offline word of mouth is always better than online word of mouth.”

I disagree. I don’t think my blog would have grown as much as it did and as fast as it did without the online word of mouth gained through the use of Twitter. Had I not utilized Twitter, my blog might just be another blog. Instead, I have a strong following of people who love T-Shirts and enjoy visiting my site to get the latest tee related scoops.

In fact, I made it a point not to SPAM my Facebook friends (people that I actually know in real life) with status updates linking back to my blog. I didn’t even announce my blog on my Facebook profile despite the fact that my 300-400 Facebook friends would have seen it. I wanted to see how much the blog would grow minus the friend and family factor. Other people automate updates on their blog to their personal Facebook page. I don’t do this and I will explain in a future post why I don’t.

Coty’s Followers/Following Rule

I started to follow the “big” people in my niche (T-Shirts) and I’d take a look at the people that they followed and I would selectively follow those that I thought had an interest in tees.

Note that I don’t have a monstrous or unbalanced followers/following count. I follow about 1800 people and have about 1100 followers. A balance in the number of people you follow and the number that follow you (followers) is a good thing. It means that more times than not, when you followed someone they followed you back. Or, when someone followed you, you found their content interesting enough to follow them back.

Remember, Twitter is a two way interactive street. So be weary of people whose follow/follower count are not balanced (i.e. they follow 300,000 people but have 23 followers). These are probably SPAM accounts, don’t follow these people. I’m a little follow heavy when it comes to Twitter, when you encounter these types of people you need to take into account their tweet history and even the link they provide on their profile page (covered in next section). When it comes to the followers/following rule you really want to be aware of the extremes, for instance:

Twitter

How To Choose Who To Follow?

Once you start using Twitter you’ll start to get people who follow you that you aren’t currently following. You can do one of two things:

1. Ignore the Twitter email notifying you of a new follower.

or

2. Click on the notification email and review the stats of the person following you.

Ignoring people over Twitter is a bad idea. Twitter is a two way interactive street, remember?

Therefore that leaves us with option #2. So you take a look at the user stats that is included in the notification email and then from there you can make a “trim the fat” decision. This when you use the Followers/Following rule: If they have an unbalanced Twitter Followers/Following count I usually ignore them and do not follow them back. They are probably SPAM.

If however, they have a balanced Twitter Followers/Following count OR they have a username related to my niche then I’ll take look at their Twitter profile.

For example, @Timothyfree decided to follow me on Twitter. I took a look at the notification email and he passed the Followers/Following Rule. Next step is to take a look at his Twitter profile page.

Twitter

So now I am taking a look at their Twitter profile and at this point I need to decide to follow him on Twitter or not. My decision of whether to follow or not to follow hinges on a few things:

  1. Are they following other people in my niche? Go through and look at the people they are following.
  2. Do they’ve have an interesting profile link (bonus if they link back to a tee related site), or
  3. Does their Tweet history show relevance to my niche?

So continuing on with @Timothyfree’s profile, I notice that he is linked to Freedom Clothing. Perfect, another clothing company to keep under my radar. But I do notice that his followers/following numbers have changed from when he initially followed me. That’s fine because I checked out his profile links, his tweet history and I know he is not SPAM, instead, he is someone that I’d  be interested in connecting with on Twitter. His tweet history shows that he likes to tweet about personal life stuff but that’s okay because when I looked through the list people he follow I found the official Twitter account for his clothing brand and I decided to follow that.

Twitter

Once I review these three things I make a gut decision as to whether or not I follow this new person. I decide to follow @Timothyfree.

If you follow these steps then I promise you that you will develop a community of Twitter followers that actually care about what you are talking about. And once this happens, online word of mouth becomes a gazillion times more powerful then offline word of mouth. This is all based on the quality of your online word of mouth reach. And remember, since Twitter is a two way interactive street and you’re interacting with your community, your community members will be much more likely to retweet your content and/or provide feedback. Once this starts to happen on a regular basis then that’s when the online Twitter world becomes your oyster. Eat it up.

Some take home points:

  1. Twitter is a two way interactive street.
  2. Remember the Follow/Foller Rule and be weary of people whose follow/follower count are not balanced.
  3. Trim The Fat, but don’t ignore new followers, see what they have to offer before you decide to follow or not follow them.
  4. Once you’ve built a quality number of Twitter followers, don’t forget to continue to provide good content and leave good feedback.

I’d love to know what you think of this post. Also, if you have a different strategy for following people I’d love to hear about it!

If you enjoyed this post be sure to follow me on Twitter!