The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

Follower / following — explaining the Twitter lists

Yesterday’s New York Times piece, Putting Twitter’s World to Use , showed how Twitter can be used, from uniting disgruntled Moldovan youth to assisting doctors in surgery.  (As big a fan of Twitter as I am, I’d still have to question whether the operating room is the time or the place to be … tweeting?)  Another article, by publishing reporter Motoko Rich, explored how two days of online venting on Twitter led Amazon to correct a cataloguing error.  As a book publicist, I use Twitter as an RSS feed of sorts, to keep tabs on what’s going on with the media and in publishing.

A lot of people have already signed up for Twitter — if you haven’t but would like to, check here for information about how to get started — but the question is: once you’ve signed up, how do you actually make use of it?

Twitter works by connecting people with “followers.”  Thus, everyone has two lists: followers (people following you and reading your updates) and “Following,” a list of people whose updates you follow.

Finding people to follow

Look up individuals.  This can be pretty laborious since a lot of people don’t use real (or full) names.  You can search email addresses too, although that can also get confusing  since a lot of people use multiple email addresses and you won’t necessarily know which one they’re using for Twitter.

 — Crib from someone else’s Follower / Following list.  You know what I’m talking about: you’ve done this before on Facebook and LinkedIn.  When you find someone interesting, look through their lists for people to Follow.

#FollowFriday.  Every Friday, people list others they like to follow.  This is a great way to find people who tweet about a certain topic (like ebooks or book acquisitions).

Getting people to follow you

Those of you familiar with other social networking sites but who are new to Twitter will no doubt find it creepy that strangers follow you.  This is a common practice on Twitter.  Although you can protect your updates and change your settings so that you approve all followers, most tweeple don’t make use of these functions.  (After all, your profile displays virtually no personal information.)  Here’s how to get followers: 

Post your Twitter handle.  Post your “handle,” e.g. @yodiwan, on your blog / website / in your email signature.

Follow others.  Some people will “autofollow,” which means they have applications that enable them to automatically follow you if you follow them.  Others don’t autofollow, but will scan through their follower requests and follow those people who look interesting.

Tips for Facebook users

—  The Twitter application for Facebook.  You can download the Twitter application in Facebook (use the Search function to find it) which will enable you to have all your Twitter updates automatically posted on Facebook.  (It doesn’t work the other way.)  A few considerations: how often do you update your Twitter status?  It’s fine to post 50 times a day on Twitter; FB users will simply get annoyed by that many status updates.  Also, your Twitter Follower list will likely differ from your Facebook Friend list and the same updates may not be appropriate for both groups.

Tips for Blackberry and iPhone users

Many people tweet from cell phones.  Popular mobile applications include Twitterberry (for the Blackberry) and Tweetie (for the iPhone).  Think tweeting from a cell phone is a waste of time?  It’s actually one of the best ways to get real-time coverage of an event (from surgery to the plane crashing in the Hudson to a conference panel).


April 15, 2009 - Posted by | Social Networking |


  1. Hi
    I’m a newbie in the Twitter thingi, but I have find that its really cool tool
    if you want to promote yourself (or any other service you may like).
    Its not the most intuitive and easy to understand.

    Bot thanks G.d for ppl like you who helps ppl like me at their first steps into the Twitter system.

    Thank you for the post


    Comment by Amit | Web Design | April 15, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] For more Twitter basics, I’ve posted about how to get started on Twitter and how to figure out the Following / Follower lists. […]

    Pingback by Don’t know anyone on Twitter? « The Book Publicity Blog | April 23, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and
    checking back often!

    Comment by | August 1, 2013 | Reply

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