Twitter 103: Following and Being Followed

This post is part of the SMUG Twitter curriculum, and its prerequisite is Twitter 102: Creating an Account. To successfully complete this course, you need to have established your own Twitter profile.

One of the keys to Twitter is the people you follow, and who follows you.

Some people decide to just follow a few close friends in Twitter, while others follow more broadly, to develop an information-gathering network.

More on those philosophies in a bit, but for starters here is a video tutorial that illustrates the mechanics of how you can get started in finding people to follow to start building your Twitter network:


Now about the philosophies of following and being followed:

You could decide that you only want to follow family and close friends in Twitter. That’s a perfectly valid option. In that way you would be able to stay more involved on a daily basis with those who already are closest to you.

On the other end of the spectrum we have those like @Scobleizer (Robert Scoble) who follow and are followed by thousands (20,852 and 47,828 at present).

I would recommend you find a balance somewhere in the middle. By all means invite your family, friends and work colleagues to join you on Twitter, but you have much to gain by broadening your network. You’ll meet interesting people and learn of news that’s relevant to you, and will be able to participate in interesting discussions.

And when you have a question, you can just “Tweet” it and you’ll likely get lotsof good feedback, as I did when I was looking for Web hosting recommendations.


To avoid making this a two-credit class, we’re going to limit the homework and carry it over into Twitter 104. So for now your assignments are limited.

  1. If you haven’t already, follow my personal Twitter account (@LeeAase) and the SMUG University Twitter feed (@SMUG_U). I will follow you back.
  2. Pick eight more people to follow from this great post from Sam Bradley, bringing the total new people you follow today to 10. Note that if you follow too many new people in one day, it may raise suspicions with Twitter that you’re a spammer. But 10 is a nice safe number for starters.

Coming tomorrow is Twitter 104: Building Your Twitter Network, which will be a “lab session” much like I experienced in my college days getting a minor in Chemistry. It will take you through a process of building the personal Twitter network that’s right for you.

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Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

6 thoughts on “Twitter 103: Following and Being Followed”

  1. Just wanted to pass along three people I find interesting to follow largely for very different perspectives (and content) – enjoy: @prblog; @gretchenrubin; @lizstrauss.

  2. Thanks for the shout Lee! Who is that Scott Meis (pronounced Meece, I know, the German throws people off) feller? On Peggy’s note, might I also recommend @dmullen and @davefleet as a couple good ones as well. Great post.

  3. Another idea for finding people to follow is to go to, clicking on the “search” option and typing in search words that apply to your content. You’ll get a long list of other twitterers who cover that type of content. Then you can just click on the twitter links for those other users and follow them.

  4. There are so many tweets about such a dizzying array of subjects- maybe on following for a while, one begins to understand the ‘gist’ of them?
    I still find it a bit confusing to know via such small bites exactly what it’s all about-like hearing half of a conversation in some cases?
    Will try the ‘’ and some search words relevant to my ‘areas’, maybe it’s asubjcet matter issue?
    i love that i can post tweets on my mobile phone ( not brave enough to go mobile with Blogs as it takes me ages in front of the screen to get a layout that i think ok!)

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