#ifollowback - Follow Me, I Follow You on Twitter

I’ll tell you upfront, I stole this from Ted Coine’s great management blog (link to Ted’s blog included), thanks @TedCoine!

I follow everyone back on Twitter. (Just about). Try it! Follow @themanagr

There, that’s my policy. Here’s why:

1. To get followers, you have to follow.

For whatever odd reason, Twitter limits how many people a person follows. If you follow a bunch of “celebrities” and news outlets that don’t follow you back, you’ll hit a wall at 2,000 where you find you can’t follow anyone else.

And even if your follow-followee ratio is close enough that Twitter lets you slip past this stupid, arbitrary wall of 2,000, you still have to stay within a close ratio to continue following more people. So any time you don’t follow someone back, you’re limiting who else they can follow. That’s not nice. Be nice.

2. Why not make new friends?

Each day I get up, go to work, see the same people, some typically the same things. On Twitter, each day I connect with new people, doing new things, and opening my world up to new possibilities.

The friend who introduced me to Twitter explained that automatically following back is the ethic of the medium. It’s what you do, he said.

A lot of us still act that way, and so this rule has served me well in making some really cool friends and acquaintances along the way.

3. Learn new things…each and every day.

In this way, Twitter is pretty much the opposite of Facebook and LinkedIn, where everyone’s always asking, “Do I know you?” This open, “We’re all friends here” culture really works for me. I’m friendly in real life – I’m like a Labrador Retriever – and Twitter lets me be friendly online as well.

Your Twitter following is your go-to group for interesting content, news, suggestions, tips, tricks, and feedback when you need it most. Reach out to them, you’ll notice that many may not reply, but you have a core group that do. Stick close to them, you’ll learn a lot.

4. The best part of life are the people you meet along the way.

Much more importantly (to me), here’s why I follow everyone back: I’m not more important than my followers. Indeed, I’m SUPER excited every single time a person compliments me by following me. It’s their way of saying, “Hi! I want to get to know you better.”

For me to snub their kindness would be ungracious – and if I were ungracious, I couldn’t look my mother in the eye. [I'm on a lifelong crusade against arrogance. We'll leave it at that.]

I can’t stand when I try to contact someone and I don’t get the time of day. I can understand not taking a phone call, spending time to write out an email. But 140 characters is all it takes on Twitter. YOU HAVE THE TIME!

5. Serve like you want to be served.

On that last point, following back is consistent with my status as a customer service blogger and customer service team leader. How on earth can I tell people to provide Five-Star Customer Service, which is based entirely on manners, when I am impolite myself? So for me, it’s an easy decision.

I know some of you will find these to be strong words, especially that last part. Let me repeat: this is MY follow-back policy. These are my reasons. You may have perfectly legitimate reasons for not observing my practices, and I’m sure they work for you.

Message me on Twitter? I owe you at least a reply. It may be yes or even no. But you’ll get a reply. I’ll never forget the anecdotal story of Steve Jobs answering customer emails sent to him.

He couldn’t answer them all, no that would take all of his time. But he answered some. CEO of Apple, and he’s answering random emails from your average Joe.

If Steve Jobs can reply to a few people, I can reply to a lot more. Let me prove it to you, follow @themanagr on Twitter.