Twitter: One to How Many? / by Chel Wolverton

A few weeks ago, @chrisbrogan, @DYKC, and @spin wrote a collaborative blog post on friending in social networking spaces and how they handle it. I used to take a Chris Brogan approach to my friend adds, especially on Twitter. Then the issues started. As of this writing, I have 764 followers. I tried following all of those people back for a while. There have been exceptions. In recent weeks I find myself cutting back and then re-adding people that I miss. Now this has been talked about before, but really it's something that I want us to address.

With 557 people that I'm following, there are several things happening.

1) Because of Twitter's API I'm not catching everything through Snitter, Twhirl or Twitterrific. 2) Because there are so many people I'm following I'm missing the good stuff that I want to hear about in people's lives. The stuff that they think everyone knows because they Twitter it. 3) Twitter doesn't work well with communicating important stuff. They are a new company (which cuts some slack). Until their system improves and opens up the API to more requests for clients, I'm never going to be able to keep up.

I realize there are people that have very few followers and followings. Twitter is my constant companion during the day. I. love. Twitter. The community has done amazing things, including Frozen Peas, helping AshPeaMomma's family and helping Keith Burtis. We comfort, we laugh, we share and we reach out to others to let them know that we're there and thinking of them.

My approach in different places like Facebook won't work for Twitter. There are different rules for me. Maybe it's just a question of overextending, if so that's my problem. I want to read about your thoughts, none of these are "noise to me. If I want to follow everyone and still hear that conversation, shouldn't I be able to do that? Am I dreaming here?

So what I want to know is this. How do you manage your followers? Do you create a separate private list? Do you just follow the people that you want to hear? How do you participate in conversation with many when all the conversation doesn't come through? Okay, so that last one is a Twitter issue, but it's important and I hope they can address it.

If a one to many conversation is important, when does many become too many?