editione1.0.1Updated January 28, 2020
The first step is following people you find interesting and starting to engage by commenting and replying to tweets—that way you start to find your voice. Pay attention to what kind of tweets you (and others) enjoy reading, and what kind of formats work well.Arianna Simpson (@AriannaSimpson), founder and Managing Partner, Autonomous Partners*
When you first start using Twitter, you’ll often follow people you’re familiar with. Spend enough time on the platform and you’ll find more and more people you’ve never heard of that are worthwhile to follow. Finding interesting people can be done a number of ways:
Look up who the people you follow follow. If there’s a Twitter user whose insights you find valuable, navigate to their profile and click on “X following,” with X being the number of people they follow. If you take the time to investigate this list, you’ll find who they find interesting and can increase the amount of astute people you follow too.
Browse the likes of interesting people. Check the “likes” on the profiles of people whose tweets you enjoy. Often following these chains is what leads to finding communities of people who are all loosely or tightly interlinked in some way or another.
Step outside your bubble. Be careful not to be too submerged in a bubble. If someone you respect names someone they heavily disagree with about something in your field, you might follow that person too. It will help you avoid insular thinking. Professional growth spawns from personal growth, and it’s interesting where you can land with shifts in your thinking.
I follow people who are interesting on Twitter. I think a huge mistake for new Twitter users is following people you think you’re supposed to follow—well-known industry people, famous celebrities, et cetera. None of that means that their tweets will be good! Obviously, that presents its own problem. If you’re new, and you’re supposed to find people to follow, where do you start? My advice is to find one person with excellent tweets (whatever that means to you) and then find people they follow, and go from there.Jackie Luo (@jackiehluo), software engineer, Square*
While individuals will likely make up the majority of the people you follow, there’s also value in following accounts run by companies, organizations, and news outlets.
Following companies. Follow brands and products you admire to stay aware of what they’re doing, get inspired to think bigger about your own work, learn more about their company culture, or find out when they’re hiring. If they provide a service you use, you can also stay up to date with new releases or changes, and even ask questions in your Tweets about specific product features, tagging the company for a response. While you can also follow competitors, it’s best to use a private list for this purpose. Remember that companies use Twitter to sell and convey a positive image of their company. A company’s Twitter account is a highlight reel and most often won’t disclose negative aspects about the company.
Following organizations or projects. A little different from companies, these accounts may be non-profit entities, professional associations, or represent projects or social movements. These accounts will often give you insights into areas you’re interested in professionally or personally.
Venkatesh Rao’s (@vgr) account for his newsletter, The Art of the Gig (@artofgig), shares helpful advice for independent consultants.
80,000 Hours (@80000Hours), a non-profit organization researching the world’s most important problems, and encouraging people to address these problems through their careers, shares their content and tangential research.