Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and reading resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Writer comics by Debbie Ridpath Ohi are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Twitter Guide For Authors & Illustrators > Site Admin > How can you possibly follow all the people you do?

Index of topics: Main Twitter Guide For Writers & Illustrators page. To go back to my blog for kidlit/YA writers and illustrators, see Inkygirl. You can find me on Twitter at @inkyelbows (focus: writing and illustrating children's books) and @DebbieOhi (livetweets, chat, photos, personal ramblings). Also see my list of Other Useful Twitter Guides For Authors And Illustrators and Twitter Lists of: agents who represent kidlit/YAkidlit/YA editors, children's book art/creative directors and K-12/teen librarians on Twitter.

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From Dave Bartlett on Twitter:

Must disagree with your post about #followfriday. There's nothing wrong with doing #followfriday recommendations for all the people your follow, as long as you're following them for a then you're justified in recommending them to other people for the simple reason that you find them interesting enough to follow yourself. Of course, for someone like yourself who follows more than 5,000 people, that reason loses credibility since you can't possibly give a valued opinion on the merits of so many people. But to those of us whose twitter friends more than just strangers, please don't try to devalue the merit of our #followfriday lists. The point of view of someone who clearly follows everybody and anybody doesn't really impress on the more selective of us. Now perhaps my opinion will cause you to stop following me, but I follow you as an interesting person, and would recommend that others do too, so I'll still include you in my #followfriday this week. I recommend because I believe in people I wouldn't if I didn't; in fact, I wouldn't bother following them at all.


I put together the above post from about ten of Dave's tweets. He posted in response to my Follow Friday (& Writer Wednesday, etc.): Do They Really Work? How Can I Make Them Work article.

I think a couple of tweets got lost along the way, so please excuse any typos / grammar errors in my compilation of Dave's post above -- I didn't want to try fixing any text in case I misquoted him.

To clarify: I was NOT dissing everyone who used #followfriday or #writerwednesday. An excerpt from my post:

NOTE: Please don't get me wrong. I love the idea behind Follow Friday and would love to find a way to make it work again.

Dave also raises a point about how I follow a lot of people, which I consider an entirely separate topic from my #followfriday post. I had actually addressed this in my old version of the FAQ, but had deleted that bit when I moved my FAQ over because I figured it wasn't really info of interest to anyone anymore. Clearly, there's still a need for an explanation.

Apologies for not permitting comments to be posted in response to FAQ articles; Squarespace doesn't allow that, but I'm going to send a recommendation to Squarespace Support to change this.

1. I do not read every single post by every single person I am following.

I wouldn't be reading every single post even if I was only following 20 people. I simply don't have the time. I do have a separate Twitter account (DebOhi) for following personal friends, and do try to read most of those tweets...but I still can't keep up. Some of my friends are pretty chatty. :-)

2. In contrast to what Dave posted, I don't follow EVERYONE. I used to follow only people in the publishing industry whose tweets usually interested me, who were high info and low chat (I use DebbieOhi for chatty follows). However, I've found that as more and more people started to follow me, it started to take me more and more time to check out each person's profile, read through several pages of their tweets, make up my mind about whether or not to follow them.

As a result, I ended up NOT following a lot of people I should would have wanted to follow simply because I couldn't keep up with my follow list. Now I tend to just read their profiles as well as their most recent tweet -- when I have extra time or if I'm intrigued by their profiles, I investigate further.

I unfollow people when I get annoyed by their tweets in my timeline, or find that their tweets don't tend to interest me.

So why do I follow so many people if I don't plan to read every single tweet? Because it's easier to pick up on publishing industry news and trends, to discover the "hot topics" being discussed, and to allow people to be able to send me DMs if they want to. Because I like checking in on the Twittersphere every so often and be able to join the conversation.

For me, it's a lot like wandering around the world's biggest writers' conference. I may not always drop in on conversations about the publishing industry, but chances are good (because of the people I *choose* to follow) that it will. Even if it's not about publishing, it's usually interesting...again, because of the people I choose to follow.

I don't follow people to get them to notice me (the importance of follower counts are way overrated, in my opinion). I follow people because of the conversation.

Yes, most of the people on my follow list are strangers...but I follow each and every one for a reason. This reason is entirely subjective. It could be because they're a writer, editor, agent or other publishing industry professional. I just recently started following illustrators as well because of my own growing interest in children's book illustration. It could be because I'm intrigued by their profile even though they have nothing to do with the publishing industry. It could be that I've met them personally and liked them, but aren't close enough friends with them to want to follow them from DebOhi.

There are, of course, a subset of people on the list whose tweets are consistently so interesting or useful that I do try to read every single one, but I bookmark those separately rather than read them via the Twitter website.

So to summarize:

I'm not dissing everyone who uses #followfriday and #writerwednesday (though I AM dissing anyone who posts page after page of #ff and #ww names without any reasons).

I'm on Twitter for the conversation, not follower or following count. For me, the Twittersphere is like being at a giant writers' convention. I didn't come to the event to participate in every single conversation all the time, but just a few here and there. And sometimes I just feel like listening.

Last updated on June 14, 2013 by Debbie Ridpath Ohi