On the Art of Following (Twitter Style)

"Try to remember the kind of September
when life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
when grass was green and grain was yellow.
…Try to remember and if you remember then follow.
Follow, follow, follow…

– Tom Jones, "Try to Remember"
   The Fantasticks

I've loved this song from The Fantasticks since I first heard it. I'm not alone. The Fantasticks ran Off-Broadway in New York from 1960 until 2002, and only managed to stay away for four years before a revival. (You can hear the song here.)

But what does this have to do with Twitter? The answer lies in the "follow" feature. Every Friday, when I participate in Follow Friday–that hallowed tradition on Twitter in which users recommend other users they enjoy with the hashtag #ff–I hear the follow, follow, follow chorus in my ears. Because I've met some truly people through Twitter; I now consider them my "Fantastick" friends.  It is one of the primary benefits of Twitter: You get to source your own community and create a small mini-universe of others who share your interests.

In The Fantasticks, it is discovered that "fences make good neighbors." On Twitter, the reverse is true: More often than not, Twitter users allow anyone to follow them–it is networking without walls. And yet, because the "cocktail party" of conversation is open to everyone–making friends can be like attending an weekend long concert with 100,000 people–you know there are people there who share your interests, but it's hard to make fast friends with thousands of people.

So what's the best way to find someone to follow? Here are five suggestions that are top of mind for me. 

  1. Use Twitter's new follow feature. Similar to Facebook's friend recommendation, Twitter will recommend individuals for you to follow who share your interest. Recommendations are provided in the right hand menu of your Twitter homepage; I've been getting two recommendations at a time. I'm meeting people I would not have known otherwise. It's great, especially because it's not too many people.
  2. Search for lists of interest to you on Listorious and then follow the list. Benefit: You don't have to follow each individual stream to see what others are saying. Just access your Twitter List.
  3. Seek out group lists on TweepML.org and then find individual subscribers by reading their bio statements and most recent tweets (aka the 160me if you've read the Twitter Job Search Guide). Follow the people who intrigue you.
  4. Use Twitter directories like Twellow and WeFollow to find others who share your interests. Add yourself to the directories and you'll increase your own number of followers.
  5. Get career advice and savvy tips on how to use Twitter for your job search by following some of our many contributors to the book. Check out this list for the Twitter Job Search Guide

Last week, I had coffee with @phyllismufson, a Twitter friend who I can now call a friend IRL "in real life." I can't remember who followed who first, but I can't believe how many interests we have in common–from our careers to our hobbies. May you have similar occasions of serendipity and friendship in your own job search. And to think my mother told me that "following" strangers was a bad thing!

I dare you to follow, follow, follow three people who intrigue you, contact them through an @reply and let me know how it goes…It may surprise you how easy it is to get to know others via Twitter.

To your success,


Cross-posted on The Twitter Job Search Guide



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