He who follows everyone, leads no one.
SOCIAL MEDIA We're on Twitter. Each week, followers come and go. Ideally, they follow because they enjoy the flow of fresh information. Some never read the timeline; they simply follow to be followed back. Others don't even know who they are following because the accounts are controlled by robots. "Bots," as they're called, crawl Twitter accounts for keywords and follow users for a preset length of time; if not reciprocal, they automatically unfollow. Occasionally, tweets or profiles beg for followers. It should be noted that some of these automated methods of gaining followers violate Twitter rules so may result in account suspension.
Lead, follow, or get out of the way. —Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine, eighteenth century journalist, is credited with saying, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." He didn't have Twitter back then but the statement aptly describes the activity of each Twitter account today. Some "lead" with fresh content. Some "follow" everyone they can find. Others have accounts that are virtually inactive; they've 'gotten out of the way' by never engaging with others. A savvy Twitter user balances a combination of regularly posted tweets with selective following.
Follow For Content
Really, it's not about the numbers; it's about the content. As a microblog, Twitter provides a social media platform with more immediacy than a standard blog. Current news is delivered several times a day rather than several times per month. (Shuush volume is 8 out of 11.) If you're looking for high-quality health content, consider following us @ClinicalPosters. Here are the types of posts followers view each week.
- Dermatological clinical trial enrollments
- Clinical trial drug applications
- Poster conferences and medical events
- Special offers from Store.ClinicalPosters.com
- General health articles
- Blog entries at Health.ClinicalPosters.com
- Healthy, mostly vegetarian recipes
- Local restaurant reviews
- Anatomy trivia
- Inspirational quotes
- Medical humor
- Retweets from various sources, including social media tips
Medical doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, scientists, and educators benefit most. A subset of chefs, dietitians, foodies, physical therapists, dentists, ophthalmologists, fitness trainers, and consumers concerned about their health also enjoy interesting tweets.
Those that follow purely for numbers eventually run into a ratio wall — Twitter limitations invoked to curb abuse. Once your number of people followed passes 2000, Twitter can suspend the account if the Follow count is more than 10 percent of the Follower count (>2000:1818 or >2200:2000). The ratio may vary for different accounts. Someone who follows 2000 accounts with only 100 followers is not likely to be reading most of the tweets in his/her timeline and is desperately striving to follow as many as possible in hopes of being followed back. This is considered aggressive following and may result in error messages or account suspension.
Don't Be Afraid to Talk
It's flattering when someone follows you on a Twitter account. But it's more meaningful if they respond to published content.
Periodically, people acknowledge mentions by others with a shorthand thank you. It may include #FF (for "Follow Friday") or TY (for "Thank you"). It's odd when this happens and your only previous communication was a tweet with a question left unanswered. It's proper twetiquette, even basic etiquette, to respond to a question before posting a generic "thank you" for commenting. This gives evidence you are following too many people and relying too heavily on automation. It's flattering when someone follows you on a Twitter account. But it's more meaningful if they respond to published content. Sometimes you can get caught in a loop where two parties keep thanking each other for mentioning one another in their #FF without actually engaging in any meaningful conversation.
Unlike the unresponsive shouts of armchair quarterbacks, the "social" part of social media means you can interact — engage in conversations. This is what makes the medium so different from reading a newspaper, watching TV or listening to the radio. So something that is more important than following someone, having someone follow you or tweeting a #FF mention is a personalized tweet: "I thought you might be interested in this," "Here's an answer to your question" or "You made me laugh" (shorthand LOL or ROFLOL). If you care enough to follow, share what you enjoy.
Who We Follow And Who We Avoid
Some Twitter users follow for quantity. Others follow for quality.  ClinicalPosters strives for the latter. Users can create Twitter accounts for personal or business use. ClinicalPosters is a business account. Periodic tweets about exam room anatomy posters sold on the online store benefit those in the education or medical profession.
Physicians are often followed because they may find our products and services useful and because they are likely to tweet interesting health content. However, not all doctors are customers nor are useful tweets guaranteed by virtue of the profession. We look for tweets that are sufficiently different from what we already provide. At the same time they should fit under the umbrella of healthful content. A limited number of bloggers and local restaurants are followed.
If the ClinicalPosters timeline becomes cluttered, some pruning may be required. In such cases, individuals may be relocated to categorized Twitter lists for periodic review.
There are a few mistakes Twitter users make that almost always guarantees they will not be followed.
- Accounts that use of profanity
- Robot accounts that propagate spam or sell illegal substances
- Every other tweet should not say the same thing
- Politically or religiously focused controversial accounts
- Accounts that mostly retweet others without offering unique content
- Account timelines filled with trivialities
- Unmanned accounts supplied by RSS feeds
- Accounts that generate an abundance of mediocre daily tweets
- Generic egg-avatar accounts (unless they are from known entities)
- People who beg for followers to meet a personal quota without reading or reposting tweets of those they follow
Between the extremes of who are followed and who are not is a gray area. Twitter timelines are examined before deciding. Retweets may bring a follower to the forefront. Sometimes a good fit is quickly identified; other times it must be nurtured.
Some individuals have great content in their timelines. It just may not match the stated goals for ClinicalPosters to follow. Conversely, some who are not in the medical profession whom we don't follow could enjoy ClinicalPosters health related tweets, recipes, inspirational quotes, and occasional wry humor.
Not everyone uses identical criteria for determining followers. You can rest assured that when you follow ClinicalPosters, you will be interacting with a human, not a robot. Therefore, you can ask questions and expect to receive personal responses. This article has been written to answer two questions: 1) What criteria does ClinicalPosters use to determine who gets followed? and 2) Who follows ClinicalPosters? Hopefully, you are in one of these categories.