5Building a Following on Twitter

Websites have users, Facebook has friends, and Twitter has followers. They follow your messages—and, in the process, they follow your life.

Unlike users or Facebook friends, though, followers don't have to make any effort to enjoy your content. The tweets that you write can come to them, even directly to their smartphone if they want.

Like users and Facebook friends, followers are valuable. The more followers you have, the further your messages will reach and the more influence you'll have. (See Figure 5.1.)

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Figure 5.1 It's nice to be popular. This is how Joel's followers look to other Twitter users. Browsing follower lists is a good way to find people you want to follow. The button on the right allows you to follow other people directly from the list.

As always on the Internet, it can take time to build a large community of readers—certainly more time than most impatient publishers like to commit. But it's worth the effort, and there are a number of things that you can do to reduce that time and build your list quickly.

The most important is the piece of advice that remains golden whatever you're doing on the Internet: produce content that's interesting, fun, and valuable.

Tweets are supposed to describe what you're doing right now, but they can also include opinions, announcements, and conversations. You can write anything you want. You can ...

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