Is Chris Brogan Wrong?

Recently, Chris Brogan – a respected industry colleague and someone we’ve worked with on occasion, wrote “50 Power Twitter Tips,” a nice little post that’s been viewed about 10,000 times or so. It was also put into video form by one of his fans, as you can see here:

One of those 50 tips seems pretty straightforward: “Follow anyone who follows you (and unfollow spammers/jerks).” Now, I realize that this may not be everyone’s style on Twitter but with nearly 150,000 of his own followers (on just one of his accounts), I tend to think Chris’ advice is probably pretty solid if you’re looking to build influence. But lately I’ve noticed a lot of folks doing the opposite – or, more specifically, I’ve noticed a lot of long-time Twitter friends who have reached large follower numbers suddenly unfollowing massive amounts of their followers. It seems to be a trend – they reach 18,000, 20,000 followers and suddenly they trim their following list to 500, 200 or less. What’s with the new trend?

I asked a few folks and some feedback has been genuine “I’ve decided to only follow people I’ve met personally or who add value to my life,” and some has been esoteric, like “Just cleaning up.” Personally, I think it comes across as a bit narcissistic (of course, lately I’m feeling this way about a lot of social media) and disingenuous. It seems like these folks are building up to large numbers and then unfollowing to make themselves seem more interesting, popular or influential. It seems like they’re banking on the fact that most Twitter users don’t spend a lot of time managing their network and therefore won’t realize they’re no longer mutually connected.

Anyone else notice this trend? Any insights into why folks are doing this? Is social media becoming a burden and therefore people are changing their strategies? Personally, I’ve decided I like Chris’ advice. The reason I like it is that yes, following a large group of people could be cumbersome – if you didn’t know how to use tools to manage your lists and find what you want when you want it. But I use technology like Nutshell from Constant Contact (a client), TweetDeck, Tweepl and many more awesome tools to do just that. So I can always find what I need and track key words, trends, followers and more in a timely fashion. But I like to follow most of those who connect with me because in doing so, I sometimes find nuggets of information that I wouldn’t have been looking for – the more people I follow, the more interesting information comes my way. So for me, I’ll keep following my new followers … unless of course, they’re “spammers or jerks.”

What about you? What’s your Twitter following strategy?

25 SXSW Attendees Explain Why You Should Attend Next Year…Oh and they did it in two words…

Inspired by Steve Garfield’s video montage “27 People, One Question” I thought it would be fun to do something similar during my trip to SXSW Interactive. Throughout my time there, I had some lighthearted fun with attendees and asked 25 people to give me two words that describe their experience at the event. Some of the responses, both serious and entertaining, came from folks like Jeff Pulver, Chris Brogan, Justin Levy, Jeremiah Owyang, Robert Scoble, Jason Falls, Aaron Strout, and many others. Using my handy Kodak Zi6 HD camera I captured some great footage that hopefully encapsulates what SXSW Interactive is all about and in some cases, just made me go “huh?”

So without further ado, for your viewing pleasure check out what some of this year’s SXSW Interactive attendees had to say for themselves. I am sure you will recognize a few of your friends and hopefully have a few laughs along the way.

A special thanks to everyone who participated and shared their two (and sometimes more) words and thanks for all the memories. See y’all next year – SXSWi 2010!

Disclaimer: The video quality and lighting varies slightly due to the ‘extreme’ shooting conditions of SXSW. :)

Translation: This was my first attempt and I didn’t lug around all the lighting and sound equipment with me for these impromptu shots, so some responses were a little more difficult to see/hear, but you get the point.

Music: Dan Tharp, Guitar Suite I – Movement I and II
Camera: Kodak Zi6 HD

Who Owns Your Brand?

Right now we are participating in a Twebinar (think Webinar + Twitter) hosted by Chris Brogan and Radian 6 on the topic of “Who Owns the Brand?”

Do companies own their brand or do the customers own the brand? There are a lot of differing opinions on the subject. I believe companies own the brand – they just don’t have sole control over it (and really, never did – the Internet just makes this more glaring).

Companies set the stage for their brand by communicating their intentions, credibility and value. Customers help shape the brand, collaborate on its direction and share it (good or bad). Today, more than ever, the customer takes the brand a company presents and either accepts it or rejects it – spreading the word or influencing change (as Dell experienced with IdeaStorm).

A huge part of what direction your customers take the brand depends on the company keeping their brand promises. Smart companies recognize this and welcome customer influence by embracing them, conversing with them and inviting collaboration. That means listening and taking action based on customer feedback.

What do you think? Follow and join the conversation here (type in #tweb2) or visit Radian 6′s Twebinar to watch the recorded version and learn about future Twebinars.