Do You Have to Follow People to Use Twitter Correctly?

Social Media Consultant, Matthew Chamberlin @mchamberlin sent out a tweet yesterday that piqued my interest. In it, he scolds Senator Claire McCaskill about her use of Twitter on behalf of the Twitterverse:


As @mchamberlain pointed out, Sen. McCaskill (@clairecmc) had 2,256 followers on Twitter at the time of his Tweet. Thirty-four hours later, Sen McCaskill now has 3,464 follower and is still only following one person.

Sen. McCaskill is picking up followers at a rate of hundreds per day, yet is using Twitter wrong?

I get the impression that Mr. Chamberlin’s expectation of Twitter users is that they must reciprocate follows. In the Senator’s case, that would mean she should have taken the time to follow back the now-3,466 followers she’s gained since joining Twitter.

Sen. McCaskill’s tweets to date seem to fit her personality well. She’s sending updates that are both job related and personal including mentioning that she’ll be on Meet the Press in the morning and that she cheated on her diet at dinner.

People seem to really enjoy her tweets based on the extraordinary number of @replies and retweets her messages are receiving:

@clairecmc Twitter @replies

If I was to offer some free consulting advice to Sen. McCaskill about her Twitter behavior to date, it would be this: Don’t change a thing. What you’re doing is obviously working for you. Your constituents appreciate the additional access you’re granting them one tweet at a time. While some Twitter follower may feel that you should follow them back, a United States Senator like yourself would be setting unrealistic expectations for constituents who may incorrectly assume you’re taking time to read every message twittered by thousands and thousands of followers.

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