Reasons to Follow People Online

There is so much information and people online that sometimes you have to sit back and remind yourself what it’s all for. I was looking at my Twitter follow list and became inspired to write this post.

To be clear, following folks doesn’t have to be just about Twitter but also about “following” people by reading their blogs or “liking” their Facebook page.

Obviously, there are a million reasons to follow people online, but here are some of mine:

  • I’m looking for information and this person has it. Sometimes this information is related to a specific project or interest I have at the moment (maybe following someone who has an expertise in raw food), and sometimes it’s information related specifically to this person or their interests (for example, following Oprah or Martha Stewart).
  • I’m looking for folks I can relate to. This can apply to both business and personal. Sometimes one just likes knowing there are others out there like them. I love hearing what new projects other designers are working on, for example.
  • I’m looking for entertainment. Some people are hilarious and I follow them just because I know that what they write will be amusing and fun.
  • I’m looking for something different. The beauty of the Internet is that you have access to all sorts of people you may never meet in real life. If I want to know what it’s like to be a juggling bearded lady, or an anthropoligist who lives in Egypt, I can probably find someone tweeting about their experience.

And now, I want to ask your thoughts about one “rule” I heard when I first started Twitter. Folks told me that for every person who follows me, I should follow them back. Tell me, do you think this is a good rule or a bad rule? And why? I would also really love to know your reasons for why you follow people online.

I’m in the process of updating my follow list. Please tell me your favorite person you follow on Twitter. Who knows? I may just add them to my list.

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  • Tiffony

    I would have to agree with you. My favorite people that I follow are fellow wedding vendors who have great incite on the wedding industry and business planning. I also like to laugh so it’s nice to follow the people who make me see the lighter side of life.

    In response to your question, I think that whether or not a person follows a person should not be totally based on whether they for them or not. For example, someone with as many people following them as you, would never have enough time to read or keep up with the people you actually want to follow. I think on a smaller scale, it is polite to follow those who follow you. However, I do not think it is necessary.

  • Harvey Designs

    As far as a rule for who to follow… as long as they are legit (not a spammer or just someone wanting to get one million followers) and won’t fill my twitter feed with useless information or over share with personal updates I thank them for the follow and then return the favor and follow them!

  • Lisa Smith

    Hello Mr. Bailey,

    I follow the people I follow because I can learn from them they inspire me and they provide a ton of information alot of which I had no idea was put here until I began to follow different people…Some of my favorites besides you is @diannvalentine, @sageweddingpros name a few…

  • http://noneasyet. Barbara Ramoutar

    Hi Preston you such amazing mind,,God the Father truly bless you,, I follow peps,, who have something to add to my life,,my vocation,,and as you raw foods,,my health,,Dr Oz,,,,My Inspiration,,,Joel Osteen,,for spirituall ,,,Home& Garden,,HGTV,,,
    Spas,, I also into Massages,,,
    And christmas decorating ,,trees, halls, wreaths garlands, mantles,,indoor, outdoor,If you ever in Dallas visit House of Raz,,,,We have amazing talent here ,,I love this myself been doing it for 16 yrs,,amazing,,,Jeny Brant ,,design’s there,,and of course yoursellf ,,so very passionate about what you ,,and sharing it,,,not a selfesh bone in you,,thanks ..

  • Angela-Renee

    @Marvet Britto and @StarJonesesq These are just two of my favorite follows. Star”s tweets vary from inspirational to informational. She’s sophisticated yet still down to earth and very approachable on Twitter. A superb follow. And Marvet is usually sharing some of her adventures or pearls of wisdom about the business of entertainment. I would recommend both of them. Neither one of them sling around profanity which is something that tends to turn me off sometimes. The rule about following a person back is not one that I necessarily subscribe to. For me the same rules of engagement apply just like any other social environment. You should get to know a person’s Twitter personality before you follow them back in my opinion. Establish some interaction via retweets or conversation or at least common interests. That’s how I see it. That said, I’m glad you’re here. (*.*)

  • Elaine Ramsey

    GRACE ORMONDE WEDDING STYLE MAGAZINE… she seen very approachable and every-day, althought she has a very glamorous job… and the inspiration is endless… like what u share with your followers endless inspiration… I love it…
    Oh Preston I was one of three people that first started to follow you on twitter…. you said on twitter that u were still leaning from your friend Puff… I was still learning too… my twitter name at that time was blkmarthastew… it’s change since them… thank

  • Susan Brinson

    I have to comment on this post because in the past few days I have unfollowed someone because of the question asked in your post. Should businesses have to follow back people who follow them? My belief is no, you can follow whoever enriches your twitter feed. I also believe small businesses should only follow those who interest them, there is no way you could devote the time to following thousands of people who follow you, keep it reasonable. It would almost be insincere to follow someone you have no interest in, other than they follow you.

    I watched this person I unfollowed go on a rant, calling out individuals and putting links to lists that didn’t follow them back. They said they reason they do it was because businesses should be interested in people who are interested in them. I agree, but I believe if you are putting that much weight on a twitter follow because you want a business to ‘see’ you, maybe they should be writing a professional letter and having a direct conversation with that business. I think the person I unfollowed damaged their reputation because they had such a strong point of view. Many of the businesses they called out I have a lot of respect for like animal non-profits and small businesses I have supported since they started. It left a bad taste in my mouth.

    This is a great conversation! Thanks for posting!

  • Larisa

    Internet is a wonderfull tool, at least for the last  15+ years I have thought so and still do. It is an addiction for some and very useful tool for others.  You find all kinds of information, look up things you are interested in,read books, see what’s new in the works , what have been discovered and argued about now. Technology is incredible and we are  becoming a very technologically advanced planet. But there is billions of people out there- With some I might become friends, some I do not care for , others I have no idea who they are and what are they all about.
          if I am to follow a person- it has to be that I feel that He or she  is interesting to me, I d like see their comment or tweets or posts , it make sense to me  to see what are they doing or commenting on and so on….  Why would I want to follow a person that I have no interest in, don’t like his or her views and who’s tweets might even be offending or worse!? Who made that rule that just because they are following me I have to follow them – out of politeness or boredom!? Lol I chose my friends carefully , I actually like them – can argue or fight with them but only because we are friends and we care about each other. I do have to admit, I do follow you, and your books,website and I am interested in what you are tweeting or bloging because I admire your work, envy your talent and have a great respect for you – not only because you are very Talented but also a very humble and grateful human being. I sho
    w your books to my clients, because I like to see their reaction ,get ideas and maybe see the colors combinations they like BUT I never forget to show them a picture of all your team  and your “thank you speech” at the end of every one  of your books – but I am in the wedding business,or rather it’s my whole life and heart poured into it-  so it does influence my choices and you are the top designer in our field!   
    At my age I don’t have to follow the rules that don’t make sense to me !
    To answer your question: bad rule – but   rules  meant to be broken!

  • Sera

    In response to your question, I feel that the people who you chose to follow on twitter should be completely based on who you would like to learn more about, as well as people who you share a common interest with. Following those who follow you is common courtesy however not necessary.

  • http://www, beonca

    I follow Christ Rock and Christ Tucker they are very funny people.

  • http://www, beonca

    I follow Christ Tucker and Christ Rock very funny people.