Here twitter, twitter, twitter
April 22, 2009 7:53 AM   Subscribe

How can I make new friends on Twitter?

I joined Twitter about a year ago and have been sporadically using it from time to time....It took me a while to get the gist of it but now I find it amazing to keep in touch with friends and I love it. This is my question:

Is it possible in your opinion to make meaningful, friendships or at least networking connections with the site?

I am not interested in having 1,000 people following me nor I want to follow a 1,000 but I would like the possibility of meeting new folks outside of my circle, who either share the same interests I have (in my case that would be music/songwriting/fitness) or are just plain interesting. (also I am not looking to hook up, platonic friendships that are "real" are fine with me)

I started following some folks who I thought would be cool to follow and have started some conversations but sometimes I feel weird about the fact that I am jumping on somebody's tweets while being an unknown. So tell me MEFI, have you ever met new people by using twitter? and if so, what is the best way to go about doing so?
posted by The1andonly to Human Relations (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Like a lot of social networks, I think that one good approach is to kinda radiate outward from people you already know.
posted by box at 7:58 AM on April 22, 2009

The main way I find new people on twitter is via @replies from other people I already follow. I look at their tweets, and if they're interesting I follow, and a month or so later I have a deeper understanding of them. None have turned into real friendships, but I have found some interesting blogs and rediscovered old friends this way.
posted by Nelson at 8:04 AM on April 22, 2009

Encourage your friends to retweet if you tweet something they think i s cool. Reciprocate. Search for topics that interest you using hash tags. For example, if I posted some big video game news I might append "#videogames" to my tweet (no quotes.) Then others can search for all tweets with "#videogames" and yours will come up. So, do this and reply back to others' tweets if you find them interesting. Don't worry about seeming weird, everyone likes to know someone is listening.

Also, and this is weird, but if you find that bots are following you and the bots are in an area you're interested in, don't delete them. I often get my tweets about Google Android retweeted by the AndroidBot (or whatever its name is. This usually results in a couple replies. My general rule is, if we have more than three @ responses, I'll add them as a friend.

Good luck! (Oh, and @ericearl)
posted by InsanePenguin at 8:08 AM on April 22, 2009

Don't be afraid to follow people or reply to people. If they didn't want that, they would have made their account private. And if they REALLY don't like it, they are free to block you.

Ask questions, and answer questions if you have an answer.

Twitter doesn't allow for in-depth conversation, but it is good for making connections.
posted by kidbritish at 8:09 AM on April 22, 2009

You could use Monitter, it allows you to search terms your interested, within specified ranges.

So if you were interested in baseball, and the NY Mets, you could search for both within 5 miles of you...

Then follow the people that interest you, and discuss.

I've done this with Cricket fans in London, and met lots of varied and interesting people that I perhaps wouldn't have done normally.
posted by the_epicurean at 8:10 AM on April 22, 2009

I get weirded out by completely random people following and/or replying to me, so I made my account private.

But, I do have three or four people who I mutually follow who are friends of friends, and because they're also involved in this non-profit I like, we have something in common to chat about. They're also in the same profession as me. So if we ever did meet in real life, we'd immediately have things to talk about. As someone said above, I think "radiating out" from people you already follow is a really good way to make things like this happen.
posted by olinerd at 8:16 AM on April 22, 2009

I really like Twitter, but I really started loving it when I used it to expand outside my network and started talking to people within my same industry. It's a valuable way to know what is going on within my industry and there are a lot of people who are willing to share ideas and converse with people outside their own circle.

A few things that have helped me make some valuable connections through Twitter:

1) Make sure you are using Twitter to talk about the topics you want to talk to others about. If you start following someone and your whole timeline is full of unrelated posts, you may not get followed back since they won't see the value in your conversation. Share links, post ideas, and talk about the topic you want to focus on in addition to the random blurbs from your life ("I'm doing this" type posts).

2) Engage others.. make sure you are replying to their conversations and sharing ideas. Don't reply to everything or go overkill, but don't be afraid to reply to someone who says something you want to respond to.

3) Look at the people that you follow and look at the people they follow or reply to. A great, organic way of finding new people within the same fields that you are interested in.

4) Use the Twitter search to find other people talking about the same thing that you are interested in. I've found so many people this way.

Use Twitter oganically and naturally - share ideas and talk with others. Don't expect big things to come from it or get disappointed if people don't follow or reply back. Let it evolve and see where the conversations take you and you may be surprised what you can learn from others.

Hope this helps.
posted by tommccabe at 8:18 AM on April 22, 2009

Tweetie allows you to look at people nearby at various radii from your location. Some of them may be announcing events, looking for work, or otherwise floating information you could be interested in.
posted by zadcat at 8:27 AM on April 22, 2009

A good way to learn about new people who you might find interesting is to set your account so you can see the @ replies the people you follow make to people you do not follow.
When a friend's @ reply to a stranger looks interesting, click through to the stranger's twitter feed. If it isn't locked/private, then there's no need to feel weird about following them, though you shouldn't expect them to immediately follow you.

It's OK to @ reply to a stranger. As others above have pointed out, if a Twitter user doesn't want @ replies from strangers, he/she is free to protect their updates and make their feed private, or block a particular user.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:30 AM on April 22, 2009

Check out Mr. Tweet. He'll follow you and suggest people your friends follow but you don't, plus he'll recommend you to people. It works fairly well for me--I've found some interesting people through him--but I know that for some people it's less effective. You need to have at least a handful of people friended already to get the most out of it.

Felicia Day has a post about finding people to follow, too, and it might be worthwhile reading. She recommends several services and sites to help you get the most out of Twitter.
posted by MeghanC at 8:50 AM on April 22, 2009

If you consistently write tweets about things that interest you, and build relationships slowly, good things can come. I've got to know several really interesting people through Twitter so far, and I'm sure we'd get on in real life - and, in fact, I'm meeting two of them in the flesh tomorrow. I think you need to be patient and reasonably methodical.
posted by hatmandu at 9:12 AM on April 22, 2009

The easiest way to find new people is to see who your friends are also following. Follow other peoples @replies to see who they are chatting with. Not talking like a spam-bot is key to having people follow you back.
posted by chunking express at 12:26 PM on April 22, 2009

Do you read your friends' #followfriday suggestions? And are you in any communities that would benefit from a "what's your twitter nick" thread? If you are, you might want to start one-- I've seen a few pretty successful threads on group blogs/forums I watch.
posted by NoraReed at 2:58 PM on April 22, 2009

You can put your twitter username in your metafilter profile too
posted by figment at 7:20 PM on April 22, 2009

That's how I started out on Twitter - I didn't know anyone using it, so I went to the main stream, started refreshing until I found someone interesting, and ended up meeting (online) my neighbours and fellow Bristolians. Now I've moved countries, I'm doing the same thing. You have to be consistent, and like others say, methodological. Don't be afraid to follow or unfollow people and risk offending them. Talk about things you want to talk about. Don't link spam. It's a disposable mechanism but at the same time it can be extremely personal and awesome.
posted by saturnine at 9:52 PM on April 22, 2009

What I did:

1. Used the email search tool on Twitter to find people in my Gmail address book.
2. Posted my Twitter username on my Metafilter profile.
3. Checked my current Metafilter contacts' profiles to see if they had Twitter accounts. Followed some that looked interesting but didn't tweet every 5 minutes.
4. Followed bloggers of interest who have a Twitter link on their blog.
5. Searched for people at WeFollow using tags related to my interests and career field.
6. Used MrTweet to find "friends of friends."
7. When my friends retweeted something interesting, I checked the source to see if their feed was generally interesting, or if that post was a fluke.
8. Used replies and direct messages to comment on tweets or to ask questions.
9. Posted a keyword-loaded bio of myself, which seems to have gained me more than a few followers (I don't know where else they would have come from).
10. Asked general questions into the ether - a 140 character version of AskMeFi.
posted by desjardins at 1:32 PM on April 23, 2009

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