Day 3: Following people — and getting followed yourself

Following people fills your Twitter feed with (hopefully) interesting and useful content. Getting followed yourself allows you to share your messages and engage in the online scholarly conversation.

Today we’re looking at:

  • how to follow people
  • how to identify accounts you want to follow
  • how to attract followers yourself

Today’s housekeeping task: you need to follow everyone in the class – which also gives you built-in followers! Some of you have started to do this already. You’ll get to know a bit about your classmates in the process. It will also make it easier to track the class discussions this way, but don’t forget to add #UofT10DoT to your tweets to make the class tweets easily discoverable.

An easy way to find everyone is to go to @UofT10DoT and follow the people we’re following (stop when you get to Jesse unless you want to follow other accounts we follow). Alternatively, you could search on the hashtag #UofT10DoT and follow everyone who’s used it lately. This only works if people have remembered to add it in.

How to follow people


It’s simple: go to someone’s account (by clicking on their name in a Tweet or searching for them) and click the Follow button. They’ll be notified, so they may check you out and follow you back. To give them a reason to follow you, make sure your profile is engaging (see Day 1) and that you’ve sent out some tweets (Day 2) for them to get a sense of what you talk about. Unfollowing is just as simple (but there’s no notification).

How to identify accounts you want to follow

  • Suggestions from Twitter. Twitter makes suggestions based on what it knows about you, e.g. who else you follow, so if your account is new, it can be a bit hit and miss. Some people give up at this point, thinking it’s all celebrities, news and people tweeting about their breakfast!
  • Search for names you know. This works best if the names aren’t too common. Suggestions: faculty in your department, big names in your field, fellow graduate students, your favourite academic bloggers, your favourite author/singer/athlete… In addition to people, you can also search for organizations in your field, journal names, funding bodies, educational institutions….
  • Search by topic at RightRelevance to find influencers in your area. This is a new-to-us site, so we’d like to get your feedback on how useful or accurate you find it. You can also check out ongoing conversations or articles. Note that at a certain point it will ask you to log in.


  • Check out the lists of academics on Twitter from Day 2
  • See who’s talking about topics you’re interested in via hashtags (we’ll look at hashtags more on Day 5)
  • Follow some sources on academic or grad life. Suggestions (there are many more!):
  • Check out:

2015-01-30_16-52-55 (under List members)

  • For some academic humour try:
  •  When you follow someone, also check out who they follow for more ideas on who to follow.
  • #FollowFriday or #ScholarSunday– on Fridays you can tweet the names of people you think are worth following to others. Watch out for these, or tweet your followers and ask them for recommendations! More useful for academic purposes is  #ScholarSunday, invented by Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega.

Today’s assignment: Go find some new people to follow! Then tweet about it to the class. Who/what did you follow and why? If you want to see what kinds of reasons people give, check out #ScholarSunday.

Getting followers yourself

If you’re at all active on Twitter, your followers will naturally snowball. Want things to go faster? Check out some of the advice here:

How to get more Twitter followers – and keep them – a non-academic (but research-based) perspective: “The answer is simple [ha!]. Write tweets that people want to read, and avoid writing tweets that people hate to read.”

The other part of the equation is getting noticed on Twitter.

9 scientifically proven ways to build followers on Twitter – reports on another research study: “5. Tweet often, but not in bursts.”

 Activities that get you noticed include:

  • following someone (the person is often notified, depending on their notification settings)
  • liking a tweet with the heart button (ditto)
  • retweeting (ditto)
  • joining the conversation or asking questions related to a hashtag
  • sending @messages
  • tweeting at conferences
  • joining  in a live chat

These are all things we’ll look at in the next few days. And speaking of notifications, you might want to go to your account settings and choose how you get notifications, and which ones.

Further reading:

50 free ways to increase your Twitter followers

The research studies mentioned above:


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