How many people do you follow on Twitter?

There’s a lot of observation, interest and comments around the number of people you follow on Twitter… Almost as if it is you’re a part of your identity…

On the one side, the people you follow on Twitter is a reflection of many things – People you know, People you are interested in knowing, Topics that you are interested in.  In reality, you can choose what and whom you wish to follow – whatever may be the reason.

I wonder how anyone can actually follow Thousands of Twitter handles? The underlying dissonance comes from the fact that is it humanly possible to actually read, understand and reflect on all the tweets from everyone you follow even if you are on Twitter for most of your time every day.

Simply because all tweets typically fall into 2 categories

1)      A text tweet

2)      A link tweet – To a blog, article, etc.

 So let’s put some data here to bring things into perspective:


Average time it takes to read, understand and internalize for a human with average intelligence [Mins]

A text tweet 1
A link tweet –  To a blog, article, etc. 10

Assuming a scenario with an probable distribution of each of these categories, in 1 hour you can probably humanly read, understand and internalize about 4 link tweets (40 minutes) and 20 text tweets (20 minutes).

And so in 5 hours, this translates to 20 link tweets and 200 text tweets….[ And I am discounting many things – like all the theories and research on how alert you are at different times of the day, How much you can possibly read at one stretch, what other things you do on a daily basis, etc, etc.] .

And so if you follow 1000 people, I wonder how and what you are really doing? Guess it all boils down to why you are on Twitter? [Refer my earlier post A Perspective on Twitter]

Would be interested in hearing and learning on your tips, tricks, learning’s, observations and insights…

If you want to share, do leave a comment…


One comment on “How many people do you follow on Twitter?

  1. I actually follow close to 100 twitter handles and I think it boils down to the following:

    Why do follow people/handles on twitter:
    + Its my easiest source of information almost in near real time.
    + I can access it on my blackberry

    What do I look for in tweets?
    + I have categorized my twitter handles and split them into lists.
    + My lists read something like: News/London Updates/Music Updates/ Celebrities/ Poetry and + Literature/Friends so on and so forth.
    + Depending on what my interest at that point in time is, I move to a particular list.
    + Having the right client helps present data in a more organized manner.
    + Secondly overtime you realize which handle is junk and which you like and you should filter the same.
    + Trends of twitter help me in getting a sense of what the world is busy talking about or reading today.

    Lastly, my reading varies from skimming a message to see if it catches my eye.
    + I rarely read blog links unless its a topic that really interests me.
    + I really only look for news update/new events/interesting tit bits and often some really good poetry lines that cheer me up in the middle of a hectic day!

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