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One talentless celebrity (Katy Perry) recently overtook another even more talentless celebrity (Justin Bieber) to become the most popular person on Twitter. They both surpassed one Lady Gaga (I think she’s related to the British Royal Family) earlier this year. The number of followers these people have amassed is mind-boggling, with Perry having 46 million at the time of writing.

Why? God only knows.

This sparked the question for this week’s We Ask You, which sees us exploring why people follow who they follow on Twitter. With Twitter preparing to go public People Just Don't Care About the Twitter IPO [We Ask You Results] People Just Don't Care About the Twitter IPO [We Ask You Results] Read More with its IPO this could be a rather interesting debate, both for us and the company itself.

This Week’s Question…

We want to know, Who Do You Follow On Twitter? And Why? This is a very simple question, even though it’s split into two parts. For the first part we obviously don’t want you to list every single person, brand, and website you follow on Twitter, rather those which you’d recommend others follow too. For the second part we want to know why you follow these accounts in particular.

The aim here is to get a strong list of essential Twitter accounts Tweets By Twitter? These Accounts By Twitter Are Worth A Follow Tweets By Twitter? These Accounts By Twitter Are Worth A Follow Your Twitter experience lives or dies on the selection of accounts you choose to follow. These Twitter accounts are curated by Twitter itself to highlight content guaranteed to pique your interest. Read More going in the comments section, and some insight into what the overriding factors are in making you follow one person over another. As a bonus (consider it a small reward for taking part in the discussion) feel free to tell us your Twitter handle, though we cannot promise anyone will take the opportunity to follow you.

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To sum up, take to the comments section below and tell us at least one account you follow on Twitter along with the reason you follow it/them. Perhaps it’s their celebrity status as discussed above? Or is it an organization whose values you agree with? Perhaps it’s a website such as MakeUseOf (@makeuseof) whose updates you want to be kept abreast of? Whoever you follow and whatever the reason is that you follow them, we want to hear from you.

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail the We Ask You Results. One reader will be chosen for the coveted Comment Of The Week, getting their name up in lights, the respect of other readers, and a T-shirt. What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to necessitate a discussion. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to the MakeUseOf readership. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: mkhmarketing

  1. Bumferry H
    November 8, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    The list of people/groups I follow on Twitter changes on a regular basis depending on my needs. Recently I have been looking into have a new Phone line installed in my home and followed the main telephone companies in the UK and asked them "which one of you wants my custom?" Depending on who gets to me first, usually gives me a good idea on their level of customer service and being able to speak to somebody without having to sit in a queue listening to Greensleeves is a godsend.
    I have also performed this task with betting websites (@paddypower won that) electric shops and local politicians.
    I have very little interest in celebrities as they tend to just self promote and not interact with their followers which, to me at least, is the whole point of Twitter.
    Saying that one famous singer tweeted me out of the blue and offered to send me their latest CD - which was nice, and I have managed to get £25 cash for just telling a joke.
    Twitter (as with much of the internet) is what you make of it.
    I'm still learning but Twitter is one the best resources for contacting companies and making things happen I know of.
    But if you want to know who to follow then I would recommend @ThePoke because they make me laugh with some brilliant links to funny stuff made by other followers.

    • Dave P
      November 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      That's a brilliant way of using Twitter. I've had the odd response from a celebrity but I agree that most of them really just want to talk at you rather than to you.

  2. Ajaan Rob
    November 8, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I use twitter as an educational / professional resource. The folks and organizations that I follow are more important to me than the those who follow me. I use twitter everyday and "make use of" to stay current with topics that interest me and may help me with my profession. Twitter is an excellent resource to find out background information about organizations and business. I also follow influential professionals and track the trends related to my interest. For me, "make use of" and Twitter have become a key resource for my continued lifelong learning and professional growth.

    • Dave P
      November 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Give us three accounts you follow, please. Let others share in the knowledge :)

  3. likefunbutnot
    November 7, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Also, this headline is grammatically incorrect. Whom do you follow on twitter? since in this case the person or persons being followed on twitter are the objects relative to the verb rather than the subject of the sentence.

    And I really don' see the appeal of twitter. Granted that I don't see the appeal of social media generally, at least I can see the point of Facebook as a convenient gathering place for online interactions by people too stupid or lazy to work Email. Twitter is doing, what, exactly? For normal people? If you're following a favorite author or blogger MAYBE they're being so good as to twit that they've made a new post or written a new book, but hey we already had RSS for those kinds of updates! And what about communication between normal, not-famous people? Is there even a point? Is there something that other services (that don't have absurd, unnecessary character limitations) weren't able to manage?

    • Dave P
      November 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      Hmm, well, you may be technically correct but I don't think it matters all that much. I'm happy with my choice of title.

      Again, just because you don't get Twitter doesn't mean that it's a waste of time for those of us who do get it.

  4. Bob
    November 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I follow no one on Twitter. I will not help someone broad splatter something that is none of my business, nor anyone elses, and is likely to come back and bite them in the back of their lap.

    • Dave P
      November 11, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      With all due respect I don't think you have quite grasped what Twitter is about. Sure, there are people who tweet everything about their lives, but it's not everyone. Enjoy your ignorance! :)

  5. likefunbutnot
    November 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Are text messages not limiting enough for you people?

    Be right back. I need to start a femto-blogging platform. Because 3 characters should be enough for anybody.

    • dragonmouth
      November 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      "Are text messages not limiting enough for you people?"
      Apparently not. This messaging is starting to sound like Name That Tune. I can message you in 2 characters. :)

    • Dave P
      November 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Just because you don't understand Twitter doesn't mean you're right and everyone else is wrong! :)

    • likefunbutnot
      November 11, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      @Dave P,

      1. MUO's lack of comments threading really does wonders for inhibiting discussion. This is something that really needs to be addressed.

      2. I am comfortable with my rectitude in this matter.

      3. What's there to get, exactly? 140 characters in broadcast-style unidirectional communication. The only gimmick is the deliberate limitation on the length of twits. Yes, Twitter needs to justify itself. At the moment, it's just another crappy messaging platform that mines user connections for an advertising platform, only with a simpler interface than Google or Facebook. That's not exactly an idea that's going to set the world on fire, no matter how few characters its users are allowed to put in a single message.

  6. Linus Mary
    November 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    As much as possible, I want to make my Twitter timeline to only show relevant posts so I only follow the people who really matter to me. My list includes my family and friends, of course and when I say 'friends' it means those who I know personally; my classmates, and my favorite bands to keep track of their gigs. I also follow our local news channels for headlines, traffic and weather. Aside from those, no more. I don't follow blogs on Twitter because RSS Readers are made for blogs. I don't like multiple reminders so I make use of my Feedly reader. On Feedly, I follow MakeUseOf, Mashable, LifeHacker and others.

    • Dave P
      November 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      What I would say is you don't get the interaction with an RSS reader that you do with Twitter. But I can certainly see why you have made that choice.

  7. Paul-kristjan A
    November 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I follow: 1)most of my friends, for obvious reasons; 2) music producers; 3) a few forum mods; 4) Makeuseof

  8. Susi Schuele
    November 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I follow those that influence me, those that I influence and those that are just plain fun or interesting. I'm @MVPSusi and I share fairly regularly about WordPress, creativity, our dogs and social media. I don't auto DM. I use Buffer but not Hootsuite. I always say good morning. I RT and I @reply. I follow @HGTV because I want them to turn my one acre into a garden paradise or give us some Curb Appeal. I follow @BarbaraCorcoran because she rules. I follow @MariSmith because she rocks the house on Facebook and I follow all of all local news and weather because I like to stay "in the know". And, oh, I may or may not be funny.

    • Dave P
      November 11, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Great reasons! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Tammy Slade
    November 7, 2013 at 7:44 am

    No Twitter account.
    I follow no one.

    • Dave P
      November 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      What's the reason for your lack of interest in Twitter?

  10. Glenn
    November 7, 2013 at 12:03 am

    As a math teacher, I have only one rule: I only tweet with math teachers. It keeps my list manageable and gives me a high quality twitter feed with interests that match mine.

    • Dave P
      November 11, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      Wow, don't you find that rather limiting? You would find the Lists feature very useful, as you could just keep a list for math teachers and get a lot more out of Twitter as a result.

    • Glenn
      November 12, 2013 at 1:15 am

      Dave, I use lists. I have lists for Stats teachers, geo teachers, etc. I also have a list for news sources. But I don't follow those other sources. When I open up Twitter, I am looking for a group of people who can challenge me professionally to improve and develop new and better ways to teach. That is the exact opposite of limiting, it is liberating!

      I know where you are coming from, I just choose to use Twitter in a different way. It is a global meeting place where I can find individuals who are also interested in improvement.

    • Glenn
      November 12, 2013 at 1:19 am

      Oh, and after reading some of the other posts, I have to amend and say that I have used twitter to fight for my learners testing rights with Collegeboard as well. I have had learners who were denied reasonable accomodations on the AP exam, and through Twitter I was able to get the accomodations corrected.

      We spent 4 days on the phone with Collegeboard getting nowhere, but 1 hour on Twitter solved the problem. Twitter is a wonderful platform to reach out and develop ideas and share content.

  11. Lloyd
    November 6, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    I follow authors of the books I read. Many of whom happen to be leaders in my chosen profession. And Rihanna, cause she's purty.

    I'm with the guy above though, I've never really gotten twitter but I'm making a conscious effort to try to interact with more people and get a presence out there so hey.

    • Dave P
      November 11, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Does Rihanna's purtiness come through on Twitter? Actually, probably not, as I'm sure she has a PR team tweeting for her.

    • Lloyd
      November 12, 2013 at 1:21 am

      @Dave

      It does! I think she actually runs her social media accounts save for a few instances where things seem to be promoted. There's a lot of things that her PR team probably wouldn't let make it out.

  12. Riley
    November 6, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I follow my local library, maybe five software products that I use (both paid and open source), a professional society I belong two, and a couple of sites that report on the status of online accounts and the like. Total number 17, none of which I consider to be essential.

    That is to say that I've never really "gotten" Twitter but created and account and followed a few nominally worthwhile tweeters simply to be in the game. I easily go three or more days without even logging in, and when I do spend only a cursory amount of time scanning a few tweets…

    • Dave P
      November 11, 2013 at 7:08 pm

      No individuals then? Is there any particular reason for that? Twitter is great for pure information, but there is also the personality side of the equation.

    • Riley
      November 11, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      @Dave:

      > No individuals then? Is there any particular reason for that?

      For a start, are we talking about individuals in the public arena? If yes, note that I'd gladly be a heavy user of a notional "anti-social media" tool that enabled me to aggressively suppress essentially all self-indulgent celebrity barking.

      If no, I honestly haven't found Twitter to be a very useful tool for exchanging useful (key word, that) information with co-workers or friends. There are so many other more effective ways to accomplish that end.

      The essential problem I have with Twitter is perceiving value. And I simply can't create a value proposition for following what I'll refer to as soi-disant Individuals Of Note ("ION"). If a given ION has anything worthwhile to say, that expression will soon appear in the non-Twitter sphere. Happily, the great majority of ION Tweets get filtered out before they escape into the atmosphere…

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