How can new users of Twitter find people they want to follow? There are paid services that do this for you, but I think it’s better to grow the list of people you follow more organically.
Use Twitter’s people search. It offers ways to search by name, email, or on other networks. This tool gives you a way to find people you already know or have contact with by Gmail, Yahoo or AOL.
You probably know the names of many people who are thought leaders in your field—you’ve read their books and blogs, seen them at conferences. Try entering their names under Find on Twitter and see if you find them. This may or may not find someone who is actually using Twitter, depending on how they entered their information and name in their profile. Sometimes the Twitter people search results aren’t helpful. For example, if you want to follow Opera’s standards advocate Chris Mills you find a lot of people named Chris Mills, but not the guy you want. Opera’s Chris uses Chris David Mills as his Twitter name, but if you don’t know that, you can’t find him using the People search.
Most people whose blogs you read have a Twitter badge or widget on their blog that invites you to follow them. Use those links to find and follow Twitter accounts.
Use search.twitter.com. The advanced search feature has all sorts of useful options. You can search on
location: your location to find people in particular geographic areas.
The advanced search offers options to search by word, phrase, hashtag, language, reference, date, attitude, and even whether a user’s tweets contain links. If you have an interest in a particular topic, for example #accessibility, you can search for that hashtag. You may discover some interesting people to follow who are tweeting on the topic.
Many people recommend others to follow on Fridays during the event called #followFriday or #FF. Check those people out when you see suggested names. You will find people who interest you this way.
There are events using tweetchat on various topics. Each chat topic has a hashtag. A chat I enjoy is #writechat. When you log in to Tweetchat you can easily watch all the people chatting on the chat topic and find thoughtful and helpful people you may want follow.
The lovely thing about using tweetchat is that it automatically appends the chat hashtag to the end of any tweet you post during the chat.
As you advertise your own Twitter account and participate on Twitter, people begin to find you. When you receive an email telling you that you have a new follower, use the link to their profile to decide whether you want to follow them. It’s important to check out new followers to your account so you can either follow them back, ignore them without prejudice, or block them if they appear to be spammers.
Related post: Your Twitter Profile