Twitter has always been about conversation. I love the idea that people might like what I say enough to want to follow me, it’s like having an audience listen in – but sometimes it’s nice to have more. I don’t have a huge number of followers (505 as I write this), but I’d like to show my appreciation by engaging them in something two-way. Maybe I could offer some value back to them?

I recently started experimenting with tweets to new followers I’d never previously met, either in real life or online, in an attempt to open some dialogue. Usually, these are along the lines of:

@TwitterFollower Thanks for following, Sally – great to connect! How can I support what you do?

This is a genuine question, but strangely I’ve had barely any conversation, or response at all, arise from these tweets. In fact, in the last 5 days, here are the stats:

•Tweets sent to new followers: 6
•Responses: 1
•Ongoing Conversation: 0

I find this weird. Surely if you’ve decided to follow me, you’d be happy to engage in a conversation? The one response I did get was a ‘thanks, will let you know’ kind of reply, with no further avenue to converse for now.

I have wondered if my followers think these tweets are automated responses, triggered when they follow me, so I’ve tried leaving it a while between follow and reach-out, while composing them in a way that’s as genuine as possible — to no avail. We all hate automated messages on Twitter, they seem so impersonal and we all seem to be naturally suspicious. But with that in mind, it makes genuine offer and honest interest almost impossible to communicate.

I’d like to do something about that, meet some people and as I’m in the process of understanding how we work, extend that to understand how we engage in the first place. I’d also like to have some new and unexpected conversations, just to see where they go.

Part sideshow to The Work Project, part exploration on where conversations can take us and how they might create opportunity, here’s what I’m going to do:

To the next 100 people who follow me on Twitter, I’ll reach out and ask you a question along the lines of:

How can I support your work?

It’s a genuine question and I’m happy to help, support, discuss… just to see where the conversation takes us.

It’s all within the spirit of The Work Project, it’s also a bit of fun.

I’ll keep track of what happens and where the 100 conversations take us. Your side of the bargain is to join the conversation!

Let’s talk!

By Andy Swann on September 22, 2014.
Exported from Medium on July 15, 2016.