The popular and much talked about micro-blogging site Twitter has received a lot of main stream publicity recently. Whether you have been on Twitter for years or just joined you may wonder why someone follows you on Twitter or why someone doesn’t reciprocate your following them. Well, I certainly have no clue, but below I have listed some criteria I look at to determine if I will follow someone.

Don’t have the default profile image.
Twitter Default Profile/Avatar

There is no faster turn off then to have your first impression be this lovely avatar. Don’t tell me you can’t find ONE decent picture of you. At least put something up, a logo or SOMETHING. Seth Godin (marketing guru) agrees on the importance of the profile picture in his article “The power of a tiny picture”.

Have a description of yourself or business.
You get a chance to tell me a little about yourself or your business, so use it. Why should I follow you? What are your interests? What are you going to tweet about?

Have a link to something more about you.
Twitter provides the opportunity to link out to more information about you or your business. If you don’t have a blog, website use your Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr or YouTube space. Be sure to link to something that tells me more about you.

Be relevant, informative, funny or controversial in your tweets.
Finally, I look at your stream. What do you tweet about? Is it relevant to me? Can I learn from you?

Follow people back.
If I come to a profile of someone that has thousands of followers and only 5-10 that they are following, unless their content is REALLY relevant, I won’t follow them. More on why in the next point.

Join the conversation.
If I look at your stream and none of your tweets is an @reply (meaning you are replying to someone else’s tweet), chances are greater that I won’t follow you. In my humble opinion Twitter is about the conversation. If you try to make it all about you, you’re missing out on many opportunities, opinions and information.

Don’t rush it.
So many now are reading about Twitter and a rushing to get involved. I see it all the time, they are following the initial maximum 2000 people and have just a few followers. Their only tweet is, “Figuring out this Twitter thing”. Talk your time and follow people that you are going to want to listen to and converse with. Don’t follow everyone because you think they’ll follow you back. Twitter is not a popularity contest.

To sum up, the worst scenario: No profile picture, no description, no link, following 500+ with 12 followers (probably auto-follows) or 500+ and only following 12 and you have two tweets. This is just what I think, what do you look for?

Feel free to comment or elaborate on this blog or via my Twitter account @webaggression, if I don’t follow you back at least you’ll know why.