A lot of people are very passionate about their opinion on following others on Twitter. I have my opinion on this but I listen to others and the majority of the time, I understand where they’re coming from. I hope my take on this topic will maybe give some of you an alternative view of the situation.

About 6 months ago, I tried to follow a number of folks and kept receiving an error message from Twitter stating I was over the limit. At the time, I had no idea there was a limit to the number of people you could follow. I read the Twitter terms and it was still unclear to me as to when I could follow more people. It kind of sounded like I had to get to 2000 followers before following more people but in the mean time, I was going to clean house and make room for people I really wanted to follow. I started watching my feed and unfollowing people who brought no value to the table. Some people I had simply started following because they were from Chicago and was scrolling past their updates every time so there really was no reason for me to follow them anymore.  Because of the follow limit, I’m now more careful as to who I follow so I don’t reach the limit again. Yes, this means I often don’t follow EVERYONE who follows me. I never took follower status into account while deciding who to follow (or unfollow). Whether or not someone follows me is not going to influence my decision to follow them or RT them.

I read a blog post not to long ago about how the author blocks followers daily because he wants an actual audience for what he has to say- not just spammers. I’ve been doing the same thing since I joined Twitter and believe me, my follower count would be  a lot higher than what it is today if I hadn’t been blocking (and often reporting) the spammers. I want real people following me who care about what I have to say, not just a bunch of spammers. When was the last time you watched Oprah and saw a few dozen robots in the audience? I don’t aspire to be Oprah (I actually don’t really like her anymore, but perhaps that’s a topic for another post) but if you turned on the tv and saw empty audience seats being filled by robots, I guarantee she’d lose credibility and people would no longer be tuning in. I don’t want someone to look at my followers and see spammers- it’s going to make me lose credibility and some people will probably say “she can’t be that interesting if she has that many ‘unreal’ followers”.

The follow limit and lack of value are usually my main influences on who I follow and don’t follow. I check for new followers a few times a week and put a lot of thought into who I follow & follow back. Here’s what I look at when deciding if I’m going to follow or follow someone back:

1. Name/Twitter Handle- If your name reflects something I’m interested in or a brand I like, then I will most likely follow you. If your name contains numbers and/or an underscore, it’s a red flag to me (read about the numbers and underscore theory on the Hubspot Blog).

2. Your Real Name- If it’s your personal account, there’s really no reason why your real name shouldn’t appear. I’m not even asking for a first and last name, just a first name will do but you’ll get more credibility if you’re first and last name appear. If your a business or a brand, then the company/brand name is good but a real person’s name is even better. If this doesn’t make sense to you, just think about how annoyed you would be if you called AT&T and were greeted with “Thank you for calling AT&T, this is AT&T, how can I help you today?”. If you can’t put the name of the person who’s behind your tweets in the name field, then at least put it in the bio. People want to know who they’re tweeting with.

3. Profile Picture- A real picture of you is the only way to go if your Twitter account is your own personal account. Super bonus points if the pic actually looks like you IRL! A logo or relevant picture is great if you are a company or brand. Never, ever, ever, ever is the Twitter bird an okay profile picture. I NEVER follow people who have the Twitter bird as their profile pic.

Twitter Bird

4. Location- I’m more likely to follow people who live in Chicago. I’m from Chicago and I currently live in Chicago so I relate to other Chicagoans. When I returned from Denver two weeks ago, I had a few new followers from Denver. I tweeted about Denver and made some new friends at the Zine Tour so I followed them. I’m weary of followers from other countries and often have to dig deeper to figure out if I want to follow them or not.

5. Most Recent Tweet- I don’t put too much weight on this one because I’m just as guilty as the next guy of tweeting about something random. But if your last tweet is relevant to what I’m interested in (personally some topics I gravitate towards include sustainability, marketing, food, & event planning), than I’m most likely going to follow you.

6. Most Recent TweetS– Plural, as in the tweets that appear when I click on your profile or “recent tweets” when I’m on Hootsuite or TweetDeck for my iPhone. Sometimes the person has a good handle/name, an okay profile pic, and a so-so most recent tweet so I give them the benefit of the doubt and begin exploring their most recent tweets to see if they hold any value to me. Sometimes they do and I follow. Sometimes they don’t and I don’t follow or click to see even more of their tweets.

7. Website- Personally, I like to see a link to a website. Even if it’s a Facebook profile, the user gets a little more credibility because it shows me they’re a real person and it gives me a little more info about them.

8. Bio- A bio that reflects what I’m interested in is, of course, going to win me over. A bio not in line with what I believe in is going to push me away. You can’t make everyone happy so just be real in your bio. I may not follow you if your bio contains the phrase “avid hunter” and I don’t think you want to be tweeting with a vegetarian anyways. But other hunters will follow you and you’ll build up a following and make friends with people on the same path as you.

9. Followers to Following & Following to Followers Ratio- If someone is following a lot of people but they don’t have a lot of followers, it sets off a warning siren in my head. What are they tweeting about if they don’t have a lot of followers? How come the people they’re following aren’t following them? Something is off in this situation and it usually ends up the person is a spammer. On the other hand, if a person is only following a few people and they have a lot of followers, it usually tells me they’re not into interacting on Twitter, which is a big no-no in my book. Twitter is about interaction and 2 way communication (see #10) and if you’re not following people, than you’re just self promoting and you might as well purchase an expensive radio spot or send me a direct mail piece while you’re at it.

10. Check for Replies & RTs- I always check a person’s recent tweets for replies and retweets. If the person is not interacting with others, than why should I bother with them? They obviously don’t care what anyone else has to say so I’m going to skip over following them for now and hope they figure out how to use Twitter properly. I’m also very weary of people who only interact with the same few people over and over again. It tells me that if I interact with them, the odds are against me that they’ll reply to what I say so why even bother?

11. Frequency of Tweets- If you tweet every 3 months, I may not follow you. When I reached the following limit, one of the ways I cleaned out the people I was following was by deleting people who hadn’t tweeted in 3 months or more. I had to decide if it was worth it to follow them or to follow someone who tweets valuable info (valuable to me) on a daily basis. More othen than not, it was for the best that I got rid of the “dead weight”.

I don’t think you have to follow everyone who follows you. I just recently unfollowed someone who I’ve met in person because their tweets were no longer relevant to me. Will it piss this person off when they see I unfollowed them? Probably. Should they take a look at their tweets and reevaluate what their tweeting about? Eh, maybe, but I’m just one person. If you’re losing followers left and right, then maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what’s changed. Maybe you used to tweet about the Bulls and now you’re tweeting about the Cubs. A Bulls/Sox fan may no longer see relevance in your tweets. If you used to put a lot of care and thought into your tweets but now you’re tweeting dead links, you may lose followers and it’s probably a good idea to reevaluate your purpose on Twitter before you lose more.

One of the major benefits of following someone and having them follow you back is the capability to direct message. A direct message can save a business from some bad publicity. A person can DM a company instead of publicly calling them out on their wrongdoings. I highly encourage businesses to follow back the majority of their followers but because of my experience with the follow limits, I definitely understand why a business or a brand (we are all “brands” these days) would not follow back everyone.

There are lots of things that influence our decisions on who to follow and not to follow on Twitter. The longer I sat here writing, the more reasons popped into me head. The ones listed in this post are just a few of the most important ones to me but I’d love to hear your reasons and opinions on this post so please leave comments (and/or questions). If you’re new to Twitter, I hope this post gave you something to think about and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I’m not a Twitter expert but will do my best to answer any questions you may have.


I woke up in the middle of the night last night and for some reason, I started thinking about my return to Facebook. As previously stated, I deactivated my profile and challenged myself to a break from Facebook. I gave myself a tentative return date of 1 month (March 14) and then extended that to April 1. Well, that’s right around the corner and to be honest, I don’t want to reactivate my profile. I’m worried I’m going to fall right back into the same pattern again. You know- constantly checking my news feed, visiting my crush’s page constantly to see if any gals commented on his page or where he was leaving comments (for the record, I don’t really have a crush right now). The Facebook iPhone app puts it all at my fingertips. I can get a jolt of happiness or despair with just one tap of my finger. To be honest, I don’t like it.

My middle of the night thought process led to thinking about how things would have been different in high school if Facebook was around then. I remember the Facebook craze beginning to take off just as I was exiting college. Myspace was more popular at the time but Facebook was intriguing because you needed a .edu email address to sign up for the site. I understand that eliminating that aspect of the site opened it to more people, but I think it also opened a pandoras box of a plethora of other problems.

Let’s all take a second and look back at our teenage years, shall we? I remember 13-17 (my high school years) being a very transitional and confusing time. There’s another word I would use to describe it but I’m going to drop it on you a little later in this post. I wasn’t a part of the popular crew or the outcasts in school. I fell somewhere in the middle and I got along with just about everyone. But I remember getting sad when I’d hear about what people did over the weekend because I wasn’t included. It would especially hurt when it was my close friends who would be discussing their fun, eventful Saturday night. When stuff like that happened, I would feel hurt, alone, and- here’s that word- ISOLATED. It was as if I was all alone on an island while my friends were off having fun. It is my theory friends, that this feeling of isolation is multiplied in the age of Facebook, texting, etc…

Back then, your friends had one way of reaching you: phone. No, not cell phone. Landline phone. As in, your parents or siblings answer and yell “Jenny!!! Phone!!!” when a friend called you. There was AIM later on in my high school life and even then, not everyone was on it. Today, teenagers can be reached via cell phone, text, email, Facebook, AIM, MySpace, gchat, Twitter, etc… If you overhear in homeroom on Monday morning that Lisa & Sara (your 2 best friends) were out together on Saturday night and you weren’t invited, you start to feel hurt. Why wasn’t I invited? Are they mad at me? What did I do? You start to question and analyze the situation because you weren’t invited. It’s not like they didn’t just not call you. They didn’t call or text or message you on Facebook or ping your Blackberry or tweet you or…. It’s like each communication outlet they didn’t use is an extra bullet wound to your ego. As the number of ways to communicate increases, the isolation/hurt/loneliness also increases.

I remember reading or hearing Greg Behrendt say something along the lines of how back in the day, if you had a date with a guy and he didn’t show up or send a carrier pigeon to cancel, he was an asshole. Plain and simple- an asshole. You let it hurt for a second and then you moved one. But today, if a guy doesn’t show up (or ditches you, like what happened to me a few months back), you wait around for him to contact you somehow because there’s a million different ways he can get in touch with you. The pain gets dragged out. He doesn’t call you- ouch. He doesn’t text you- ouch. He doesn’t Facebook you- owwww ouch. He doesn’t email you- owowowowow ouch. They all hurt and sometimes it hurts a little more knowing that he could contact you so many ways but chooses not too. You’re back on isolation island: population 1 (Captain Morgan doesn’t count as a person in this case).

I’m happy to say that isolation island doesn’t hurt as much as at 25 as it did at 17. Because of my past experiences, I’m the kinda gal who gets inspired and motivated when someone does me wrong. I take chances (the good kind) and try to make my life better. I see the big picture and know that living life to the fullest is the best option for me. Isolation Island is just a layover on the way to Fabulous Gal Continent. But at 17, I know that mindset doesn’t often exist. I remember hearing somewhere that the reason why teen pregnancy, suicide, underage drinking, etc… are so prevalent is because until you’re about 21, you’re unable to fully see the outcome of your actions. When you’re ditched at 17 you probably feel like you’re going to be trapped on isolation island forever. There’s no way off of it so you don’t care what you do (drink, start fights, spread rumors, etc…). Oh and you know what makes those rumors spread even faster than before??? Facebook, texting, Twitter, etc… We’re letting children and teens have access to these multiple forms of communication where they sometimes don’t realize they’re talking to another person and the person on the other end is real- not just a profile.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely see the benefit of Social Media. I see the benefit at 25 as a college grad with a marketing  degree. At 17, I probably would have described it as “like, you know, a really cool way to talk to my friends and stuff”. I feel sorry for teenagers today because of all the different forms of communication available. The teenage years are already a confusing and isolating time and now, thrown into the mix, are all these different outlets that sometimes just increase that feeling of isolation. Parents, teachers, schools, etc… have to take a stand and monitor communication outlets because I have a feeling that if we don’t, the whole thing will backfire on us.

Here’s some related links:

‘Text Rage’ May Have Sparked Teen Violence

Are Some Teens Addicted to Facebook?

Long Island teen’s suicide linked to cruel cyberbullies, formspring.me site: police

The other day I was thinking how much it hurts when someone does you wrong. Now, I take a different approach to this than other people because I usually believe that I brought on the pain myself. I’m a big believer in “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent” (Eleanor Roosevelt deserves credit for that). We let people get to us and we forget that we get to other people. If we just stop and take a second to realize that our decisions effect ourselves, other people, and often, the planet, we can begin to wake up and find words to live by.

I have a few phrases I live by that I’ve come up with but I’m sure someone in history has said something similar:

1. You never know how you’re going to react to a situation until you’re in it.

This belief found me a few years ago after I did some things I never thought I would do. I always judged people who did those things but I slowly began to realize that oftentimes, it’s a series of events that lead us to making the decisions we make. The stars aligned just so and I made the decisions I made. You can say you’re who life “I’m not going to do this” or “I would never do that” but when it comes down to it, you may react in a completely different way. Yes, I believe in having morals and beliefs but I also think we have to be aware that we humans are situational and sometimes the current situation will have us doing something we never thought we would do. When you make a decision that’s out of character for you, walk away from the situation and learn from it. It’s the smart thing to do. Share your experience with others. Perhaps you can prevent them from doing the same thing or maybe you’ll help them get through their own “out of character” slump.

2. It’s only as big of a deal as I make it out to be.

I’ve been saying this since I was a teenager. At the time, no one understood what I meant. But I did. Even in high school I knew the drama was not that big of a deal. Sure, I got in arguments with friends that seemed like the end of the world. Sure, I had my heart broken (more like bruised). But I knew through it all that it would only be a big deal if I made it out to be one. If I laughed at the situation and didn’t let it bother me, it would pass quickly. I’m not talking “laughing on the outside, crying on the inside”; I’m talking about looking at what’s going on and seeing it for what it’s worth. Realizing it’s not the end of the world and there’s people who have real problems will help you get perspective on the situation. Perspective can be found in the song “Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin (if you don’t know Andrew McMahon’s story- check it out), The Nie Nie Dialogues (I can’t say enough about this blog- Just read it), or by watching Elijah and reading his story (Eli is my ex’s nephew who I think is the coolest little dude ever).

3. It only hurt as much as it did because I liked you as much as I did.

I began to realize this a few years ago. The more I liked someone, the more I was hurt when they let me down. This refers to all types of realtionships (friendships, significant others, etc…). My best friend and I are a prime example of this. We met in high school and it took a few years for us to get close. We used to argue every now and then but I remember a few fights that made me so sad. I didn’t know why at the time but I now know it’s because I liked her so much and I didn’t like not having her in my life. Our last big fight was about 3 years ago and I cried over her, missed her all the time, and even quit my job (a new job that was way too demanding on me and kept me from being a good friend). The friend she has been to me over the past year means more to me than I will ever be able to put into words (more on that in another post). Sometimes we don’t realize how much people mean to us until it’s too late. I didn’t know just how strongly I felt about the last guy I dated until it was over and I was hurt as much as I was (whether he actually gave me reasons to feel that way or I built him up in my head is still up for debate).  But when it’s all said and done, the people who truly mean the most to us and who we like and love the most will still be in our lives.

My new phrase to live by/ new life plan is: I promise to do the least damage to myself, others, & the planet. We all have become careless with the way we live. We never stop to think “what if…” or “would I like it if someone treated me this way?”. Sometimes we have trouble seeing ourselves in other people, especially if that person is the opposite sex. One of the ways I’ve guided my brother to overcome this is by saying “how would you like it if somebody treated me that way? That girl is someone’s sister”. Men tend to be protective over their sisters/mothers/nieces and wouldn’t want a guy treating them badly, yet sometimes they forget that the woman they’re dating is someone’s sister or niece or mother or will one day be someone’s mother. Find a way to see yourself or someone you love in everyone you encounter.

A few years ago, I had a “boyfriend” who cheated on me all the time. After getting out of that relationship, I was the girl a guy cheated with. I became that girl. I knew how she made me feel so why did I let myself become her? This was one of those situations where the stars aligned just so and I made decisions I never thought I would make, but I should have really thought to myself “you’ve been on the other side of this, you know how it feels, don’t cause someone else this pain”. I learned from that experience and will hopefully never make a similar series of decisions again.

I think we sometimes don’t stop and think about something until it catches up with us and then, it’s often too late. We do others wrong until we get caught and then try to change our ways when we’re left with no one to turn to. We eat unhealthy food until it catches up with us and we’re overweight and full of disease and erasing the damage is a difficult option. We deplete our resources until years of carelessness catch up to us and we run out of something we need to survive. I’m taking a stand right now and attempting to improve my life. I’m going to make decisions that keep me healthy (mentally and physically) and happy- writing, slowing down, excercising, eating healthy food, and spending time with the people I love. I’m going to make decisions to not hurt other people- I will see myself in others and pause for a moment when I see myself judging them or getting upset. And I’m going to make decisions that help the planet- I will continue to go out of my way to recycle, I will buy/eat organic food, and I will purchase sustainable and recycled items. I’ve been here for 25 years and over the past few years I’ve realized that the big and small decisions I make impact me, other people, and this planet. As cliche as it sounds, I’m only one person but I can, and will, make a difference.

“You’ve gotta swim, swim in the dark. There’s no shame in drifting, feel the tides shifting and wait for the spark. You’ve gotta swim, don’t let yourself sink. Just find the horizon. I promise you it’s not as far as you think.”

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I should hate Valentine’s Day but I don’t. My wiring must be off because I never seem to date “romantic” guys yet I still believe in (and love) all things romantic.

I don’t have a valentine this year, but if I did, I’m sure the dude would be cool enough to purchase me at least one of the following items:

“I love you more today than yesterday, less than tomorrow” Necklace

I Love You More Today Than Yesterday-Simple Antiqued Brass French Charm Necklace

Image via Etsy.com

Michael Buble “Crazy Love” Album

Michael Buble "Crazy  Love"

Image via Covershut.com

Rosie Fruit Muddler- I’ve needed a muddler for years so by giving me this, my Valentine will also receive delicious mojitos. Win/Win

Rosie Fruit Muddler

Image via Amazon.com

Flowers (Peonies, Roses, & Hydrangeas are my favs)

Passion for Purple™ Rose Bouquet

Passion for Purple™ Rose Bouquet- Image via 1800flowers.com

Crystal Head Vodka

Crystal Head Vodka
Image via: Flickr

Road Trip (I’m itchin for a trip to Wisconsin Dells w/a stop at Wollersheim Winery on the way)

And you’re probably asking, so what would my Valentine get in return? Well, it all depends on the guy. I kinda thought I would have a Valentine this year and I definitely had some good ideas for the guy but oh well. Anyways, when I really like someone, I like doing nice things for them. I’m the kinda gal who gives little gifts for no reason. Some cute things I’ve done in the past include:

-A guy I liked was going on tour with his band so I checked his myspace page to see what he liked and made him a little care package with all his favorite treats.

-I made a super awesome powerpoint presentation for my (then) bf’s birthday a few years ago. It took me a while to make but was totally worth it!

-One of my boyfriends mentioned he liked Audrey Hepburn and I knew he liked cufflinks so I got him AH cufflinks from Etsy.

-I drove 45 mins. to my (then) bf’s house to bring him gatorade, juice, and cough drops when he was sick.

Cute things guys have done for me:

-Two years ago my (then) bf drove 45 mins. to my house to hand deliver my Valentine’s flowers before work.

-Told my (then) bf that I needed a little more romance so he planned a fun day for us which included mini golf (one of my favs), a picnic in the park, and dinner at one of my favorite restaurants (Honey). The picnic included cream soda (one of my weaknesses) and my favorite sushi (hand grenade from Sushi Bar).

Some tips for the gentleman:

-We ladies don’t care how much you spend- as long as what you give us has meaning. The jewelry I wear the most is the stuff that has meaning or a memory behind it. I have a $12 pair of brass knuckle earrings that I love but I also remember going to pay for them in Vegas and my then bf taking them from me and paying for them himself. My two favorite necklaces are from my best friend and my Dad (yeah, it does also help that they’re from Tiffanys)…. A “boyfriend” also bought be a $4 “Nightmare Before Christmas” bracelet (he liked the movie, not me). It was elastic, cheap, and beaded. I wore the hell outta that thing. It didn’t matter if I was dressed up or in jeans- I wore that thing all the time… until one night I ripped it off my wrist in my car after an argument. I was still finding beads in the car long after that “relationship” dissolved.

-Every girl really does love flowers. BUT!! Again, you don’t have to spend a lot (the bouquet above is $39.99). Everyone knows flowers are pricey around Valentine’s Day so get your gal a few flowers and write her a little message on the card. Save the big arrangements for random surprises (because I know you get your lady flowers for no reason…).

-Do not buy your lady friend a keychain from Tiffanys unless she specifically tells you she wants one. A keychain says “hey pal”, not “I like ya, you’re hot, wanna make out?!”*.

*Ideally, a Valentine’s gift should say something along the lines of “I love you, you mean a lot to me, and my life is better because you’re in it” but “I like ya, you’re hot, wanna make out?!” is pretty awesome too =)

-It’s all in the presentation. I once had a guy show up unexpected at my house with flowers. That was good. But he made me come out to the car to get them and upon handing them to me, he stated “they’re carnations, not roses”. Bad presentation, bad, bad, bad… Same guy also bought me season 10 of Friends. Thoughtful. Presentation- threw it down on the host stand at my work and then walked away– LAME!

-Doing something nice/romantic for the lady in your life does not make you any less of a man, it makes you more of a man. And the rewards for being romantic are plentiful (and sometimes naughty) 😉

And in closing, stop being one of the cool kids and saying you hate Valentine’s Day. Because you don’t. I bet you actually like it but you’re probably a little bitter/sad/confused or whatever it is the emo kids are calling it these days. Spend the day with your Mom or Dad, send someone a sweet text, leave someone a note on their windshield, or eat a box of chocolates by yourself. Just stop bein a V-day hater. =)

Always know the road you’re riding on
Always know the words to you baby’s song
Try to make the most of Friday nights when they call
Maybe turn a stranger to a friend
Never break a heart that’s on the mend
Never let the romance ever end like I’ve done

Never judge a color of a skin
Never judge a person by their kin
Never follow leaders that begin behind someone
Always help your Mama cross the street
Always wash your hands when you wanna heat
Always keep um dirty enough to see where you came from

Try to see the best inside the bad
No matter how many drinks you’ve had
Never make a promise you’ll regret come sunrise
Always keep your ego at your feet
Maybe try to practice what you preach once and a while

Everybody loves a hero not so much when they fall short so try to keep your cape on underneath
You don’t have to try so hard to be the best just know you are
And that’s all that will matter to me

And it’s okay to cry, if you feel it coming on
It’ll let you know you’re human in the end
And all these things will mean more when I’m gone
So be good until then

From the album “I liked you better when you had no heart” by Butch Walker and the Black Widows. Listen to the full album on ThinkIndie.com

Move Along


I try to not let myself get too sad because I know I have a great life and there’s people who are actually suffering and who have real problems. But sometimes, I get blue and music usually helps me get back on track. Here’s my list of songs that make me feel better when I get poopy:

“And even when your hope is gone, move along, move along just to make it through.”

“Swim for the music that saves you when you’re not so sure you’ll survive.”

“So what I’m still a rock star!”

“You can run over me with your 18 wheeler truck but you can’t keep me down”

“As long as you’re learning you’ll find all you’ll ever need to know”

“When life gets that much harder,
It makes you that much stronger,
Oh, some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were,
Lessons learned.

And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
And everyday I wondered how I’d get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I’m thankful, for every break in my heart,
I’m grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned.”