A Guide to Followers on Twitter

Definitions and Strategies for Twitter Followers

Followers, Following, Follow -- What Do These Terms Really Mean?

Twitter Followers: Following someone on Twitter simply means subscribing to their tweets or messages so they can receive them and read them. Twitter followers are the people who follow or subscribe to another person's tweets.

Followers: Traditional dictionary meanings of "follower" stress "supporter" and usually refer to someone who shows allegiance or support for any person, doctrine or cause.

But Twitter has added a new dimension to the word "followers." It now typically refers to anyone who has clicked the Twitter "follow" button to subscribe to another user's messages on the social networking service.

Following on Twitter means that you have subscribed to someone's tweets, so that all of their updates appear in your Twitter timeline. It also means that you have granted the person you follow permission to send you private tweets, which are called "direct messages" on Twitter.

Variations on "Twitter Followers" -- There are many slang words for Twitter followers. These include tweeps (a mash-up of tweet and peeps) and tweeples (a mashup of tweet and people.)

Following is a public activity on Twitter, which basically means that unless someone has taken their Twitter timeline private, everyone can see who they are following and who is following them. To check out who anyone is following, go to their Twitter profile page and click the "following" tab. To view who has subscribed to that person's tweets, click the "followers" tab on their profile page.

The big difference between "following" on Twitter and "friending" on Facebook is that Twitter following is not necessarily mutual, meaning that the people you follow on Twitter don't have to follow you back in order for you to subscribe to their tweets. On Facebook, the friend connection must be reciprocal in order to receive anyone's Facebook status updates.

The Twitter help center offers more details about Twitter followers and how following works on the social messaging service.

The Twitter Language guide offers many more definitions of Twitter terms and phrases.