Twitter is your tailor-made, crowdsourced news feed

twitter_cartoon If you’re not satisfied with the information you’re getting from Twitter, you’ve only got your self to blame. Each time you follow someone on Twitter, you’re personalizing your news feed.

The quality of information you get from Twitter is proportional to the quality of the network you build.

Twitter can be used in a variety of ways: to follow friends, view trends, and to stay in touch with the latest news, entertainment or industry buzz. That is why it can be helpful to begin with the end in mind when creating your network.

Here are five tips for building a quality Twitter feed:

Follow Thought Leaders. I follow thought leaders in my industry (social media issues, technology, and marketing).  As a result, I’ve chosen to follow thought leaders such as @zeldman, @missrogue,  @mashable, @scottmonty, @guykawasaki, @gapingvoid and @smmguide. These individuals provide me with a steady stream of thought-provoking posts.

Follow Entertainers. I use Twitter for quality entertainment. This is why I follow @theonion, @arjunbasu, @veryshortshory and @gapingvoid. I also enjoy following entertaining Twitter memes. Memes are the trends, activities or sayings associated with Twitter that are noted by hash marks (#). Recent memes I’ve enjoyed include #crapsuperpowers, #haiku, #internetbeatles, and #iftheytweeted

Follow Newsmakers. I follow my favorite newsmakers on Twitter. This includes the @Captimes (local newspaper), @csmonitor (Christian Science Monitor) and @nytimes (New York Times). Hundreds of news organizations are on Twitter. You can find a list of newspapers, TV stations and radio stations using Twitter by visiting www.newspapersontwitter.com.  There is also a directory of journalists on Twitter.

Follow Locals. I use Twitter to network with local marketers, digital marketers and friends. I use Twitter to find out where people are going, what they are doing and when we can help each other out.  While I discourage individuals from connecting to large follower exchanges on Twitter, It’s a great idea to discover and follow local Twitterers. I conduct searches using #madison to find locals. You can do the same hashtag search to find locals near you.

I also use TwitterLocal (an adobe air client), LocalTweeps (a local directory driven by hashtags), and NearbyTweets to find and follow locals.

Avoid Follower Exchanges. There are many websites that allow you to attract thousands of followers in a short period of time by agreeing to follow each of them back.  These exchanges dilute the quality of your Twitter feed.  The process of attracting followers is discernibly different than the process of building the right Twitter feed for your own use.

If you’re not satisfied with your Twitter feed, find new and different people to follow.

Credits: Cartoon courtesy of Geek and Poke.

Twitter in Real Life

College Humor’s Dan Gurewitch (@dangurewitch) takes his tweets to the streets. Despite what you see in the video, Dan’s an entertaining Twitterer to follow…I began following him after viewing this video.