How I use Twitter

Firstly, credit where credit’s due, I have based this on Michael Grimes’s Twitter Following Policy (I have lifted a lot of it, I’m sure Mike won’t mind: he’s a lovely man, please read his blog).

How I use Twitter

I follow a lot of people, possibly too many. I’ve developed my own ways of making Twitter work for me, so really I’m fine and generally coping pretty well. I use Tweetdeck when I’m on my computer and I use this to segment my Twitter followers into my close friends and colleagues, my students, and everyone else. That means I won’t catch everything you say unless you’re a close colleague or friend.

What I Tweet about

I tweet about my work and some things that I do in my private life, but I’m more private than you might think from my Tweets. I do chat a lot with people I know, most of whom live in Birmingham, so some of my tweets are a bit cliquey, and irreverant too. You’ll only see these tweets if you follow my friends too, or if you’re looking at my public profile. Again, don’t judge me too much by silly in jokes I’m having with friends, there’s some pearls in there somewhere I promise.

My Followers

Please don’t judge me by my followers. There’s a lot of spam accounts in here. I turned off email updates months ago, and I have stopped trying to tidy this up. So please look at who I’m talking to, not who claims to be following me.

Please say “hello”

As I turned off email notfications I have no idea tha you’re following me until you say “hello” with an @reply, so that’s a nice way to show me you’re there. Who knows, we might get on.

Following back

If you follow me, thank you: I hope you enjoy what you see. If I don’t follow you back it’s because I’m struggling with what I’ve got and don’t want to add to it. It also probably means that you don’t fit the profile of who I want to follow at the moment, but that is entirely arbitrary on my part and not at all a reflection of your tweets: and it may well change in your favour at some point.


I’ve tried very hard not to stop following people, but at some point I feel it will be inevitable. I occasionaly do try to cut back. If I do unfollow you it is very probably nothing that you have said. Ignore Qwitter, if you use it (Qwitter’s a service that alerts you when people stop following you and tells them which message pre-empted it). If I stop following you it’s simply down to my capacity to stay engaged with other people: please don’t let Qwitter make you think I took umbrage at something you said!


If I block you it’s because you’ve followed me purely to promote your product or service with no intention of informing or engaging, and you are very probably a spammer. Take the hint and go away.


Please think carefully about how you talk to staff on Twitter. It’s not the place to ask big questions about your course or your life. We have tutorials for that, and email is a bit more private. Do @ reply me so I know who you are, I will follow you, but if we have only just met it’s worth pointing out that you’re one of our students: remember we’re getting several hundred people in an intake at BCU so it’s hard for me to know who’s who! Oh, and also try to come up with a professional Twitter name.

Sorry if this all seems odd or a bit  Do keep chatting to me though, and do chat to my friends. They’re lovely people.

By Jon Hickman

Hi, I'm Jon. I teach and research digital culture, social media and new media practice at Birmingham City University. Find out more about me with this lovely CV: Find out about my work at the Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research: