How’s a person meant to maintain “a good blend of conservatives and liberals” among his Twitter followers?

Yesterday, I noted that the followers I’ve gained so far on Twitter for @SixWeeksofRush seem to represent “a good blend of conservatives and liberals.” I also promised to try and maintain that balance, saying that “if I feel at any point like one side’s gaining too much ground, I’ll try and bring a few more people on from the other.”

How’s a person supposed to do that? How do you gauge someone’s political sensibilities from a brief bio and a series of tweets? If one side comes to dominate a discussion, how can a tweeter restore some balance?

Well, frankly, I wish it were more obvious that there are no simple answers to these questions. “You can’t judge a person by their Twitter bio” ought to be the new “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” Yes, I’m sure there are people who perfectly embody the typical “conservative” or “liberal” stereotypes and straw men, but as I said yesterday, I wouldn’t exactly call those people free thinkers – and I don’t exactly want them dominating this discussion.

My pledge to you, as a young straight white liberal vegetarian Canadian father who enjoys a drink, pays into a mortgage, respects the police and works hard for a paycheque in Canada’s Bolshevik health care sector, is that I don’t assume that anyone perfectly conforms to a stereotype.

With that in mind, here’s the method I’m using to attract new followers:

  • Each day, I hit the follower list for @RushLimbaugh. Starting at the top, I follow the first ten people who don’t have the default egg image in their profile, just for the sake of avoiding the many spam accounts that make up a substantial portion of his nearly two hundred and sixty-two thousand followers. Doesn’t that seem a bit much, by the way, for a person who positions himself as an alternative to the mainstream media?
  • After that, I grab the ten latest followers from a notably left-leaning Twitter account. Today, for example, I visited @UtneReader and reached out to a few of their followers.

The reason I keep it to ten per day, in both cases, is because I don’t want to spam people myself. It would be really easy to go down these lists and click on everyone’s “follow” button, but that’s the sort of behaviour that gets you suspended, and rightly so.

Obviously, this isn’t an exact science. Some of the people following Rush, including me, are liberals. I’m sure there are also plenty of conservatives following the progressive tweeters on my list. Far from being a problem, this is good; the kind of person who’s willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint is the kind of person I want to bring on board.

If you’re reading this because you’re one of those people, then thanks for following back! Do feel free to encourage your friends and loved ones to follow @SixWeeksofRush, too. We’re just a few days from kicking things off, and the more people we’ve got on board at the starting line, the better!

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