December 13th, 2011 | Comments Off
Twitter is all about following and gaining followers. Though I’m rather generous in my follow-back protocol, I don’t subscribe to the #autofollow mentality. After toying with that concept for a while, I realized that following everyone back leads to a cluttered, spammy timeline that degrades the quality of Twitter. Just because a person follows you doesn’t mean following them back will be worth your while.
So here’s the rundown of the types of Twitter accounts that I avoid following back. Your mileage and driving preference may vary.
These are notorious for heavy follow/unfollow churning. They typically put their URL right there in the bio, and the picture is usually of a pretty girl. Their recent tweets might even been non-spammy, but still, what’s the point of following them? They won’t add any engagement to your timeline, nor do you want to be seen as the kind of user who follows a bunch of porn sites. The typical porn profile these days has a pretty girl for the profile photo, an obvious porn URL, and no bio.
Users with zero (or almost zero) tweets
With the exception of new users, who often have only a few tweets, accounts with no tweets brings no content to your timeline.
Follow-to-Followback Ratio Gap
It’s one thing when a celebrity follows 42 people and has 2 million followers. But what about when someone is following 2000 people and only has 14 followers? This smacks of a new account trying to churn followers, which doesn’t point to the type of user I want to follow. It could be real, but my preference is to avoid these types of users.
SEO or Social Media “Specialists”
This one isn’t absolute. Everyone is a social media marketer these days, and most of these users are “friends with an agenda.” They’re on a social media site pimping their social media services? I think my timeline can do without friends like that. A lot of these end up spamming their inflated list of followers with their clients’ garbage. Some may be solid users, but the stigma usually keeps me away. If I scan their tweets and see useful dialog on their end, I might give them a chance. If they’re link droppers and follow churners, I won’t.
Those with several “follow” hashtags in their bio
These are typically friend whores or businesses looking to artificially inflate their followers. This was copied from a bio I saw today: “#TeamFollowBack, #TeamAutoFollow, #500aDay, #1000aDay, #TFB, #F4F, #FollowMe, #TFB, #FF.” They rarely offer relevant content, and spend more of their time gaining followers than saying anything meaningful. I’ve also seen a lot of them trading shout-outs in exchange for follows. Twitter is more than a follow-fest to me.
Users who haven’t tweeted recently
Following a person whose last tweet was in September of 2010 almost certainly won’t gain you a follow back or add any content to your timeline. In that case, all they will do is take up unused space toward your follow limit.
If a person’s most recent tweets all seem to be an advertising for the same website, or similar products, there’s no reason to waste a follow on them, less you enjoy junk in your timeline. You want to follow people who do more than drop links all day long.
Everyone has their own ways of following and unfollowing. The above list is mine, so take it as just an opinion. In the end, you want targeted, engaged followers more than sheer numbers. Limiting who you follow will make this a much easier task, and will allow you to enjoy a much more relevant timeline. If you spend enough time on Twitter, you’ll find yourself making your own follow/unfollow rules. The beauty of Twitter is that it can be shaped to suit the needs of the individual user.
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