Who I Follow On Twitter

Do you wonder why some folks follow and others don’t? The answer will differ depending who you ask. Here is my answer…

I joined Twitter on December 18th, 2008…against my better judgment at the time… My curiosity to see if my chosen ID was available got the better of me. Obviously, I’ve since forgiven myself since I now *love* Twitter.


In the first month, I read a lot of blog posts about Twitter Dos, Don’ts, Shoulds, and Shouldn’ts. A lot of this guidance made good sense. So, that is how I developed my own philosophy around who I do and do not follow on Twitter. For me, Twitter is about connecting with, and for, others in a mutually beneficial experience. Not everyone will agree with that, and that’s OK with me. For the record, just about everyone I follow on Twitter does this:

1. Has a unique photo (if an individual) or an appropriate image (if a company or organization). Spammers tend to have no picture at all so they have the brown box w/bizarre Twitter face. That’s a red flag. If you haven’t chosen a photo, just do it…more folks will follow you.

2. Has a fully completed biography that explains who they are and/or why they want to connect. What’s the point of leaving your bio blank, unless you don’t want people to know who you are? Fill it out and notice how you begin attracting folks who appreciate who you are.

3. A legitimate site URL. No, shortened bit.ly or cli.gs are not acceptable to me as URL links. In fact, spammers use the shortened links to cloak their website addresses–the kind that cause your computer to crash. If I can’t preview the shortened link from someone I don’t know (such as adding “preview.” before a tinyURL link or putting a dash at the end of is.gd URLs to see where they are pointing), then I just don’t click…and I don’t follow, either. Bit.ly will also block the link if it’s been determined to be a bad site.

I also do not follow folks with Facebook, MySpace or Profileto links as their “URL”. Facebook and MySpace require you to log in in order to view them (which means that if you don’t have an account and/or don’t want their cookies on your computer, you can’t view the URL). A WordPress.com is free and can be set up in minutes, so if you are using FaceBook, MySpace, or Profileto, I recommend you switch over to a free WordPress account.

BTW, I check out EVERY link first before I follow, and if I cannot click, I don’t follow…so you really want me to check our your URL.

4. Has a good ratio of following to followers. What do I mean by this? I like to see that you either have a similar number of followers to those you are following OR more folks following than you are following. The first shows that you engage others, and the second shows that you are discerning about who you give your attention to. Either one are good. If you are following 2,000 people (the max until you start getting more followers), and have less than 200 following you, then that makes you look like a Spammer. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t follow Spammers…they get blocked.

5. Last, but not least, I like to see that you interact with your followers and *how*. I prefer to follow folks who tweet a combination of their own thoughts, RT (retweet) others thoughtful comments and links, and reply often to follower’s comments. Such Tweeple (Twitter People) really engage others and understand what Social Media is about. If you lock your updates, then we CANNOT SEE your tweet stream, and that’s a BIG RED FLAG for me. Therefore, I DO NOT FOLLOW folks who lock their updates.

I do make exceptions to the above rules for folks I know *personally*. For example, I have one follower who never put up a photo, but since I know her in the *real world* and know she’s a bit tech-challenged, I let that issue go. Otherwise, I pretty much stick to the above criteria. So do 99.999999999% of the quality folks on Twitter. So, if you want to get more followers, stick to the above list and you’ll attract some great followers!

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If you haven’t gotten the message yet, employing auto-DMs (automatically sending Direct Messages to anyone who follows you) is considered bad manners to the majority of Twitter folk. This is because most auto-DMs are so generic/canned, that it’s clear you didn’t take any time to personalize it. It’s insulting to think that someone cannot even take a minute to authentically welcome someone as their follower.

Telling folks to check out your blog/YouTube/whatever AFTER they’ve followed you is just as ridiculous. Most people don’t follow anyone UNTIL they’ve checked them out, so feeling you have to *tell* people to do that is condescending.

And, you’ll find that the majority of Twitter-folk will think ill of those who try to sell products via DM. It’s slimy. Over-sales-y. Makes you look like you only care about the *sale* and not the folks you are connected with.


> Use DMs selectively and not for selling yourself/your blog/your videos/your products, etc.

> Wait until you’ve developed a rapport via tweeting before DMing most folks. The exception to this might be warning a new follower who you will NOT be following, to let them know *why*.

> Use DMs to share private information (contact data) that they have *requested*.

> Allow folks to get to know you via your tweets. If your message appeals to them, they will naturally navigate to your blog/site and decide to buy your products because they are *just* what they need/want. People are adults…for the most part…and can figure this stuff out for themselves. Get out of the way (stop irritating folks with constant selling), and let them decide if they want to buy. Afterall, isn’t THAT how you want to be treated?

*If you follow me, you will NOT get a DM, and I will likely NOT answer your intro DM (auto or not). I will, however, answer your DMs that are not selling me something (before you know me) or just asking questions or staying in touch.

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So, if you’ve followed me on Twitter, and I haven’t followed back, take a moment to check the list above to see if there might be a reason why. I do visit everyone’s site & check them out first, so I just might be catching up. In the meantime, make any changes mentioned above, and you will likely get MANY followers (not just me!). If you have done steps 1-5 above, and are  following me on Twitter, be sure to send me a Tweet to engage me in a conversation. You might become one of my favorites and I might become one of yours! *v* :^)  *v*