I hit 2000 “following” on twitter. Yet, I discovered more brilliant people I wanted to follow and couldn’t because I hadn’t reached 2000 “followers”. This compelled me to do way early spring cleaning of my twitter account.
Twitter puts this in place to minimize spammy accounts. It would be nice if it would use math instead of a flat 2000 number. A person with 2000 following and 1500 followers is obviously an active twitterer. I’m not about to go begging for 500 more followers, so cleaning it is.
The chiseling process amazed me as I found that I followed people that I wouldn’t follow today. They had one or more of the following seven bad traits:
1. Contain lopsided numbers of following, followers, and updates. There’s no magic formula. The numbers and updates quickly tell the story.
2. Discussed company and product constantly and in a promotional way. Some company twitter accounts do serve customers and they’re there to help. But helping isn’t akin to marketing and promotion. There’s a difference!
3. Did nothing but link link link … mostly to their own stuff.
4. WYAIM: Was yet another internet marketer. How do they earn a bundle of money when there are this many? These folks tend to violate #2 having over 1000 “following,” 100 or so “followers” and one comment linking to the next get rich scheme. Block these people to send a message to twitter that it may be a potential spam account to delete.
5. Sent a DM or @reply with “Thanks for the follow, check out my site…” Please don’t add to the noise with wasteful messages. Some will debate this, but this is my take (oh, and Mashable’s too as I discovered after drafting this post — honest). I try to avoid “Good morning, twitterville,” “How are you today?” and “Time to hit the pillow” as twitter has too much noise with this. But I know lots of people who think it’s nice and we need to bring such greetings back in conversation. Agreed! But not in twitter.
6. Talked about every mundane detail of their life: I’m going to the store for milk, I ordered a veggie pizza, going to sleep… this is what many folks think twitter is about. Yes, a lot of people do the this — but the ones benefiting most from twitter are business professionals who do a little of everything: link to good content, say insightful things, add another thought to someone’s original thought, retweet someone else’s good thoughts or links (retweeting is valuable as that’s how things spread).
7. Had the default avatar: I do make sure the person has “settled in” twitter by looking at the followers and updates because not everyone immediately adds a picture as it takes a little time to figure out all of twitter’s features. Smart of twitter to make it ugly to encourage folks to change it ASAP. Those disproportional eyes look eerie. Avatars are no longer a tech-savvy thing. If you don’t know how, ask for help! Twitterville loves to help.
Showed last update over six months ago: These users obviously tried twitter and didn’t like it. Such people don’t stick with twitter long enough or interact the right way to see the magic happen and why so many of us keep coming back.
This is more for people who weed their twitter “following” list because you probably won’t follow them if you look at their updates page.
Agree? Disagree? Missed something? Love to hear your thoughts. Next post: How to get going fast with twitter.