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Twitter Mysteries

There’s a few things that puzzle me about Twitter. Why the <expletive deleted> do these people follow me? Should I report Spam – or just block the Spammer? Why do some people find gratification with a large follower count? I address these after the break…

So I guess I’m now considered, at least by some, as a Power Tweeter. So it’s time to address a few questions that I consistently ask myself:

I’ve been spammed. Do I report the spammer or just Block?

This one is actually fairly easy to answer, so I apologize for calling it a Mystery. It’s just Advanced Tweeting. Here’s my answer:

  1. Take a look at the profile of the spammer. No picture and no bio statement? No followers? Follows nobody? ==> This is textbook spammer. Account created for the express purpose of spam. Report
  2. Now look at timeline. If you think they might be spammer, but aren’t sure, then Block.
  3. If timeline shows few apparent spams interspersed with an at least equal number of likely legitimate tweets, then send @ mention to person, suggesting they may have been hacked – and don’t forget to say why!  Don’t report, and don’t block — YET. Give them a chance to say to you “Thanks for the head’s up!”
  4. Still not sure? Now it’s time to  go to a bit of extra effort. Bring up their tweet in a SAFE browser – like a Chrome Incognito Mode window, or on a smartphone/pad with a SLOW internet connection. Then go ahead and click on where they want you to click. Evaluate results. Spam site? Report them. Site that isn’t Spam, but bears no relation to your interests? Leave them alone. It’s done you no harm except consume a bit of your time. Now if they KEEP sending you that kind of stuff, then it’ll be time to block.

If you haven’t come to a decision by now, they’re likely more akin to the Mysterious Follower, which it’s time to address:

Why are these people following me?

I keep all the emails I get from Twitter about a new follower. And in Gmail, I tag them “theyfollowme”. I also use the same tag for people who have added me to one of their Google+ circles, but these are VERY few and far between as I’m not active on Google+. At this instant, I have 430 Twitter followers, but I’ve got 1,133 of these tagged emails. Why the difference?

And of those 430 followers, at least 1/5 of them are people with whom I seem to have absolutely no commonality of interest. Here are just a few of my Mystery Followers:

  • One person tweets only about his drumming. He’s at the other end of the country. Says nothing in his bio about anything except heavy metal music. I’ve never tweeted about drumming or heavy metal, and while I did tweet ONCE about bands – in reply to a tweeter who wanted recommendations for preloading music on a tablet about to be given to his kids – that tweet was AFTER the drummer followed me.
  • Many people who are promoting SEO optimization. Most of these are in the “no longer following” group. Which makes sense. I didn’t engage them, nor follow them back. So they are, in a sense, self promoters bordering on gentle spammers. What I don’t get is how I attracted them in the first place!
  • A few Realtors. Essentially the same as the SEO optimizer.
  • A few – a VERY few – whose interests and opinions seem diametrically opposed to mine. I suppose that they might be doing a bit of what I do – opposition research. But most of them follow far too many people to have any chance of understanding them. Probably I’ve come up once in a keyword search, causing the initial follow. And since then, I’m just background noise in their overly full timeline.

I could go on. But the essential point here is that, if you stay engaged on Twitter, you will attract people to follow you for reasons you just can’t grok! Most of them will unfollow you, most of those will unfollow you quickly. Don’t worry about it.  But since I prefer to grok people, this brings me to my third Twitter Mystery:

What do those I call “Follower Seekers” get out of Twitter?

You know who they are. Weekly, they tweet multiple #FF tweets where the people they mention have nothing in common. They have #TeamFollowBack in their profile statement. They explicitly say “Please Follow Me and I’ll Follow You Back.” You look at their profile and their following/follower count are within 10% of each other, and are far too many (or far too FEW) to be explained by their tweet count.

They seem to be on Twitter solely to be able to say “I must be popular! Look at how many followers I have!” To them, following is a number, not an activity.

I just don’t get these people.

I’m on Twitter to reach out and engage people. To make friends beyond my offline existence (workplace, small circle of old friends, small local family and very local area). I want to be able to take a sabbatical and cross the country – and most of the world – with a friend I’ve never met at all my stops! I want to join with others who share my outlook to accomplish change. I want to argue with those who oppose me to sharpen my own beliefs,  to change their minds (it DOES happen occasionally), to grok their point of view and to be proven wrong – although that happens rarely!

And I don’t see ANY of these things as the motivation for the Follower Seekers.

I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

If you have insight on this, please chime in!!!

Final thought on this. I suppose a few of them might be both genuinely interested in all they follow, and have the time to engage them. To those people, as well as myself, I say: You don’t have to follow everyone. Look into power use of Twitter Lists. I follow the people I follow closely enough that it’s time I become a power Twitter List user myself. Details must wait for another post!

Late breaking update: As I was editing what I’ve written above, I gained another follower: @genegardens – who seems to be one of my Mystery Followers. Mentioned here solely as an example. I wonder if he’ll click the link when I tweet this post and read far enough to see himself?


Categories: About Me, Twitter Tags: ,
  1. 08 Apr 2012 at 11:03

    Fancy meeting you here!

    Where’s Lesson Two?

    BTW: I have hit my Twitter “following” limit, which is unfortunate for a polymath like me.

    With all my love,
    Aunty Em

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