Eight Twitter Habits That May Get You Unfollowed or Semi-Followed

Posted on August 24th 2009

Best practices on Twitter are still developing, and everyone seems to have their own preferences and attitudes about right and wrong on the microblogging service. Standards vary widely depending upon whether one is using Twitter just to keep in touch with friends or is tweeting on behalf of their business or employer. Whatever your purpose, you may have some tweeting habits that encourage others to unfollow or semi-follow you.

Before delving into the list of attention-repelling habits, let's first explore the concept of the semi-follow. On Twitter, there are only two possible states for following--a person either follows another or they don't. But while most people still post updates via the Twitter Web site, many use third-party applications that help group and organize followers. People using software such as TweetDeck or sites like HootSuite can follow others with different levels of rigor--some people are followed closely, others are semi-followed, and still others are almost completely ignored.

For example, I follow over 2,000 people, and as my list grew beyond several hundred, I found I was missing tweets from the people I care most about. I could have opted to axe stranger with interesting things to share, but instead I opted (as do most people with large Twitter follow lists) to use a tool to group my Tweeple. I have HootSuite organized with groups that include friends, peers and clients from Fullhouse, local people of interest, marketing thought leaders, news feeds, and Social Media movers and shakers. This gives me the ability to track about 200 Twitter feeds more closely than the remainder of my follow list.

They key to being followed more closely is to say and share things that others care about. This requires a great deal of focus and an awareness of the subtle tendencies that can cause others to begin to tune out, consciously or not. Here are eight things Twitterers do that tend to diminish the attention they receive from others:

8. Constant Tweeting about your own business: I was just followed by a printing company in Raleigh, NC, and every single tweet was about their business--"lowest prices," "visit our site," "why everyone is switching to us," blah blah blah. According to TweetLater, the tool I use to vet followers, over 50% of those followed by this business chose to ignore this account, and it is a sure bet almost none of the remaining 50% will pay any attention to what this Twitterer has to say. Constant self-promotion isn't a stream of tweets, it's a stream of ads, and no one really wants to subscribe to that.

7. People who mistake public tweets for private messages: When you make lunch plans via email, you send a message only to the people you wish to invite and not to everyone in your contact list. This common sense approach isn't so common on Twitter, where some folks seem to believe every communication to anyone should be broadcast to everyone.

As the number of followers grows, the need to cut down on noise increases, so if you wish to encourage your followers to pay attention, keep private communications private and send a public Tweet only when the message may be of interest to many of your followers. The Direct Message (DM) is a powerful tool--don't fear the DM!

6. People who engage in partial and cryptic @replies: Twitter is intended to be conversational, but remember that people will begin to tune you out if they cannot understand or decode many of your status updates. For this reason, it's important when replying that you give context; for example, what is "@you Word," "@you I'm sorry to hear that," or "@you ROFLOL" supposed to mean to people unless they 1) follow both you and the person to whom you're responding, and 2) care enough and have the time to follow the dialog back and forth?

It's one thing to say "@you That Conan O'Brien video clip of Shatner reading Palin's speech was funny," but it's an altogether different and more annoying thing to tweet, "@You That was hilarious." The former gives context that invites attention and replies from others; the latter is just noise that will only have relevance to one person.

5. Just links: Sharing links is a great way to create value for your followers, but please don't share links with no explanation. What is on the other end of a link-shortened URL such as http://ow.ly/iyu8? Is this news, a video clip, spam, spyware? I don't know and I don't care--links with no context not only won't get clicked but may encourage others to dump you.

4. Excessive games, sweeps, & viral marketing: I'm a marketer and support the appropriate use of Twitter for participation in marketing promotions. But when a Twitterer becomes obsessed with a game or sweepstakes and litters their Twitter feed with promotional tweets, it isn't any different than spam. Sharing a cool branded video or a relevant sweepstakes is great; tweeting #moonfruit 20 times in 5 minutes because you want to win an Apple computer is just damn annoying.

Of course, smart marketers will find a way to create Twitter promotions that engage others rather than irritate them. For example, Marriott launched an annoying Moonfruit-like promotion at http://marriotthawaiitweets.com. It's causing a minor flood of useless and repetitive tweets like "Trying my luck to win a Hawaiian getaway from @marriotthawaii." As my Twitter friend @RobertKCole pointed out, "This is spam without some form of community benefit, like naming a favorite activity in Hawaii." Marketers need to challenge themselves to get people sharing something of interest and not just spammy and irrelevant tweets, because what worked for Moonfruit once could well become a PR disaster for a brand running a Twitter sweepstakes in the future.

3. Automatic Direct Messages (DMs): Talk about getting a relationship off on the wrong foot--someone trusts a Twitterer enough to follow him or her and then is repaid with an impersonal and spammy Direct Message. Many is the time I've followed someone, received a generic Auto DM, and immediately unfollowed, beginning and ending a Twitter relationship in less than five minutes.

Using an Auto DM may seem like a good way to "welcome" new followers, but most people actually find it very unwelcoming. Also, Auto DMs can fill up peoples' lists of incoming Direct Messages, making it difficult to catch real, valuable, person-to-person DMs.

A move is afoot to shame those who send automatic DMs. The site StopAutoDM.com recently launched, encouraging Twitterers to send an @reply containing the hashtag #stopautodm to those who use Auto DMs; doing so causes the tweet to appear on the site's "Recent Offender Newswire."

2. Publicly thanking others for thinking you're terrific: It's very rewarding when new people follow, when you get cited by others with a #followfriday mention, or when you get retweeted. Each of these occurrences is an appropriate opportunity to thank someone--privately with a DM!

Sending a public tweet that thanks someone for following, for recommending you, or for retweeting your post isn't an expression of gratitude but a boast sent to everyone who follows you. It's a big, needy, self-serving way to make sure a wide group of people are aware that someone thinks you're terrific.

Think of it this way: When you receive a compliment from a boss or peer, do you express genuine gratitude in a private manner, or do you stand on a chair and bellow "Thank you for complimenting my work!" Public tweets that express appreciation for referrals and recommendations are the Twitter equivilent of a vain bellow.

1. Politics, Religion & Sex (unless that is your Twitter profile's purpose): If you create a Twitter profile to support gun rights, gay marriage, your church, or your adult film career, by all means talk politics, religion, or sex; that would be expected by people who follow you. But if your Twitter account is intended to be professional, then tweeting about politics, religion or sex is a good way to offend or annoy some portion of your followers.

Miss Manners' advice is as relevant on Twitter as it is at dinner parties: "Unless you are like-minded old friends, (do not talk to another) about sex, politics or religion. That is not a quaint prohibition. Such subjects as gay marriage, taxes and abortion have been known to explode otherwise pleasant dinner parties." Or Twitter relationships.

Some folks reject the idea of "rules" for Twitter and think anything goes. This attitude may be fine for those who don't really care whether they're followed or what others think, but that's a luxury not afforded most of us with a professional intent on Twitter. The microblogging service hasn't changed the essentials of communications and relationships: People listen to and connect with those who demonstrate concern about their relevance, comprehension, and value to others.

Link to original post
AugieRay

Augie Ray

I am an interactive and experiential marketer with a special interest in social media and consumer-welcome or -desired marketing strategy. In addition to being the Managing Director of Experiential Marketing at Fullhouse, I also co-own a pet business with my spouse. This includes an offline pet boutique, Metropawlis.com, and an online store dedicated to pet strollers JustPetStrollers.com.

See Full Profile >

Comments

Charlottebritton
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 10:10AM
Oh so true.  So really good tips in here which are well worth the read and definitely will be taking on board some of the tips.

The one which really gets me is when someone follows you and then follows it up with a really spammy DM asking you to promote their product.  Do they get permission based marketing?

AugieRay
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 10:46AM

Thanks Charlotte!  I don't think I've gotten a lot of DMs of the sort you mention, but that would certainly drive me crazy.

I could write a whole blog post about the bad Auto-DMs I get.  My personal (un)favorite are the ones where the person talks about how interested they are in working with me to generate wealth.  I can't unfollow those people quick enough!

Twitter is new, and like every new thing, it will take a while for the best practices to settle!

DavinaKBrewer
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 11:28AM
#2: As for publicly thanking for a RT, not sure if it's "returning the favor" with a little cross-promotion or Yay Me bragging. I don't know the manners or rules involved, if some people would be disappointed or even offended that you didn't recognize them openly for the RT.

#8: While yes most people do use Twitter to promote themselves in one form or another, there is a big difference in a little self-promotion as part of the community and broadcast advertising.

Communication is as you say about listening, and the "relevance...value to others" so the quickest way for my UnFollow is to be all Me Me Look at ME all the time.  FWIW.

brandlessons
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 12:54PM
I've been guilty of #3, but recently stopped because it was inauthentic and trite. This is a good post. But what happens if you're not doing the 8 above and you're still loosing followers? AND you've tried different tactics and approaches? But nonetheless, great post.
AugieRay
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 1:00PM

Shea, thanks for the comments.  I've been guilty of a few of these myself.  Of course, one doesn't need to be "perfect" on Twitter, but it's a good idea to keep in mind the things we can do that begin to relegate our Twitter feeds to the status of "I'll pay attention when I have the time" instead of "Wonder what he/she has to say today!"

I appreciate the comment!

AugieRay
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 1:04PM

Thanks  Davina, 

I can't imagine feeling upset that a RT wasn't publicly recognized, but if others feel that way I'd be really interested.  To me, a private "thank you" that doesn't broadcast a pat on my own back is far more authentic as an expression of gratitude.

If publicly acknowleding a RT is important, I'd recommend a RT in return or a mention in a #FollowFriday tweet, which is a way of focusing on them rather than oneself.

Thanks, I appreciate the comments!

merubin75
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 1:08PM

Hi Augie,

What about not responding to @replies at all?  I know we all have the choice of whether or not to respond to anything, but I'm noticing a growing trend -- especially among so-called A-listers and social media experts -- not responding to @replies. Maybe they're replying by private DM, but it just comes off rude and arrogant.

....Michael

AugieRay
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 1:11PM

Kevin, I never used an Auto DM, but I came really close, so I totally understand why some people are tempted.  As with all things in Social Media, it's probably better to give more of yourself to others rather than fall back on the automated.

Your question ("What happens if you're not doing the 8 above and you're still loosing followers?") is an interesting one.  First of all, do you auto-follow people--if so, you might be following spammers, and when Twitter boots them it can make a follow list decline. 

Another question I'd ask is if you're trying to do too many things with your Twitter feed.  I recently recommended my brother consider splitting his single Twitter feed into two.  He was using it to promote his real estate business (and doing so authentically) but also was chatting a lot with friends.  My question to him was if his friends cared about his real estate news and open houses and if his real estate clients cared he was wishing a friend good morning.  He decided to launch a second Twitter feed.  (For the record, I question if I am being too broad with my own Twitter feed--sometimes posting Social Media news and thought of interest to interactive marketers and sometimes commenting on news and happenings in my hometown of Milwaukee.)

I appreciate the comments. Let me know if you think I missed any habits that may be getting people unfollowed on Twitter!

AugieRay
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 1:20PM

Michael,

As always, I appreciate your insights!

I don't think one should NEVER respond to @replies in a public way, but I think it depends on whether the response may be of interest to more than just that person. 

You're right--never replying publicly could come off as arrogant or disinterested.  But there are lots of chances to reply publicly when the discussion is one that invites others to participate. 

I hate to call anyone out, but I follow Chris Brogan and find his Tweets incredibly noisy because of all his personal @replies.  This morning he's sent tweets like "@pilarstella - thanks. So far, no rappelling. ; )" and "@qzcolszh1949 - complete coincidence, but hey, I'll take it. : )."  What are these supposed to mean to me (or others) other than @qzcolszh1949 and @pilarstella?  I find Chris an interesting thought leader, but I may unfollow him because he's getting in the way of me tracking interesting tweets from other less noisy thought leaders!

Thanks for the thoughts.  Hope the new job is going great!

ariherzog
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 4:36PM
Otto read my mind, Michael, for your 6th bullet is illogical.

The *only way* for you to read Chris Brogan's replies (under the post-March 2009 shift from replies to mentions) to the world is if you're following the world -- OR -- if you're visiting http://twitter.com/chrisbrogan.

Because the Twitter API shows a "in reply to" link at the bottom of said update messages, your question about what Chris is referring to is moot. Click the link next time! Also, he may not be following said person so doesn't want to (or can't) send a DM.

KentHuffman
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 5:10PM
Great post, Augie! There are some great lessons to be learned here.
KentHuffman
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 5:10PM
Great post, Augie! There are some great lessons to be learned here.
AugieRay
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 5:15PM
Thanks all.  Great thoughts, and I really appreciate the feedback and engagement!
LavaLilly
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 6:40PM
Nice!  Thoroughly enjoyed and will pass on to (ahem) quite a few clients who don't quite get it!  Thanks! ;-)
AugieRay
Posted on August 24th 2009 at 11:59PM

It's been interesting to follow the debate about my recommendations on @replies to thank people for retweets and #followfriday mentions.  Obviously, everyone must set their own rules, but I still feel a private "thank you" means more. 

I am not suggesting we ban the @reply and only use DMs, turning Twitter into substitute for SMS!  For example, @miridunn commented how annoying it is to get a compliment via DM.  I think compliments (as opposed to simple "thanks for retweeting me") are appropriate for public tweets. 

That said, it's still vital to give the tweet some context;  telling someone "@you your blog post was brilliant" is meaningless to virtually all followers, but saying "@you your blog post about Twitter DMs was brilliant: http://ow.ly/iyu8" not only adds value to the person you're complimenting but also to everyone else who follows you.

Cyndi, if you find that checking DMs is a problem, it's probably time to trade up to a Twitter client.  Checking DMs on Twitter is a bit annoying (although clicking a link doesn't seem all that onerous), but virtually every Twitter client does a much better job than Twitter.com of making it easy to check @replies and DMs.

I appreciate all the feedback about my suggestion for private (and not public) expressions of gratitude!  It reminds me of a time, about two years ago, when I wrote a blog post about how annoying it was for Tweeple to publicly welcome new followers.  I got blasted by some folks who thought it was a great habit, but now that practice has all but disappeared from Twitter because, in the end, it was damn annoying! 

We'll see what happens as more people join Twitter and Twitter follow lists grow.  My guess is that habits that aren't annoying today could become annoying as the volume of tweets grows and it becomes more difficult to separate noise from content. 

sbonnet
Posted on August 25th 2009 at 4:16AM

Hi. It's interesting that nobody commented on the last rule "don't discuss politics, sex and religion". I disagree with it. Twitter is interesting because it's a mix of personal and professional comments by people. I don't read it only for professional reasons, I also enjoy getting to know the person behind the professional. Therefore their opinions about politics, sex or religion are valid to me.

Now that may be because I'm French. For us, these are very interesting topics that you would discuss with diner guests even if you haven't known them for long. I live in London and that's also what British people do and I certainly discussed it with colleagues from Spain, Italy, Denmark etc...  I know however that this is considered slightly taboo in the US. When I worked in NY, I remember my boss saying to me at my first work social event: "never discuss sex, religion or politics with your colleagues".

So I guess that another guideline should be added: do consider the cultural background of your followers, of your audience and adapt your communication to them. You may not do an @reply to thank them to an American but it might be that someone from the Middle East for instance is really chuffed that you acknowledged them publicly.

DorriOlds
Posted on August 25th 2009 at 6:19AM
I found this so helpful i tweeted about it. I especially liked what it says about DM. And as far as the "don't discuss politics, sex and religion" i totally agree. It's definitely a quick way to get yourself unfollowed. I've lost friendships over religious discussions! people are very touchy about these things. My two cents.  www.DorriOlds.com
AugieRay
Posted on August 25th 2009 at 5:54PM

Great feedback, everyone!

sbonnet, I'm not sure if it's cultural or not, and I agree it's great to get to know people both personally and professionally, but if one is using Twitter for business reasons, talking about religion, sex, or politics puts can be risky.  I've had very interesting Twitter discussions on political topics with people who disagree with me and I was not tempted to unfollow them; on the other hand, I've also unfollowed people for tweeting overly aggressive and unwelcome statements.  (My pet peeve during the last presidential election was people who would tweet Obama was a Muslim terrorist--that guaranteed an unfollow!) 

Raymond, just to be clear, I have no objection to people speaking about issues of religion and politics if their goals are religious, political, or truly personal.  But, if the intent on Twitter is to create a professional network or to achieve marketing goals, I think these are dangerous topics.  Just look at the modest backlash the Whole Foods CEO is facing from his left-leaning customers as a result of his recent stand on the national healthcare debate.

Christopher Sherrod, you said more in fifteen words than I did in my entire blog post.  So right--"Be useful in your niche and people will follow you."

Deb Kolaras, you are also quite right, and your rule of thumb is a great one:  "Would I say this to a large room of people?"  I might just expand upon people in order to really drive home the point:  "Would I say this to a large room of people that includes my coworkers, boss, clients, parents, and potential future employers?"  Some people forget that their tweets (if their profile is public) aren't just seen by current followers but are accessible by anyone and everyone forever. (Look at the recent Horizon lawsuit for evidence of this--the woman sued for defamation by her former landlord deleted her account, yet her tweet is still ringing across the Internet.)

miraj k, you make a great point about #iranelection #burma and #tibet.  Of course, there is a big difference between tweeting about something on which everyone in your follower list agrees more or less (such as #iranelection #burma) rather than something very contentious (such as abortion or gun control).  I think two of your three examples are pretty non-contentious topics, but what about #tibet?  If you are an activist or politician, that's a pretty safe topic, but what about if you're a business executive whose business has dealings in China?  In this case, #tibet tweets could be potentially damaging to your business and your professional reputation.  I guess the key is 1) your goals on Twitter, and 2) who is in your follow list.

John, your thoughts on returning the favor for retweets is exactly the way I feel.  A public thank you really just adds noise to the Twitter stream and is ultimately as much about the person who was retweeted as it is about the person who did the retweeting.  But to REALLY thank someone and do it in a way that adds to value instead of subtracts, there is nothing more meaningful than retweeting one of their tweets.  Doing so not only does more to express gratitude, but it also is more welcome by the rest of your followers.

Thanks again for all the great feedback!

PhilLauterjung
Posted on August 26th 2009 at 4:33PM
Augie,

I haven't been blogging as long as you have (about 3 months), but this type of stuff drives me nuts on Twitter too.  But, what's really strange is that we both decided to blog about it on the same day!  Now that's a little weird.  My post even had 8 reasons as well, although some of mine were different from yours.  But, blogging about the same thing on the same day with a similar title!!  Maybe not so strange given the number of blogs out there.

 Anyway, I wanted to say that I think that you're spot on.

 Phil Lauterjung

 

 

AugieRay
Posted on August 26th 2009 at 5:07PM

Phil,

Actually, I was thinking of a follow-up posts about what doesn't get you followed (as opposed to what gets you unfollowed) and your list looks a lot like mine--no image, no location, etc.  It's a good list:  http://www.phillauterjung.com/8-reasons-to-fight-back-against-twitter-twits/

PhilLauterjung
Posted on August 27th 2009 at 3:31PM
Augie,

I'll look forward to your follow-up post, and I promise not to post on the same subject on that day. :-)

Also, thanks for the link back - much appreciated.

Phil

NealSchaffer
Posted on August 27th 2009 at 3:43PM
Hi Augie,

Excellent post!  I actually wrote about why you shouldn't send automated direct messages as well (http://windmillnetworking.com/2009/07/22/twitter-auto-direct-message-sho...).

I do have an issue with @Reply versus Direct Message.  My blog post today will actually be about this, but once you get to a certain number of followers, the Direct Message mailbox can become full of spam, part of which are seemingly innocent automated Direct Messages.  It is unfortunate in that I don't even look at DMs anymore, only @Replies.  I do believe in the concept that not everything should be an @Reply, but I would say send emails for those truly private communications.  Having personal communicating @Replies or even thanking for the RT/#FF through an @Reply on occasion doesn't annoy me.

- Neal Schaffer

http://windmillnetworking.com

AugieRay
Posted on August 27th 2009 at 4:05PM

Thanks Neal.  I certainly got a lot of flak for the public "Thank you" part of my blog post. 

Everyone has to set their own rules, and I'm not suggesting there is an objective wrong/right here, but I do think adding to the noise by sending public messages that are of interest only to one person is a way to get ignored. And I think thanking people for retweeting you fits that definition.

Also, I have not had the experience you noted--having my DM inbox fill up spam.  It sounds to me NOT that this is a natural problem of large Twitter followings but an issue of the people you're following. If you have people who are spamming you, stop following them!  That leaves your DM inbox free for the kinds of private interactions you really want and need.

I appreciate the comments.  Nice post 9http://windmillnetworking.com/2009/07/22/twitter-auto-direct-message-sho...)!

NealSchaffer
Posted on August 27th 2009 at 4:43PM
Thank you Augie.  Indeed, if I simply unfollow those who spam me it will help resolve some of the issues, and I do try to unfollow some of them.  I guess I just can't keep up with the spammers!  And then there are new followers who aren't intentionally spamming me but send me impersonal automated direct messages. Argh!  As I write my blog post today, I have no choice but to stop from looking at the Direct Messages all together.  It is just too easy for spammers and others to send you automated messages.  If Twitter changed their API to stop automated messaging, then I can restart to use it.  Twitter, are you listening?

Enough of my ramblings.  Thanks again and looking forward to your future insightful articles!


KathrynGorges
Posted on August 27th 2009 at 5:47PM
Nice article!  I appreciate the reminders ;))  Just turned my auto welcome message off because I realized that although I thought it was a nice greeting, even so, it's still annoying ;)

I'd like to see you write a post on positive actions -- or maybe I'll write a post on that...and I'll let you know.

I love the possibilities twitter creates and I'm saddened by the amount of spamming and manipulation that is happening now (ever since twitter was featured on Oprah...).  My pet peeve is tweets that have an inspiring quote and a link to some scam -- I want to connect so I follow, then I lose trust ...

I'm tweeting your article now -- and posting it to my fanpage. Thanks!


AugieRay
Posted on August 27th 2009 at 5:54PM

Neal, I'm curious if you use a tool to auto-follow people who follow you.  It seems people who do so end up being targeted by spammers, so I'm curious if you use such a tool.

A tool I use to vet followers is Tweetlater.com.  It has other features, but I tend to use HootSuite as my primary Twitter client.  Tweetlater lists all new followers, provides some stats about what other Tweetlater folks have done with them (follow, ignore, block), makes it easy to report spam, and is a very efficient want to approve/follow long lists of new followers.

Hope this helps.  Thanks, again!

NealSchaffer
Posted on August 27th 2009 at 6:01PM
Hi Augie,

Yes, I do use an auto-follow tool, but it is actually a savvy one with lots of filters so that I can attempt to keep the spammers out.  However, the problem is not just the spammers but also the innocent-looking automated DMs which I am starting to classify as spam.  I have used TweetLater and found that they didn't have a filter for filtering the spammers.  I will check into it again, so thanks for the advice.

By the way, as promised, my blog post on why I won't read Direct Messages anymore:

http://windmillnetworking.com/2009/08/27/twitter-direct-messages-why-i-d...

You'll find a back-link to this post as well ;-)

Cheers,

Neal

RebeccaSmoot
Posted on August 27th 2009 at 7:09PM
One of the more useful Twitter tip articles I've read in some time.  I'll credit you and use your line: "Constant self-promotion isn't a stream of tweets, it's a stream of ads, and no one really wants to subscribe to that."   I have a hard time getting many clients to understand this concept.  You said it well.
AugieRay
Posted on August 27th 2009 at 7:31PM
Thanks RSmoot!  It's funny some people need to be reminded of that.  Consumers spend a chunk of their media consumption time avoiding ads--ignoring print and banner ads and DVRing past TV ads.  Brands that use Twitter to provide value and build relations secure the right to occasionally offer promotions or talk about themselves, but brands that can only focus on their own needs are asking for the indifference they'll receive.
LindaLopez
Posted on August 27th 2009 at 9:31PM
Nice post, Augie, and great comments from your readers. I'll be tweeting it and following you.
ScifiAliens
Posted on August 27th 2009 at 10:12PM
One of my followers (who I also follow) was apologetic for losing one of my DM's due to the volume of MLM (multi-level marketing) DMs she'd been getting. No apology necessary once she explained. We could form a new twibe--tweeple against MLM's on Twitter... ;-)
AugieRay
Posted on August 28th 2009 at 12:36AM

Phyllis, the dialog here has been interesting, and I certainly am open to the debate about whether my advice on publicly thanking others is too stingy.  That said, one argument that has frustrated me here is the idea that DMs are too full of spam/MLM to be useful. 

The ONLY way for spam to get into one's DM inbox is to be following spammers!  Why the heck would anyone do that when unfollowing these people is so darn easy?  We don't need a twibe against MLMs; we just need to be more selective about who we follow and assertive in unfollowing and reporting spammers!

By the way, for those who have difficulty finding the time to evaluate followers (and maybe have given up and are using an auto-follower), I'd recommend tweetlater.com.  I don't use the site for anything other than vetting followers, but it does make reviewing dozens of new followers as easy as can be!

Thanks for the comment!  Down with MLM tweets!

RicoFigliolini
Posted on August 28th 2009 at 10:49AM
Great Post. I've only been tweeting for the last 3 months and getting better as I go. I agree with you about people replying and not referencing what their replying too. I also encourage people to cut the word count if they expect or want people to RT their messages. Editing the tweet so I can retweet becomes old.
NealSchaffer
Posted on August 28th 2009 at 12:50PM
Hi Augie,

Appreciate the advice on TweetLater.com.  I am willing to give them another try, as I don't think they had that functionality when I was using them.  How exactly do you use it?  Any advice is appreciated!  Thanks!!!

- Neal

AugieRay
Posted on August 28th 2009 at 3:51PM

Neal,

Using Tweetlater for vetting is very easy.  They collect all new followers and list them on a page.  You can see their bio, photo, last tweet, and follower numbers.  You can also a list of more recent tweets if you want.  Plus, you can get stats about what other tweetlater users have done with these folks.  Reporting spam is as easy as following, ignoring and blocking.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.  Tweetlater could use a UI and designer to improve the interface, but I still think it's a decent tool.

NealSchaffer
Posted on August 28th 2009 at 4:19PM
Augie,

Thank you so much for going above and beyond in your explanations.  I will give it a try and report back!

Peace,

Neal

KammyBurleson
Posted on September 23rd 2009 at 12:27AM
Hi Augie-

I came back to comment almost a month from when I first read and tweeted about this post.  I specifically had called out #2 for my tip of the week.  I think the people who disagree don't really understand the difference between thanking me for something I have done vs. thanking me for something you did.  YES, I would absolutely walk up to someone at a networking event and say "hey, thanks for posting in your store window the flyer about the workshop I'm putting on".  NO, I would not get up at the podium at the networking event (even if I were there for another reason) and say "Hey So&So, thanks for posting the flyer about my workshop...."

Let me give these people another perspective.  Today is the last day I retweet a particular person I follow even though she provides GREAT content.  Why?  because she's @reply thanked me (and everyone else) EVERY time I RT her- at least 3 times now.  The first time I shrug off, but now its just EMBARRASSING!  Do I want to pass on her content when its great, yes.  Do I want to be made to look like I'm some stalker fanatic in front of everyone else, no.  Find a different way to thank me such as commenter John suggests (find an opportunity to RT me, really I'm sure it shouldn't be so hard)

p.s. Augie, I would love to see your followup article idea on 'what doesn't get you followed', I think it would be great.


AugieRay
Posted on September 23rd 2009 at 7:44AM

KCB, Thanks for the nice comment.  I love the way you framed it--there's a difference between "thanking me for something I have done vs. thanking me for something you did."  I haven't quite stopped following anyone as you have for thanking me publicly, but I do agree it sometimes gets embarrassing.  Those "thanks for RTing me..." messages that include 6 or 7 Twitter handles at a time are so meaningless and a little embarrassing.

I think attitudes are changing as experience is gained on Twitter.  People use to welcome new followers (which I always saw as a big obvious pat on one's own back--"look everyone, I have a new friend!"), but that practice has all but stopped.  Maybe we'll get there, too, with public thanks for RTs.

Thanks for the comments!

KammyBurleson
Posted on September 23rd 2009 at 1:45PM

yes, I would much rather have someone say "Thanks to all those who retweeted me this week" (a la a podium announcement "thanks to all of you that posted my flyer") than actually be called out by name with a list of 7 other people.  Maybe I just don't need external validation like that .

For now, I am starting to take note of those people who practice this habit of thanking for every single RT (especially the ones with the long list of twitter handles) and thinking twice about RTing them at all.

Posted on September 19th 2010 at 11:39AM

The automated DM post-follow saying "Thanks for following. Check out..." is starting to annoy me. It's effectively spam. Please stop doing it.

Best wishes

Gavin Ward

PS Great, well thought-out article, AugieRay

Posted on March 11th 2011 at 2:32PM
Do not a lot of money to buy some real estate? Worry no more, because that's available to take the loans to work out such problems. Therefore take a commercial loan to buy all you want.
Posted on November 6th 2011 at 4:32PM

Excellent list. However, I do disagree to a certain extent with number one. Religion and politics are a big part of a personality. I think if religion and politics are discussed without condemning opposite opinions it can be a source of fruitful deep discussions.

Sex, however, should not be explicitly discussed on a person's twitter if they are trying to keep a professional profile. That is definitely a private matter!

The Outside View Blog
Posted on December 28th 2011 at 7:21PM

We're looking for help on the unfollow topic, an were wondering whether we could enlist the the experts in this site to help us out.

More specifically we're looking for
a) normal follow/unfollow percentages for blog type twitter feeds, and
A) reasons why our twitter feeds unfollow percentage is so high and how to lower it without growing our own feed to a too large degree

Here's some background.

We recently made a quick analysis on the unfollow percentages for our twitter account (@outsideviewblog) and noticed it being a whopping 55%! We've (me and none of the other contributors to the site) never noticed this type of percentage before in a business or strictly personal context.

Naturally, we being of the curious sort, we are looking for any reasons for this worrying figure (a new twitter trend, a huge move of 'follow baiters', us messing things up completely, etc.). Or could it be that, as you say, we should just follow everyone back who follows us?

We are gathering all info to: http://bit.ly/uQDm7i, (it has also some more info on the statistics).

If you have any insights on the topic, we would more than appreciate them!

Br,
Jussi P. @outsideviewblog
http://theoutsideviewblog.com