My Approach to Following Accounts on Twitter

(last updated 9/9/2016)

When it first got going, I was one of the “What’s the point of Twitter?” people. But, gradually, I found it more interesting, and, since late 2012, have been an avid participant.

I like real followers. I regularly purge fake followers and inactive followers except for a few friends/relatives who like to read but not participate. ManageFlitter is a useful tool for managing Twitter followers. However it doesn’t identify obvious spam accounts with profiles like this:

I do not intend to share pic on Twitter however you can add my snapchat: XXXX so I am able to send you my pictures etc.

or

Goт мy ғιrѕт oғғer тodαy ғroм 100ĸғollowerѕ INC, GET 10,000 Twιттer Followerѕ ғor $39, αт http://bit.ly/XXXXXXX

I now report profiles like to Twitter as spam accounts before I block them. If you add me to a list, I block you.

I’m not the kind to follow back everyone. I don’t follow (or immediately unfollow and sometimes block) any of the following kinds of accounts:

  • Accounts that are sexist, racist, religiously fanatical, gun-loving, #RWNJ (RightWingNutJob), #GamerGate (if you don’t know about this, you really don’t want to know about this), pro-puppy (ditto), political bots (people obviously only trying to make trouble).
  • Block any account with a gun in their profile or background picture.
  • Commercial-only accounts (except for those related to interesting books, movies, restaurants or places to visit), or accounts by individuals that seem only to link to “special deals.” Some of these individual accounts have perfectly-reasonable bios, but when you read the tweets, it’s clear these “individuals” have nothing real to say.
  • Accounts with an “egg” icon, a fish-face photo, a porn-like photo or no biographical description. I want to know something about the people I’m following. If you can’t say something about yourself or upload a photo, how do I know you’re not just a bot? Twitter should be interactive – why should we interact? Occasionally, I do follow egg/no bio accounts when they’ve made some interesting tweets.
  • Trolls (and, yes, sometimes even accounts I’d agree with on paper are trolls who are only there to stir things up).
  • Any tweet that’s just a link gets its account blocked and reported because often these are links to viruses.
  • People I know IRL and would rather not engage with on Twitter. It’s a free country.
  • People who use “tools” that spam people with direct messages (which are an annoying “feature” of Twitter) like http://www.twitterautofollowback.com/. Anyone dumb enough to use tools that spam aren’t people I want to deal with. I generally delete anyone who DMs me or who primarily posts how many people have followed/unfollowed them.

While I’m very active on #uniteblue, I don’t automatically follow-back because some people who are members of #uniteblue fall under one of the above categories.

I also think demanding a follow back or visiting a link is silly. I appreciate follow backs but don’t demand them. I might be too outspoken for many and that’s fine.

The single best way to guarantee that I’ll unfollow you is to send me a DM. Hate DMs on Twitter, they’re annoying.

Basically, when I run into people I’d rather not follow, I unfollow them and sometimes I block them and move on. If they’re overly abusive, commercial, or pornographic, I also report them to Twitter.

I do not read DMs and have said even so in my Twitter bio. They are a horrific waste of time. With only a few exceptions, they’ve been spam from a Twitter app or harassment. I’m at the point where I unfollow accounts which send out DMs.

I’m glad there are now tools to make blocking abuse accounts much easier. If you’re interested in learning more about blocking sock puppets, visit BlockTogether. You can create block lists and share them if you’d like to. If you got ensnared in the whole #GamerGate mess, follow GGAutoBlocker on Twitter.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

One Reply to “My Approach to Following Accounts on Twitter”

  1. What a refreshing & brutally frank(in a good way) statement. As a newer tweeter you've given a great primer in creating my own follow-back policy.

    Great read!

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