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If I Haven’t Followed You Back On Twitter, Here’s Why

Posted on 26 October 2010

If you’ve followed me on twitter and I haven’t followed you back, it’s probably because of one of (or a combination of) the following reasons:

  • I don’t find your tweets or your blog posts useful/relevant/interesting/funny. (That may sound brutal, but I expect you to treat me the same way.)
  • Your tweets are written mostly in text speak.
  • Your twitter bio is not compelling, or you haven’t written a bio at all (in which case, please read my blog post, “Convince Me With Your Twitter Bio. Please!”).
  • Your tweets have nothing to do with the topics you list in your bio (for example, I saw a bio by someone who claimed to be all about helping people find more followers on twitter, but all her tweets were about the financial markets).
  • Your profile picture does not clearly show your face.
  • You don’t tell me your real name somewhere in one of these three places: your twitter logon name, the “Name” field on your twitter profile page or your twitter bio. If your twitter account is your company’s corporate account, I want to know that I’m communicating with a real live human being with a name.
  • You haven’t listed a website address, or the address you do list is a snipped address (e.g. bit.ly), which makes me wary of clicking on it.
  • You haven’t posted any tweets at all, or you haven’t posted a tweet in ages.
  • You’re following a LOT more people than are following you – that suggests to me that you’re spammy and you follow twitter accounts indiscriminately.
  • Most of your tweets are links to websites or blog posts – there’s no conversation or engagement (i.e. there are no @ replies or RTs).
  • Most of your tweets are pushy sales messages for your products or services.
  • Most of your tweets are inspirational quotes by other people. I can find those quotes elsewhere, thanks; on twitter, I’d rather read about YOUR life, opinions, experiences…
  • Most of your tweets are @ replies to people I don’t follow. Sorry, I’m not interested in reading only half of the conversation (especially when your half of the conversation is limited to “Thx”).
  • You’ve sent the same pushy promotional message as an @ message to multiple people (that’s spam).
  • You say in your bio that you don’t read DMs.

Readers, is there anything you’d like to add to this list? (Note: I vet all comments before I publish them, and I reserve the right to delete spam.)

Oh, and some further thoughts, added on November 3:

  • You tweet about where you’ve just become mayor of on Foursquare. I don’t care. Violently.
  • All or most of your tweets are written in a language I don’t understand.
  • You tweet that you just liked a YouTube video.
  • You’ve automated/synchronised all your social media activities, so long updates that you post on other sites automatically appear on twitter. But they’re longer than 140 characters so they get cut off mid…

And a further thought on December 1:

  • You use the TrueTwit validation service to make it hard for people to follow you.


10 responses to If I Haven’t Followed You Back On Twitter, Here’s Why

  • [...] In related news, see my blog post titled “If I’m Not Following You Back On Twitter, Here’s Why”. Category: General, Twitter Tags: “auto-dms on twitter”, auto-dms, [...]

  • Alison says:

    I’ve just had someone follow me “because I look hot”. Flattering but creepy. His photo is off an oiled torso who I strongly suspect is not him! I won’t be following him back.

  • Jack says:

    Agree with most of your reasons. I look at the volume of their tweets, and if it is in the tens of thousands, that is worrying so I check the timeline to see what I would be getting.

    If most of them are @ replies, that’s actually fine because it won’t show up on my timeline if I’m not following both parties.

    I have unfollowed one of two people who used Twitter like two friends gabbing in the ladies room. Some conversations are best left to email or IM!

    • kay says:

      Thanks Jack – it’s good to know I’m not the only person who has a list (whether mental or written) of criteria for deciding whether or not to follow people back.

  • Kay – you asked if people found your post above rude.

    Personally, I don’t but then my philosophy is much like yours. I follow local people (as long as there tweet stream is not hateful or overly vulgar) but don’t expect them necessarily to follow me back (I tweet a lot!!).

    Otherwise, I discriminate as to who I follow simply due to volume. I’m interested in conversation so prefer to follow people who engage.

    Many of your points would be on my list – if I had one.

    If I follow someone who is “famous” it doesn’t bother me that they don’t follow me back.

    I try as much as possible to respond to everyone who sends me an @ reply, and to acknowledge people who retweet my tweets.

    I’ve enjoyed all the Twitter tips and tricks you’ve taken the time to post to your website.

  • Huw Sayer says:

    The question is: Does anyone care whether you follow them back or not?

    Just because someone clicks the follow button doesn’t mean they a) will actively follow you, engage with you or RT you, b) doesn’t mean they want you to automatically follow back.

    Just because someone doesn’t click the follow button doesn’t mean they are paying attention to some of what you say (and might even be more engaged than those who just click the follow button and think that means they are following).

    Your point about txt mssging seems a bit snobby – but that’s your choice – don’t expect others not 2 use it just 2 please U – I tweet as I please and for my pleasure – if you like it fine – if you don’t that’s your business.

    Otherwise an interesting blog – cheers
    H

    PS: I never, ever look at who is *following* me – and I don’t know or care when people stop *following* me – twitter, for me is not a numbers game – its about richness and diversity of engagement.

    • kay says:

      Thanks for your comments, Huw. Based on many blog posts I’ve read and and conversations I’ve seen on twitter, it seems that lots of people do care whether or not people follow them back. The issue provokes vigorous debate. Some people argue that you should follow back everyone who follows you “because that’s just common courtesy”, but I think that’s a ridiculous reason to follow someone. Personally, I’m not concerned if someone I follow chooses not to follow me back – they’re entitled to their reasons, just as I’m entitled to my reasons for not following someone back.
      I’m certainly not saying that I expect people not to use text messaging, just to please me – I’m simply saying that if people DO use lots of text speak in their tweets (their choice), I probably won’t follow them back (my choice).
      When someone follows me, I look at their profile page (and sometimes their website) to decide whether or not to follow them back. I agree, it’s not about the quantity – the whole point of this blog post is that I’m more concerned about the quality.

      • Huw Sayer says:

        I agree that this instant “follaback” syndrome is ridiculous – (I am also very aware how polarised this discussion can become – used ‘you’ in generic sense – did not mean you specifically). I am also not concerned with who follows me – partly because so many people simply seem to be what I call “scalp-hunters”.

        Automatic follaback also seems to confuse passive opt-in with active engagement. Saw somewhere that one of the big papers (poss NY Times) has more twitter followers than readers. What the article did not mention was that most of those who have opted in to follow probably don’t actually read or respond to any of the NYT tweets – whereas you can be sure that someone who buys the paper is engaged in at least some of its content. The real test is to look at the level of comments and RTs (real influence lies in the RT not the original tweet).

        Quite understand your choice on txt style tweets – guess what it really boils down to is ease of communication – I use some abbreviations to save space but I can’t do the whole txt lingo like a teenager and so would no more follow someone who used that extreme form of txt than I would follow someone who only tweeted in any language I do not understand.

        Think you are also quite right to have good reasons (personal and considered) for following or not following – too many people lack discrimination. I limit the number of people I follow (mainly to local people of interest) and use lists to tap into specific areas of interest beyond local conversations. As I have said elsewhere, twitter is a means of communication – how and why you use it is entirely up to you (the ends influence the means).

        Best wishes

        H
        PS: Bashed out in a rush – hope it makes sense – must dash.

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