Am I Being Stalked on Twitter?

Too many @replies from a Twitter user has me wondering.

I’ve been using Twitter since March 20, 2007 (with hat tip to @jebro for his Twitter API solution for getting that exact date) — that’s about a year and a half now. I follow only 80+ people and currently have 300+ followers. I’ve tweeted over 7,700 times.

Although I’m the author of a bunch of books, I’m not a “celebrity author.” I tweet about the things in my life, which include using computers (which is what I write about), flying helicopters (which is my side business), taking photos (which is my hobby), writing, raising chickens, riding horses, etc. I tweet in full sentences and don’t go for any of that txt msg abbreviation stuff. My blog posts are automatically tweeted, as well as photos and other information I send to BrightKite and TwitPic.

I don’t think my tweets are boring, but I also don’t think they make for fascinating reading.

I really do follow the people I follow. That means that I read what they tweet. That’s why there’s only 87 of them. It would be tough to follow many more. I reply to many tweets directed at me with an @mlanger lead, but not all of them. Sometimes I just don’t have anything to say in response. But I also reply to other tweets when I have something to say that’s related.

I like my Twitter friends. They live all over the world. I hope to meet some of them in person some day.

But lately I’ve picked up a follower who seems to hang on my every tweet. This person sends me an @reply to almost every tweet I send out that isn’t a reply to someone else. Sometimes, this person sends several @replies directed to me in a row, related to tweets I made hours ago — or the previous day. Since I tweet 20-40 times a day, it’s tough to remember what the @reply is replying about.

As I mentioned, I don’t think my tweets are particularly interesting. I get responses from a lot of Twitter friends throughout an average day, but this particular follower replies 10 to 20 times a day. That’s at least 5 times more than any of my other followers.

It’s starting to really freak me out.

I’ve actually considered blocking this person so he or she does not see my tweets. I don’t follow this person, mostly because this person’s tweets are all meaningless @replies to other people he or she follows.

Now I know this person is going to read this — after all, all my blog posts are being tweeted — and I don’t want to hurt this person’s feelings. But I really do want this person to stop @replying so often. Maybe even stop following me.

After all, I’m really not that interesting.

4 thoughts on “Am I Being Stalked on Twitter?

  1. I know you wrote this back in 2008, but it totally resonates with what I’m dealing with now. This guy on Twitter responds to almost every one of my Tweets. He’s offered to let me sleep on his couch (twice). He bought me concert tickets that I did not ask for. He feels that he needs to counsel me on my life and behavior constantly. He’s publicly tweeted full names of people he knows that he thinks I might like. He is always asking me where I am located (specifically) & lets me know that he knows what city I am in (I’ve fixed that). I try to keep things light. Or sometimes I just ignore him, especially when I have no idea what he’s responding to (that happens a lot). I never give him any specific info about my location. I’ve never made an issue of anything he’s done except that I asked him in a DM to please not tweet full names on people on my timeline.
    Twitter used to be fun. It was just a place I’d go to vent, share info., get info., make jokes, follow bands I like. I deactivated my Facebook account over a year ago because of privacy issues and people knowing too much about my business. I was digging Twitter because I have no friends, coworkers, relatives, acquaintances or anything there. It was just a place to hang and be anonymous. Now I feel like I’m on Facebook again. Only now its kind of creepy because a stranger seems to be following my every tweet.
    I could block him, but then he could just get another Twitter ID and still follow me as my account is public. I’ve thought about telling him how I feel but think it might escalate his behavior. Have looked in the HELP section of Twitter for advice (kind of useless). I’ve thought about just deactivating the account and starting over.
    I know you’re probably really busy but if you have any advice, I’d appreciate it.
    And thanks for the blog on this. I feel a little better that I’m not alone.

    • This is intolerable. Seriously.

      First of all, block the guy. Block anyone who annoys you in any way. Do not follow him/her. Do not tell him/her that you are blocking him/her. Don’t worry about him creating a new profile. You can block that, too.

      Next, NEVER communicate via Twitter or other method with anyone who is bothering you. Doing so just encourages them to keep it up.

      Don’t follow anyone who doesn’t legitimately interest you. Reciprocating follows is a bad idea. Period.

      Basically, what I’m saying is to ignore this person and he should go away.

      Additional safety measures: Do NOT tweet your location if you think you’re being stalked. Keep your profile location general. For example, if you live in Quincy, WA, just say you live in Washington. Don’t tweet about vacations and days away from home. Don’t tweet about where you’re planning to be.

      If things get bad, you can make your tweets private. But I don’t recommend that. You’ll never meet anyone new.

      Good luck to you!

      • Thank you so much for replying. You’re probably a very busy person so it is appreciated. Lots of good advice here. I’m going to BLOCK him. You’re absolutely right. If he tries to follow me again I’ll be able to figure it out. Thanks again. It was helpful to be able to vent this situation too!
        You have a great blog, by the way :)

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