My own list.
As most folks who follow me have discovered (if they’ve bothered to look), I don’t automatically reciprocate follows. I check out new followers before I follow them. I also attempt to keep the number of people I follow down to a manageable count of 100 or so. That’s because I actually read the tweets that the people I follow post. And I interact with them.
I take Twitter seriously and have been doing so for the past 2 years. And with all the media attention it’s been getting lately, it bugs the hell out of me that people are trying to use Twitter as a meaningless chat room where the only thing that matters is how many people follow them.
So I’ve come up with my own list of reasons why I won’t follow people on Twitter. If you’ve recently started following me and I haven’t followed you back, here’s why.
- You’ve posted less than 5 tweets and/or your bio is incomplete. How am I supposed to get an idea of what you’re all about if I can’t see your tweet stream? And who are you? Unless I know a little more about you, I’m not likely to follow you.
- You’ve posted less than 10 tweets and more than half of them are links to your own content on the Web. You might think that Twitter is a good place to toot your own horn and it could be — if your content is worth reading. I’ll follow @NYTimes and @NPRNews, which consistently tweet just links to their own content. But unless your content is as good as theirs, don’t expect me to follow you.
- Your tweets add absolutely nothing of value to my day. Make me laugh or smile or see similarities between your life and mine. Teach me something. Show me something I’ve never seen. Give me a link to some content of real value. Help me understand the world. Be an engaging friend that can do more than use @replies to offer words of wisdom like “That’s cool!” or “Gr8!” or “LOL!”
- You follow more than five times the number of people who follow you. First of all, I don’t believe you actually read the tweets of all those people. Second, the only people who follow like crazy and get only a handful of reciprocal followers are either spammers or complete losers. Why would I follow either one?
- You consistently refuse to use standard spelling in short tweets. No, the letter b is not an acceptable alternative to the word be and the word sounds is not spelled sounz. Yes, I understand these are txt message abbreviations, but I see no reason for it in a tweet shorter than 100 characters when there’s plenty of room to spell it out, in English. I don’t think it’s funny or cute. I think it’s immature and a sad statement on our education system.
- You end 75% or more of your tweets with an exclamation point. Are you really that excited about the sandwich you’re eating? Or the episode of Heroes/Lost/24/American Idol/fill-in-the-blank that you’re watching on television? If so, I’m sorry to hear that. There’s life beyond your tweet and the rest of us don’t find every one of your tweeted utterances exciting enough to warrant this particular type of punctuation. (See above comment re: education system.)
- You consistently tweet very long stories by posting 4 or more consecutive tweets, each ending in “…” to indicate that there’s more to come. Unless the story has immediate value to your followers, save it for your blog. Twitter is microblogging. That’s 140 characters.
- More than 50% of your tweets are about your follower count or tweet count or Twitter stats as calculated by yet another Twitter-based Web service. Does it really matter how many people follow you on Twitter? Do you really think all of them are actually reading every tweet you send out? Get a grip — and a life. And read this.
- You are apparently stalking me. That’s how it looks, anyway. You use @replies to make mindless comments about my tweets that really don’t start or add anything to a discussion. And you do it all the time. Stop it. It’s freaking me out. If you keep it up, I’ll likely block you.
- I’ve followed you and you’ve sent me an automated direct message or @reply. That’s an immediate unfollow in my book. It’ll also get you reported as a spammer to the folks who run Twitter.
Back in January, I linked to an article on Mashable titled, “FOLLOW FAIL: The Top 10 Reasons I will Not Follow You in Return on Twitter.” On reviewing the Mashable piece after I wrote the above, I realized that many of my gripes are the same as Atherton Bartelby‘s. I’m just apparently a lot pickier and more sarcastic about the way I present them. Still, I hope you’ll go read his take on this when you’re finished here.
And one more thing…don’t be offended if I don’t follow you or if I stop following you. It’s [usually] nothing personal. I only have so many hours in a day and a lot of that is taken up with work. Remember, I can only follow around 100 or so Twitter users before being overwhelmed.
I want my Twitter experience to be high-quality. I want it to build relationships. I want to learn from it. Just because I don’t follow you doesn’t mean I don’t like you. It just means you’re not making the “Top 100” on my Twitter user list. That doesn’t mean you’re not on the top of someone else’s Twitter user list. You’re just not on mine.
And let’s face it: does it really matter anyway?