I love Twitter. I did the Facebook thing for awhile, but honestly it’s just too … not Twitter. I still have a Facebook account but hardly ever go there. I get most of my news from Twitter. I follow breaking stories in real time, and have access to some of the best journalism on the planet — stories and articles I probably would never see without Twitter. The best part, though, is it allows an introvert like me the opportunity to meet and interact with lots of different folks from all over the planet.
I built up a fairly sizeable following on Twitter during my motorsports journalism phase. Most of those folks are gone now as I rarely tweet about racing anymore, but taking their place were a lot of “book” folks. I suspect the three novels I wrote have something to do with that.
Lately, I don’t seem to be adding many new followers, and the ones who do pop into my Interactions column are … well … not always the type I’m inclined to follow back. For lack of a better introduction, here are the four types of followers I’m getting these days who I don’t follow back:
Spammers. Easy enough to spot as their account bio includes something like: “Buy X,XXX Twitter Followers for $XX!” and even though they may have a normal-sounding name and even an innocuous photo, the Twitter account is a string of letters like @AABBCCKKSSS, which I’m sure is how these spammers differentiate the fake accounts they create.
I block every one of these. I’m not sure why anyone would think having a bunch of fake followers is a good idea — maybe it helps their ego to see a big number? (and isn’t it ironic how the folks selling fake followers rarely have followers?).
Aggregators. These can be tricky, as at first glance the account looks pretty normal. Before following anyone back these days, though, I always take a look at their timeline to see what they tweet about. Aggregators tweet out tons of links, to websites, articles, products, reviews, etc. There is rarely anything personal in there, just a stream of links and RTs.
I don’t follow Aggregators back, and usually they drop out of sight after a few days — either covered by new followers or by unfollowing me. Sorry, but I’m looking to make new connections, to hear from real people — not get bombarded by links.
Wannabe Comedians. Often the Bio features some wry or self-deprecating statement, the hashtag #TeamFollowBack, and way too often the bio picture is a young woman in revealing clothes. The timeline is nothing but a stream of one-liners, often about their family or love life, often recycled (ahem, stolen) from other comedians including some famous folks, and way too often NSFW.
I don’t follow Wannabe Comedians back, and — like Aggregators — they drop out of sight after a few days. I do follow or have on my Entertainment List a few established comedians and that’s more than enough funny for me. (Please note Iliza Shlesinger, pictured, is not a “wannabe comedian.”)
Supporters. Wait, who doesn’t want more support, right? Of course I want support, but I don’t need to follow a “professional book marketer” who can’t spell ‘publickation’, or a how-to-write-a-book blogger who’s never published anything.
For the marketer types, a key tip-off is having “search engine” or “SEO” in the bio. as well as promises to make you the “Next Steven King.” The bloggers usually only tweet about their blog posts (“Writing Children As Fully Realized Characters in a Victorian Paranormal Romance”) or pithy quotes about writing (‘If a story is in you, it has got to come out.’ — William Faulkner). To be clear, these are generally not bad folks, but they also aren’t selling something I’m interested in buying for my timeline.