Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 29, 201011:52 PM

The Followship Of Twitter

Full disclosure: I'm not the best at Twitter.

Currently, when I put personal and professional time and effort into my online efforts, I prefer the focus to be on this Blog and the Podcast of the same name. It fits more appropriately into the over-arching marketing strategy of Twist Image and - on a personal level - I love to write and speak, so these platforms and channels just "feel better." I use Twitter as a place to share smaller ideas, links and mind stuff that doesn't require more in-depth analysis. I use Twitter as a place to see what is being said about Twist Image, Six Pixels of Separation (Blog, Podcast and book), our clients and team members. I use Twitter as a place to meet new and like-minded people. I use Twitter as a place to keep tabs on friends, acquaintances and potential opportunities. You may be using Twitter for others things (and that's just fine). Personally, I'm in awe (daily) of how people like Chris Brogan, Scott Stratten and Amber Naslund leverage Twitter. It's omnipresent in their lives, and seems to be adding tremendous value to their personal and professional development.

Just because you use it a certain way, it doesn't mean that you don't see the bigger picture. 

Everyone makes choices about how they use Twitter. I've been fairly transparent about how I use it (more on that here: Being A Twitter Snob Is A Good Thing, The Trouble With Twitter - Confessions Of A Twitter Snob and The Dirty Little Secret Of The Twitter Elite). I also put a lot of time and energy into seeing who I am interested in following. While some may argue that I am losing out and missing the point of Twitter, it sure doesn't feel that way to me. Each day I meet more and more interesting and diverse people... I'm simply comfortable knowing that there isn't enough time in the day to meet everybody (as much as I would like to). That being said, there are certain things on Twitter that are almost instant "no follow" for me.

The type of people I will never follow on Twitter...

  • No bio. If you can't even bother to write 140 characters about who you are and why anyone should connect with you, then ask yourself, "why would anyone follow me?"
  • No picture. This is baseline stuff. It's an online social network. I'd like to know that I'm connecting to a fellow human being and I'd like to know what you look like.
  • Not in the same language(s) I speak. While I can appreciate that you are competent in English and interested in following me, I simply don't have the skills to follow someone who tweets in a language I don't speak.
  • Playahz. Anyone who changes their "s" to a "z" doesn't get followed. I've seen bios like: "followz me for the goodz." And all I can think is, "ummm... no." I get that it's friendly and fun... it's just not my style.
  • MLM. I'm sure there are many happy Multi-Level Marketers who see the Internet and Twitter as an amazing business opportunity. More power to you, but it's simply not an area of interest to me and the majority of tweets are self-serving.
  • Get rich quick. From helping someone get more followers to making millions online, I'm simply not interested in these types of tweets.
  • Life coach. Tweets filled with inspirational quotes and peppered with "buy my system" messages are real turn-offs. While I value those who work in professional development, the majority of life coaches I come across on Twitter are pretty snake-oil salespeople-like.
  • Motivating women to be their best. I'm all about equality. Period. From race and gender to sexual preference, but I'm not interested in tweets to empower women... though I am sure that there are many women who will be. I just don't happen to be one of them.
  • I'm a nice person. If you have to say - right off the bat - in your bio that you're a nice person, that's a personal red flag. I'm sure you are very nice, but use the limited space to tell me what you're about and what you're up to. It's like a business saying they have "integrity." If you have to say it, you usually don't have it.
  • If you follow me, I will follow you back. I see this more and more in bios on Twitter. That's a turn-off. I want to follow people of quality not quantity. I'm not looking for more followers or to follow more people. I'm looking for quality people to connect to. Not number jumpers.
  • Social Media Guru. So much has been written about the "Social Media Guru." I'm fine following people who have self-anointed themselves like this. That being said, I won't follow any guru, expert or specialist who only has 40 followers. If you're an expert (in whatever industry you serve), you should have more people interested in what you have to say... especially if what you have to say is about how to engage people using Social Media.
  • Realtors. No offense to the realtors of this world, but the majority of them are just leveraging Twitter to post their listings or scour for more opportunities. If that's working for you, then great. I'm not looking to buy a home or a commercial property. There are also a slew of realtors who are interesting and use Twitter to connect in a more human way to the mass populous (those folks are great and should be followed!).
  • If you don't follow anyone back. If you don't follow anyone back (we see this with a lot of celebrities and television personalities), it's hard for me to be interested in following you. The message I'm hearing is, "this is a one-way broadcast" and I'm not interested in any interaction. As with everything, there are exceptions to this, but if you're on Twitter, it would be wise to look at it as something more than another blow horn.

What are your "no follow" rules?

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Phil Simon
    Mitch Joel

    Oh, gosh, Mitch.... This is a great list but let me add those who tweet more than 30 times in a four minute period. This list rocks. I'm not a huge fan of typos in bios either, not to be snobby or anything.

    Reply
  • Posted by Steve Woodruff
    Mitch Joel

    Any mention of The Law of Attraction

    Reply
  • Posted by Dennis Callahan
    Mitch Joel

    Nice list. A couple of others that come to mind are:

    People who follow you hoping that you’ll follow back. Then, if you don’t follow back, they unfollow you and follow you back again. How is this supposed to entice me to follow this person?

    People who follow you - you follow them back, then they unfollow you. I’m guessing this is about collecting followers…I’m not sure?

    Reply
  • Posted by Patti
    Mitch Joel

    If you follow more than a thousand people, it's a pretty good bet all you're trying to do with your twitter account is sell me something, so I won't follow you back. Also, since I only do business locally, I won't follow anyone outside my local area.

    Reply
    • Posted by john
      john

      I disagree, there are many celebs & "normal people" that follow a ton of people but are not selling anything.

      Reply
    • Posted by Tim
      Mitch Joel

      So what you're saying is, if you won't follow anyone outside your own area, you're only in it for business... Therefore I probably wouldn't follow you.

      There are tons of great people outside your own area that you can probably learn a lot from. Twitter is a great place for news and education, but you won't get much of it if you only follow people from your own geographic area.

      Reply
    • I follow several thousand people - not trying to sell anything at all. They're simply interesting. On top of that, while knowing your local community is critical I get much value out of following those who are interesting in other parts of the world. It enables me to have a more global and diverse perspective.

      Reply
  • Posted by Shane
    Mitch Joel

    Awesome post, Mitch.

    I'd add that I won't follow people who only use Twitter to broadcast their activity elsewhere (Foursquare, Gowalla, Instagram, what have you). Also, people who just retweet mentions of themself. I hate those people.

    Reply
    • Posted by Judy Gombita
      Judy Gombita

      I am so with you Shane on the people who syndicate their geo-location updates into Twitter. If I wanted to be on Foursquare, Gowalla, etc., I would SIGN UP for the platform and/or connect with you there. (But the arguments I get from people saying how much the local businesses appreciate them pushing the updates into Twitter, which is so much more populated than the originating platform.) Ergo, I don't follow (back) anyone who has a stream of geo-location updates in their Twitterstream, and I know unfollow folks who suddenly get the bug--even though by all account these geo-location services are flatlining (and in some cases decreasing) in terms of number of users.

      The other practice I really don't like is when I see a "twibe" of people who seem to spend 80 per cent of their time promoting one another's blog posts (in addition to including the same kudos to this same group of people, usually on a revolving basis, on their own blog posts). The Twitter world is so big and rich--can't you find some new people and ideas to spend your Twitter real estate upon?

      Pretty thoughtful list, Mitch. My only disagreement would be your "Motivating women to be their best" one, as several of my follows have a distincly female focus (e.g., @the womensmuseum @illusionists @similarcircles). But then I'm female and look to female influencers. You are male and (even if you are a big proponent of equality, which I believe you are), it's pretty obvious that the majority of your influencers are male, based on whom you write about, interview and tweet back and forth with. But it's your online space and profile, so that's fine.

      Cheers,
      Judy

      Reply
    • It's funny... I don't mind tweets like that when they are from people I am really interested in.

      Reply
      • Posted by Rhys
        Mitch Joel

        As long as they dont check in at the train station every morning and every evening. What a waste of my life reading that!

        Reply
  • I completely agree with your list, Mitch. I am an active tweeter as I use Twitter as a means to promote my business by interacting with real people and allowing them to make up their own mind whether they want to interact with me. So I really hate the followers who come out of nowhere telling me how they will improve my life (sell more, get rich quick, motto for the day etc) when they don't know me from Adam!!

    And I'm definitely with you on the 'Motivating Women' types as they annoy me more than anything - I want to be motivated as a person, not based on the gender I am!

    Reply
  • Posted by Brandi
    Mitch Joel

    To your awesome list I'll add someone who RTs a tweet of someone RTing them. Drives. Me. Nuts.

    Reply
    • Posted by Joyce
      Joyce

      I don't follow people who separate. their. comments.

      Reply
      • Posted by Joyce
        Joyce

        It boggles the mind that anyone would track who un-follows them.

        Reply
        • I wouldn't even know how to track who is unfollowing me. Is there a tool that does this?

          Reply
          • Posted by Patrick Flynn
            Patrick Flynn

            Check out who.unfollowed.me. It will tell you who's unfollowed you from one time to the next.

            I find this useful to cull folks who folllowed me, then unfollowed once I follow back. To me that's just a disingenuous way to build their own numbers without engaging in any attempt at communicating.

            Loved the post.

            Reply
  • Posted by Kneale Mann
    Mitch Joel

    Auto DMs

    DMs asking for verification

    Disproportionate follow/follower numbers - we all watch numbers, let's stop lying.

    Broadcast-only streams

    Do as I say, not as I do

    People who don't actually engage like an actual human

    Reply
  • Posted by Michael
    Mitch Joel

    This is a great post. I always laugh when people refer to themselves as a guru. I mean, seriously?!

    Reply
  • Posted by Michael Taggart
    Mitch Joel

    People who constantly dole out wisdom (usually a variation on something Seth Godin said years ago). I had to unfollow Umair Haque for this reason. It's okay in small doses but tiring, robotic and impersonal when it's non-stop.

    Simon Sinek, BRILLIANT though he is, is also guily of this - look: http://twitter.com/simonsinek It's great when you're giving a talk but it doesn't work on Twitter.

    Reply
  • Posted by Steve Fleck
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch - it's all commonsense stuff. Things that in the REAL world you would never do, but somehow when on-line people feel they can toss all that right out the window . . . or perhaps more simply said, commonsense is uncommon!

    Reply
  • Posted by Kenny Silva
    Mitch Joel

    I agree with all but one point. I'm a Realtor. Go check my stream... ;)

    Reply
  • Posted by Nic Oliver
    Mitch Joel

    Hi Mitch and season's greetings!

    Great post; my betes noir would be people who use Twitter for the hard sell, the self styled "gurus" and "experts" as alluded to above, those who use Twitter as a dating agency and spammers.

    Have a peaceful, prosperous and fulfilling 2011,

    Nic

    Reply
  • Posted by mike_mcgrail
    Mitch Joel

    I pretty much have the same policies that you outline here Mitch. I don't follow everyone that (kindly) follows me and I never will, it's impossible to manage if you do. I use a number of lists to keep track of interesting people and businesses, news, sport etc. Time is so precious that twitter use needs to be truly useful.

    Don't get me started on 'life coaches'!

    Nice skillz Mitch...

    Reply
  • Posted by Kyle Roussel
    Mitch Joel

    I always check out somebody's stream before following. If there's nothing but retweets of other people's stuff (i.e., nothing personally revealing about the person), they're not getting followed. Similarly, somebody who isn't interactive with others doesn't get followed by me except in the case where, after reviewing their twitter stream, their tweets are informative, funny, interesting, etc.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Call me an elitist but I don't follow topless women. :-)

    Reply
  • Posted by Chris Eh Young
    Mitch Joel

    I'm with you on most points with the exception of one realtor. While I agree that 99% of realtors are listing machines, I have become very good friends and business associates with one particular realtor who is leveraging social media to break down the stereotypes of realtors. He is humanizing and building a business based on relationships and information. He doesn't even put his picture on his listings, he puts his reputation and knowledge instead.

    The other type of Tweeter I won't follow is the one who asks for a favour as their first interaction with you. It happens a lot.

    Auto DMs with Facebook invites are a huge turn off to me too.

    Reply
    • Posted by Sam Title
      Mitch Joel

      I'd love to know who that realtor is Chris! If he isn't already, he'll be WAY ahead of the pack in the online world of real estate. Most I've seen have been terrible! I've even DMed a few on occasion to let them know...no answers..."unfollow". (I also let the good ones know too.)

      Mitch's list is spot on in most areas. Not so sure about the "Nice Person" one. I am one...have noted as much in my bio; but I've noted a few other things too. Being nice is a good human quality. I like to think I walk the talk...or bio in this case.

      Happy New Year everyone!

      Sam "nice guy and other stuff" Title
      @samtitle

      Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Protected tweets. First, I want to see your tweets so I know if I am interested, how can I if they are protected?

    Reply
    • Mitch Joel

      Hit "post" too soon. Sorry:

      Second, what are you tweeting that is so special it's a "members-only" thing? Goes against the point of twitter, IMO.

      Reply
      • Posted by Bert Webb
        Bert Webb

        Agreed! This is social media. Protecting your tweets is not very social.

        Reply
        • Posted by Victoria
          Victoria

          Some folks protect their tweets because they only wish to give their updates to family and friends. Also, knowing that your boss, professor or colleague walk the within the same (virtual) hallowed hall ways may impede freedom of speech.

          Reply
          • Posted by Ragnar Karlsson
            Mitch Joel

            As long as its clear who they are from their public profile, then a protected twitter stream isn't as undesirable.

            However this is rarely the case as often those who have set their stream to private fall under the no/uninformative bio rule.

            Reply
            • Posted by Victoria
              Victoria

              No it doesn't. *looks to the left, looks to the right*

              Sidebar:
              I acknowlege that I hit the post button too quickly in the aforementioned comment above-honest mistake. Please excuse the grammatical mistake.

              Reply
    • Posted by Victoria
      Victoria

      For a while, I had no other choice than locking my accout. Necrophiliacs and guys with foot fetishes were following me. One taunted me to photograph my pinky toe. This drove me to tears.

      Reply
  • Posted by Ayngelina
    Mitch Joel

    I share many of the same criteria and then I also look at their tweets, if they are only pushing our their work and not sharing others I don't follow as they are just using Twitter as an announcement board.

    Reply
  • Posted by Andrea
    Mitch Joel

    Great list Mitch! My pet peeve is people who don't respond. I get that they may have oh-so many people tweeting at them, but when I'm helping to promote you through RTs and directing questions/comments at you through @ messages, a response (or simple "thanks") once in a while would be nice.

    Reply
  • Posted by Snowflake Rosen
    Snowflake Rosen

    Celebutantes.

    Reply
  • Great post as usual! For me there are some sort of techniques where I can have around 100 followers per day. If there is a good source I can come up to around 400 followers per day. But I don't follow back to people who follows me.

    Reply
  • Posted by Jason
    Mitch Joel

    My biggest thing is people who follow me that I can obviously tell are just following in an attempt to pump their business. A realtor in California when I live in Nashville? I don't care about great deals on homes in Cali. A pool installation company in Vermont? Um...it's warm enough to have pools there? ;)

    Reply
  • Posted by tednation
    tednation

    Athletes and celebrities are generally very boring

    Reply
  • Posted by Jesse
    Mitch Joel

    Anyone who tweets a steady stream of "inspirational quotes" (usually better described as "windy old platitudes"). Once in a while is bearable, but multiple times a day, day after day, is too much. No one interacts that way in real life, so why do it on Twitter?

    I do follow a few celebs & athletes with high follower/following ratios, but only because I find their tweets entertaining or informative; I don't expect interaction from them any more than if I were watching them on TV. But some run-of-the-mill blogger with a ratio of 7,351 to 27 - not interested.

    Reply
  • Posted by Elissa
    Mitch Joel

    Love this post! I would also add: one way blasters. Whenever I scope out someone I would potentially follow, I look at how they tweet. Are they one-way blasters? If so, I'm not interested. Do they connect with their followers with meaningful tweets? Then I'm more likely to follow.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ken Mueller
    Mitch Joel

    You've pretty much hit the nail on the head for me, and I use Twitter for both personal and professional reasons.

    Reply
  • Posted by Andrei Petrik
    Mitch Joel

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    Those are great rules. I've implemented most of them into my filter. You can sum up most of the rules into one category, 'self-serving'. I usually quickly scan user's Twitter stream and bio, and if I see too much repetitive, 'hard sell' junk and too many inspirational quotes I move on.

    Other filters I use to decide before I follow someone are:

    First and Last name (and the rest of the bio): no name = I'm unlikely to follow you. Unless of course you're a brand, organization or media outlet I'm interested in hearing from.

    Too Much Boasting: I'm turned off when I see too much trash talk and boasting about how they got drunk for the 71st night in the row, or that they just bought $1200 pair of jeans with their daddy's money.

    Free Stuff: anyone who just replies to you out of the blue and offers a free ebook, free report, etc.

    Reply
  • Posted by Tim Baran
    Mitch Joel

    I will follow those who meaningfully engage me. The operative word being "meaningfully" :-) There are exceptions - those who I admire and can learn from and some industry related folks

    Reply
  • Posted by Rahaf Harfoush
    Mitch Joel

    Maybe it's just me, but I unfollow people who live-tweet constantly from random conferences they are at. One or two live tweets fine, but I would prefer a well thought out blog post instead of cluttering my time line with snippets of someone's presentation which lacks context.

    Reply
  • Posted by Naomi Niles
    Mitch Joel

    I'd say mine are about the same as yours. Lately I've been unfollowing people who unfollow me unless they have something I'm really really interested in hearing from them/being educated about.

    I find it rather off-putting to follow "divas/divos" though.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Nice list Mitch. I agree with Phil. I have had to "unfollow" some that were recommended to me because they tweeted too much. It's annoying and I received most of the tweets first person, so I really didn't need them!

    Reply
  • Posted by Jon
    Mitch Joel

    I wont follow people who just use Twitter to stalk celebrities. I despair at the fact it is hard enough to open a newspaper or switch on the TV without being bombarded by the latest person searching for their 15 minutes, so why would I be interested in other people obsessing with them!

    Reply
  • Posted by Eric Puister
    Mitch Joel

    I agree with most points, except that having a small following does not necessarily mean that you have no idea about how social media work. For instance, if you are quite well-read into sm-research material it does not necessarily mean that you are a very keen user. If I quote Rene Jansen, who is involved in social media research at Amsterdam University: 'When you are a doctor, you don't need to try out your medicine on yourself before you are able to advise on it'

    I completely agree with you that quality is more important than quality. If Lance Armstrong said he was a social media expert, would you believe him simply judging by his number of followers? After all, many followers hook up, simply out of self interest, or because he is well known.

    However, I follow a couple of people who have published interesting ideas on social media, but who only have a small following. They like to observe and learn about them, rather than participate in them.

    Does that make them gurus? Well, the word guru I guess is a misnomer here, and calling yourself that is presumptious rather tan telling.

    Apart from that, some are only beginning to build up a following, and that takes time.

    Reply
  • Posted by Lee
    Mitch Joel

    I'm with you completely on the Life Coach point. There are some who tweet nothing but quotes & 'inspirational' articles and while I'm not averse to inspiration, you can tell that the majority of them are simply looking to show off and to get followers and hopefully, influence their audience.

    I'd rather follow someone who are constantly learning and sharing what they learned along the way. No teachers, preachers or gurus, please.

    Reply
  • Posted by Sheets n things
    Sheets n things

    Spamming me with your 4square updates will cause an unfollow. Please stop checking into the highway or your own house.

    Reply
  • Posted by VanessaTX
    Mitch Joel

    I love this post! I 100% agree with all those rules. I also have one of my personal "turn offs".. ppl that reply to EVERYTHING you post. Its like a one-way conversation. Or ppl that reply with "LOL!" or " :) ". I do the occasional emoticon, but reply 'just' an :( ?

    People that keep insisting to follow because you respond to 1 tweet is a major no-no.
    Thanks for this post! A must for all new twitterfolks.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ian
    Ian

    I agree with most of what you have to say; however, the bottom line is random expression for me, and thought opportunity for all. If someone follows me and they fit your red flag profile, I'll typically follow them until they clutter my feed then I'll stop following them. If it's all 'useless' to me then I'll drop them, but I see twitter as an unbridled stream of consciousness, and I may get a diamond in the rough thought from someone I may have otherwise red flagged and dismissed without giving them a chance.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ragnar Karlsson
    Mitch Joel

    I literally just unfollowed someone because of this tweet "Away since 12:22 (GMT+1) - via Trillian" ... Honestly? Really? Far from meaningful at all.

    In addition I will unfollow people who don't think about their tweets, most of the time this is people with automated tweets set to repeat. Whilst I think automated tweets themselves aren't bad, their usage can twist it into something stupid. An example would be things like "What will be the big design trend in 2010? - Posted 28/12/2010". If you're going to schedule tweets, consider an expiry date on the content please!

    Reply
  • Posted by Susan
    Mitch Joel

    If I follow someone, and my attempts to engage go ignored after a few tries, I usually lose interest and unfollow. I just usually follow those I find funny (humorous), interesting, intriguing, friendly and those I have something in common with. Actually, I don't feel the need to converse back-n-forth with every single person I follow--depends on who/what they are. Some are just so funny, so I follow for my own amusement and a good laugh. I only follow one famous person because he has responded more than once to me and he engages with "common folk" every day and happens to be a very interesting person too.

    I normally avoid following celebrities because I just don't find them to be interesting on twitter. Too impersonal or just talking about themselves only and not interested in other people at all. Boring.

    Reply
  • Posted by Tom Muir
    Mitch Joel

    Good list and comments - typifies how people are really beginning to work out what Twitter is FOR. However, pity so many still haven't got the message. Perhaps they will in time. Personally I dislike the auto-follow based on some keyword search. I use words in tweets because I hope they are the right word for the job. Fair enough to search for possible people to follow by keyword or phrase - but please please put a bit of human effort into the selection process after that! I live most of the time in Corfu, Greece. Not the the small town I believe is in west NY state (?) Anyway, I am fed up to the back teeth with being followed by Stateside realtors/insurance wallahs/DIY bods. Sorry people, but if you are so numb about your following procedures then you are doing it all wrong. I block them.

    Reply
    • Posted by Tom Muir
      Mitch Joel

      Oh and I forgot to add something about bios - a bio is a must of course. But what use a bio that is so cryptic or airy/fairy that it is completely useless? Sometimes if a url is provided it can explain a silly bio - usually to the twit's disadvantage in my experience! However, silly bio and no url is definitely, well, silly.

      Reply
  • Posted by saundra
    Mitch Joel

    Jesus Freaks. Meaning: every tweet has to have Him, God, Blessed, Savior and general preaching. HUGE turn off.

    Reply
    • Posted by Victoria
      Victoria

      w00t! +1 for you!!!! You have cajones. Spiritual beliefs aside, I agree with you 100%.

      You are the type of person *I* would definitely follow! Great comment!

      Reply
  • Posted by Karyn Climans
    Mitch Joel

    I agree ... I won't follow someone without a BIO. For all I know, they are a religious fanatic, pervert or stalker. Probably most of them are ordinary, nice people but I won't take the time to find out unless I can get a quick sense of who they are through their bio.

    Reply
  • Posted by Jean
    Mitch Joel

    What a great post! I found your site via a tweet from Scott @unmarketing and have already added you to my bookmarks.

    As far as twitter goes, some of my best conversations come from people with smaller numbers of followers. I don't automatically follow people simply because they follow me,prefer to manually review bios and such to find common interests.

    Your site is lovely, simple, flowing, elegant, not irritating to the eyes

    Reply
  • Posted by Scott Webb
    Mitch Joel

    I'm on the very very edge of unfollowing people that have installed plugins on their blog to tweet out blog posts at random or seemingly random intervals.

    Cool - it's bringing up your archives and putting people deeper into your website.

    Where it's not cool - I follow you and I saw when you first shared that post 3 times (at least) on the day you posted it. Now I think you're sharing new insights, but you're not. It's automated. How does it feel to later apologize to your followers for the plugin going crazy too and posting a link with 8 hashtags or sharing 10 links in 2 minutes?

    Traffic must have gone up after installing these plugins or they wouldn't be used any more. And sure it's nice to see more traffic to your website. I mean it's like hiring a guy to stand on the corner and pass out flyers or yell at people going by - "HEY COME SEE THIS"

    Soon enough the people that are interested in what you have to say, become less interested in your links all together.

    These people are on the fence. Which is close to saying, I know they are sitting there on that picket fence and waving for me to come over, but I'm not paying attention. It will just take one wrong thing and I'll kick them off and fully unfollow.

    Reply
  • Posted by Tim McDonald
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch,
    While I agree with many of your no follow guidelines, I really must commend you on the REALTOR part. Being a REALTOR myself, I've done my best to reach out to those just posting listings on Twitter (not to much avail). It's all about meeting new people and building relationships. Most won't take the time to do that, but our industry does have quite a few that do. So I hope people reading this post just don't see "REALTORs" and assume that none are worth following.

    Reply
  • Posted by Amber Naslund
    Mitch Joel

    Hey Mitch -

    I do indeed get a great deal of value out of Twitter on many fronts. And what's most important to me about your post is the expression that why and how people use Twitter can and should vary.

    I follow people differently and for different reasons. I try things and change my mind. But most of all I connect and converse and do the best I can to derive some value and give a little in return. The unfollow button is an easy click, and I apply it liberally as needed, and hope that if I'm not someone's cup of tea that they'd just do the same and move on. I don't pay attention to who follows or who doesn't, because it's always shifting and changing and I seem to keep finding interesting people and conversations all along the way.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective and for the mention. Twitter is a fascinating little microcosm and I love watching how it evolves, for better or worse. :)

    Cheers and hope to see you in 2011!

    Amber

    Reply
  • Posted by Warren Whitlock
    Mitch Joel

    Some great ideas on red flags, and good advice for people who want to look more attractive on Twitter.

    I do have friends on Twitter who broke one or more of these, after all, most users have been there a short time and may try some things as they learn. To block or unfollow solely on these red flags may keep you from starting a great relationship.

    For instance, some 20k followers of @MitchJoel would be unwise to unfollow him on a rule that he did not follow back. (though I agree that they won't get far telling him that :) .. Better advice would be to engage someone in a discussion by answering their question, commenting on a blog in a meaningful way, or complimenting a great tweet by sharing it with others.

    Whether someone follows you our not is incidental. Much better to engage with real humans in thoughtful discussion.

    Many of these were being discussed back in 2008 when we wrote "Twitter Revolution".. causing us to start the book with the phrase NO RULES. That still applies today.

    Reply
  • Posted by Mark
    Mitch Joel

    I would add people that don't RT. They just broadcast and don't share others insight.

    Reply
  • Posted by Goldie
    Mitch Joel

    I don't follow :

    - people always talking about what they are doing. There's nothing wrong telling what you're up to, but I don't consider Twitter as a secret diary.

    - douche, posh, pimps and pr0n starZZ

    - if I see too much of these in the time line : AMAGGGADD ! LUL! WTF! LOL! FTW!

    - if a question I asked remains unanswered, no matter how much of a celebrity you are

    - kids

    - most of the crap mainstream media

    - plus those you cited

    and I'm keen on detecting bots.

    Reply
    • Posted by Goldie
      Mitch Joel

      However, I have a fundamental question that I'm sure, could be subject to another article.

      What to do with the people your are following but who are tweeting once every year ? and what's their point by the way ?

      Reply
  • Posted by chris bartlett
    Mitch Joel

    Thanks for the personal take on the follow/don't follow topic! I look for honesty, transparency, and integrity as key indicators, as we are all human, we say inappropriate things from time to time. I let social graces be my guide! Great post...

    Reply
  • Posted by Jill K
    Mitch Joel

    Negative: If a person is perpetually negative about their self or others I am not interested in following their thoughts. Social networking can be interesting and help you take a pause to think. However, social media can lend one to break down others and can be a self fulfilling prophesy for good or bad. Focus on the good in life and work to improve - good will follow; or wallow in the negative and it can be a downward spiral. This is not to say that we don’t have bad days or need to address issues but think about the value of sharing with the world! A filter between your thoughts and the words you write is likely a good idea.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Yep, this list rings true for me too. I make an exception for my friend Justin Clayton over at http://twitter.com/#!/claytonjustin. He calls himself an "all around nice guy." He's truly such a nice guy that I rather like seeing that in his bio. True though, most people don't get by with this.

    Not to be edgy, but how long does it take you to write your average blog post here at Twist Image, Mitch? You pack so much stuff here!

    Reply
  • Posted by Mike Hale
    Mitch Joel

    Guess I'm a "Twitter Snob" in that I always look at someone who follows me before I follow them back. I pretty much agree with your list (Even the Realtors one, even though I am one too!) There are two other things that are big red flags for me:

    1. Too many posts. I see people posting every few minutes. This screams "I'm a totally automated account!". I don't mean people that reply a lot, I mean just a non-stop flood of posts

    2. Quoters. Inspirational quote. Inspirational quote. Inspirational quote. Link to my website. Inspirational quote.

    Just a personal pet peeve of mine I guess. Sharing something from time to time is great, but I don't want to be bombarded with the best of Zig Ziglar 20 times a way!

    Reply
  • Posted by Danielle Uskovic
    Mitch Joel

    Interesting insights Mitch. You have alienated about 95% of those on twitter from your list.

    Reply
  • Posted by Stephen Gibbs
    Mitch Joel

    people that tell me who and who not to follow... but I'll make an exception.

    seriously, very nice article, i couldn't agree more

    although, i don't mind the sales guys that are contributors first and part of the conversation (i.e. - Pentel of America)

    Reply
  • Posted by Ricardo Bueno
    Mitch Joel

    Nothing but a Twitterfeed. I see TONS of Realtors do this. They have less than 50 followers and their account is nothing but a Twitterfeed. No engagement. Just broadcasting. Even worse, in some cases, they Retweet themselves. True story, I've seen it happen.

    That's probably my biggest "no follow" reason.

    Reply
  • Posted by Lee
    Mitch Joel

    "I'm not interested in tweets to empower women... though I am sure that there are many women who will be. I just don't happen to be one of them." That made me grin.

    I'm with you as far as your points go. My personal no follow rule is 'no complainers'. You see, I am on Twitter mainly to socialize. I like following people who simply talk about random things and share opinions. Thus my time line has a lot of personal stuff going on, which I'm fine with.

    But when someone's Twitter is mostly negative tweets about traffic (which is common in my city) or the heat or rude people or anything, I'll pass. Negativity is never attractive nor valuable anywhere.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    If people follow you, but never interact with you - it bugs me. It's not hard to send a quick tweet.

    Reply
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