3.19.2009

Twitter Follow or Block?

Twitter is still an evolving social network, it is slowly working out what it is all about and it will likely end up being different things for different users. There are the brain dead link bots that use it as a link dump, there are social commentary tweeps who post about everything, there are the social network connectors who use it as a 140 character news agency and report from shows and conferences and there are people who use it as a way to stay in touch with friends.

Because it happens with reassuring regularity, I've been slowly developing my set of rules for following someone back or blocking them or just ignoring them when they choose to follow me.

I will not be surprised in the least if my reasons for not following far outnumber my reasons for following.

So here are some of my evolving rules for a follow back on Twitter:
- Being a real person.
- Following less than a thousand people, otherwise you're a collector with an ulterior motive. The number of followers you have matters less to me but there's simply no way to interact with 15,000 people. Its stupid to think you can in any meaningful way.
- Describing yourself as a biker or cyclist.
- Being funny.
- Having interesting insights.

And some rules for not following or unfollowing and even blocking:
- Nothing but link dumps to drive traffic to your blog. I can understand and accept them on occasion but if that's all you do then I am just not interested.
- A horrid pic, come on, its an inch by inch image, put some effort into it.
- No bio or a bio url linking to a junk site.
- A social "experiment" account.
- No posts at all.
- A provocative pic/avatar and nothing but links to free laptop sites as posts.
- Any use of the words "marketing guru" in your bio.
- If you describe yourself as an "internet marketer".
- If your Tweet per day count is in the triple digits.
- Use of txtspk instead of real words.
- Tweeterhea, when you tweet like its going out of business, twenty, thirty or more tweets in a row.

And, sometimes, it doesn't matter if the follower doesn't tag any of these, sometimes they just seem to twitter about stuff that I'm not interested in. It isn't any slight against them. I'm sure the vast majority of my tweets are skipped right over by my followers, it doesn't make me tweet any less nor more interestingly. I tweet what's going on around me. That doesn't interest some, it maybe interests others. There's room for all kinds.

I'm sure this list will continue to evolve and change over time, just as Twitter is growing and changing. But this is a pretty good place to start. But, if you want to follow me, then be my guest just don't feel bad if I don't automatically return the favor.

What are the Twitter "rules" you abide by?
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