Q&A: Why don’t you follow me on Twitter?


I got this question the other day via email…Q: Why don’t you follow me on twitter? I follow you, are you a twitter snob?

A: After checking in on the senders profile I quickly answered with “You use the Default Icon for Twitter, and I don’t follow people with the default icon” (Clarification: I do follow a very select number of people with the default icon but they are people I personally know). Does that make me a SNOB… Maybe or maybe I’m just a guy trying to control a flood of information that can easily drown out good information.

This got me thinking about the types of people I do follow and why I follow them, I also have several friends and associates that have published “Follow Guidelines” in the past (I just can’t seem to find any to link to at the moment) and I guess I have built my own unofficial set, I’ve just never written them down before. So here goes…

Why I will NOT follow back:

  • If you have a default twitter Image I will likely never follow you (unless I know you well)
  • If your Bio/web site is blank, mentions selling email addresses, MLM or email append, FollowBack Club, grow your following, etc…
  • If you are brand new to twitter and have not said anything or have only said “hello World”
  • If you are a BRAND – Seems odd but I get enough promotions via email that I want to engage with people and brand representatives, not your latest promotion or email newsletter links (I make a few exceptions here and there – but they are rare)
  • You tweet the same stuff over and over – Same link, only RT’s, daily summery of twitter is your only post
  • You post too much… this is subjective as it depends on your content
  • You don’t post enough – got nothing to say then why are you on Twitter
  • You have a protected twitter feed, and I don’t know who you are

Why I DO follow back:

  • Doing the opposite of most of the above is a start – A good bio, link to a blog/about.me, Tweet some stuff, be YOURSELF
  • Share valuable stuff – and by that I mean valuable to me – is it about email/online marketing or privacy, anti-spam or a new take on social media, are you local and attend/manage events I’d like to attend… I could go on but the key is does it interest me.
  • Do I know you or do people I know, know you? That helps, I tend to follow people I know even if they are not in email or people that talk to me – @ me sometime if I don’t follow you – let me know your not a bot
  • Follow the right account… I have a couple accounts on twitter where I talk about different topics that won’t interest every one – I segment my audience and my interests… Digital marketing (@emailkarma), Video Games (@FeedYourConsole), Personal stuff (@mvern78) <-- reserved for a very select few. I try not to mix these channels too much because they are so different, that comments would just seem out of place.
  • Did I follow you first?! You likely fit the bill of one of those interesting people above, and while I appreciate a follow back – I don’t expect it unless I fit into YOUR follow rules.

There are exceptions to all of these but in more than 140 characters this is why I choose to follow someone on twitter.

What are your rules/guidelines for choosing to follow someone on twitter? Leave me a comment.

Author: Matt V - @emailkarma

Matthew Vernhout is a digital messaging industry veteran and Certified International Privacy Professional (Canada) (CIPP/C) with nearly two decades of experience in email marketing. Matthew is 250ok’s Director of Privacy, and he is currently the Vice Chair of the eec, after serving for several years as the Chair of their Advocacy Subcommittee. Matthew was recognized as the 2019 eec thought-leader of the year.

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