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.