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Twelve Ways To Scare Away Twitter Followers



Photo by Capture Queen (cc)

I heart Twitter. It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but now I'm addicted. I barely even remember that Facebook exists. I think Twitter is a far superior networking tool and makes it way easier to meet/chat with friends and promote whatever you need to promote. The power of the retweet is amazing. So, if you're not on there yet, get thee to Twitter.


However, as with anything else, there are ways to do it and ways NOT to do it. For instance, when people follow me, I like to follow them back. However, sometimes people make this exceptionally difficult to do. So please, if you are on Twitter or join up, don't do these things if you want to be followed.

Ways to Scare Away Twitter Followers

1. Protect Your Tweets
Yes, I'm sure some people have good reasons for making their Twitter stream secretive. However, if I can't see what you tweet about, I'm not following you. Sorry.

2. Promote Your Book/Program/Website/Whatever NONSTOP
OMG. So many people do this and I have no idea what they are thinking. Do not be an infomercial. It's fine to mention that you have a book releasing or pimp your blog post for the day. But when every tweet is Check out my book! Read an excerpt! Ten percent off my book! etc. you will drive people away.

3. Only Tweet Inspirational Quotes
I'm not following you to get Hallmark card vomit all day. Stop with your sunshine and rainbows!

4. Never Interact With Anyone (One-Way Tweeters)
This is equivalent to standing in the middle of a party and only announcing things about yourself and not paying attention to anyone else. Twitter is about conversation and interaction.

5. Don't Put Anything in the About You section
If I go to your site and you have NOTHING about yourself, I'm not following. I need to know what our commonality is. Are you a mom/writer/NKOTB fanatic? Who are you?

6. Don't Ever Respond to @ Messages
When people take the time to comment on something you said or retweet you, reach out and tweet that person back. You aren't Ashton Kutcher, you have time to do that.

7. DM (direct message) me right after I follow you to do #2 (no, not THAT number two, the one above)
Nothing will make me unfollow you quicker than if you send me a message right after I sign up to follow: "Hey, thanks for the follow. Check out my new book at lame website dot com."

8. Only Tweet When You Want To Promote Yourself, then Disappear
I see a lot of people do this. They've been told they "should" be on Twitter as an author. (And you should be.) But then they ONLY get on to do that promotion with a drive-by tweet. My book is releasing today! Woot! Then you don't see another tweet from them for a month.

9. Use the words "motivational", "entrepreneur", or "coach" (unless it's of a sport) in any way, shape or form to describe yourself.
All I hear with those words is "unemployed".

10. Be negative, hateful, or rude.
This one's obvious, but I see a lot of people go the negative route. They may not be rude, but they spend all their Twitter time bitching and bellyaching. It's okay sometimes, but if that's all you tweet about, it gets old fast.

11. Follow anyone and everyone just to get people to follow you back. Who can really follow the tweets of 35k people?
If someone is following super high numbers of people, it's a warning sign that they're not really engaging with anyone, probably just trying to promote.

12. Floods of lists of people to follow.
Writer Wednesday (#WW) and Follow Friday (#FF) are awesome, but it's a little much when all day you're pumping out constant lists of who to follow. We all stop paying attention after a while. And it seems like some people do this just to get followed back because oftentimes people who "mention" that you should follow me, don't even follow me themselves!

So those are the main pet peeves I could come up with. Thanks to those of you who contributed some of these when I posed the question on Twitter. What other Twitter behavior is annoying to you? What will make you not follow someone or unfollow them?

**Today's Theme Song**
"I Will Follow You Into the Dark" - Death Cab for Cutie
(player in sidebar, take a listen)


Reader Comments (79)

Food pictures.

I don't know why on earth people (mostly men) seem to think I give a dang about seeing iPhone pics of the plate of food they're about to it. Stop it! Just stop it already.

Other than that, I think you pretty much hit the mark!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

Yes, yes, yes! Those are good ones. Very good ones.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSummer

Oh, I hate #7.

I also hate people who follow me that are really marketing firms. I'm not going to follow them whatsoever. I only follow back people who read or write YA (yep, I'm a snob), or who have interesting tweets. I can't follow everyone. And I don't want to. :)

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStina Lindenblatt

Love it:) Great advice for new twitter users!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey Bell

ergh. I'm a terrible tweeter, but really b/c I have no time! And not b/c I'm a violater of anything but your #4. I have to spend more time there~ :p

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLTM

Great post and all are so true! My own pet peeve are those automated tweet spam bots.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergabi

I also can't stand when people talk dirty all the time. Like they are trying to attract the opposite sex and that's all. Really? REALLY? This is Twitter, not an online dating site. Love the list.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina Lynn

Nr 2 is my biggest source of irritation...followed a new writer once who literally tweeted the same lame tweets about her new book ever other day. Unfollowed her after one week. The #FF tweets are getting tiresome too, especially if it's just lists of names. I appreciate a personal recommendation for #WW or #FF, but not tweets with 15 names in it. Who reads those anyway?

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrdblom

Phew. I think I'm safe. Reading this was a little like checking the fashion "Don'ts" page in Glamour magazine or to make sure I'm not there.
Of course, I really haven't quite mastered Twitter well enough to abuse it.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTeri Anne Stanley

I LOVE this one:

3. Only Tweet Inspirational Quotes
I'm not following you to get Hallmark card vomit all day. Stop with your sunshine and rainbows!

I agree!

I think my biggest Twitter faux pas is that I don't thank people for RTs. I engage in conversations and reply to @replys, but just the random "ty for the RT" I don't usually do.

I often wonder if people get miffed about that or just don't notice. I'm a no-noticer. I'm usually surprised (pleasantly) when someone DOES thank me for a RT.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeah Petersen

I think you nailed it. Over-promotion is the one that bugs me the most.

And guess what? I followed the link to this post from a retweet!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce Tremel

When people ask me what Twitter is for and whether they should join, I ask them if they want to engage with others. Because if they don't, then Twitter isn't for them.

All your points are excellent. I never follow blatantly obvious companies who follow me just because I said a word like cupcake or something. Nor marketing "gurus" who never seem to get the biggest rule of Twitter (engage with others), nor writers who obviously follow me not because they think I'm clever but because they want me to follow them back so they can sell more copies of their books--I think they mine other people's lists.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSierra Godfrey

Oh yeah, and anyone who puts "I only follow back if you follow me" in their Twitter profile.


November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSierra Godfrey

Ha! I also followed the link from a retweet to this post. Great tips. Twitter is a raucous, fun place to hang out, but its light is dimmed by this bad behavior sometimes.


November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEdittorrent

Great list! All good points, but the one that really irks me is following just get followers. If I suspect somebody is just "follow fishing," I won't follow back.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda G.

Great list! (#7's ending: "no, not THAT number two, the one above." had me giggling aloud). I use Tweetdeck, so I don't unfollow people when they commit these crimes too much. But I do take them off my lists so I can't see their tweets. That works for me.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEric J. Krause

This list is spot on. I do have one to add. When you are on twitter as a professional (IE: writer, editor, etc.) don't tweet about your political and religious views nonstop. Unless, of course, THAT is what you are writing a book about.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFalyn

Great list. The one that drives me nuts is the constant mentions by spammers: "Writers Needed". I have gotten like ten mentions in the past few days, by different people, and no matter how many I block, more show up. I mean, PLEASE, for the love of all things COFFEE, STOP ALREADY!!!!!

Whew. I feel better now. ;)

Now I'm off to RT this (along with a mention of Writer's Needed. Oh ha ha. I'm kidding).


November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercoffeelvnmom

Okay I went to RT this post and I have SIX more of those spam mentions! arghhhhhh

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercoffeelvnmom

This is an excellent list! You hit on every one of my Twitter pet peeves. I'm like you, Twitter is my favorite place to go. Face-what? ;) Yep, I hardly ever visit that other network anymore!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

I had six of those Writers Needed spammers this AM. It doesn't seem to help to report them. Some spam generator must be turning out 1000s per minute.

I have to admit, like Leah, I didn't respond much to @messages or RTs for a long time because (this is embarrassing) I had no idea I was getting them. I'd send messages to other people and never could find out if I'd had responses, either.

Now that the new Twitter has the buttons right up top, I can actually use Twitter as it's intended. Too bad they don't have a manual when you sign up for the cyber-morons like me.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne R. Allen

I unfollow for all of the above reasons, but also if a new follower becomes pesky and weirdly obsessive by tweeting me constantly. Hello stalker? Actually, I not only unfollow these people, I block them as well. Oh and of course I block porn followers. There's funny romance novel porn and then there's obnoxious PORN porn.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuz

I don't have a Twitter page, but I do read a few people's Tweets, like Conan o'Brien's, because they're funny. I don't like the boring ones, the ones where people just give lists of every single thing they did that day.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNeurotic Workaholic

I often wonder if people think I'm guilty of #8...because I follow people (some of whom follow me back) who don't work a day job and I do. Since various local media follows my tweet stream, I don't feel like I can safely be on twitter during the day, since I work for local government (wouldn't that make a story for a slow day - government workers tweeting at work). So I'm only on at night, missing all those people who probably see my blog post tweets in the morning or queued re-tweets during the day (to share links to sites other than my own), but are gone when I get there.

Yes, I could block the media peeps, but that would look bad too. Everything is political around here - must be careful.

I agree with your whole list though - the "no bio" thing and the automatic DM thing are my two biggest pet peeves, personally.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJamie D.

Phew. *wipes brow* Thank God getting into my character's mind and talking to @kristenyard like a serial killer didnt' make the list.

I can go on with my day now. LOL.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany Neal

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