My Twitter Follow Back Policy

Once upon a time …

Image: My Twitter Follow Back Policy - social media - roll the dice and take your chances.

Image: social media – roll the dice and take your chances.

I had an interaction with a troll. Big deal! (you say) Who hasn’t?!

As far as trolls go, it was little more than a mild annoyance . I have seen others, subjected to far worse trolling. This troll was an itty-bitty-baby troll, struggling hard to find relevance amongst the Tweeple. Unlike the little engine that could, this troll clearly couldn’t.

This peculiar troll, boys and girls, was so dumb, it couldn’t find a bridge to hide under. Expecting it to build a bridge to get over itself would be mission impossible. It cosseted its self-loathing like a golden egg. When the troll’s stupidity got the better of its limited sense, it unleashed its putrid carmine venom and bile all over #AUSpol. How it found #AUSpol when the troll was a Yankee Tea Party import is one of Twitter’s unsolved mysteries.

Being trolled is not uncommon on Twitter and true to form this insignificant troll aimed to provoke and annoy. Despite its best endeavours, the troll failed — dismally. Trolls rehash the same circuitous tripe tweet after tweet. It gets boring very quickly.

The troll has no idea why:

  1. I’m on Twitter;
  2. my Tweeple Family (those who follow me and I follow back) number in the multiple thousands; and,
  3. I will — or will not — follow you.

Let’s examine two of this troll’s many tweets:

Four minutes later, showing a profound lack of understanding on how Twitter works, the troll tweets this:

I don’t lose one minutes sleep over these trolls. Not one. At all. Ever.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to derision from #rwnj trolls on Twitter. I’ve developed a complete disinterest in their opinions of me — or my Tweeple. They just don’t get that their out dated, biased, racist, self-centred opinion is simply irrelevant to me.

Their trolling, rather than a deterrent, energises me to continue to try to influence and make what small positive change I can. I’ll continue to try and make this world a better place. And our society more fairer and equitable. They can’t, and won’t stop me.

So come at me #rwnj trolls! I feed on your negative energy and re-purpose it for my own use.

In one respect, this interaction was useful in prompting me to update and repost my Twitter Follow Back Policy — for all the decent Tweeple out there who come across my Twitter Profile and Tweets. Like Tony Abbott, I could purchase hundreds of thousands of foreign Twitter followers, but, I’d prefer real people who, while I may not know them IRL, can actually tweet to me in a language I can understand.

So why am I on Twitter?

I joined Twitter as an experiment to see if I could connect to 10k real Tweeple who were total strangers. I’m an everyday person like you. I’m not a rock star, or famous sports-person, a politician or royalty. I have no product to sell, I’m not even a famous blogger. I have no real “pulling power” based on fame — or infamy for that matter.

I was curious to see if Joe and Jane Citizen could gain a large following in social media. Its a dumb thing to do I know. But slowly and surely, I’ve organically grown my connexions to what you see today (6.6k). That’s without a Top 10 song, a blockbuster movie or any wider exposure than my tweets.

Over time, I formed my Twitter follow back policy and so far it has helped me in my social media experiment.

BTW, the troll accused me of buying followers — I never have, and I never will. What’s the point? I’m here to Tweet you, not some spambot that fails the Turing Test. It also defeats the goal of seeing if I can connect to 10k real people.

There are other things which my Twitter follow back policy doesn’t contain, tips like always trying to respond to a mention. I do that as a rule. Except when it comes to the trolls.

Update:

One of the first Tweeps I met on Twitter, @MarkRDuckett tweeted me to find out what happens when I reach 10k followers.

Then another of my Tweeple, @FromMe2Ewe got involved, resulting in some hilarity.

I initially was just going to quit Twitter when I hit 10k connexions. As I don’t really want to just — spontaneously “detonate” @MarkRDuckett suggested I try and beat #LibTika’s follower count +1. She’s a fabulously famous TV and MSM star with a following over 80k. So maybe my challenge should be to reach 100k and beat #LibTika outright. We’ll see if I can live that long! Hehe 🙂

The charge towards 10k connexions

In pursuing this social media experiment, one of the first things I did was to suss out what Twitter’s views were about how to get more followers on its network.

So how am I supposed to get followers?

Remember, Twitter isn’t a race to get the most followers. If you follow users that you’re interested in and post meaningful content, it’s more likely that legitimate users will find you and read your updates. People follow other users on Twitter to read updates that are interesting to them. Aggressively following and un-following accounts is frustrating to other Twitter users and degrades the Twitter experience for everyone.

Twitter Help Center

I also searched out Tweeple who had more experience than me at building a following. In developing my own Twitter Follow Back policy, I’ve seen what others, more experienced than I, have implemented. I’ve taken the best bits for myself, hey, its Twitter right? I can do anything right, like accept the wisdom of others.

My Twitter Follow Back Policy

Here’s what will influence me to (not) follow you on Twitter. These simple principles have helped me find and interact with some really interesting Tweeple on Twitter. Ted Coiné sums it up perfectly and there are some of his best bits of advice that I’ve adapted — and adopted for my Twitter follow back policy:

  1. If Twitter notifies me I have a new follower, I quite rigorously explore their #TStream. Without fail. I don’t blindly follow everyone who follows me. I want to make sure there is a real person behind that follow. This involves me investigating your #TStream. If you don’t have any retweets, or actually ‘conversational’ tweets, I think you are a bot — bots do not engage with their followers. Twitter is a social media network. Be social. Engage. I won’t knowingly follow bots.
  2. When I follow a new person, I give them some time to follow me back. If they don’t follow me back, no dramas. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I will unfollow them after a few days. With two exceptions, I literally do not follow a single human who does not follow me in return – at least not for more than a week. No one is that important to me.
  3. If you are an Egg, without any profile information then chances are, no follow from me. Why?
    1. Twitter is about connections — to real people. It’s a very individual place. If you can’t spare five minutes to change your profile pic to stand out from the crowd of eggs on Twitter, how do I know you are not a spammer?
    2. Same goes if you can’t take five minutes to add a few words about why your here on Twitter, and,
    3. Your Twitter @handle is individual to you. If your twitter @handle has a string of numbers in it forget about me following you. This is one of the surest signs of spambots and/or fake accounts.
  4. Locked or private accounts: no follow from me. Why?
    1. This is a social media network. I don’t see any real point in following these Tweeple. Why? Because if you are a real person, and we interract, then my Tweeple only see my responses to you. It’s like being on the tram and someone having a loud conversation on their mobile phone. You know what that’s like. Frustrating as all get out!
    2. BTW, no follow from me if you use TrueTwit validation. Sorry, I’m just not interested in TrueTwit. It’s a proper PITA! I won’t follow you if you use TrueTwit. TrueTwit is completely against the spirit of open social networks.
  5. I’ve started to play with Twitter lists. While I like the cut and thrust of my Tweeple #TStream, I also like to narrow down what I see, and from whom. That’s why I use Twitter lists. If I like your tweets a lot, I’ll add you to one of my Twitter lists. Most of them are public lists, which means you can subscribe to them too if you want. However, I do keep a couple of private lists.
  6. I use a number of third party apps and web services to keep track of who is following me and how often they tweet. Inactive Tweeps who haven’t tweeted in three months — I cull. I know this is ruthless, but, if you don’t have anything to tweet, why would anyone (including me) keep following you? Twitter is about interaction so do it. Interact with me. It’s why I’m here on Twitter.
  7. Tweepi is great. It’s good to assist in finding and following Tweeple with similar interests. Tweepi shows when they last tweeted, helping me to only follow active Tweeters. You can unfollow accounts that are clearly spambots or which are now inactive. It has a lot of features to explore which help make Twitter more manageable.
  8. Even if you do not share my views and you follow me, I’m likely to follow you back. While I enjoy being challenged — I don’t like to be trolled. If you have cogent ideas, backed up with evidence based and verifiable facts, by all means jump into my #TStream — convince me. Being open minded, I’ve been swayed from my original position before. A prime example of convincing me I’m wrong is my changed stance on nuclear power. I used to be anti- It was through my interaction on Twitter that I discovered Thorium. I’m now an evangelist of Thorium Nuclear power.
  9. Don’t bring me pr0n. There are plenty of other avenues to access porn if you are into that why do you need to use Twitter? If you are a spam-bot, or a porn-bot. I’ll report and block you quick-smart.I’ll also take a screenshot and advertise to all my Tweeple that I’ve blocked you to help clean up Twitter.
  10. I like music, food, movies and politics. If you do too, chances are I’ll follow you.

Apart from my social media experiment, as for my motives in following so many Tweeple, I’ll leave it for Ted Coiné to sum up again.

Maybe when I follow someone back, some think that’s bogus and completely insincere; a false gesture that means less than nothing, as my detractors contest. Maybe.

But that’s not where I’m coming from when I do it. To me, following back is a simple gesture of courtesy, of recognition of another’s kindness, and of their humanity.

And it’s an invitation! “Now you’re part of my massive extended family”, it says, “Welcome! Let’s get to know each other, cousin!!” If someone never engages further, that’s fine. If they wait a year before connecting any deeper, that’s cool too. I’m the host who’s let you into my party, to meet my friends and join the conversation. If you’re satisfied at that level, then how cool is that?!?!

Revile me for how I experience Twitter if you like. But please know this: I find it extremely enjoyable, and I want you to as well. That is my only aspiration for you.

As we say around Switch and Shift all the time, “No pressure, only fun.” You define fun on your terms.

If that includes me, I’m honored.
Ted Coiné

That’s from another interesting read over at Ted Coiné’s blog. His My Most Asked Twitter Question, Answered post. It’s well worth a read and I can recommend it to anyone who’d like to understand why some of us are on Twitter and the other social media networks. BTW, I fully agree with the spirit of Ted’s post.

So, there’s a bit of an insight on why I’m on Twitter and what I hope to get out of my #SocialMedia networking. As for my Twitter Follow Back policy, if it changes, you’ll be the first to know. It’s a living document and I expect it will evolve as will I.

BTW, have you got a “My Twitter follow back policy” of your own? I’d be interested to see what it is, if you have one. Maybe I can learn something from your experience too.

Now, all remains is for you to interact with me. I’m Barón Emilio Death and while you won’t always find me in the kitchen at parties, you can usually find me on Twitter.