Why I Follow You on Twitter (and Why I Don’t)

[This is Part Five of my Twitter Tips series.]I don’t believe it makes sense to automatically follow everyone back on Twitter. I like to stay in touch with the people I follow. That means if I follow you, then I’m going to see your tweets. I’m not going to pretend to follow 2000 people, but in reality only read the tweets of 100 virtual friends I’ve put on a private list.

Here’s how I decide whether or not to follow someone on Twitter. (NOTE: I follow plenty of people I respect and admire who do not follow me back. That’s just how it is on Twitter. Nothing here or in the land of Twitter should be taken too personally.)

I AUTOMATICALLY FOLLOW YOU IF:

You write a blog I love, and I don’t want to miss your latest posts. (I use Twitter for this rather than subscriptions, Google Reader, or RSS feeds.)

Your tweets are consistently informative or entertaining.

Your tweets consistently include links to content that is informative or entertaining.

We’ve had a conversation or two back and forth on Twitter, or on my blog, and you don’t commit any of the Twitter crimes discussed below.

I WILL NOT FOLLOW BACK OR I’LL EVENTUALLY UNFOLLOW IF:

You tweet AT people. If I see numerous similar tweets in a row about your book or blog post only with different @names thrown on the end or in front, then it’s a no-go for me. Those kind of tweets look like this: “Visit the Blahblah Blog for my post on characterization @kdkdknei @xyzpru!”  That’s a VERY spammy way to tweet. Many of us on Twitter blog or write creatively. If we all tweeted our posts and publications AT specific people, it’d be one big commercial out there.

Your bio says “Buy my novel” “Read my first chapter on Kindle” or some other version of those phrases. I find the expression “Check out my ____” especially egregious. Nine out of ten times a bio like that indicates a barrage of tweets about your book.

You send me a direct message or tweet AT me with a link to your novel or Facebook fan page while providing no evidence whatsoever that you’ve seen my blog, my short stories, or know anything about me at all. Guess what? I write too. Show that you’ve shown any interest in me before you ask me to “check you out.”

You tweet about yourself too often.

You send out tons of tweets to articles you clearly haven’t read since they’re completely random, or when I’ve clicked on those articles, they’re terrible. (People using Triberr are the most guilty of this, which is why I won’t use Triberr.)

You’re guilty of endless and meaningless lists of #WW (writer Wednesday), #FF (Friday Follow), as well as endless tweets thanking others for RTs (PLEASE write those as @mentions, not regular tweets), and tweets thanking people for following you. See my post, “The Twitter Thanking Crisis” for more on what I consider overkill as well as disingenuous gratitude. The 500 people following you do not need to see you thank one person.

Most of yours tweet lead to Pinterest and Facebook.

Every tweet is a link to a post about characterization, point-of-view, writing query letters, etc. Mix it up. There’s only so much anyone wants to read about writing.

THE TWITTER BEHAVIOR BELOW GIVES ME PAUSE: (Meaning, it’s not an automatic unfollow, but it makes me crabby, and I’ll probably unfollow eventually.) 

You tweet non-stop, which takes over the Twitter stream.

Too many inspirational quotes from the Bible, Anne Frank, Shakespeare, or anyone.

Too many CNN links or other RTs from news outlets. If I want to follow CNN, I will.

You never RT anyone else. Each tweet is an 140-character musing on your life, or a link to your blog, or self-pubbed book. (Sorry to pick on the self-published group, but those folks overdo the “read my first chapter on Smashwords and Amazon” more than anyone.)

FELLOW TWITTER USERS: What do you think? Am I an enormous crab apple or do you agree with some of my “rules?” What drives you to follow someone or not?

READ MY OTHER TWITTER TIPS

Image by eldh via Flickr



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Nina is a contributing writer at Brain, Child Magazine's website and at Kveller.com. She's also a freelance writer with articles in several anthologies as well as in The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward, and elsewhere. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines. She was thrilled to participate in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother, and she enjoys co-leading the book review site GreatNewBooks.org. Nina lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.
111 Responses to Why I Follow You on Twitter (and Why I Don’t)
  1. Lindsey
    November 1, 2011 | 6:05 pm

    This makes me laugh and nod at the same time. So true. I’m scared to find out if you follow me! :)
    xox

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 8:41 pm

      Lindsey! You’ve been on my “favorite bloggers” Twitter list for a long time. Of course I follow you!

    • Nina Badzin
      January 3, 2012 | 11:51 am

      Oh no! I’m way too ungraceful of a traveler for that. I think they’re too young. My husband’s brother lives in Tel Aviv though with his wife and their daughter so I’m sure we’ll bring the kids many times in their future.

      On Mon, Jan 2, 2012 at 4:38 PM, Lindsey Mead Russell wrote:

      > Wow! Have you taken any of your kids!? > > Lindsey Mead Russell > http://www.adesignsovast.com > > On Jan 2, 2012, at 4:11 PM, Nina wrote: > > > New comment on your post “Light” > > Author : Nina (IP: 75.168.241.25 , 75-168-241-25.mpls.qwest.net) > > E-mail : ninabadzinblog@gmail.com > > URL : http://ninabadzin.com > > Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=75.168.241.25 >

  2. Raelyn Barclay
    November 1, 2011 | 6:24 pm

    Being relatively new to Twitter I’ve mostly followed anyone who followed me but I’m at that point where it’s too much. I think you’ve got a good set of guidelines here and I may just have to apply them myself :)

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 8:44 pm

      Glad to help! I just checked out your blog and looked for your Twitter handle, but didn’t see it. Let me know what it is!

      • Raelyn Barclay
        November 1, 2011 | 8:49 pm

        I have a Twitter button in the sidebar…it’s @raelynbarclay

  3. Julia Munroe Martin
    November 1, 2011 | 6:30 pm

    I don’t automatically re-follow people either. I definitely do not follow back someone who has humongous numbers of followers and seems to build their following by first following then unfollowing then refollowing me (and others) — I can’t even figure out what they’re doing but it seems like some kind of mysterious super secret Twitter pyramid scheme! :)

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 8:47 pm

      I’ve often seen people tweet about the how following-unfollowing thing. That probably does happen, but I know I sometimes unfollow people when I notice too much of the stuff I discussed in this tweet. It’s about numbers or anything. I totally agree about not following people back with those crazy 85,000 followers and followees thing.

  4. martha hart
    November 1, 2011 | 6:41 pm

    Interesting, particularly because most of this is along the same lines I think :/ I don’t automatically follow people back, and I find people to follow usually because someone I already follow is following them, and I’m intrigued. I, too, like a mix of posts – RTs, inspirations, funny/odd things, personal opinion – what makes you *you* enough that I’d want to read/see/hear the art you make?
    On the other hand, I didn’t know about using lists in the way you describe… so I’d probably not meet your criteria, that way. Intriguing. Thanks for this.

  5. ramblingsfromtheleft
    November 1, 2011 | 7:07 pm

    Nina, once more you have left me in the dust :) I don’t know how people acutally get to follow me. I get notices that so and so is following me. I tried to be proactive and felt lost. Once upon a tweet I wrote back and thanked them for following and then I read your other warnign about not doing that. Well here I am again, twitter-challenged.

    I’d rather keep a low or no profile until I know what I am doing … Sooooooo I am probably one of “those” since wordpress automatically picks up all my blog posts each week. I tried to have my daughter shut it off (we shut it off on Facebook) so I would not look like the dolt that I am and I still see them. Until or unless I get the real swing of how to use Twitter properly I’d rather be a no show. NOT TO MENTION … I have been hacked there twice and spent a half a day this week apologizing to those who told me they got an inappropriate tweet and one good friend reported it for me, so twitter sent me a notice to change my password.

    By lack of wit I would probably end up on your “do not follow” list and who could blame you … I love when you post twitter info, so that if I am ever motivated and competent enough, I will have some solid advice to “follow.” Thanks :)

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 8:54 pm

      Our actual interaction on both of our blogs supersedes any twitter interaction we could ever have (or NOT have as the case may be.) You’re not a Twitter mis-user, you’re like a non-user, which isn’t such a crime. It’s fine that your links go out via WordPress as long as it’s not 15 times a day, which it isn’t. You might want to RT other posts now and then, which I think you do, but I haven’t noticed either way. If you ever do anything terrible I promise to tell you. ;) I’ve got your back!

  6. julie gardner
    November 1, 2011 | 7:07 pm

    I cringe a little when I think back to a year ago when I first joined Twitter and automatically sent DMs to people thanking them for following me (because a few did it to first me and I assumed it was good Twitter etiquette). I remember thinking it felt phony, but I went with it.

    I’m so glad to know this is, in fact, not good practice and wish EVERYONE would read this post – ha!

    I too find the endless stream of #FF and #WW to be exhausting. I’m included in a few that happen as a weekly series with NO personalized recommendations…just tweet after tweet of @handles.

    I’m still learning what people do and don’t appreciate on Twitter so I thank you for furthering the discussion, Nina.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 8:55 pm

      Ugh, I’m included in some of those weekly lists. I never thank them, never reciprocate. They keep coming because they’re AUTOMATED, which in my mind doesn’t deserve a thanks.

  7. Anne R. Allen
    November 1, 2011 | 7:20 pm

    You’re spot on about a lot of people who are misusing Twitter. I follow most writers, but not if their profile is just “check out my book” and their tweet stream is more of the same. Also, I’m starting to unfollow people who obviously don’t have a clue who I am. Yesterday I got a response to my follow with a DM saying “check out my blog for writing tips.” This person doesn’t know I’ve been giving writing tips since before they were born. I’m nowhere near as picky as you, but I definitely don’t follow 1) real estate companies 2) car dealerships (especially on other continents–what are they thinking?) 3) people with no profile. 4) Motivational! Speakers!! selling their books. 5) navel gazers whose tweets are all about themselves..

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 8:57 pm

      I agree with everything on your list! My list is for sure picky . . . it’s for the sake of saving time!

  8. liz
    November 1, 2011 | 7:26 pm

    You should have “You guest posted right before me at Scary Mommy” listed. ;-)

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 8:58 pm

      Ha! ;) Loved your Klout post by the way. And a few people RTed my RT of it. So woo-hoo! (Not that you need the extra RTs from me!)

  9. JM Merchant
    November 1, 2011 | 7:40 pm

    I agree with a lot of this Nina. I tend to follow back other writers, but I have no problem with the unfollow button if I find I start skipping over their tweets.
    I started using lists then sort of forgot about them, might have to look at that again!

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 9:03 pm

      I’m incredibly type A so lists help me read tweets in a more organized manner . . . feels less like tons of info coming at me all at once. So if I’m in the mood for lit mag news, I look at my literary journal list. If I want to catch up with the blog I read regularly, I look at that list. By the end of the day or every few days, I’ve looked at every list at least once. It sounds convoluted, but it works for me.

  10. Mary (@whoa_mary)
    November 1, 2011 | 8:12 pm

    I agree with most of what you are saying.And I really have no clue if you follow me or not.
    At the moment I don’t remember why I followed you. Personally I look for value in those that I follow. I enjoy following writers, sometimes for the tips or because I like their blogs. However, I am also very into the news and will also follow many progressive liberals. I will RT news stories that I think will be of value. I also follow some musicians, but they are mostly new and unknown. I will help them with RTs because I know what it is like to struggle. But I will only do it for those who actually do converse with people and are not just using Twitter to build their platform by having thousands of followers.

    I am not impressed by numbers and don’t really care how many followers I have. Too many are concerned with numbers and not about the quality of who they follow. I like the community of friends that I have found here. I like to share what I find online with them.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 9:04 pm

      I do follow you! (Just checked and was glad to see I already did.)

  11. MommaKiss
    November 1, 2011 | 8:20 pm

    Holy joe-mogely I love this!! Thank you Julie c Gardner for (wait for it…) tweeting this! I can Not follow everyone back. I’m ok with my twitter game plan. You named many of the reasons. Love this! Should I tribrr link this? Just teasin!

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 9:10 pm

      Ha! Love the teasing. And thank you to Julie—That’s the power of Twitter!

  12. MommaKiss
    November 1, 2011 | 8:23 pm

    Um. I forgot to tell you my twitter name. And I’m not even writing a book or anything. I barely post on my damn blog.

    @mommakiss

    Signed, awaiting your judgement.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 9:13 pm

      Found you. Followed you. It’s official–you’ll never get rid of me. A friend of Julie’s is a friend of mine!

  13. Roni Loren
    November 1, 2011 | 8:34 pm

    Love this. The twitter promo is out of control. And I’m with you–let’s end the endless lists of #WW and #FF. I don’t pay attention to them and neither does anyone else. The only ones that catch my eye are ones that say “Follow this one person because of such and such great reason.”

    I do follow many people back that follow me (as long as they are not obvious bots and we have something like writing in common). I use lists to divide it up, but still keep an eye on the everyone feed for something that catches my interest. It can be overwhelming though.

    And as for Triberr, I just joined a few days ago and was happy to find out that they’ve now ended auto-tweeting. Now you have to manually approve any posts that go out of your account, so that should clear up that issue of people auto posting everything from their tribe without vetting the content first. We’ll see–I’m still deciding if it’s a good service or not.

    Will be including this post in my Friday mashup. :)

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 9:18 pm

      Roni–I appreciate you including me Friday post! Now, this might not be far, but I’m still wary of Triberr. Even though people have to manually approve each post, I find it very hard to believe that anyone would have the time to actually read ALL of those posts before approving. The “danger” of Triberr is not only the increase in RTing posts from your account that you haven’t had time to read, it’s the sheer increase in the amount of tweeting. I can’t help but notice that when someone joins Triberr the rate of tweeting is overwhelming, but maybe that depends on the size of the tribe those people joined. Who knows. I’m sure I sound very nit-picky, but Twitter can take up a TON of time as well know. I try to be discerning so I’m not wasting my time. Of course, I don’t have a book to sell! I think if you’re trying to stay on peoples’ good sides (which I WOULD do a lot more if I was trying to sell something) then you have to be more lenient. That’s just how things go in social media. The up side of not having a book deal is I’m still a free agent as far as Twitter goes. ;)

      • Roni Loren
        November 1, 2011 | 9:24 pm

        Agreed. If you have some 50 person tribe, it’d be impossible to vet them all. There are 15 in my tribe and all were carefully chosen for having consistently good content. And I look at every post before approving–and have only approved about 2/3 because some just didn’t fit with what my followers would like. But I’m OCD that way about my twitter stream, so I know not everyone will be that picky. For me, right now, it’s a way to make sure I don’t miss the posts of those I love and it gives me an easy way to retweet them throughout the day. But like I said, I’m still in the let’s-see-how-this-goes phase, lol.

  14. The Atomic Mom
    November 1, 2011 | 8:47 pm

    I just find it funny, or maybe strange, when people follow you for one thing you’ve said in a tweet, but that’s not the main thing you tweet about. For example, I occasionally tweet about food allergies, but not all the time. When I do that I get a bunch of new followers. I wonder if those people know what they’re getting. :) But I don’t think you’re being crabby with twitter rules here, I have many of them myself. And Now, to retweet this link, because it’s not random.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 9:20 pm

      You’re so right about the slew of random followers that happens after certain posts. Those are usually spammers though!

  15. Kara Thom
    November 1, 2011 | 8:51 pm

    Good golly do I feel honored that you follow me! And I’m going to go follow MommaKiss now too cuz she made me laugh. You also reminded me I need to do list maintenance. I always try to have at least one meaningful interaction/connection with someone when I’m on twitter. That’s what makes twitter fun.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 9:25 pm

      Please! The honor is MINE! Looking forward to diving into your book as soon as this baby comes. I’m still imagining a series on the blog. It’ll take a few months to get my self together, but I am SO determined to not be a sloth anymore. (I was quite slothy with this pregnancy.)

      And this, folks, is the power of Twitter. I met Kara here. And I’m eager to discuss her book on my blog—all from authentic interaction and no hard sells. Magic, people.

    • mommakiss02
      November 2, 2011 | 8:51 am

      This made me laugh, thanks Kara!

      Lists. I have private lists – of some I don’t even follow. It’s called “stalking”

      I’m sort of crazy like that.

  16. Lara Schiffbauer
    November 1, 2011 | 9:18 pm

    Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking! I am glad I took the plunge into twitter, but the “follow me, buy me, retweet me” makes me shake my head. And I was wondering about all those “Thanks to… and then listing all their new followers.” I was wondering if I was supposed to be doing that, but just couldn’t figure out how that was a tweet that others really wanted to see. Thanks for clearing that up for me! I don’t think you’re crabby, I think you’re just telling it like it is!

    • Nina Badzin
      November 1, 2011 | 9:26 pm

      “I don’t think you’re crabby, I think you’re just telling it like it is!” Thank you! That’s why the people like me (or don’t).

  17. Paula
    November 1, 2011 | 9:59 pm

    I have a bad habit of always following back, and then later regretting it. LOL But I am learning to be more selective. I am also still learning the dos and don’t of twitter, so thank you for the good advice. You also cleared something up for me. I had no idea what the list thing was used for! It’s true you learn something new everyday. :)

  18. Rivki
    November 1, 2011 | 10:02 pm

    I agree with Lara, not crabby, just discerning. I abide by most of these rules, though I also have a cold-shoulder rule. If I respond to a few of someone’s tweets and get no response whatsoever, ever, it makes me cranky. And I’m not talking about trying to interact with celebrities (who I also don’t follow), but normal people in my niche. That bugs me, and if it continues, I will unfollow.

    Thanks for reminding me to RT more. I just forget to do it sometimes, and that’s a shame.

    Lists are great. I would be totally overwhelmed without them. I actually just reorganized my lists last week, and it was fabulous. Type A, all the way!

    • Nina Badzin
      November 2, 2011 | 6:19 am

      Rivki–I hear you on that. I don’t expect (or want) a response to every single comment I make. Sometimes it’s just not necessary, but if the social media relationship is 100% one-sided then that doesn’t feel good. I would unfollow at some point too.

  19. Jennifer King
    November 1, 2011 | 11:54 pm

    Wholeheartedly agree, Nina. Of course, then I know I’m not following perfectly either… But good, solid thoughts. Thanks! ~Jennifer

  20. Jen Zeman (@jzeman06)
    November 2, 2011 | 5:24 am

    I agree! Especially regarding those who tweet about a hundred times a day and take over your feed. I follow an agent who is actually guilty of this and I’m seriously considering dropping her as a follow.

  21. T.M. Souders, Author
    November 2, 2011 | 6:31 am

    I love your twitter blog posts because I feel the same way! I especially hate it when people send you a DM with their link or book OR send you a tweet telling you to check them out! I hate that! Ugh! I have a book too. You don’t see me throwing it in your face. This just proves to me that they don’t care who I am and only followed me because I’m another body.

  22. Colline
    November 2, 2011 | 8:15 am

    I am new to twitter and am still feeling my way. I tend to agree with your thoughts though as I have found that I want to experience some interaction and get some enjoyment from what I read on my newsfeed. I do not want to read a every hour of the day monologue of someone’s day. What I want is to find something interesting to read, or listen to; something new to learn. Thanks for your comments Nina. Makes me think on what type of twitterer I want to be.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 2, 2011 | 12:19 pm

      My pleasure and thanks for commenting here!

  23. Stacy S. Jensen (@StacySJensen)
    November 2, 2011 | 8:43 am

    I get confused sometimes about the thank yous. I appreciate people RTing, etc. I feel obligated to say Thank you for fear they will think I’m ungrateful. When I get a thank you, I often wonder why people don’t use their time better. If it’s someone I’ve interacted with before, I know he or she appreciates it. I try to find something in their feed to RT, etc. to show my thanks. I also don’t understand the people who say in his or her bio: That a Retweet doesn’t mean endorsement. If you don’t read the article, why are you even retweeting it? Another good post on Twitter. I’ve been using lists about 95 percent of the time since I read your post on Writer Unboxed. I haven’t figured out a way to put the people I follow in lists on the iPhone.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 2, 2011 | 12:22 pm

      I’ve never seen that statement on the RT. Weird! Re: the thanking. It’s probably better to err on the side of thanking, but I don’t see why those tweets have to be written as regular tweets that all followers have to see. It just takes up time and space in everyone else’s streams.

  24. Greg Johnson (@canadogreg)
    November 2, 2011 | 10:17 am

    Great post, but let me add a couple of my automatic ‘do not follow’ criteria.

    When someone follows me and 3000 others and they only have 34 followers, huge red flag.

    When someone tweets constantly about a strong political/religous issue and is extremely partisan, I get tired quickly of the schtick.

    I will automatically follow back if you comment on my blog, retweet my posts, or mention me in your tweets. (at least until you commit one of the sins listed in this article!)

    • mommytanya
      November 2, 2011 | 10:23 am

      Oh Greg! I agree. I’m one of those people who checks every single person who follows me and I block people who follow me and 3000 other people and only have 34 followers. I’ll also block you if you only tweet links to garbage (ie. spam) or never tweet at all. That gives me the internet/spam/hacker/stalker willies.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 2, 2011 | 12:24 pm

      Yup–I’m with you on all of this. A few people have mentioned the people who follow tons of people but never tweet or who have followers. Those are spam-bots and for sure should be blocked.

  25. Frume Sarah
    November 2, 2011 | 10:19 am

    I think that you are spot-on here, N. The whole #FF thing (or, in my circles, #ShabShal) feels more like a popularity contest. And I’m not saying that from a place of bitterness as I am typically included on several of these each week. It just doesn’t feel genuine.

    And ultimately, social media is meant to provide more, and not fewer, avenues for real communication.

  26. mommytanya
    November 2, 2011 | 10:20 am

    Last week someone included me in their #SS (salute sunday). I had to restrain myself from telling them to NOT include me in that crap. My first thought was “dang it no one was actually talking to me” and my second thought was “ugg now 3 days a week I get to see endless RTs of endless list of people I already follow or already know I don’t want to follow”.
    By far the worst Twitter offense I see is the following RT insanity:
    Bob: I love @mike ‘s music
    Mike: RT @Bob : I love @mike ‘s music
    Bob: RT @ Mike: RT @Bob : I love @mike ‘s music
    Seriously?! You just RT someone RT you’re original post!! Nothing was added at all. I see this all the time with my hip hop tweeps and it’s super annoying. Please stop filling my timeline with meaningless garbage.
    I know I get into moods were I tweet endlessly about crap, usually when I’m super excited about something but I *try* and control myself. Feel free to call me out any time  Ohh and I hope you’re feeling well. I specifically check to see if you tweet every day and am waiting for the day when you’re absent.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 2, 2011 | 12:26 pm

      Ha! Love your RT example. So true. Have not seen Sunday thing. Oy!!!

  27. Jack@TheJackB
    November 2, 2011 | 10:39 am

    Look at all the cranky Twitter users, especially that Frume Sarah chick- must be all the snow. ;) You get out of Twitter what you put in. My work requires me to stay online all day long so it is easy for me to pop in and out.

    Triberr has been a huge asset and I couldn’t be happier with it. Been part of it since around March now so I have seen the growing pains but it really has been great. The reason is because it has helped me to connect with some truly fantastic people that I never would have met otherwise.

    It is like any other tool, the value lies in the skill of the user.

    As for Twitter itself, well the lists really help me manage it as does Hootsuite.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 2, 2011 | 12:29 pm

      Yes! Hootsuite is fantastic! I know I’m always sour grapes about Triberr. I’m sure it’s great for blog traffic and connections/relationships with other bloggers, but it’s pretty annoying for the general twitter user just reading the stream. I agree that skill and self-awareness of the user makes a huge difference.

      • Jack@TheJackB
        November 2, 2011 | 12:33 pm

        Smart Triberr users adjust their tweet so that it is clear that they read the post. They also make a point to stay engaged on Twitter. It makes a real difference. I hate when my stream is nothing but links and try to avoid that because it defeats the purpose of Twitter.

  28. Amanda Austin
    November 2, 2011 | 11:21 am

    totally agree to all of these. An immediate unfollow for me is the DM after the follow. I do follow back many of the people who follow me, as long as they aren’t spammers or jsut trying to sell something. I read their bio and their last few tweets first. But I’m like you — a few select go on my “chatty cathy” list and those are the ones I read first…any others I’ll read when my first list has been read!

    • Nina Badzin
      November 2, 2011 | 12:36 pm

      That’s what I do: read the bio and a stream of tweets. I err on the side of following someone, but I’m not afraid to unfollow later for any of the reasons I mentioned.

  29. Kristin @ What She Said
    November 2, 2011 | 11:26 am

    I agree with ALL of your rules and also agree that it’s pointless to always follow back. I follow people based on my own interests and connections. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Always love your Twitter posts, Nina! :)

  30. Cynthia Robertson
    November 2, 2011 | 11:45 am

    Another awesome Twitter post, Nina. My practices pretty much fall in line with your own…with the exception of thanking people. I do some of that on occasion. I never follow back anyone who has a load of spammy stuff in their tweets. Or who only send out tweets without trying to engage others and get to know them.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 2, 2011 | 12:14 pm

      I generally thank people, but almost always as an @mention, not standard tweet. I don’t thank every time though. I honestly believe if people tend to RT each other often and comment on each other’s blogs then the thank you on twitter is unnecessary.

  31. Natalia Sylvester
    November 2, 2011 | 3:47 pm

    Yes to all of this! I love your Twitter tips and I hope more people read them to make Twitter more enjoyable for the rest of us.

    My pet peeve is when people Tweet at me in a very spammy way. For example, there’s this one person who often Retweets my posts by saying things like: “This is a most excellent article, everyone should read this,” or some generic description that makes me think they never actually read the post, they’re just trying to get me to follow or notice them. I usually ignore this person, but recently he started tweeting at me, asking me to check out his new posts. I think if your content’s good enough you shouldn’t have to beg anyone to read it. So I’m still ignoring them, and I don’t care if that makes me sound like a total Twitter snob.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 2, 2011 | 8:07 pm

      Ugh! You’re doing the right thing. That’s completely generic and there’s no way he’s reading your posts. Maybe he just thinks your avatar is hot.

  32. CMSmith
    November 2, 2011 | 6:17 pm

    I actually do follow more people than I can feasibly keep up with, but (I think it was your) tips about lists helps me immensely. I am interested in several different things, some of which have little or nothing to do with writing. I have a photographers list, a nature list, and an Alzheimer’s list, for example, to mention a few. I don’t check them every day, but when I want to, I know where they are.

    Right now, I’m not seeing how tweeting is really going to help me sell any of my self-published books. People are getting sick of it for good reason.

    I’m disillusioned, but not willing to throw in the towel on Twitter. I’ve had some fun interactions, and found some interesting and helpful things there.

  33. Margaret Hames (@MaggieHames23)
    November 3, 2011 | 9:14 am

    This is an excellent piece. Not to make excuses, but I think I was so greedy for Twitter followers, I followed back people with whom I had nothing in common (some couldn’t even speak English) so we’re talking folks that could not possibly be interested in my blog, etc. I’m actually glad that Klout adjusted their rating measure; they used to reward ever-growing numbers but they’re finally hip to the idea that there’s supposed to be a good reason you follow a particular person.

  34. Ann Elise
    November 3, 2011 | 10:59 pm

    I’m a selective follower, too. I take a cursory look at the more recent posts in their twitter stream, maybe take a quick look at their blog or website. If the tweets look spammy or are hard to read, the blog/website content sucks or the layout is too cluttered to make sense of it, I probably won’t follow back.

  35. Carly Watters
    November 3, 2011 | 11:05 pm

    I always look at these types of blog posts because I’m so afraid to balk Twitter etiquette. Thanks for keeping me on my toes, Nina :)

  36. renmbrock
    November 3, 2011 | 11:12 pm

    I agree with most, but I do like to post inspirational quotes. A couple a day, but it’s definitely not all I post. As for self-publishers, they’re just trying to get their books sold. They do get overwhelming after a while, but I think that’s because some just aren’t very good at balancing out their tweets. It’s funny – tweeting successfully is becoming somewhat of an art form.

  37. Karen A. Wyle
    November 4, 2011 | 5:36 am

    I’m reassured to see I’m not the only one who refrains from following everyone who follows me. I’m finding Twitter enough of a time sink as it is. I have similar pet Twitter-peeves. When someone follows me, I usually check their Twitter feed, and if it’s all @johndoe and @marysue, I stop there. . . .

    I’ve read about managing tweets with Tweetdeck and suchlike, but sorting tweets into lists only works if you plan to ignore some of the lists some of the time, and I don’t like that idea much.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 4, 2011 | 4:55 pm

      Hi! I wanted to respond re: lists. I really don’t use mine to ignore people at all. The lists keep the tweets organized for me. I check out book bloggers all at once, lit mags at once, parenting bloggers, people I know in real life, and so on. My brain can take in all the info better that way rather than being hit all at once with random stuff. Feels more streamlined to me. In fact, if I forget to put someone on a list, then there’s essentially no chance I’ll see their tweets. And if someone tweets so often that they take over a list, then it’s buh-bye. ;)

      • Karen A. Wyle
        November 4, 2011 | 8:42 pm

        Nina — thanks for explaining how you use the lists! This makes a lot of sense. I may blow the dust off of Tweetdeck after all.

  38. Brooklyn Ann
    November 4, 2011 | 11:13 am

    Great post! I recently did some “housecleaning” on my twitter feed. It’s so much more pleasant without all the redundant quotes and blasts of “buy my book” links. :)

  39. jenkleinbooks
    November 4, 2011 | 12:48 pm

    This is yet again a reminder of my great technology illiteracy. I had never heard of Triberr until reading this post.

    Agree with your comments — ESPECIALLY the FF thing. At first I found it flattering, but now it’s something I glaze right over. I pay attention if someone I really like FF’s a single person and explains WHY. That’s interesting to me. The endless lists: not so muc

  40. Diane Lockward
    November 4, 2011 | 12:56 pm

    I dump people–both at Twitter and Facebook–who as soon as I add them, at their request, they send me a book promo, clearly a request that I purchase, without even a hint that they are aware that I too am a writer. So long and real fast!

  41. Shari Lopatin
    November 4, 2011 | 6:47 pm

    Nina,

    I feel so honored!! :-) Because you’ve retweeted some of my stuff or favorited some of my tweets. Thank you! I love this post, and will need to devote some time over the coming weeks to read the rest of your series. I couldn’t agree with you more, and you’ve left me with nothing else to add.

    Great post!
    Shari

  42. emmaburcart
    November 4, 2011 | 8:09 pm

    This makes me feel so much better! I don’t follow people back unless I’m interested in what they have to say, so that leaves out a lot of people. I thought I just didn’t get the #WW and #FF thing. Glad I’m not alone. I’m not going to follow someone just because someone else put their name in a tweet. I’d need a reason. And I remember being told that I’m supposed to thank people for following me and thank them for retweeting. But, I honestly just always forget. I don’t feel so bad about that now. What I really like is the interaction on Twitter. It’s almost like texting. So I’m disappointed when I see I have a mention or reply and it just says thanks for the RT or follow or whatever. Such a let down. I know I don’t care if someone thanks me. Posting something good is all the thanks I need. You’ve made me feel like less of a jerk. So, thanks. It’s actually sincere, though.

  43. Michelle D Keyes
    November 4, 2011 | 11:03 pm

    I agree completely, especially about the endless #FF & #WW etc. That’s why I started doing #follow instead. I can do it a couple times a week and use it to really highlight the special people in my network in a positive and sincere fashion. That and I love coming up with unique ways to describe why someone should follow someone in my network.

    Great list and good to know how you think!

  44. Jolina Petersheim
    November 7, 2011 | 1:20 pm

    You are always full of such sage advice when it comes to Twitter, Nina. This post does not fail! Thank you for shedding some light on some glitches in my social media system. You should seriously get paid for this. : )

  45. kathryn magendie
    November 9, 2011 | 7:18 am

    Wonderful advice! I have my pet peeves, too, and you mentioned them here. :)

  46. [...] = ''; } How NOT to Network on Twitter: 5 Common Pitfalls and how to Avoid ThemWhy I Follow You on Twitter (and Why I Don’t) – Nina Badzin's BlogHow NOT to Network on Twitter: 5 Common Pitfalls and how to Avoid ThemWhy I Follow You on [...]

  47. alexandra174
    November 12, 2011 | 12:39 am

    I love your twitter tips.

    And I guess I”m doing all right since I’ve only been in twitter jail once.

    That was kinda fun, though..

    A bit of the bad girl days came back with that one.

    I love your twitter series.

    Congrats on your baby boy!!!!!!!

    Off to catch up on your recent posts. How time gets away from me…

  48. [...] liked because some of the tips touch on some of my peeves with Twitter.  I think part 4 and part 5 were ones that I agreed with the [...]

  49. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson
    November 29, 2011 | 11:23 am

    Nina:

    As you know, I just found you today via Julie Gardner. I am pretty new to Twitter (here since May), and I kind of hate it. I have been writing forever, blogging for 18 months.

    I “joined” the Twitterverse and I begrudgingly go on Tweet Deck times a week. I try to tweet about the things I really like, so I feel really good about the content that I tweet about. That said, I’m still a newbie. I didn’t know that if you put someone’s @NAME first that the post would only be seen by people who follow both of you. How would I know this? For some reason, Twitter is not intuitive for me. I just got an iPad and it makes tweeting so much easier!

    I love your blog already. I hope maybe we can figure some way to collaborate in the future. But I know your two hands are kind of full right now. ;-)

    Thank you for these great tips.

    Now I won’t feel so awful when I don’t do the whole #FF and #WW anymore. Feh!

  50. kvetchmom
    November 30, 2011 | 7:57 pm

    I love crab apple-ish people, so I might not be the best judge. But as a “newbie” this post is very helpful. I’m going to go hunt around on your blog to find info on how best get started without being an irritant!

  51. Tempo Life coaching
    February 6, 2012 | 3:05 am

    I’m relatively new to you and very new to Twitter, so I really appreciated your do’s and don’ts (even though they are just your preference). This whole social media stuff is overwhelming at times. I’m a life coach who knows how to do her job quite nicely. The web stuff is a new addition that’s zapping my brain. So, thank you for helpful Twitter hints. And, if I’m lucky, you’ll follow me :).

    • Nina Badzin
      February 11, 2012 | 4:36 pm

      Hi! I tried to look up your twitter account from the link on your blog but it came up as error page! What’s your twitter handle?

  52. [...] Mah Jongg with this woman. Seriously, I loved Nina’s writing voice right away. She explained Why She Might (Or Might Not) Follow Me On Twitter and  Why Marriage Needs To Come Before The Kids. She even told me about Why I Needed To Eat Her [...]

  53. [...] expert at using either social media source.  For an expert view on how to use Twitter, please see Nina Badzin’s invaluable article, “Why I follow You on Twitter (and Why I Don’t).”  To discover the many benefits offered by Twitter to writers in particular, please do [...]

  54. gojulesgo
    April 18, 2012 | 8:21 am

    Hi Nina! Came to this post from El’s blog, and I love it! I completely agree with all of your points. Although it made me paranoid until I double-checked and saw you were following me on Twitter, so I think I’m in the safe zone. LOL! ;) I’m really terrible about keeping up with my FB wall and Twitter feed (which I was just talking about on El’s latest post), so I really only announce my latest blog posts!

    • Nina Badzin
      April 18, 2012 | 9:52 am

      hi! So, normally only blasting your latest posts would be a no-no since it makes Twitter less “social” media and a bit ME ME ME. But, I use Twitter kind of like people use Google Reader so for me it works and I like to know when you’ve posted.

  55. Charity Kountz
    April 24, 2012 | 11:29 pm

    I love your list! I’ve also developed some of my own rules of engagement as it were and have been experimenting with the follow back. My thought is if someone follows me and their profile isn’t automatically spammy (ie some of what you identified), I’ll give the benefit of the doubt by following them back. But in order to get listed, they have to engage with me or provide content I find worthwhile. I also have a twitter paper that very special people who regularly tweet great content. I periodically clean up my followers/following to eliminate people who are too spammy or break the rules you mention (or just annoy me). I generally will give one opportunity to make a mistake, I’ve even sent twitter tips to people in the hopes they will “see the light”. Twitter is new for many people and I like helping people learn how to use it better. We all started somewhere right? Of course, this may be more generosity and time than others are willing to give, and I understand that. But I love to help others and I do social media for a living so I’m also a twitter junky! In fact I prefer it over almost any other social media now. The others have their benefits but Twitter has been more enduring for me whereas Facebook regularly falls out of favor with me due to their privacy changes and heavy focus on commercializing the site at the expense of the end user. I haven’t gotten into Pinterest simply because I prefer to focus on what works for me best. I’m familiar with it – just not overly enamored with it at this point.

    Great series! I love seeing all of your insight!

    • Nina Badzin
      April 25, 2012 | 4:47 pm

      I help people too! (though it’s not always welcome). So many people don’t know the difference between starting a tweet with @ or not. So they think they’re doing someone a favor by tweeting a link but they’re really not. That one is awkward . . . because when I help I guess I’m always subtly asking them to tweet it again the right way!

  56. lynnkelleyauthor
    June 28, 2012 | 11:35 am

    Hi Nina! I mentioned you and this link in my post today. Thanks to Renee Schuls-Jacobson, who added your link to Amber West’s 6-18 post about Twitter. Your 5-part series is extremely helpful. Thanks so much!

    • Nina Badzin
      June 28, 2012 | 5:18 pm

      Thank you! I really appreciate it! I wish I had MY posts back when I first started. ;)

  57. Tina
    July 15, 2012 | 1:06 pm

    Nina, I’d like to add that I don’t follow people who I’m not sure aren’t porn stars or who tweet in another language. I’m slightly freaked out by those news follows as I’m not sure how they found me or what they want with me! :)

  58. Laura
    July 21, 2012 | 9:43 pm

    I’ve definitely committed some of the Twitter crimes you describe. However, despite my sometimes tactless Tweeting, I am very quick to get irritated by annoying Tweeters. My biggest Twitter-related pet peeve is people who constantly Tweet that they entered such and such giveaway to win a (insert useless piece of overpriced garbage here). Is it really worth getting that extra entry into the contest if it means you have to irritate your entire Twitter following?

    • Nina Badzin
      July 22, 2012 | 1:56 pm

      Yes! That is the PERFECT example of annoying stuff, but it doesn’t bother me as much as some other stuff. Good call though!

  59. Welcome to my Rock | Alarna Rose Gray
    August 2, 2012 | 8:18 pm

    [...] tips.  This includes how to organize Twitter so you don’t go insane, as well as solid tips on how to avoid driving other people insane.  She also defends those of us with Facebook [...]

  60. [...] out what’s in my reader and I’ll be blown away by something authored by Julie C. Gardner or Nina Badzin or El Farris or Lisha Fink or Alexandra Rosas or Peg-O-Leg or Erin Margolin or YOU! And then I want [...]

  61. The Bumble Files
    August 9, 2012 | 9:07 am

    Well, I’m not a tweeter, but I’m sure I will be one day. Your list is helpful. I appreciate your direct approach. PS. I was introduced to you by Renee from her interview with the Byronic Man. I enjoyed your post.

    • Nina Badzin
      August 9, 2012 | 9:57 am

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, if I’m known for anything it is for sure my DIRECT approach. ;) If you ever enter the land of Twitter, I’m happy to help.

      • The Bumble Files
        August 9, 2012 | 10:01 am

        Thank you, Nina! I’ll definitely keep this in mind. I’m busy in the blogging world and don’t feel like I can take on Twitter. I know they can complement each other, but sometimes it all feels like too much. So, I really value the direct approach. It makes perfect sense to me. – Amy

  62. Jessie
    October 17, 2012 | 9:09 pm

    As a fairly new Twitter user, I couldn’t have stumbled across this article at a better time. For some reason, out of all of the social platforms, Twitter is the one that I can’t grasp right away. Thanks for helping me take a step towards overcoming my Twitterphobia!
    Jessie recently posted..Skinny Caramel Apple TartMy Profile

    • Nina (@NinaBadzin)
      October 19, 2012 | 1:55 pm

      Hey Jessie! Sorry for the delay in responding to this. Just wanted to thank you for the nice comment. I’m so glad the Twitter posts have helped. If you have other questions, let me know. It takes EVERYONE time to get used to the lingo, etc. You’re not alone!

  63. Lucas J Draeger
    August 18, 2013 | 5:39 pm

    Your honesty is refreshing. I echo your whole list, though it took me awhile to dodge the guilt I felt by unfollowing many people who were terribly guilty of these things. Excessive tweets ABOUT tweeting or other social media is also a turn off.

    • Nina (@NinaBadzin)
      August 19, 2013 | 10:14 pm

      I have felt the same way about unfollowing, but I do it anyway. ;) Agree: re: too many tweets about social media.

  64. Kenzie @ Life According to Kenz
    October 12, 2013 | 9:52 pm

    I really think you nailed this one, Nina! A must share for sure! Honored to be someone you CHOOSE to follow and chose to meet! You are a blessing to me. :)
    Kenzie @ Life According to Kenz recently posted..It’s Going To Be A Glorious WeekendMy Profile

    • Nina (@NinaBadzin)
      October 13, 2013 | 9:17 am

      Thanks for reading this post, Kenzie! I used to write a lot about Twitter, but I don’t as much anymore. I guess I still believe everything I wrote and don’t have anything new to add. But I love when the old posts get a new read.

  65. Amanda
    October 14, 2013 | 8:08 am

    I definitely agree with you! I reeeeeeally get annoyed when all people do is post links to their blog. I have a blog, and I would like people to read it, but I prefer to use Twitter to share the funny one-liners that pop in my head throughout the day or interesting articles I’ve come across. I get retweets from them, and I like to think that’s driving it’s own kind of organic traffic to my blog. If people like what I’m tweeting, they might want to check out my blog! And then of course they’ll love it :)
    Amanda recently posted..Weekly Wishes #2 + My Pictures from Last WeekMy Profile

    • Nina (@NinaBadzin)
      October 16, 2013 | 10:42 pm

      That’s the best way to approach Twitter, I think. We’re making friends there, not fans. There’s a difference!

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