Friday, July 10, 2009

An Open Note on Auto-Following: Spammers Please Read

Way back in 2007, when Twitter was new and everybody knew everybody, following people when they followed you was standard practice. It was considered polite and decent. In fact, if you didn't auto-follow back, it appeared as though you weren't on your game, weren't paying close enough attention to your community.

Well, Twitter is a whole new world now, and it's pretty easy to be overwhelmed by the signal to noise ratio of even your friends. I stopped auto-following when I stopped being able to actually keep up with all my followers (the way you would try to keep up with friends on Facebook, the phone or any other platform). In some cases, that means I'm missing out on real people I could be getting to know. In other cases, like the "followers" that prompted this post, I'm not missing out on anything.

Here's the deal: In the past month, maybe a little longer, I've noticed about half a dozen, maybe more, of the same twitters "adding" me as a follower. Why is this annoying you ask? Because they've added me repeatedly, multiple times in a short span of time. I've received enough duplicative notifications since June that it's time to call out some people.

Here are a few quick ways of gauging if someone is a spammer:
  1. They are following a boatload of people and are being followed by substantially fewer.
  2. They have more followers than they have updates.
  3. They have the words guru or god in conjunction with marketing or SEO in their handle.
  4. They request to follow you multiple times, but you have no idea who they are.

To illustrate that last point, it's time to call a few people out. Below you'll find a few recent irritations, people who have followed me multiple times in the last few weeks with the vital stats called out.

  • has followed me 2x sine June 21
  • As of today, this one has ever tweeted.
  • has followed me 3x since July 2
  • Last I checked, this guy has never tweeted.
  • has followed me 3x since June 15
  • With under 300 updates, this guy has over 3000 followers.
  • If I had prizes for the biggest fail, this would be the winner.
  • She has followed me 5x since June 18, and the 5th time was this morning
  • With just over 100 updates, this one has 1200 followers.

If I haven't followed you back--and you're a real person--please say hello with an @skalik and I'll be sure to check out what you're up to. Spammers please stop clogging up my inbox. I'm not going to follow you back unless I'm genuinely interested in what you have to say; I'm not going to support your numbers simply because you've annoyed me.


My name is David Fisher said...

I've gotten into the habit of DM'ing offenders (since they are following me) the link to

It just seems right. Also anyone that auto-DMs me if I do follow them back, gets me sending that link to them as well. I'm not here to make friends and I'm more than happy to tell a few social media douchebags to F-off. :)

Sandy said...

@themarketguru just followed me again for a sixth time... I think it's time to block this one.

@Tibbon -- I think you're right. They need to be made aware of their douchyness.

Sandy said...

@viralmarketseo followed me again. It's time to block the lot of them!