With all the blog posts I’ve done on Twitter for nonprofits, you know I’m having a blast with Twitter. I’m connecting with old friends and new ones. I even used Twitter to rewrite a fundraising appeal!
But over the last few weeks, I’ve seen some repeated habits that really annoy me:
- People asking for followers.
I don’t understand why people would send tweets asking, sometimes begging, people to follow them. Twitter isn’t a popularity contest. Twitter isn’t about how many followers you have. It’s about the conversations you’re having.
So here’s a simple Twitter secret: be interesting. Seek and follow interesting people. You can use Twitter Search or Twellow to find people. Interact with them. Follow conversations during live events like the President’s speeches or episodes of Survivor. You’ll get followers.
But please, don’t beg for followers.
- People thanking me for following them.
Give me a break! I’m not following you to do you a favor. I’m following you to see what I can learn.
I choose to autofollow people that follow me. I don’t have the time to manually go through the lists of people that follow me to see who to follow in return. So I’ve found autofollowing to be helpful.
Some of the thank you’s I’ve received make it seem like they’re desperate for followers.
- People trying to drive me to their website.
Worse than saying “thank you,” “thank you,” is DM’s that ask, cajole, or insist that I go to their website. That’s what bios are for! Just be interesting often enough and I will go to your bio to learn more. Really.
So be sure to make the most of your bio.
But if you’re not interesting, or if you do nothing but broadcast messages without replying, I’ll probably simply stop following you.
The weirdest version of this is people wanting me to become their Facebook friends. I like auto DM’s. But sheesh. How in the world do I know if I want to friend you on FB? Don’t ask me something like that on the first tweet.
There. My rant is over.
If you’ve never been on Twitter before and want to see what it’s all about, I hope you and your staff will join me for Twitter Your Way to Contributions on March 31 at 2 p.m.
This is so true, couldn’t agree more!
I find it rather odd when people send me auto DMs asking me to find them on Facebook… why would I want to do that without having exchanged even a single personal DM with that person?
Although I don’t use the autofollow function, nor do I send auto DMs, I do tend to follow most people back, unless they are obvious spammers. However, if I find that a person is continuously bombarding me with annoying DMs about how I need to check out their site or if all their tweets are mostly dull I will unfollow again.
I don’t have unlimited time, so I think keeping a good “Twitter-hygiene” is important to maintain a valuable experience.
I thank people for following me if I have a followup question or comment. For example, I was followed by someone with a bio that said they help people find jobs. No web address or further information. So, I thanked him for the follow and asked what he does to help people find jobs. There are a lot of tea people on Twitter and when they follow me, I DM and ask what their favorite tea is.
Many times, I don’t get a reply. But the ones I get are interesting and start a nice conversation. I don’t auto follow or auto DM. If you get a message from me, it’s really from me and you can usually tell because I’ve made it personal/appropriate.
The only reason you have a problem with thank you and auto DMs is because you auto follow back. Stop this practise and your DM problem will disappear. After all, as you mentioned in point one, Twitter is about the conversations you are having.
new to twitter and I have to say your 3 are spot on, and your style as well worked for me as you are now in my mind as a potential fund raising go to guy.
“It?s about the conversations you?re having.” Great point as I read on another blog describing an Amish man’s observations about cell phones, instant msg, pda, it’s too often sending a message rather than having a conversation.
Jen, Cindy, Scott, Twittergator, and Doug: thanks for adding to the conversation!
I love the concept of “Twitter hygeine”! 🙂
on #2, really?! being polite is never a faux pas in my book! starting out with a polite ‘thank you’ along with a comment or question about the new follower is a great way to start engaging in a conversation.
agree with you on #1 and #3 though.
I can understand you find Twitter frustrating sometimes. Generally I am afraid that I disagree. Using an auto follower distracts you from the process of meeting/learning about people right away.
I ask people to follow me when I have been following them for awhile and find them interesting. Usually these are people that have written back to me as well.
If I mention my blog or stories on it, then people stop by. Hardly anyone looks at my bio and checks it out. But I am not selling anything or sending offers for silly gift prizes.
Most people thank me for following them and I thank them back. It is good social interaction and generally good behavior.
nothing irritates me more than people who can’t filter text with their eyes. Seriously, it takes little effort to decide to skim something and move on whether it makes this list of 3 annoyances or is whatever doesn’t happen to set off your touchy pretenses. 😉
Great Job You Hit The Nail On The Head. May be Its something you have to Learn, I used to send the Thank You’s but after realizing I couldn’t keep up with the ones I received I stopped, and I no longer search for new followers they follow me and I add them.
I agree, but “Twitter isn?t about how many followers you have.” is somehow not correct. The number of *important* followers indicates influence. So, it might very well be important how many *important* followers one has.
Thanks for the helpful conversation. (I even got a couple comments I couldn’t print!)
I intentionally experimented with a pointed blog post. As many of you who read my posts know, this isn’t my normal tone.
More importantly, I’m learning that what irritates me may be my own fault. I do choose to autofollow. But just because I do, doesn’t mean that every “thank you” DM is an auto-DM. Each could well be coming from a polite, well brought up individual.
Thanks for taking the time to respond to and to help me grow as a Twitterer!
Marc, as always a kind and thoughtful response from you, I would expect nothing less. What is interesting about your tone is that you had a lot more responses than usual. We like people who whine, it is fun to blame others. I fear your experiment served to remind us that we find it much easier to whine, complain and blame others than to create real value. After all that would require ownership and true accountability. Marc I continue to respect and admire your work, well done. jay
It IS amazing how much visceral response a bold, in your face, blog post can produce!
I’ve also confirmed that I prefer to keep my tone as it normally is: open to learning.
But it is fun to be opinionated every once in a while. 🙂
PS Jay, thanks for your vote of confidence!
Hi Marc! Fascinating to see that this ‘oldie but a goodie’ blog post remains relevant & a true to this day. Nowadays we get LinkedIn requests as well, which are equally, dare I say, presumptuous and too often off-target. But it’s not surprising really, since so many are playing the ‘influence game’ looking to boost their Klout & other measures of social influence ratings. Since I don’t have much time to play with strangers, outside of Twitter & rarely use FB, (beyond family & close friends), the invite is pretty much wasted. Nevertheless I appreciate the outreach and prefer a greeting and/or welcome vs nothing at all … And am always grateful when Tweeple proactively or reactively follow me & pleased to make their (your) acquaintance!
While I can see your points as having validity in some aspects, many people appreciate a thank you, even for new followers. It’s a sign of recognition and respect to the person. If they choose to be buggered about it, they are but one of a very limited few.
If you have issues with anything, anyone, just find a solution! A common rule of human behavior is that if you put a negative message out, that’s what you get back.
Your three points still do have some strong validity I will admit with the exception of one.
Deb and Rev. Fisher: I appreciate your comments!
One of the best things I did was stop autofollowing people. I thought it would make life easier but I got as many bots as I got great people.
So now I don’t get the multitude of “thank you” DMs. 🙂
The thank you’s I do get seem much more sincere. Except the one promising to make me rich if I went to the link they’d included…