Personal Blog of Eoin Kelly

What It Feels Like to Follow You on Twitter

Dear @you, Hi, I’m one of your twitter followers. Why? Well twitter is like a personal news site for me where I can aggregate news from many sources – official news outlets such as @nzherald and @rtenews as well as news from people & brands such as you. Basically I’m interested in what you have to say. Cool huh?

So I’m talking to you, the account that wants people to hear what you say – maybe you have an awesome product or service to sell or maybe you just want to the world to hear what you have to say – either way, you had me at “hello”.

Just so you know, I’m one of the good ones so don’t let me slip away. I’m a real person, not a team. I’m not selling anything myself. I only follow accounts that I intend to read all the tweets from. I’m an actual customer and I’m actually listening to you. Sure, you can get a follow anywhere these days but are they really listening to you? I follow ~500 accounts and this generates ~1000 tweets per day. This is pretty much the upper limit of what I can keep track of – I check twitter probably 4-5 times per day spending on average 1-2 hours reading the tweets and articles linked off it.

Let’s take 1000 as a nice round number – If any one of your followers follows 1000+ accounts the chances of them actually reading your tweets is pretty damn small. Of course they may have you on a list which would potentially make you more visible to them but then again, that only depends on how many others are on the list – your visibility on a list with 1000 accounts won’t be any better that on a timeline with 1000 accounts. I guess I’m just saying that not all of your followers are equal.

So is the answer MORE VOLUME? MORE TWEETS TO GET THEIR ATTENTION? Please, no! Remember that these guys aren’t listening and they never were! A “follow” from them doesn’t mean much – it certainly doesn’t mean they are interested in what you have to say. And what will this EXTRA VOLUME feel like to people like me? People who are actually interested in what you have to say. We’ll probably just unfollow you because you suddenly started acting like an insecure d*ck. Not a great look eh?

There are a few things I wish you would understand about what it feels like to be your follower – things I wish you wouldn’t do. Of course, if I felt strongly enough about this, I would just unfollow you, but I really want to make this relationship work so I’m reaching out first…

I hate it when you tweet out a public thanks to every person who follows you. Hey it’s great that you have followers (provided of course they are the good ones like me) but why are you constantly telling me about it – I am interested in what you have to say but i do not care how many followers you have. Do you ring all your customers to tell them every time you get a new customer? Probably not. You are being the guy at the party who keeps telling everybody how successful you are. Stop it.

I don’t like it when you DM me immediately after I follow you. We only just met and I have indicated that I’m interested but that DM is the twitter equivalent of finding last night’s first date crouched in the tree outside your bedroom. OK, maybe not that creepy but you get the idea – it’s too much, too soon.

If you tweet out a list of accounts I should follow, it should be because you really think I’ll be interested in what they have to say – not some sloppy way of thanking them for following you. It’s great when friends introduce to their friends but how would you feel about someone who constantly introduces you to people they barely know? The less often you do this, the more likely I am to think this person is worth following.

I don’t understand why you follow people just because they follow you. Ironically it turns you into one of those low-quality followers that can’t really listen to anyone. Of course, who you follow is your business so this doesn’t really bother me unless you insist on telling me about it all the time (see above).

I’m writing you this because I know you mean well, it’s just that some of the things you do to be popular make you hard to be friends with (insert appropiate high-school movie analogy here). And yes, I know that many of you aren’t real “people” – some of you are brands, often with teams of people behind you. But you appeared in my timeline acting like a real person so you had better behave like one I want to stay friends with.

Much love, @follower