How do I choose who to follow back on Twitter?

A long time ago I confessed to @SilkCharm that I did not get Twitter and was about to abandon it. But at her urging I persisted with the darn thing. Then quite quickly there were a whole bunch of people following me, and it became necessary to develop a set of rules for who to follow back.

My rules are pretty simple and I like reciprocity, real people and conversations.

THE ‘NO’ QUESTIONS – if the answer to these questions is ‘no’ then I’ll probably follow back:

  1. Does this Twitter account seem to be a bot or a spammer?
  2. Do they just talk self-marketing crap?
  3. Do they just post marketing links?
  4. Do they just have the default avatar?
  5. Do they have only 1 or 2 posts that are old?
  6. Do they have hardly any followers but follow a zillion people?

THE ‘YES’ QUESTIONS – if the answer to these questions is ‘yes’ then I’ll probably follow back:

  1. Do they have a link to another ‘real’ website?
  2. Is it a real person or a company that I might want to have a conversation with?
  3. Have they got some recent posts that indicate a person who’s into communication?
  4. Does their website look interesting?
  5. Would I want to chat with this person at a cocktail party based on their tweets?

Now this bunch of rules gets applied whimsically depending on how I feel. Mostly I try to be reciprocal but don’t always follow people back for various reasons that usually relate to some combination of answers to the questions above.

Author: Kate Carruthers

Kate Carruthers is Chief Data & Insights Officer for UNSW Sydney, and is also an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science & Engineering. She is certified in information security and is currently undertaking postgraduate studies terrorism and security. Kate has extensive experience in senior roles in ICT, marketing, data and digital; and is a member of the NSW Government’s Data Analytics Centre Advisory Board. Kate is currently working at the intersection of data analytics, AI, ML, privacy, cyber security, and data protection.

4 thoughts

  1. I only wish I knew how to hyperlink my live journal account on my twitter profile. I’ve tried variations, but it’s a futzz… see me ern_malleyscrub at live journal if you like! Thanks for a great article Kate. keep on twitterin’


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