Sorting My Twitter Followers


Whelp, this is turning into a weird practice. But it’s all just part of learning social media, right?

This process arguably started with a comment under my [former post] on learning twitter. Here’s that comment I wrote:

“Update: 171 followers! And two new lessons I can add to my observations. First, I’ve had to comb through my followers due to some . . . I’m going to word that as weird interactions. I’ve set a date to comb through them again. Any profile that looks suspicious (like a private account with a two word bio) is getting blocked. Past experience from other places online says that I need to be ruthless. The other lesson? Misunderstandings abound. Non-absolutes are absolutes, and vice versa. Being on the internet is hard sometimes.”

I have also discovered that some people will follow me for a follow back, then unfollow in order to up their numbers. Increasing a follower count in general seems to increase visibility (beyond the obvious – I think it also increases it via the algorithm). But it’s disheartening to see people posting about monitoring their follower count or searching for people who drop them after a follow back.

That being said, I’ve also noticed A LOT of people who seem to seek out users to follow for the follow back for ONLY advertising purposes. And, yeah, social media is supposed to be part of our brand awareness / advertising campaign, but a twitter persona can still be more personable than a repetitive product page. I’ve opted not to follow back obvious advertisers. This leaves me in a bit of a weird dilemma.

Do I monitor my followers? What if someone follows me for a follow back but I lose them because the notification didn’t appear? (Yes, that really happens.) If it’s someone I might legitimately want to follow back, then I feel like I’m losing them in the shuffle of the algorithm. What about people who unfollow me after I follow them? How do I want to handle that practice? What if someone becomes an obvious advertiser, but they weren’t that when I followed them? And why do I keep getting weird interactions? Etc. Etc. Etc.

It’s VERY easy to overthink all this.

I’m still learning social media. And I have acknowledged on multiple occasions that, despite my age, I don’t really understand it. I don’t mind admitting that. I feel like I’m trying to create a twitter through one long, uncontrolled experiment that I barely know how to run. I clearly missed out on engineering an hypothesis and whatnot since, well, I keep trying different things without a clear agenda beyond learn the platform and connect with people / writers / readers / fellow sci-fi lovers. (And, yeah, anyone else who wants to connect, right? Within reason, I suppose. There’s a little note on this below at the end of the post.)

For now, I’ve decided to loosely sort through my followers (I think) about once every few months. I just want to see how I’m doing and how many people really do things like unfollow me after I follow back. I just went through it on my phone. Here’s a sampling of observations:

–I’m currently following about 200 people more than who follow me. Some of these are outside of the writing community (Sir Patrick Stewart, for example, is not going to follow me back). Following 856. Followers 658.

–Twitter seems to have missed notifying me about approximately a dozen followers since . . . whenever I looked through these last? This isn’t the first time I’ve done this, but I don’t recall a date.

–Felon Reviews? Really? Someone named their (fake) review service Felon Reviews. That’s not an advertisement. That’s a reminder that buying reviews is just another way of asking for the mighty hammer of Amazon to come crashing down on your books. Also, they’re way too expensive. The tagline (I think that’s what it’s called) lists them at $50-30 for review. Granted, that’s also not the order most people put those numbers in. I’m definitely not giving them a follow back.

–There’s an Indian guy who followed me who seems to tweet almost exclusively in hashtags. I decided to look at his page (turns out he’s an obvious advertiser). Almost every word is a hashtag! Even words like #the and #my

–There’s a private account that followed me that I don’t recognize. It’s set up to look like a gamer nerd, but I’ve learned to be weary of private accounts I don’t already know due to . . . well, um . . . some of those weird interactions I mentioned. I’m debating blocking it. It’s a French account, which is even weirder. Sure, I speak / read French, but I don’t really tweet in it. I think I’ve responded to a grand total of maybe two French tweets in French so far. That’s it. If I block this person, but it turns out that they know me, I wonder if they’ll tell me.

–“I am a ghostwriter and I identify as a ghost. WoOoOo/EeEeEm.” Really? Blocked.

–I’m no longer a student. Why did an obvious advertiser account for a HIGH SCHOOL TUTORING SERVICE (yes, it’s really in all caps) follow me? I’m not giving them a follow back.

–Why did a Korean book cover designer who tweets in KOREAN follow me? I think she’s looking for business, but I can’t read Korean. Also, I think she’s a cover designer? I may be wrong about that.

–A random guy followed me with the tagline #Minneapolis. He has a couple of standard anyone-could-have-said-it happiness snippets but ends it with just #Minneapolis. Why?

This has actually been more interesting to blog about than I thought it would be. I might do more posts like this in the future. (Note from the future: I did do this again [here].)

(By the way, I’m not following back anyone with political opinions that I consider problematic. I know, that sounds very closed off. I just got threatened in person the day before yesterday by an idiot in a Trump hat for . . . I don’t know, breathing? He was ranting about vaccines and waving around a court affidavit he’d written about how his own research debunked the CDC guidelines. Someone I know who witnessed this called him a whackjob. She had to intercede and ask him to leave since my repeated statements weren’t getting anywhere. I shouldn’t have to tell some idiot that I’m calling the cops if he really comes back with a gun. But, at this point, this is normal to me. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I’m not subjecting myself to that sh*t on social media too. In fact, I’ve been blocking those sorts of opinions. Anyone that expresses one gets a block. Because I refuse to deal with it on a platform that lets me block people.)

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