Let’s Talk Following

I have a question for my fellow Twitter users.  It seems I have new people following me every day.  Now that should not be a bad thing.  But lots of these people are folks I have never met or heard of.  It’s not like like text messages where I have to pay for messages posted to Twitter based on the number of people that the message is delivered to. And it is not like I post anything in an open tweet that I am worried about who does or does not read it.

How should I  decide who to block and who to report as SPAM?

I suppose in part, the answer to the question depends on how and why I use Twitter.  One has to ask who do I hope my tweets are getting too.  I have a network of friends, peers and community members.  I found Twitter quite valuable at events like the recent #LISA09 conference. And I have met some really great contacts through Twitter.

I read nearly every tweet that comes to my TweetDeck screen. It keeps me up on what’s going on with those I follow. And it keeps me up on news and hot topics. I’ve learned a lot since joining Twitter.  Mostly by following very interesting folks like @CaliLewis, @Pogue and @ChrisBrogan.  I keep up on #HEP (High Energy Physics) by following @CERN and @USLHC.

I’m sure that folks @ThinkGeek want followers as a way to promote their products to as many people as possible.  I understand that.  It is good marketing.  And I follow them back to watch for sales.

At present, I have no commercial interest in Twitter.  My blog generates no income and I have no affiliations that bring me any sort of compensation.  Still, I’d like to think that by tweeting each new Blog post I may pick up some new followers, or the Blog or my tweets.  I do appreciate when someone finds a Blog post interesting enough to mention in a tweet to their followers

I am careful about who I do and do not follow on Twitter.  I do not automatically follow anyone who follows me.  I do not even check the profile of everyone who follows me.  I do not see the numbers of how many I follow or how many follow me as at all significant.  Am I unique in my careful approach to followers?  It certainly seems that minority of the Twitter users  who follow me are in it for a numbers game.  I can’t believe they read every post by everyone they follow.

I have blocked people whose follower count is up in four digits while there posts are counted with one or two digits.  I have reported some people as SPAM when the majority of the posts I find on their profile are obviously sales hype. But I don’t have time to review everyone who starts following me.  Some who follow me are disabled by the time I go to check their profile after others reported them as SPAM.

I have used tools like @Foller.Me to help me prune my followers. I can’t get to TwitBlock any longer.  I just wonder if even that is worth my time. I expect to write a blog post on SPAM fighting tools some time soon.  I’d love to hear what your favorite such tool is.

How do you decide who to block and who to report as SPAM?  Please share your opinion via a comment.

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