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Friday, April 8, 2011

Twitter Changes Make Getting Followers Hard, Unless You Are Famous

It's harder to get Twitter followers these days.
Tweet me. Yeah, eat me. Twitter has been making changes to their platform over the years and I've come to the conclusion that Twitter changes make getting followers hard, unless you are famous. 

I was one of the "early adopters' of Twitter - a marketing term that describes people who jump on new products and new trends. We're at the front end of the usage bell curve. Over time, the rest of the world catches up to us and that blows up the middle of the curve. Then there are the people who just discovered 8-track tapes and wonder why they can't find a player. They're at the end of the curve.

Yes, I was there from the onset, many years ago.

Back then, it was easy to get followers. Twitter used to have a stream of tweets (twitter messages) similar to the News Feed on Facebook. But it wasn't limited to just the people you were following. You could sit there all day and watch the feed. If something jumped out, you might choose to follow that person or put their tweet in your favorites. Every time you hit "Refresh" you'd get a new batch of tweets from all over the world. The rich and famous had yet to figure Twitter out.

When I first opened a Twitter account, I immediately wound up with one follower - some black high school student from New York City. All I kept thinking was, "Why is he following me?" Every day, I'd check. He was still there, by himself. "He's still following me. What's he want?" I grew more paranoid every day and finally stopped looking at Twitter for about a month.

When I came back, he was still there. But there were more people following me. I wasn't sure why.

Then, there was that box at the top of the screen, "What are you doing?"

Was this my Dad or the IRS or some other covert agency? I didn't know what to put in there. So my first tweet was, "Sitting here." And I waited. Nothing happened. My next tweet was, "How does this thing work?" Still nothing. After two tweets, I had to take a break.

Every day, I signed on to Twitter and I was getting more followers. So I started following people. The more I followed, the more followers I got.

Then, I started getting crazy. I started trying to write jokes that would fit in the 140 character box. I'd spend a whole day writing jokes and making wisecracks about news items. Followers started showing up by the dozens.

At the time, I wasn't yet medicated for my bi-polar disorder. I was in a manic phase and started opening Twitter accounts for different ideas I had. I was trying to develop specific followings. At one point, I had sixteen Twitter accounts, all with their own distinct profiles and styles. I kept using the same joke writing technique and the followers continued to grow.

Then, I found a product called Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts and your Facebook account, all from one interface. Instead of logging in and out of multiple Twitter accounts, I could log into all of them simultaneously and blast one tweet to every account. It made me much more efficient. My combined followers were over 25,000 - and I'm a nobody.

I was ranked as one of the fastest growing Twitter accounts in Las Vegas for my main account.

So, I kept following new people and kept writing my insane prattle on a daily basis. Then, I hit a wall. Twitter will only let you follow 2,001 people if your followers are below that number. So you have to get your followers to exceed 2,001 and then you can start following more people.

A technique to get followers was to follow large groups of people. Original Twitter etiquette was that if someone followed you, you'd follow them back. So, if you followed a lot of people, a good portion of them would follow you back. Then, you'd go in and delete all the people you were following and start with new batches of people to follow. This is a very time consuming exercise and I quickly tired of it.

Now that Twitter has worked its way up the bell curve and all of Hollywood and the news industry has figured out that Twitter is for real and a great marketing tool, it is impossible to get noticed.

Plus, Twitter changed the feed to only include the people you are following. And as far as that etiquette thing of returning the follow, that's out the window.

Charlie Sheen can get 2 million followers in 48-hours because he's on the news, but he's following 36 people. Charlie doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone else. You'd think he'd have other industry people he'd want to follow. But no, he's only interested in all the free marketing he can generate from Twitter.

Sheen has even gone on a search for an Internet Intern. 850,000 people applied for the job. He's going to hire someone to manage his social media accounts. There is a finalist for the position here in Cleveland. She's a senior at a local college. She's been quoted as saying that the responsibilities of the job keep growing. It will be a paid position. She's waiting to hear from Mr. Tiger Blood.

The only way you can build a large following on Twitter is to become a media darling. Get on the news or wind up on the front page of the Enquirer and BANG, you've got a million followers. Guys like me have to keep pounding out jokes that you hope get retweeted. In the old days, random people would see my jokes and start following me. Now, they have to get it passed on from a friend, kinda like an STD.

So, Twitter has been taken over by those of notoriety and that's why Twitter changes make getting followers hard, unless you are famous.

Oh yeah... click the link below to follow me on Twitter...  ;)

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  1. You are entirely correct however if you want the follower fix satisfied carefull use of parodies can work. I have created and it is going well.
    I adhere to twitter parody terms and conditions and all tweets are original

  2. That is a cool idea, if your goal is solely to get followers.

    I,however, am trying to create my own brand - Roger Blazic - will be a household word - or a cuss word on the Internet. It's already been used in court a few times with the subtitle "defendant"... but that's another story.

    I have the perfect work around for the Twitter issue. The majority of the people I follow have 100K followers and up. I write tweets and send it to one of them, along with my other hashtags. So my post on flatulence will go to my usual hashtags and to @howiemmandel - He's got a million or so followers. It's almost the same as me having a million followers, because I'm "BFF" with Howie, right?

    My followers go up and then they go down... I'll write a post about why I don't follow them back and it has to do with a Twitter rule.

    Thanks for the idea. I'm sure someone can use it... but for now... you want to do a parody Tweeter LOL


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