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Friday, July 1, 2011

Why #Twitter Rules Prevent Me From Following You - Temporarily

I'd love to, but Twitter is holding me back. Be patient.
With any system, you have to look at the confines and determine the best way to work with them or around them. As a 3+ year Twitter veteran whose had as many 20 different Twitter accounts, I've learned a few things for this go round. And that's why Twitter rules prevent me from following you - temporarily. 

In Twitter's early days, there was a common courtesy, I follow you, you follow me. When you look at some Twitter accounts that have 2,000,000 followers and they're following 5 people, that courtesy doesn't seem to stand up these days.

But there is a single rule that Twitter has that prevents me from following everyone that follows me - at least for now.

If you understand my Twitter strategy - and I do have a very specific strategy - then you'll see why I'm pinned in a bit of a box.

Twitter will not allow you to follow more than 2,001 people, until your followers exceed the same number. Most of the people I follow have to meet a certain criteria. I'm involved with a number of causes on this blog - mental illness, death penalty reform, disabilities, blindness, Alzheimer's Disease, the poor and others. So, I follow groups that are related to those causes. I can send tweets out with articles with targeted content to those groups. It works - I get a lot of positive feedback - because I'm offering something of value to the people in those categories.

Since I was a stand-up comic for nearly a decade, I follow a lot of entertainers or entertainment industry people. I follow major news and sports providers. I follow writers, publishing companies and comedy writers. I follow all the people related to the main TV shows I write about. I also follow everything and anything related to Las Vegas. That is where I'm from and I am trying with all my might to get back there, where my 10 year-old daughter is.

There are people in marketing and advertising that I follow, too - since I spent 7 years in that industry. And I follow a group of really talented bloggers and blog marketers.

There are a handful of good friends that I follow, but most of them are in one or more of the industries I've described above.

Right now, I am following about 1,200 people. I only have 800 people to follow and then I'm tapped out. So, I don't follow back people unless they are in one of the industries in my following profile.

I've been around Twitter enough to know that there are a group of people that have all those fancy Twitnick analysis tools that tell them who they are following and who is following them back. They find the non-followers and blow them out. I'll see my paltry list of 450 followers swell to 500 and then in one day 50 disappear. I don't smell that bad to cause a mass exodus.

But I can't follow them until I get to 2,001. Once I hit that mark, I'll follow everyone. But I've had this happen before, I followed everyone and anyone and then I was at the wall. Good people would pop up and I'd have to start looking for people to drop, just to fit in my new friend. I'm not going through that again.

Yes, I used the same programs years ago, too. However, Twitter has in their code things that detect mass deletions. If they catch you doing mass deletions on a regular basis, you will be deleted.

It prevents a strategy that a guy taught me years ago. You follow up to the max 2,001. Run your analysis program, dump everyone that doesn't follow you back in three days or a week and follow more people. With a lot of work, you can drive the number of followers up and it will be pretty even with the number of people you are following. Then you get to the wall and you have to wait for followers to push you over and open the gates. I don't have the time or patience for that.

Besides, I don't need a million followers. I'd like them, but I don't need them. When I write relevant content about say, The Voice, I send the tweet with the link to Howie Mandel or Sharon Osborne - they have hundreds of thousands of followers. What difference does it make how many people are following me? Or I write about Alzheimer's and there are a couple dozen people in the #ALZ category that I can tweet to and share content that is important to them. It all works out just fine.

So, if you're wondering, "Why doesn't that Roger bastard follow me back?" Now you know. And you know why Twitter rules prevent me from following you - temporarily. Be patient. I'll be glad to follow you, once I get past 2,001 followers - so stop deleting me - you're making this take a lot longer than it needs to .  ;)>

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