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At idle moments, I wish there was the equivalent of an online leper’s bell that one could ring to notify people in advance as you wend your way through the hills and dales of the interweb.  “Unclean, unclean!”  it would announce to all the citizens of the town.

Or rather, “pure, pure” (in this instance at least) to alert the market sellers that you are not in the least interested in being pestered with offers for snake oil, cheap stuff, wealth creation seminars or other spammy click here now to WIN deals.

I mention this not only because I rather like the image, but also because I’m increasingly finding the sweaty attentions of the grubbiest gurus, mendacious mentors, one-night-only overnight successes and so on, a bit of a pain in the arse.

It’s right and correct to say that Twitter is only as good or interesting as the people you follow, and to ensure this, I personally vet every single person I do follow.  I don’t use auto-follow tools, because I have highfalutin notions of cyber-utopianism. And that means using the following process (pun unintentional but acknowledged):

I must

  • visit every single new follower’s page,
  • Read their bio
  • check their follower/follower ratio
  • read their recent tweets
  • View link vs. @ replies vs. interesting material ratio
  • Make a fairly arbitrary call…

As a result of this, I believe I now have relationships (of varying depth, naturally) with some of Twitter’s sparkiest, most inspiring and charming inhabitants.  But since I haven’t ‘capped’ my total following figure (tools like Tweetdeck and PeopleBrowsr mean I don’t have to) and because I still want to offer followers the same courtesy they have extended me, I waste time checking new followers when I’d be better off doing almost anything else…

Despite the inconvenience of telemarketers, I still have a telephone.  I’m ex-directory and I complain vociferously when I’m disturbed at home (admittedly not usually to anyone who can uphold my complaint…) But it bums me out; it brings unnecessary irritation to both ends of that interaction.   It wastes my time, it wastes the time for the telemarketer.  Even if the call / follow is automated, it leads nowhere for the seller.  Isn’t that poor ROI, or something?

So for the record, if you’re trying to flog me something I certainly don’t want, could you do us both a favour and not even start the conversation? Do me the same courtesy I offer you and check out what I’m into before you start to hit on me….

4 thoughts on “On #followerfail (in which I get mediæval on your arse)

  1. Even though I wish you’d spelled it mediæval (I’m a sucker for characters not generally found on a keyboard), I know your pain. The problem is the same as with spam though.

    You ask “Even if the call / follow is automated, it leads nowhere for the seller. Isn’t that poor ROI, or something?”, and the answer is no. Because the “I” is almost nil, even the slightest return is enough to provide an “R”. Sadly.

  2. That’s interesting.

    But it reminds me, is your ‘you know what’ large enough? I have some pills for sale that you should buy…

  3. I have my Twitter profile set to private so when somebody requests to follow me, I only look at their bio and their most recent tweet. If that tweet has anything to do with what they ate for lunch, tells me really old news or contains more than one hashtag – no dice.

  4. I follow a similar procress but go a step further. Some people I follow after checking them out (yes I really do go and look through their bio, recent tweets and sometimes who follows them that I also follow). For others I’ll follow once they’ve engaged with me through replies.

    Given that I only use Twhirl at present I try to keep my following list to people I do care to hear from and less about political follows – though I do have a few of those too.

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