Twitter Fatigue: Hype Ends and Work Begins: Maintaining Your Twitter Account

What if Twitter stopped reporting number of followers and followees, would that change our behavior?

It is certainly as tedious to unfollow as it is to follow. A click to follow is the same as a click to unfollow. With twenty tweeps per follow/friend page, it takes a ton of clicks to add or shed tweeps.

[Quick math: I currently follow over 4,300 people. To manage those connections I have to page through 215 pages to validate or unfollow. That’s silly. Let’s take it one step further, let’s say I can manage about 3 pages a minute (20 secs per page) in a perfect environment, that’s still an HOUR AND TEN MINUTES just to look through all of my followers! Now that’s some serious TWITTER FATIGUE!]

Could Twitter give us the old 10-20-50-100 listings per page, option? How about a mass unfollow tool? An API to let you mass manage your Twitter account? What about a Twit-Link migration tool to export all of your twitter followers and followees to a new platform, WAVE perhaps?

robm-holic

So Mr. 50k moved on becoming Mr. 100k. But the quality of his work is not better. His RTs and Auto-DMs and Auto-Follows certainly UP his tweet counts, but his content has not improved. He is seriously chatting on twitter. Inanities about anything and everything. And he gets credit for all his Auto-Tweets and Auto-DMs. On the surface he looks like a Twitter Hero, on the same playing field as Obama and Jimmy Fallon. But that wouldn’t really be accurate when you look at the value of the content he is creating.

But if you dig in a little to see some of the raw stats. He averages 767 tweets a month. That’s

Picture 1

about 37 a day (if you use working days of May as an example). That’s a lot of Tweetin. Perhaps he gives out valuable information or is followed for his wisdom or wit? Uh… Not so much. Oh well, Mr. 50k is working the system in a different way than I am. And I guess that’s between him and his flock!

So I think we, as Twitter users, especially if we are trying to set a standard as leaders in the twitterverse, have a responsibility to manage our followers as well as those we follow. I DO go back through my follower pages, I even TRY to make it all the way to the last page of tweeps, to unfollow stragglers and block the porn tweeters that are getting more aggressive. So we are responsible for cleaning both sides of our tweetstream. And the reason is, as people are looking for others to follow (a process we call discovery) they will often look to the leaders they already trust and see who they follow. That’s how I do it anyway. And if I look at someone’s followers, to find tweeps to follow and I see a bunch of MLM marketers, GET 10k Followers a Month scammers, Britney Fxxxxxxd Vids, I can tell the person does not have very active twitter hygiene. And that side of the equation is important as well.

My final point: If Twitter eliminated the FOLLOWS and FRIENDS count, the pointless follower race would be over. Nobody would care how many followers you have. They COULD discover more about your followers if they chose to look, but it wouldn’t take too many screens of discovery to see that someone was more about quantity and less about quality.

Work the tweet, trust the tweet, value the tweet. But don’t just TWEET. Tweetin to be tweetin (I’m goin to the store, I’m goin to lunch, I’m goin to coffee, I’m goin to bed) gets old pretty quick. And most tweeters, even if they start there, begin to develop their own style, or in writer’s terms, their own “voice.” So do that. Find out what is interesting in your world and tweet that. No need to tweet me that you’re going to bed or going to lunch. Just do that stuff. Let me know when you do or find something interesting.

<sarcasm> I’m signing off now, ending the post, see ya, love ya, mean it, follow me, tweet ya later. </sarcasm>

@jmacofearth
permalink: http://uber.la/2009/06/twitter-fatigue/

Browser Update: Today I switched from Firefox to Safari on Twitter.com and I think I am noticing a significant speed advantages. I’m still not getting 3 pages per minute, but I am seeing less problems with unfollowing. And I’m liking the performance in my WordPress management pages as well. Could Firefox have met it’s streamlined match?

Auto-Tweeting Preferences: I did something yesterday in one of my social networking platforms that is collecting my del.icio.us adds and tweeting them as a generic tweet like this “Links for 6-19-09 (del.icio.us).” And I can’t find where to turn it off. Is it in Yahoo’s MyBlogLog, is it in my Disqus prefs, or FriendFeed or my new BING tools? I’m still looking. So it was an accident to turn it on, I wasn’t sure what the preference meant. But now I can’t find out how to turn it OFF. UG!

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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. I think the question I have to ask is: why are you following 4300 people? You obviously don’t know whom you’re following if you’re surprised that many of them turn out to be fakey-spammer-auto-posters and you end up going on unfollowing sprees.

    Before you ask why the place you ended up is so frustrating, I think you have to ask how you got there.

  2. Actually it’s the fakey-spammer-porno-auto-bots that I am unfollowing with a passion. How I follow 4,300 folks, well… you just click and click and click… it’s how you end up getting 5,300 followers I guess. And that’s even after I’ve kicked the 100 or so Britney Sexy impostors off my follow.

    And again you are missing the primary POINT: We are responsible for cleaning both sides of our tweetstream. I am cleaning the PORNSTERS off my followERS not my friends, or peeps that I follow. You jump to conclusions that are not in the words written.

    At least you are doing it on the blog now. That is much better than 140 character snipes. For that I say, thank you. I know you are trying to engage and I appreciate that.

  3. “it’s how you end up getting 5,300 followers I guess”

    That’s not a good reason to follow 4,300 people. You’re playing into the numbers game that you’re taking pains to criticize and then complaining about Twitter fatigue.

    AND taking me to task for pointing out things you’re already saying. What am I reading into your post and response that you’re not saying?

    If it seems like I’m targeting you it’s only because I read your tweets and then follow the links to your blog and am amazed that you seem to believe what you’re saying (or that you don’t have the self-awareness to see the irony of some of the things you post).

    If it feels like I’m sniping at your tweets it’s because I DO read every Tweet of every person I follow (something I can do because I don’t follow 4,300) and yours stand out for these reasons.

  4. (GRIN)

    You give me joy!

    You are tossing Mr. 50k back at me? That’s good.

    See, I’ll explain something to you, since your trying to make a point of my follower/following rationale.

    I am WORKING in social media, not REPORTING ON IT. (Sorry to shout, I’ll work on that.)

    So when I get a new client I will go do my research on their social media profile. If that includes a Twitter account I will go dig into that data as well. Often following 30 – 40 people who work for, with or around the client. See? So I will follow a lot of folks during the course of a week that I don’t really know much about. What I am trying to do is learn more about all of them and their responses/reactions and conversations with the client company.

    I guess if Twitter were just a phenomena I was covering for a local paper or nationally syndicated radio show I might have different tweet habits. But I am trying to engage in the dialogue on all levels. Even when that requires going against the popular trend or calling out someone who is “gaming” the system.

    I am VERY appreciative that you are reading my tweets. (sorry, that wasn’t meant to sound sarcastic, but the all-caps did it.) And I like that mine in particular give you grist for your writing. And I really like that we could develop a point-counterpoint relationship in greater than 140 characters. Fine to tweet it, fine to promote and crosslink via twitter, but we need to stretch out a bit, run a few words, get a few ideas illuminated and out in the open.

    And i’d love to hear more about this line in your logic: “i read your tweets and then follow the links to your blog and am amazed that you seem to believe what you are saying.”

    I am fine with being out in the open about my Twitter complaints, my own twitter failings, my twitter UX issues, my fail whale irritations. But GETTING REAL with TWITTER is something I take quit seriously. (damn, i did it again, i raised my voice.)

    As we go along, I am trying to capture thoughts about uses and abuses of Twitter. If you find something I say IRONIC or Contradictory, I’d love to hear about it. Cause I am actually trying to be as transparent and open about my own reservations as possible.

    So, please do illuminate for me where you seen the contradiction. I am certain the failure is mine. But I will try harder to make it clear next time.

  5. Fair ’nuff. Good explanation. Believe me, when I see inconsistencies and logic I think rings false, I will tell you (as I’ve been doing).

    One thing you know by now is that a lot of social media is perception: When I hear someone complain that people they follow turn out to be spammers and then I go look and see that person follows 4,000+ people, my perception becomes, “They must not pay much attention to who they’re following in the first place and probably follow-back anyone who follows them; that would explain why they have 5k+ followers.”

    To me, personally, that’s not very far removed from the pump-and-dumpers who follow a ton of people and then unfollow later to artificially make their follow/follower count ratio look better. @giovanni says he does this — I love Giovanni — he’s a good guy and makes me laugh, but I think it’s a very lame thing to do.

    That’s my own perception; I recognize others don’t feel that way, but as someone who makes an effort on the front end to carefully screen the people I follow (unless there’s a good reason TO follow someone, I won’t). And it’s not easy. I have about 200 e-mails alerting me to new followers that I’m still trying to decide whether to follow back. It’s a process.

    Not saying everyone (or you) should do that, but that’s where I’m coming from. Has nothing to do with where I work (I don’t follow as many journalists or tech people as you might think); I think it has to do more with my personal interests and who I find to be good Twitter people.

    As for the issue of tweet spammers (“Get 100 followers a day using http://www.tweeteXXXX“), I doubt these are people related to clients you’re pursuing. Are you sure that’s how you ended up following those?

    On this we can agree: Twitter does need better mechanisms for dealing with mass numbers of followers/following, batch functions, etc. The built-in tools (for lack of a better word) are clunky and not designed for that, it feels like.

  6. I think the question I have to ask is: why are you following 4300 people? You obviously don't know whom you're following if you're surprised that many of them turn out to be fakey-spammer-auto-posters and you end up going on unfollowing sprees.

    Before you ask why the place you ended up is so frustrating, I think you have to ask how you got there.

  7. Actually it's the fakey-spammer-porno-auto-bots that I am unfollowing with a passion. How I follow 4,300 folks, well… you just click and click and click… it's how you end up getting 5,300 followers I guess. And that's even after I've kicked the 100 or so Britney Sexy impostors off my follow.

    And again you are missing the primary POINT: We are responsible for cleaning both sides of our tweetstream. I am cleaning the PORNSTERS off my followERS not my friends, or peeps that I follow. You jump to conclusions that are not in the words written.

    At least you are doing it on the blog now. That is much better than 140 character snipes. For that I say, thank you. I know you are trying to engage and I appreciate that.

  8. “it's how you end up getting 5,300 followers I guess”

    That's not a good reason to follow 4,300 people. You're playing into the numbers game that you're taking pains to criticize and then complaining about Twitter fatigue.

    AND taking me to task for pointing out things you're already saying. What am I reading into your post and response that you're not saying?

    If it seems like I'm targeting you it's only because I read your tweets and then follow the links to your blog and am amazed that you seem to believe what you're saying (or that you don't have the self-awareness to see the irony of some of the things you post).

    If it feels like I'm sniping at your tweets it's because I DO read every Tweet of every person I follow (something I can do because I don't follow 4,300) and yours stand out for these reasons.

  9. Dang, nice Omar came out. Now I have to agree with everything you said. The only miss is the scammers and pornsters, I’m not following them. They are following me. And I feel there is part of the process that requires me to actually cull my followERS (as in get rid of the dorks following me.) Now I do occasionally follow a dork. And once when I followed Oprah, for about 2 days, I couldn’t figure out where all the Twitterspam was coming from. When I got off her follower list the spam backed down again.

    I appreciate the connect Omar. It makes me smile that my posts get you riled up, invested, ready to discuss.

    Now about that Rita I owe you… What’s good for you next week?

    ;-}

  10. (GRIN)

    You give me joy!

    You are tossing Mr. 50k back at me? That's good.

    See, I'll explain something to you, since your trying to make a point of my follower/following rationale.

    I am WORKING in social media, not REPORTING ON IT. (Sorry to shout, I'll work on that.)

    So when I get a new client I will go do my research on their social media profile. If that includes a Twitter account I will go dig into that data as well. Often following 30 – 40 people who work for, with or around the client. See? So I will follow a lot of folks during the course of a week that I don't really know much about. What I am trying to do is learn more about all of them and their responses/reactions and conversations with the client company.

    I guess if Twitter were just a phenomena I was covering for a local paper or nationally syndicated radio show I might have different tweet habits. But I am trying to engage in the dialogue on all levels. Even when that requires going against the popular trend or calling out someone who is “gaming” the system.

    I am VERY appreciative that you are reading my tweets. (sorry, that wasn't meant to sound sarcastic, but the all-caps did it.) And I like that mine in particular give you grist for your writing. And I really like that we could develop a point-counterpoint relationship in greater than 140 characters. Fine to tweet it, fine to promote and crosslink via twitter, but we need to stretch out a bit, run a few words, get a few ideas illuminated and out in the open.

    And i'd love to hear more about this line in your logic: “i read your tweets and then follow the links to your blog and am amazed that you seem to believe what you are saying.”

    I am fine with being out in the open about my Twitter complaints, my own twitter failings, my twitter UX issues, my fail whale irritations. But GETTING REAL with TWITTER is something I take quit seriously. (damn, i did it again, i raised my voice.)

    As we go along, I am trying to capture thoughts about uses and abuses of Twitter. If you find something I say IRONIC or Contradictory, I'd love to hear about it. Cause I am actually trying to be as transparent and open about my own reservations as possible.

    So, please do illuminate for me where you seen the contradiction. I am certain the failure is mine. But I will try harder to make it clear next time.

  11. Fair 'nuff. Good explanation. Believe me, when I see inconsistencies and logic I think rings false, I will tell you (as I've been doing).

    One thing you know by now is that a lot of social media is perception: When I hear someone complain that people they follow turn out to be spammers and then I go look and see that person follows 4,000+ people, my perception becomes, “They must not pay much attention to who they're following in the first place and probably follow-back anyone who follows them; that would explain why they have 5k+ followers.”

    To me, personally, that's not very far removed from the pump-and-dumpers who follow a ton of people and then unfollow later to artificially make their follow/follower count ratio look better. @giovanni says he does this — I love Giovanni — he's a good guy and makes me laugh, but I think it's a very lame thing to do.

    That's my own perception; I recognize others don't feel that way, but as someone who makes an effort on the front end to carefully screen the people I follow (unless there's a good reason TO follow someone, I won't). And it's not easy. I have about 200 e-mails alerting me to new followers that I'm still trying to decide whether to follow back. It's a process.

    Not saying everyone (or you) should do that, but that's where I'm coming from. Has nothing to do with where I work (I don't follow as many journalists or tech people as you might think); I think it has to do more with my personal interests and who I find to be good Twitter people.

    As for the issue of tweet spammers (“Get 100 followers a day using http://www.tweeteXXXX“), I doubt these are people related to clients you're pursuing. Are you sure that's how you ended up following those?

    On this we can agree: Twitter does need better mechanisms for dealing with mass numbers of followers/following, batch functions, etc. The built-in tools (for lack of a better word) are clunky and not designed for that, it feels like.

  12. Dang, nice Omar came out. Now I have to agree with everything you said. The only miss is the scammers and pornsters, I'm not following them. They are following me. And I feel there is part of the process that requires me to actually cull my followERS (as in get rid of the dorks following me.) Now I do occasionally follow a dork. And once when I followed Oprah, for about 2 days, I couldn't figure out where all the Twitterspam was coming from. When I got off her follower list the spam backed down again.

    I appreciate the connect Omar. It makes me smile that my posts get you riled up, invested, ready to discuss.

    Now about that Rita I owe you… What's good for you next week?

    ;-}

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