What is my Twitter policy?
Twitter account: @AlexRRowan.
I tweet mainly about these subjects:
Philosophy – Business – Psychology – Health – Mental Health – Subconscious Mind – Counselling – Love – Anthropology – Animals – Birds – Flora – Cats – Books – Technology – Science – Women’s Fashion – Tasmania – Magic – Neuroscience – Society – Culture – Cycling – Arts – Photography – Writing – Politics – Ninjutsu – Music – Sensuality – Relationships – Sexuality – Dating – Human Rights – Freedom Of Speech – Indigenous Rights – Womens’ Interests, Rights & Issues – Religion – Weight Loss – Fitness – Exercise – History – Geography – Web Hosting – Web Design – Domain Names – Marketing – Internet Marketing – WordPress – Domaining – Shamanism – Life Coaching – Executive Coaching – Gold Coast – PTSD – Depression – Stress – Nature – Conservation – Politics – Life Coaching – Executive Coaching – Social Media – Travel – Music – Archaeology – Security – Investigations – Intelligence – Military – Parenting – Ethics – Authenticity – Auspol
- Following, or listing, an account is not an endorsement.
- Retweets and favouriting tweets are not endorsements.
- Tweets are a mixture of personal, business and general subjects.
- I appreciate and am grateful for everyone who follows me, who retweets me and who otherwise supports me.
- I’m even grateful for the negative types, trolls and similar because I can turn their efforts into good/a positive in some way.
- By tweeting a mixture of personal and business tweets split into different subject areas, I present a more rounded view of my thinking and personality, while retaining a ‘niche’ aspect. This helps me relate to people more holistically and genuinely. I prefer ‘real relationships’ deep to deep.
- I repeat tweets, however I do it sensitively and thoughtfully.
- I have used Twitter since 2008 and during that time conducted a variety of experiments with Twitter strategies and differing management tools.
- Twitter is about conversation (engagement). I chat about all kinds of stuff (not just business), both publicly via @ and privately by direct message (DM).
- I aim to reply to all @ questions or comments, except those deemed vexatious or spam – people who send those usually get blocked. Some get reported to Twitter as well.
- I used to thank people for retweets because I appreciate their doing so and it could have also helped them in some small way. I rarely do this today partly because of how Twitter usage has evolved. Among other things, thanks can clutter up a Twitter stream, especially when they get retweeted.
- I often retweet people who have retweeted me.
- I often retweet others, even those who never thank or retweet me. It’s about the content and goodwill, not about getting something back.
- I don’t send auto direct messages to new followers – it seems insincere and spammy.
- I never auto follow back.
- I tend to unfollow inactive users, but not always.
- I retweet tweets, or otherwise assist, people asking for help, guidance or recommendations.
- I use hashtags.
- I use some automation and scheduling tools – it makes my time more effective. One of the subjects I coach people in is time management. Gotta practice what I teach! That said, here is a thought provoking podcast on scheduling: How Scheduling Your Tweets Could Be Bad For Your Brand. (Link is now shown via Archive because original post has been deleted). My comment on it:
I have used scheduled tweets on a moderately limited basis and, I thought, carefully (especially bearing in mind my work in the people fields). As I listened to the podcast I found that I had indeed been making mistakes. Previously I had ‘noticed’ some of these, but not fully. Besides, on listening to the podcast, realising that I had not been using scheduling ‘mindfully’, I became fully aware of some glaring errors which would have adversely affected others’ perceptions of me in a way I did not intend, nor want.
The errors I had been making were not in the worst category (such as auto sourced tweets for example), however some were significant. I liked the point that Paul highlighted about Twitter being social. Who do we know who chats after they have gone to sleep? ;-)
- I have experimented with following everyone back however it didn’t work out for several reasons. These include spoiling the effectiveness of key Twitter functionality, the excessive time consumed, apparent endorsement & encouragement of ‘weirdos’, volume of direct message spam, that it didn’t ‘feel’ right for me – thus limiting my effectiveness in being social and providing good quality content, and other reasons.
- Some schools of thought suggest, often moralistically or sanctimoniously, that one should always follow back. Among other things, one can counter; that following back (largely) mindlessly dilutes the meaning behind a follow – a kind of childish tagging paradigm. This whole follow back business has also exacerbated the spammer problem, encouraging such people to continue their efforts. Spammers are increasingly hard to detect. Even many legitimate accounts use spammy tactics – many auto DMs and auto follows/bulk unfollows can fall into this category. Would you send emails like the auto DMs you commonly see?
- Twitter used to limit lists to 20 (with a maximum of 500 in each), which I thought insufficient. Back then, by not following everyone back, your stream could then become a 21st ‘list’, instead of a melting pot you never consumed from. (In late May 2013 Twitter allowed 1000 lists with a maximum of 5000 in each).
- I think a follow everyone back policy is somewhat insulting to the person being followed. I for instance would like to be followed because people want to read my tweets, not because I followed them.
- Have you noticed how many top accounts, well versed in social media, don’t follow everyone, or most, back? Examples include: @CopyBlogger @ProBlogger @ChrisBrogan
- Here is an example of an account that follows most back, but which, proportionately, puts out little value into the world: At time of writing it has 349,701 followers, it follows 295,701 and has 1916 tweets. See image:
- What do the above ratios suggest to you about the account, which is in the success, motivation niche? They suggest (but don’t prove) that the account is not focused on delivering valuable content for its followers but rather on having a big following. Motives could vary, however to draw firm conclusions about them we would need evidence. The tweets themselves are generally of good quality, which is of course a plus, however the focus of the account still appears to be as suggested. How would you feel if followed by someone like that? If you think about it, probably like a number; yet you might also dislike not being followed back by accounts you follow. Here we get a taste for the ‘meaningless’ aspects of follow back policies……get followed by accounts which treat you as a number and feel good about it, yet get upset when not followed back by other accounts. It’s all rather mindless.
- I doubt that Twitter intended for their service to be used for mindless follow backs. That would be one reason Twitter limits follows and unfollows per time period.
- I block spammers and other dubious types relentlessly. Spammers are always blocked AND reported to Twitter; who really do take action. Obviously, if I was inappropriately concerned about my follower count then the temptation would be to leave these dodgy followers in place and inflate my follower count.
- So many accounts these days fall into the category of ‘having a presence’ on Twitter without actually being there. Some so-called social media ‘gurus’ encourage this. Social media is just that – social.
- I follow many people in private or public lists. Some of these people are discovered because they followed me in the first place. Does that mean I am not following back? Of course not, however it seems that I am not. The big picture can be very different from what we first assume.
- I may be following you on another account.
- Not following back does not mean I am more important than my followers. In fact, humility is an important foundation of my thinking and life development. I also teach others the importance and power of humility. The Dalai Lama, known for his humility, follows none back on Twitter, yet has more than 5.5 million followers. There are even people out there who say that they follow everyone back because they are not more important than their followers – it sounds nice, caring and humble on the surface, however it implies judgement of all those who don’t follow back, including the Dalai Lama.
- Others have said that it’s unkind not to follow people back due to the Twitter follower ratio requirement where you cannot follow more than a certain percentage in excess of the number following you. OK, so lots of kind people, including the Dalai Lama are actually unkind, according to people with these ideas. Presumably they also mean that most celebrities and public figures are unkind also? Why don’t these people think about what they are saying? Logic. With a profiling hat on, one could wonder if indeed the people who say not following back is unkind, might be sanctimonious.
- Hootsuite, a popular and well-known social media management company write: “Even if you gain followers, it’s often the wrong kind of follower— spammers or people only interested in being followed back“. (Bold emphasis mine).
- Is it impolite not to follow back? Some believe it is. The same logic applies. I don’t think the Dalai Lama is impolite. Or arrogant, or whatever other label some of these people with a follow back obsession might use.
- I find that not following everyone back encourages me to provide better value for people. My follower count is not inflated falsely and I have people following me who are genuinely interested in my tweets and perhaps more ‘advanced souls’ focused on the bigger picture and not on silly schoolyard type notions or pandering to psychological weaknesses.
- When I ran a test ‘follow most back policy’, I found that my spammy inbound DM rate rose dramatically and I had to spend valuable time deleting loads of crap. Some of my clients contact me via DMs and these spammy bastards were hindering my ability to look after people with genuine concerns.
- You can never know for sure if someone has unfollowed you, or is not following you – they could be using a private list… #philosophy.
- What does a twitter follow mean? It’s getting harder to tell if it’s a bot, spammer or auto follow. Should we focus less on following issues and more on content & interaction? More #philosophy.
- I do not get involved in Twitter arguments. I block people if need be. If they are vexatious, harassing, or otherwise dubious, I report them to Twitter as Spam, which also blocks them.
- Just because I do not follow back does not necessarily mean I think an account is no good.
- After my cat Osher died on 9th April 2013, I mentioned the event on Twitter (old account with many followers) – no one from Twitter replied or otherwise said anything, despite my having good relationships with a number of my followers. I was not seeking sympathy and am unconcerned about it. It illustrates the point that Chris Brogan made below…It seems that hardly anyone reads, or cares, about your tweets. I might add that at the time I was not tweeting much and therefore my tweet couldn’t have easily become ‘lost’.
- Sometimes I block people who follow me and then unfollow if I don’t follow back. This is because I see some of them as a type of spammer who is just after a follow back and not genuinely interested in what one has to say. Some of these people repeatedly follow me again in due course, probably because some kind of software or bot they are using picks up on a keyword. Because I review my followers manually, these people who follow me yet again are wasting my valuable time. By blocking them I never have to waste it again. I don’t block such people if I have added them to one of my lists, because then I would be unable to read their tweets. Usually though, they have never thanked me for the list add; perhaps because they are probably mostly using a bot. It may of course just be another illustration of the common modern uncaring self-centered malaise.
- If more people blocked the spammy types it might help Twitter to remove some of them and clean up the Twitter-sphere because the number of blocks an account has is used by Twitter in deciding whether to suspend an account. Simply speaking, many are simply after a follow-back. They need to get a life! At best, most are time wasters and at worst; spammers.
- I tweet about a large variety of topics, some business and others personal, because I like to present a rounded and balanced view. Karyn Greenstreet sums it up best when she writes: And it’s equally important, if you are using social media marketing, to make sure that most of your messages are not marketing messages. Never forget the importance of “social” in social media marketing. We can’t get to know you, like you or trust you if all you do is throw marketing messages at us without ever sharing tips, techniques, ideas, rants, and news about who you are IRL. (IRL = In real life). From: If Consumers Can’t Trust Their Friends, Who Can They Trust?
In summary then…
- While I appreciate people who decide to follow me on Twitter, and am grateful for it, it does not guarantee that I will follow you back; regardless of who you are, or how genuine you may be. I have even declined to follow back a senior member of the parliament of a sovereign nation.
- My focus will always be on providing value and interest, while growing in my ability to serve the world. I have been blessed in life, despite a terrible childhood and young adulthood, and it is incumbent on me to assist as many people as I can in the time I have left. Following everyone back hinders, and detracts from, this.
Food for thought…
In this post: Update To The Unfollow Experiment, Chris Brogan, a renowned expert in social media, writes:
“I learned a long time ago that it doesn’t matter whether 190K people follow me or not. The most clicks I’ve ever received for a tweet were around 200. Almost 200K people follow me, but barely a few hundred at ANY time ever respond to my tweets or take any action. Ever.
And believe me, the weeks after the unfollow experiment proved to me that several thousand people weren’t seeing my tweets, because I tweeted the unfollowing several dozen times, and still (now, today) get questions about it.”
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Useful tools and resources:
- Buffer – “A better way to share on social media. Buffer shares your content at the best possible times throughout the day so that your followers and fans see your updates more often.” One of my favorites. Saves me lots of time too.
- Who Unfollowed Me – useful to keep an eye on how you are going. Perhaps use it to gauge response to recent Twitter activity? With a few easy clicks you can check your unfollowers, discover who is not following you back and who you aren’t following back.
- Some interesting Twitter policies: http://www.communicatrix.com/policies/twitter and http://occamsrazr.com/twitter
- Advice from Twitter: “don’t feel obligated to follow everyone who follows you”.
- Blogging & Tweeting Without Getting Sued
- Please follow me on Twitter here: @AlexRRowan
- At times I benefit financially from tweets: Disclosure Policy (Endorsement Policy)