My Twitter Follow Back Strategy: Top Reasons Why I Won’t Follow You Back

I’m really generous about following people back on Twitter. I’d guess I probably follow back over 90% of the people who follow me. I use Tweetdeck and organize everyone I follow into groups, so even though I follow 896 people, I probably only closely follow about 100 users that fit in to one of the following categories:


  1. All Friends – This is the category where everyone shows, and I largely ignore it. I do glimpse at it, and sometimes tweets catch my eyes and occasionally I may even move a user into one of my other categories if I find them interesting enough.
  2. Friends – These are people I know in real life. Family, friends, classmates, etc.
  3. Colleagues – These are the people I work with. I work at a digital marketing company of about 500 people, and certainly not everyone is on twitter, but a good percentage are due to the nature of our work and I’ve tried to locate and follow as many of them as I can. There are some really great quality tweets in this category.
  4. Favs – These are my favorite users that don’t fit in to one of the other categories. Ad gossip (yeah you @agencyspy), companies and businesses, thought leaders in digital and seo, local people, etc. Kind of a catch-all for things I find interesting…

So given the nature of how I treat “All Users”, I don’t mind following people back as I know I’ll probably never read their tweets. So what will cause me to not follow someone back?

  1. You tweet about politics too much or exclusively. You can’t make a valid political argument in 160 characters or less. Issues are too complicated to be reduced down to this, and you’re not going to change anyone’s mind in one sentence fragement. I especially can’t stand the #tcot people (apparently anyone can nominate themselves a Top Conservative On Twitter – kind of like calling yourself a social media expert, IMO), because they tend to be rather extermist and one-sided in their thoughts.
  2. You are a spammer. When I get a notice that you’re following me, I look at your tweets. If you tweet the same thing over and over again, to the same link, you’re spam. Goodbye. spammer
  3. You have only been on Twitter for <1 week or only have a few tweets total. You probably fall in to the spam category. That one link you have (coincidentally, your most recent tweet), is probably to porn. Not interested. Extra spammy points if the avatar is a good looking woman.
  4. You tweet what you eat. Everyone always talks about how they’re not interested in joining twitter because they don’t care about the mundane details of your life / what you’re eating at the moment. Agreed, that stuff sucks – but you don’t have to avoid Twitter altogether, just these people. No follow for you.
  5. You post a link about “get 1,000 followers instantly at”. Those sites are really spammy and malicious, and often they hijack your twitter account and send out tweets like that. Definitely not interested.
  6. You tweet at people (excusively). I’m not big into having conversations via twitter, as they’re much better channels (i.e AIM, Gchat, or the telephone) to have a much more enlightening and expedient conversation, but if you’ve never once interacted with your followers and simply just shout messages at them all day long, you kind of suck at Twitter and I don’t want to be associated with you.
  7. You tweet A LOT. Like once every 10 minutes or more. Your tweets are so close together that I wonder how you can type so fast. You have issues. I think you’re wierd. Leave me alone.

There’s probably a bunch I’m missing, but I’ll update this later when I think of them. ¬†What are your pet peeves / reasons for not following back? Like I said earlier, my standards on who I follow back are pretty liberal – what are yours like? Do you have a follow-back strategy?

2 thoughts on “My Twitter Follow Back Strategy: Top Reasons Why I Won’t Follow You Back

  1. Very well written! Obviously full of your two “sense”, emphasis on the word sense. I follow suite, excepting I use Hootsuite 2.0 as my organizational preference. Thanks for a very informative and organized post. A couple new thoughts for me as well.

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