You can’t technically be spammed via Twitter in that you need to agree to follow someone to get the junk they may be tweeting.
But that doesn’t stop the spammers, the 210,000 underemployed who have self described themselves as social media experts, or the ‘under loved’ from trying to get you to follow them on twitter.
How do they do it? They look for the Twitter users who have a large number of followers (3,000 or more) and start following them. Doesn’t matter that person they seek to follow on Twitter is not sharing things of interest to them or is not a person they want to get to know better.
Why do they start following random people? They’re hoping that they get followed in return.
What happens if you don’t follow them back? They stop following you. They become Qwitters.
You only get to follow about 2,000 people on Twitter unless you have an equivalent number following you. When you’re following for the sake of getting followers you just can’t afford to follow people who don’t follow back.
For awhile I bought into this game. I followed Guy Kawasaki’s advice that if you wanted more people to follow you on Twitter you followed everyone who followed you.
Guy’s logic, courtesy of Robert Scoble:
It’s courteous to do so and because when you do, some people will respond to you and eveyone who follows them will see this–which is more exposure for you.
In addition, like a lot of other folks, I wanted more followers. It made me feel good, I guess more important, and it certainly made more people follow me. When I broke into the top 1,800 most followed on Twitter I’d have 50 or 60 new people a day following me.
But at the risk of being unloved and looking less important, I made the decision not to follow everyone who follows me. If that causes the social media expert who teaches yoga while on the beach in Malibu to stop following me after I don’t follow them back in a couple days, I’ll suffer through the pain.
Maybe I’ll be viewed as a Twitter snob or God forbid I’ll fall off page one of LexTweet, our community of legal professionals using Twitter. I’ll suck it up and survive some how.
Going forward, I’ll follow those who it makes sense for me to follow. If it looks the person may have an interest in the things I share via Twitter or an interest in getting to me know me, I’ll follow them.
I’ll follow those who have an interest in the things I have an interest in – the law, the media, blogs, social media, journalism, PR, sports, fellow CEO’s & leaders of innovative companies, my competition, family… Heck, like everyone my interests are pretty diverse. And I’ll of course I’ll follow those people I want to get to know.
You’ll need to develop your own style as to who to follow. I’m just not certain you want to encourage all the spammers, so called social media experts, and the under loved to keep stalking people on Twitter by needlessly following them.