Those of you who follow Robert Scoble know that over the last few days he’s been deleting people people he follows on Twitter (down from over 100,000 to less than 2,000).

The reasons, among probably others. Too much spam via direct messages from people he follows back after they follow him. And there’s no way to get to know 100,000 people.

Robert’s one of the guys who’s taught me what I know about blogs, social media, and how people relate to each other online. (no side comments about that’s why I am so dumb) He’s on to something with his deleting followers on Twitter.

You have no idea how much crap I get from people I follow who start following me. Who was the idiot who started teaching that Twitter is a targeted direct mail campaign tool. People without any money or common sense use as Twitter direct messaging as an alternative to calling me unsolicited at my office or home offering me products and services I have no interest in.

And I’m not only talking about the clowns who get as many Twitter followers as possible so they can claim to make ‘Thousands of Dollars a Week’ sending out direct messages. I’m talking about the LexisNexis’ and Martindale-Hubbell’s of the world who when I followed one of their Twitter accounts, I got an automated direct message hawking one of their publications or services.

Scoble says he’s “unfollowing idiots like @techstartups that send auto DMs. I +hate+ that practice!” I’m doing the same.

Historically, I’ve followed a Twitter philosophy of following people I learn from, people I want to learn more about, organizations in the legal industry, mainstream media, and people with a real name (not a company or pseudonym) who began to follow me.

I felt it common courtesy to follow those who followed me. Following thousands of people I never tried to see everyone’s Tweets. But it did allow folks to reach out and direct message me (you cannot direct message someone who doesn’t follow you on Twitter).

I’m now unfollowing people who send me these type of automated direct messages after I follow them. They’re junk. And they’re coming from people who haven’t gotten to first base in understanding how Twitter is used as a relationship building/client development tool.

  • Today was so exciting! Made $124 in 20 minutes! if ur interested, go read: http://earning-freedom.com – from Christopher Missick
  • Thanks for following Martindale-Hubbell Careers. Please come visit us at www.martindale.com/careerce…. Feel free to DM for any questions or just to share ideas. – from MHCareers
  • Hi! Tweet me one fun fact about you, and I’ll tweet you one fun fact about me. – from Julia Kline
  • Thanks for following please check out my blog http://hublawyer.com/ Will be great if you can add some comments on it. – from Christopher Hardin at LawInfoBlog
  • Thank you for following! For quality legal resources you can count on http://www.lawinfo.com from lawinfo
  • Thanks for the Follow! Get a Free Credit Report: http://adjix.com/fubc – from Bellevue_News
  • LexisNexis® New Zealand is a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions to professionals in law firms, corporations, government, law enforcement, tax, accounting, academic institutions and risk and compliance assessment. – from LexisNexis_NZ

Unlike Scoble, I’ll probably continue to follow thousands of people on Twitter. The majority will be legal professionals, both those who follow me and those who I find on Twitter who are not already following me.

I like most lawyers and legal professionals. I think they’re good people and Twitter allows me discover more about them and to exchange thoughts outside of email. It also makes sense being CEO of a company offering a service to legal professionals that I’d like to build relationships with more legal professionals.

But I’m on board Scoble’s campaign of unfollowing the Twitter spammers of the world. You ought to start unfollowing them too. Viral action of the masses does more to bring social etiquette to the net than anything else.

  • Kevin
    A huge wave of “res ipsa loquitor” has enveloped me.
    I wish I could decide which Tweets to read, I feel bombarded
    Less is definitely more on Twitter as anywhere else

  • Kevin –
    I have gotten exactly two automated DMs that were worth sending.
    The Boston Police Department DMed “Thank you for following the Boston Police(beta). We monitor @ replies, but in case of emergency, always phone 911.” Perhaps obvious, but useful for someone new to Twitter. I would hate to see a tweet: “@Boston_Police Someone is in my house. Please send help.”
    The second was from the Mass. Attorney General (@MassAGO) linking back to their policy on how they use twitter. perfectly sensible for a government agency
    The rest of them? Irritating crap. Just like you said. I usually have less patience and unfollow right after getting the message.

  • Dan

    Join the cause, hell. I’m helping lead it (that’s a joke). A few months ago I deleted thousands and it was the best thing I did. Now, I will not follow someone unless they have been following me for months (this helps get rid of those who follow just to get followed) AND they also have to have something to say. It’s quality NOT quantity. @danharris

  • I say be selective in making connections on social networks. Connect only with those you know or grow to know. To do otherwise is to invite noise and spam.

  • I would appreciate you removing my name from the list above. My account was hacked and automated messages were sent out.
    Perhaps, in the future, you should provide the common courtesy of informing a member of an online community you belong to that their online security has been jeopardized, instead of assuming they are simply trying to hock some get rich quick scheme.
    As for me, I plan on abandoning twitter altogether after having my good name (yes, I followed your advice of using my real name on twitter) associated with, as you so eloquently state, “idiots.”

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