To Follow Or Not To Follow, That Is The Question
Now that I've been doing this Twitter thing for a while, I'm able to do quickly what used to take me forever. I thought I'd share a few tips on how to evaluate different peeps on Twitter just by taking a quick look at their profile. The profile gives you a lot of information if you know what to look for. Here's my mental checklist for when I'm deciding whether or not to follow someone.
1. Do they have a picture/avatar or are they using a default Twitter one? In my opinion, if someone doesn't put up a picture, any kind of picture, that's a red flag. It's easy to put up a picture, so either they're very new or not serious about Twitter. I want to see a picture. No picture = 1 Anti-point.
2. Do they have a bio? Anything in the bio? No bio = yellow flag = 2 Anti-points. This means they're either A) very new B) not serious about Twitter or C) they are a nefarious entity who doesn't want to tell you about themselves because they'll scare you off if they do.
3. What's in the bio? A lot of swear words, obvious porn, or obvious hard sales tactics like "I'm going to help you make money fast" = 3 Anti-points and a red flag.
4. Do they have a custom background? Again, this is real easy to do, and you can do it for free. I used these guys. No custom background is like #1: very new or not serious. 1/2 Anti-point.
5. Do they have any tweets in their stream? This is what the number of tweets tells you. Zero tweets means they have nothing to say or are very very very new. Zero tweets is a red flag = 3 Anti-points. I don't mind if they follow me, but I don't follow people who don't say anything.
6. What about very few tweets? Sometimes you see an account that has maybe 5 tweets and 1000 followers. What's wrong with that picture? Did they say such brilliant things in 5 tweets that they attracted 1000 followers? I think not. Most likely they bought their followers. Red flag = 3 Anti-points. I don't follow these accounts; they look hinky.
7. They are following more people than are following them. This is a good sign to me because it indicates that there's a good chance they will follow me back. Green flag and +1 point.
8. They have many more followers than people they are following. Yellow flag and 2 Anti-points. This is how I view it: if they follow me first, I will follow back. If they have not followed me first, then I won't follow them because I know it's unlikely they will follow me back. I follow very few people who don't follow back, about 50 out of close to 4000 or about 1%. This is a personal choice, but to me it's like having a friend that won't let you get a word in. I don't want to listen to people who don't want to listen to me. It's that simple. I'm on Twitter to interact with people and have fun.
So who do you recommend following even if they don't follow back? Well, people are on Twitter for different reasons, and it's a personal choice. I don't follow movie/TV stars because I don't care what Tori Spelling wore to take her kids to school. A few I recommend are @TweetSmarter because you'll learn more from them about Twitter than from anyone else, @GuyKawasaki because he has a continuous stream of varied treasures, and @MrsStephenFry and @BorowitzReport because they're just plain funny. I follow @MikkoHypponen who is a computer virus and hacking expert, and @Mashable is *the* account to follow for up-to-date tech news.
So you see that with practice, you can tell a lot about a Twitter presence with quick look at the account. I add up the points or Anti-points, and 3 or more Anti-points is an automatic no follow. Less that 3 Anti-points and I will have to think about it some more.
Labels: following, twitter, twitter accounts