Twitter Followers You Love to Hate

I like to keep things positive as much as possible. So I hesitated to use the word “hate” in the title of this post. But then I thought, aw, shucks, let’s just have fun with this one.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Twitter. I even gained a little notoriety writing an off the cuff post about it. But I’m going to be honest, effectively managing your Twitter following can be pain sometimes. Why do I care? Two reasons.

1. It’s been said that if you care anything about a certain number that is actually a subjective measure of your online influence, you may want to make sure that you have an audience that’s worth talking to. Meaning, they have a pulse.

2. More importantly, I like to follow back people that might actually be interesting human beings to interact with. In order to establish said humanity, I read someone’s bio, I look at who they are tweeting with and what they are tweeting about.

It’s this last one that has me categorizing the people on Twitter. I do it mentally and without thinking. Some make me smirk. Some make me roll my eyes. And some make me just laugh out loud, even though I’m sure that’s not the intended effect.

twitter followers

Here’s who I’m finding these days on Twitter…

The Collector

That’s the term I’ve given for people who collect followers. Not for the interaction or the engagement. But for the numbers. You know the type I mean. The person who, out of nowhere, suddenly starts following you. They don’t really have much to say and don’t even seem to be relevant to your interests. Yet they have 47,863 followers. And the are following 47,889 people. Those numbers always run neck and neck. It’s as if they are seeking out new IDs to follow and and then waiting, hoping for the follow back. I usually never follow these people. And I bet if I cared enough to check, they probably ditch me too.

The Identity Thief

I hope you haven’t fallen prey to these people. I almost have. Not that any harm would come of it other than annoyances in my Twitter stream. These are Twitter IDs with real pictures and real names and real bios. They seem to be nice midwestern ladies named Shirley that like knitting and kittens. Shirley seems so nice. Let me just check her tweets. And then you see something like:

“fit to stand the gaze of millions veronica…”

“it was instant readiness”

And then you know that Shirley is actually some computer dude trying to get gullible followers (for reasons that still kind of baffle me) to think Shirley actually has something to say.

The Linker

This is an obvious one. These followers may seem normal enough. DON’T BE FOOLED. It’s tweet after tweet after tweet for a injury lawyer, or internet marketer, or food storage containers. And it’s the same link over and over and over. Do people really click on those?

The Retweeter

We all love a good retweet, right? It’s reciprocal love, baby. It’s how the online world works. I read something I really like? I retweet it. Somebody says something funny that makes me laugh? I retweet it. I don’t sit on the CNN website all day long and retweet every single news story. I don’t scout my tweetstream for articles or posts I’ve never read and retweet all day long. I can appreciate someone like Guy Kawaski who has an entire Twitter account and website devoted to amplifying content. I dig that. But everybody else? Nah.

The Smug Players

These are the people that probably have some pretty impressive accomplishments to their name. And it would be nice if those accomplishments spoke for themselves. Instead, we find their bio littered with phrases like “I was once a very rich mega important man in the days of the internet and now I’m back.” Which in my mind means, “I got lucky during the dot com boom and made a ton of money. I’ve clearly run through all of it and now I’m having a go at Twitter.”

People also find it cutesy or edgy to say things like “Hi. I’m totally awesome and you should follow me.” “I’m a pretty big deal on the internet.” Or anything that ends with the suffix -sauce (which was never actually intended to be a suffix for anything other than tomato, chocolate, or bearnaise).

The Facebooker

I have my Facebook fan page linked to my Twitter account. When I update my fan page (once per day or so), it sends out a tweet with the update. I don’t do that with my personal account because you don’t really want to know I was up all night with a vomiting child. I save that for my personal friends and family. And for the same reason, I don’t link my Twitter account in the other direction. Can you imagine how insane I would drive people if my Facebook status was updated every time I tweeted?

But the Facebooker only updates Facebook. They create a Twitter account just for their Facebook feed. The problem? These people are NEVER on Twitter. They may have something interesting to say. You may respond to their tweet. But they’ll never know because they live on Facebook. Unless you’re going to BE on Twitter, don’t bother setting up an account.

Well, I feel much better. How about you? Tell me about your most annoying followers and what you do about them. And then let’s see if we can run them out of town.

  • Anonymous

    I cracked up at this and then I got worried that I’m one of these. Oh the social awkwardness I feel.

    • Anonymous

      You can always follow me on Twitter and I’ll out you if you’re doing it all wrong 😉

    • Anonymous

      You can always follow me on Twitter and I’ll out you if you’re doing it all wrong 😉

  • Making It Work Mom

    Twitter is a lot of work.  To really make it relevant you have to work at it.  Sadly I have been slacking!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Yes, it is work but I’m not on it nearly as much as I used to be. It ebbs and flows but it should be fun!

    • Anonymous

      Yes, it is work but I’m not on it nearly as much as I used to be. It ebbs and flows but it should be fun!

  • Brandy Harris

    I recently made it to 50 followers on my Twitter account, woohoo!… and I am happy to to think most of them are “real”.

    However, my husband used to have more followers- including an obvious “fake” account of someone named “AnalProbe”!  Now he replies to my “Twitter popularity” by saying, “Well, AnalProbe isn’t following you!” :):) 

    Great post! :)

    • Anonymous

      OMG. That sounds like something me and my husband would say. I was SO excited when I got to 100 followers. It’s since just grown exponentially for me!

    • Anonymous

      OMG. That sounds like something me and my husband would say. I was SO excited when I got to 100 followers. It’s since just grown exponentially for me!

  • Marie Cole

    I used to use Twitter more but I am taking a break from it currently….Time suck for me, ha!  

    I always use to wonder about the ones that Tweet ALL day long night and day a couple of years ago and you know they are still there when I log in, really….That’s a shocker to me…Have they no life? 😉

    • Anonymous

      I used to tweet a LOT. But I don’t *just* tweet. It’s on in the background while I’m working on a million other things. Sometimes it’s a time suck. Other times, simple a welcome distraction.

    • Anonymous

      I used to tweet a LOT. But I don’t *just* tweet. It’s on in the background while I’m working on a million other things. Sometimes it’s a time suck. Other times, simple a welcome distraction.

  • Anonymous

    Ha! And the ones that follow every contest on the world wide web….

    • Anonymous


    • Anonymous


  • The Lovely One

    I want to like twitter, and I try every once in awhile, but I don’t feel really connected to anyone there. I should keep trying! 

  • Susan in the Boonies

    I found this post fascinating.

    (It was billed on SITS as hilarious, but I didn’t find it hilarious. I think that’s just because I’m not Twitter-savvy enough.)
    I keep going back to Twitter. I try. I do!

    I just can’t seem to enjoy it, yet.

    I envy you your complete mastery of that venue.

  • Tinsel & Tine

    I feel bad because my blog’s facebook page is linked to twitter, but I’m never on twitter. 
    In fact, I always forget to make sure the keywords of my fb post are in the first 140 characters so as to make sense on twitter.
    I don’t really like twitter because it doesn’t seem as personalized or visual as fb. Still I like your twitter type-casting post.

  • Kacey

    Saw you featured on SITS Girls. Your post is so true! I’ve been on Twitter for less than 2 months and have already come across most of these characters.

    • Anonymous

      They aren’t hard to find!

    • Anonymous

      They aren’t hard to find!

  • Kallay

    My problem is that I live in a few different realms. I have my friends, my blogger friends, friends I’ve actually “met” on Twitter, my Pinterest followers (who adore the food tweets), and then a bunch of random businesses (mostly coffee shops) who follow me. I also made $40 last year doing the Twitter business tweet thing, which only tweets once, so it doesn’t fill my whole feed. 

    So I tweet a lot of Pinterest links. A few ads. My blog posts, of course. Then random updates. If I’m lucky, I’ll have a few minutes where I can actually have a Twitter conversation (!!), but that hasn’t happened in ages. 

    All that to say, I think I might *look* like I fall into some of these categories, but really, I don’t. I promise. 

    • Anonymous

      I’ll have you know that I was worried. So I took the liberty of examining your Twitter stream. I’m happy to report that your tweets were totally acceptable according to my non-binding Twitter standards and you may carry on.

  • Captive Embroidery

    Good stuff, gave me a giggle. I’ve run into several of those types. I don’t follow anyone back until I’ve read some of their tweets to see if they have something to say that I want to hear. 

    I also know an opposite Fecebooker, he updates Twitter which posts to his FB page, but he’s never actually on Facebook to respond to comments on the post. 

    People are funny. :)

    • Anonymous

      I used to take the time to read some sample tweets. Now I err on the opposite side of caution. I follow and then if people annoy me, I unfollow. As for your FB violator? I’ve addressed them in other posts about linking your FB and Twitter accounts. Trust me, I’m the first to call people out if they’re doing it wrong :)

  • Nan Loyd

    This was good! I had a couple I ended up having to block because it was pages and pages of retweets – about things I had absolutely NO interest in.  It was a waste of my time. I am rarely on twitter now.  Great post!

    • Anonymous

      I usually just unfollow. I only block people that I categorize as total weirdos. I don’t have any set standards for that. Just go on instinct.

  • Rose’s Daughter

    The sex bot. Gets on my last nerve. I think maybe someone interesting is following me/retweeting me whatever. Only to find the sex bot. SMH

  • Maria Guido

    My most annoying ones would be the porn stars.  What is up with all of the porn stars, holy crap! I mean, i’m not uptight or anything, but the urls under their pics make me blush, gag, laugh… maybe I am uptight!

  • Nina Badzin

    LOVED this! I know I’m something like 2 years late to this post, but everything here still applies. When did “sauce” become an acceptable suffix. I cannot stand it. My biggest pet-peeve (I have written a whole post on just this) is the over-thanker. I can’t stand reading tweets that were really only meant for one person. Learn the @reply people! Or, my fav, “Thanks to @____, for tweeting my post about ______.” Just tweet your article. Don’t hide it in a “thanks.” Bugs.

    • FadraN

      It’s okay that you’re late. It’s one of my more popular posts because IT’S SO TRUE!!! I probably could do an update though because I think I could add more!