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.

  • Heather


    How strange is it that mere minutes before this post tweeted, I tweeted about losing followers?

    Must re-evaluate. :)

    • Anonymous

      I say, let ’em go…

  • Liz

    A variation on the Collector is one that has 47,000 followers but, like 3 tweets total. :)

    • Anonymous

      And to that I say WTH? Only I’d rather replace the H with an F. I don’t get it.

    • From Tracie

      I don’t get this one either. Where do those 47,000 followers come from? It baffles my mind.

      • Elena @NaynaDub

        To add to this, also more famous people on twitter who have thousands of followers and follow “0” people. It’s supposed to be a 2-way dialogue, not grandstanding.

  • By Word of Mouth Musings

    Had two sex bots yesterday and one sounded like an old lady til I checked it out! Too funny. Last night had a guy try pick me up thro my Facebook profile and a random number texted me to see if I was a girl … he was from Nevada. Scary sad people out there!
    So loving your new site!

    • Anonymous

      Just last night, I had a lovely follow from Doris in Alabama. She likes blogging, family, and cycling. And is apparently a complete psycho.

  • Carabee

    I get several of the Identity Thieves every day. I just do not get those. What purpose could they possibly serve? And who are the dimwits that actually follow them back?

    • Anonymous

      I have imagined that some little guy in India has written a program for his computer engineering class to build a Twitter account. And then maybe he’ll sell link space for people to get their link in front of a couple of thousand people without really trying. I mean, they’d all be idiots. Except for the Indian guy who was making lots of money.

  • Adventuroo

    Oh I love you (but you know that already). This all rings SO true. I also hate when people put “I follow back” in their bio. I mean really? You follow anyone? Even people who talking about hurting kittens or making millions in one easy step? Puh-lease.

    • Anonymous

      I had lots more I could have written about but then it would have sounded a little too personal. Wait – you can make millions in one easy step?

  • Elizabeth Flora Ross

    LOL! These are great! And, I must say, I love the block feature on Twitter. I don’t just use it for spammers.

    What makes me laugh is the people who are very clearly new to the Twitterverse. They are just tweeting mindless status updates and not having conversations with anyone. Either that, or they are egotistical… Either way, if they are not interacting with others, I have no interest in following them.

    You know, I am trying to get published, and in order to do so I have to develop a “platform.” Which means I need a lot of followers. But I insist on doing that in a personal, authentic to me manner. Not by focusing on “collecting” as many as I can. I HATE that.

    • Anonymous

      Yes! I forgot about the people who tweet to the cosmic void and don’t ever have conversations. I’m sure those are the people who eventually say “I don’t really get this whole Twitter thing.” I’m kind of opposed to scoring things like Klout does but in a way, they look at the meaningful interactions you are having. Not just the collections you have amassed.

  • Gigi927

    True dat – all of dat!

    I have a few others that bug the crap out of me.

    1. The twitter follower that has the name with a 3 digit number after it, like Rebecca 519…I have been getting onslaughts of those lately and they have 6 followers, 3 tweets and roughly 200 people they’re following. I can’t tell if they’re bots, or just a bunch of lame people sitting around who find my account on some list somewhere. They never tweet me. They appear to be legit, but I wonder….

    2. The “life coaches”, “business coaches, “SEO experts” galore. Their profiles are all about how they are going to make you successful. Hm. so far they haven’t helped me rule the blogosphere!

    • Anonymous

      Oh I had many more categories that didn’t make the cut because I tend to be a *tad* wordy. I don’t need, nor do I ever plan to need, a life coach. And if I do, I’ll call them by their proper name “therapist.” I might need to do a part 2 post because I could go on and on and on…

      • LZ

        Don’t even get me started on Life Coaches. Those are the worst offenders in the follow/unfollow/refollow category. I get it, ‘coach’. I see you. I’m still not following…

  • Anonymous

    Great and true post! I had to stop “liking” someone on FB because all they did was send their twitter stream to FB and it clogged up my FB feed. I don’t know if they realized it was doing that or if they even cared…

    • Anonymous

      I’m sure they meant to do that but never bothered to think about how annoying it was. I find that a lot of people that are really trying to “get into” social media do a lot of things just to check a box.

  • Renee

    Yep, I started being a lot choosier about who I followed. I’m confused why one would follow thousands of people just for the number. Can they really read their whole timeline?

    • Anonymous

      Oh, they aren’t interested in reading the timeline. I think it has something to do with their ego but I can’t figure out what.

  • Heligirl

    Thanks for the cool synopsis Fadra! I’m one of Melissa’s (adventuroo) buddies and she mentioned this post of FB. I’m psyched to meet you. I’m a fellow PR and marketing person who entered unemployment the same weekend she did. Anyhoo, my Twitter account is getting bigger (those random followers you mention). I’m looking at going in and pairing down as I really do want the conversation and relationships, and there is so much wading through ads, giveaways, and other mindless tweets that I start missing great convos. Thanks again for sharing your observations. My sediments exactly!

    • Anonymous

      Ahhh. Welcome to world of unemployed marketing professionals. It gets better. I used to get TONS of bots and spammers when I first started on Twitter. These days, I get a lot less so just get in there and build your community. Nice to meet you too!

  • Lolli

    I know ALL of these people!! LOL

    • Anonymous

      So do I. It’s how I did my research :(

  • miss tejota

    I love this post and how you broke it down.

    I get a bit annoyed by bots, however one time I tweeted about my love of zucchini and I got a random reply from a non-follower who must have set a search for the word zucchini and she sent me and some others a tweet about her zucchini pizza crust. I have never been so happy for a bot/search in my life. That recipe is now a staple in my diet as well as her food blog.

    • Anonymous

      I’m totally okay with keyword searches. If you want to try to send me content that’s relevant by looking at my keywords, that’s fine. It’s easy to ignore a tweet (because they usually never get it right). On the other hand, zucchini pizza crust sounds delish!

  • LZ

    The “i’m a big deal on the internet’ bugs the crap out of me. One of my biggest pet peeves. Also those who only post pictures of themselves. All freaking day.

    • Anonymous

      The sad thing is I could put actual names to each and every one of these types of followers. But I will not call people out publicly. I will only reveal the names for people who subscribe to my email newsletter. (just kidding – I don’t have a newsletter)

  • Casey Pond

    Do you know what I hate? I hate the evil ones that will post tweet, after tweet, after tweet, in succession, about a photo they posted on their Tumblr page. It makes me irate. Do you hear me?! IRATE!

    • Anonymous

      Whoa, whoa. Calm down. I think I’ve covered them under The Facebooker. It’s those people with the automated feeds that you can’t stop and you can’t escape. But I think we need a new name. Let’s call them the Tumblr-ers.

  • The Domestic Goddess

    Pretty much sums it up. I’m still trying to figure out how I got professional dominatrixes. (is that how you spell it?) following me. Sheesh.

    • Anonymous

      Umm, gee, I don’t know. I’ve never had the need to writes the plural of dominatrix. Or the singular for that matter. Maybe dominatrices? It makes me think of math.

  • Just Mom

    How about the blogger that tweets her link about 3 dozen times a day? For someone who tries to read most everything on my stream, that was pretty annoying. Or the Giveaway queen?

    • Anonymous

      Or the blogger that ONLY tweets their link. Luckily I follow so many people that the repeaters (ooh, I like that – The Repeater Retweeter) get spread out and buried pretty quickly.

  • Flowersmom

    I’m a retweeter. People say things I wished I’d thought of. Original thought is overrated.

    • Anonymous

      Retweeting is fine. Just don’t let me catch you doing it ALL the time 😉

  • Bobbi Janay

    Great post.

  • DrBabyMamaDrama

    Awesome-sauce. 😛

    • Anonymous

      Oh I get it. You’re just pushing my buttons now. Don’t make me sic my life coach on you.

  • Shannon Navin

    Ok…so I’ve searched and I’ve begged and I still can’t figure it out: how DO I get my FB posts to link to my Twitter account. It’s the primary thing holding me back from getting into Twitter the way I’d like to. I post everything on FB…I like Twitter too but I have a lot of contacts on Fzb that aren’t on Twitter and I always seem to balk at having to post in two places. If youbfill me in, you might have one more follower whobactually SAYS something on Twitter! :)

    • Anonymous

      A couple of ways to do this. You can link a FB page to your Twitter account so that every time you post there, it also posts on Twitter. I don’t think you can do that with a personal profile. But you can do it the other way around. You can link your Twitter account to your FB profile so that when you tweet, it updates your FB status. For someone like me who tweets a LOT, that would be completely annoying so I use a FB app called Selective Tweets. That way, when I’m on Twitter, I can add #fb to the end of my tweet when I want to use that tweet as my Facebook status as well.

  • From Tracie

    Yes yes and yes.

    Some people need to have their twitter privileged revoked.

    Also, thank you for addressing the ____sauce thing. I don’t know where that started, but I do know that it needs to stop.

    • Anonymous

      Oh good. I’m not the only one with the sauce complex.

  • Elena @NaynaDub

    Great list! I have one to add – the annoying people who follow you, then unfollow, then follow, repeat the cycle over and over so that they keep showing up in the top of your follower stream until you follow back. Full out refusal to follow them!

    • Anonymous

      How could I forget THOSE people? I had someone you kept doing that and it annoyed me sooooo bad. And then I finally realized, OH I CAN BLOCK YOU. And that’s what I did.

  • Kia S.

    Add the people who have “insert web fancy name” ninja. Dude i’d rather jsut see ninja, then i know you don’t take yourself so seriously.

    and the blog updaters who post a link to their blog 37 times a day. I started dropping those people because if i like the blog its in my reader, you know you get traffic if you have a site meter please quit it.

    • Anonymous

      So we’re NOT supposed to tweet our links 37 times a down? I’ll try to drop mine down. And the actual ninjas from feudal Japan would probably like to throw a star at the self-proclaimed ninjas. Same with gurus. Except actual gurus are sort of non-violent.

  • Cyndi

    The Facebooker is the one that gets me. Why be on Twitter if you’re not actually *on* Twitter?

    • Anonymous

      To check a box. People that don’t get Twitter think that IS being on Twitter.

  • Kelly Whalen

    You totally hit the nail on the head! I especially love those fake accounts with non sensical tweets. I had a string of them follow me and they all said stuff like –something bio-ish, “Used to live in Buffalo, then spent some time in Charlotte, now reside in Atlanta.” Weirdest thing ever.

    • Anonymous

      That’s what I get a LOT of. I was fooled at first because I just looked at their picture and bio. They won a few times but I’m smarter now. I’m sure they just jack people’s account information.

  • Andrea(LilKidThings)

    So with you on the – sauce thing. And pretty much every other non-word that seems to prevail in the twitterverse (squee I am talking to you!)

    • Anonymous

      At first I though you were talking to ME and then I realize you are talking to SQUEE. I am an confirmed non-squeer. I’m glad we see eye to eye on this.

  • Kristen Howerton

    So funny! I think we have the same followers. :)

    • Anonymous

      I think we ALL do 😉

  • Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

    This was fun to read =) And oh-so-true!!!

  • Triplezmom

    Perfect timing – I just got a bunch of new followers, only to discover that most of them fit into one of your categories. And into Gigi’s “life coach” category. When I first got 3 of those in one day, I wondered if my tweets made it seem like I need help. :)

    I’ll be ignoring them all until they go away.

    • Anonymous

      Lots of coaches out there thinking that apparently the internet is the way to give people some direction. I wouldn’t even follow a sports coach.

  • virtuallin

    How crazy, I was just thinking of blogging in a similar vein! The ones that drive me crazy are the ‘social media gurus’ who try and sell all day and never engage. If I see a profile like this: “Teaches PaSSionate Entrepreneurs HowToMake Money & Attract TONS of New Clients & Followers DAILY. i UnLock GREATNESS & Explode” I can’t get away fast enough, I wish they WOULD explode.

    • Anonymous

      Here’s a little secret for you… there’s ALWAYS more room for Twitter posts. Those of us that get it, feel passionate about it and would like to escort those who don’t to the door.

  • Review Mom

    This was a great article. I’m new to the blogging world as well as Twitter. I have a lot to learn! I am certainly guilty of re-tweeting too much, tweeting links to my own posts 2x daily, following then unfollowing – just because I thought they may have missed me.

    Another one that might bother you is the “obsessive hashtagger”. And shamefully, I’m guilty of that too.

    Thanks for the insight- it’s been very helpful =)

    • Anonymous

      Wow – sounds like you break all the Twitter rules!!! By the way, you’re totally fine to tweets out your links. But the ratio of conversation to promotion should always be 9 to 1 tweets. And I don’t mind the hashtagging so you’ve got a pass on that 😉

  • Alexandra

    I know what you mean. I stopped following someone b/c every other tweet was about how awesome she was, and how great she was, and “follow me if you want to be cool.” once, ok. but all the time? I’m much too old for that.

    Came over from ShePosts. This was a great read.

    Thank you

    • Anonymous

      I am totally with you. If you tell me you’re awesome, I get the joke. But don’t keep it up because ultimately I’m the one who will decide if you are awesome.

  • amberherself

    I love to hate the people that take Twitter so seriously.

    I followed a lady for 8 months or so, I believe I began following her because of Follow Friday… Anyways, all she did was tweet links about Avon and other things I wasn’t really into so I went ahead and unfollowed. I didn’t think she’d miss me because she had thousands of followers but sure enough she did.

    I ended up on a list of “People who follow you and then unfollow once you follow back.” Some sort of Twitter black list she created.

    Very strange, indeed.

    • Anonymous

      WOW. That’s SO uncool. Another reason I’m glad that I forget to check the lists I’m on. But when I do, I’m usually on lists like “People who are totally AWESOMESAUCE”

  • Mamachickx4

    You hit the nail on the head. This should be in a How to Twitter Manuel…I’m just sayin.

    • Anonymous

      I’m sure there are people working on one as we speak…

  • Danielle Friedland

    How about the stalkers? Those are fun. I’ve had a few who will tweet to me and celebrities ONLY. That’s kind of scary too.

    • Anonymous

      I typically engage with anyone. And once I’ve established a friendship, I’ve had a few people confess they were stalking me and I’m like “Really? You thought enough of me to stalk me?”

      Now I must find YOU on Twitter…

  • rusti

    this and all the comments crack me up… I KNOW these people. and man – do they drive me insane sometimes. when I first started on Twitter I’d automatically turn around and follow anyone who was following me… and then I realized I was following a bunch of people who I had NOT A SINGLE THING in common with, and half of them had already unfollowed me (because you know, when I first started I was even more lame & boring than I am now) 😉 so because unfollowing makes me feel like a giant jerkface, I do the same for new followers – check their bio, check their tweets, see if there is some connection (either a common topic, if they’re just frickin’ hilarious, if they tweet interesting things, etc.) and if they meet my “criteria” for want of a better word – THEN I’ll follow… sorry tweeps – I don’t auto follow-back. I also don’t auto DM… which is probably best as I still am not quite sure what that is… #stillarookie (oh, also and I have some mad borderline-obsessive love of hashtags… sue me.) :)

  • Russell Donald

    I love this post! I liberally use the block and spam buttons. Another one I would add is the egghead. someone who doesnt bother with a avatar who probably is actually a spam account.

  • Rach Black

    Thanks for the education! New to Twitter so this helps me not to be *that* person. BTW, this could apply to the people on FB too. The ones that get me on FB are the ones who constantly talk about themselves and never comment on anyone else. Me, me, me, I love myself. I have my picture on my shelf.

    Those people obviously bug me.

  • Hines-Sight Blog

    I’ve got so much to learn.  Thanks for getting me started.

  • Broot

    Guilty of the Facebooker but as WordPress.  I often forget to log into my twitter account (although I do log in and attempt to interact usually about once a week) but usually it’s just my wordpress account updating my twitter account when I post. :)

  • Kimberly

    Definitely loved this post. I have to avoid the Egg People. If you can’t bother to have an avatar (even if it’s ISN’T you), I have no time for you. 

    • Anonymous

      Egg people are eggheads and an automatic no follow.

  • Glenda Childers

    I have not started tweeting yet . . . but glad I read this first. :-)


  • Morgan Kellum

    What an interesting study of society in general!  Twitter or not!

    Enjoy your SITS day!

    • Anonymous

      Social media is full of sociology experiments. I often write about them at my other blog!

  • Misssrobin

    I have a twitter account.  I know how to post to it.  That’s about all I know.  I would probably drive you crazy.  But then again, I’ve driven people crazy before.

  • Ash Tree Cottage

    I don’t know what it is about twitter ~ but I can seldom think of anything to tweet about, yet I am completely capable of talking your ear off.  Fun post!

    Susan and Bentley

    • Anonymous

      I think you just need to jump in like someone rudely interrupting someone’s conversation. It’s the best way to get people interested and you can have some fun conversations. If I don’t have anything to say, I just start commenting on what everyone else if saying!

  • Anna

    I love this post……made me laugh because it is so true!!!  Here is another one….the follow/unfollow.  I HATE when people follow you only to unfollow you because days later you haven’t followed them back yet.  Don’t follow someone if you are only looking for a follow back!!!  Follow if you are interested in what they have to offer.  Chances are…if you are interested in what they have to offer….they will be interested in following you back.  

    • Anonymous

      OMG. People do this and I didn’t even realize. A cause started following me and I thought “Yeah, I can get behind that.” Then I ran a report and found out they had already unfollowed me! Grrrr…

  • She’sWrite

    Ha! I love your categories! So true and such fun! Happy SITSday!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks! I always have something to say about Twitter!

  • She’sWrite

    Ha! I love your categories! So true and such fun! Happy SITSday!

  • Nini

    I often wondered why certain people were following me I would check their profile and be like …..uh we have nothing in common. I tweet and its attached to my blog its another avenue for my readers to stay in touch with me….and for me to stay in touch with the food trucks (yes I have an obsession with food trucks….they’re the new craze in my area). I liked this break down of followers, thanks!

    • Anonymous

      Ooh. I don’t know much about food trucks but I know it’s a craze. I must learn more…

  • Nini

    I often wondered why certain people were following me I would check their profile and be like …..uh we have nothing in common. I tweet and its attached to my blog its another avenue for my readers to stay in touch with me….and for me to stay in touch with the food trucks (yes I have an obsession with food trucks….they’re the new craze in my area). I liked this break down of followers, thanks!