Effective Immediately- No More Auto-Follow

If I’m not following you on Twitter, please send an @message to request. I’ll follow as many back as I can.

Effective immediately, I’m no longer going to follow people back on Twitter automatically.

The reason is simple: Twitter would rather permit 3rd party applications to empower users to direct message me their stupid spam messages. The #1 culprit of this experience is http://www.fun140.com . (To be clear, fun140 believes they’re empowering a really fun way to use Twitter. Swell. Just don’t involve me.)

The problem is this: I can’t really keep up with manually following people back. Thus, suddenly, people are going to start thinking I’m snobby because I’m not following them back.

I can’t fix this. I can’t help. I can’t maintain the level of spam DMs in my inbox and so, I’ll do what I can to follow back people who contact me via @messages.

Sorry. It’s not you. It’s me.

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  • http://twitter.com/HughBriss Hugh Briss

    Unless I'm not following you I have no idea how your plan works. No one is seeing your general @ reply except for those who are already following you, and maybe a few when it flies by in the general stream, so how is that accomplishing anything?

  • http://twitter.com/HughBriss Hugh Briss

    So if you were standing around minding your own business at a golf course and some strangers asked if you wanted to join their threesome to make it a foursome you'd shout at them for dragging you into their game?

    Oh… wait… you were already at the golf course weren't you?. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/HughBriss Hugh Briss

    Chris, I don't get 500 a day, more like 50, but I use TweetLater's semi auto vetting utility and it takes me about 10 seconds per person. The system automatically selects to ignore people who haven't tweeted in a while, people with no tweets, those with an unusually high following/follower ratio, those with no avatar and a few other parameters you can set. Then for the rest it shows you their latest tweet, their follower/following count, the date they joined, their bio and avatar all on one page.

  • http://twitter.com/joemanna Joseph Manna

    It ultimately depends on your audience. For companies, Auto-Follow (reciprocal) is a very beneficial feature to have to permit private conversations between the consumer and the brand to take place.

    Auto-following scripts is a big no-no. There is no better way to say “I only care about numbers, not relationships” than Tweeting, “Get 2000 followers in 3 days.”

    It's my general rule that anyone I publicly reply/mention, I will follow them only in case they want to DM me or somehow actually connect outside of 140 characters. ;-)

    But yes, I very much agree with your sentiments, Chris.

    ~Joe

  • http://twitter.com/BJMendelson Brandon Mendelson

    Totally agree Chris. I am going to follow your lead on this one.

  • gaylehurmuses

    It does get a bit tedious. I especially can't stand the prostitutes that keep sending me cam invitations…I could not possibly be less interested.

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  • http://www.ChristopherSPenn.com Christopher S. Penn

    Just use Buzzom and search for your @ replies. Or ask people to use #cbfme as a hash tag and auto-track that.

  • http://fauxlowers.com/-/AntoneRoundy Antone Roundy

    I hope (and expect) that as Twitter matures, people will stop expecting to get followed back by everyone they follow.

    I suppose if you use Twitter to chat with your chums, reciprocal following makes sense. But if you use it for information gathering (eg. following thought leaders and info aggregators in your industry), why on earth would you expect it?

    Everyone knows that you can't REALLY follow hundreds of people — at least not if they're tweeting actively.

    If someone who's following more than about 75 people follows me (which over 80% of my followers are — no kidding — I checked), I figure they're just hoping I'll follow them back so they can market to me. I know darned well they won't be reading MY tweets, so why should I have to wade through their tweets and open myself up to DM spam?

  • http://www.wrightplacetv.com/ Dr Wright

    I got rid of auto follow also. I dont follow people with no pics or pics of body parts that are generally covered in public or tweets about how to make cash with your tweets.

    Life is too short to miss the cool stuff on twitter.

    Dr. Letitia Wright
    The Wright Place TV Show
    http://wrightplacetv.com
    http://www.twitter.com/drwright1

  • Batman

    Wow. Just wow. I'm glad I'm at a point where I don't have to feel obligated to follow everyone back that follows me yet. You carry a heavy burden, my friend. We should start a campaign to take down @fun140 and other 'bots like it. Don't know if that would be possible….

  • gavinstokes

    Don't despair – we know you love us all :-) To a twitter newbie (me), DM seems a bit broken due to the spam (to auto follow or not to auto follow…), but it's still an interesting, fun experience.

  • http://remix.bestbuy.com/ Keith Burtis

    Chris, I have taken the same approach. It sucks! Twitter is getting more and more difficult to navigate. persoanlly, I feel the same way with the Sponsored tweets as well. As much as I filter twitter…. I'm not interested in more noise.
    -Keith

  • http://twitter.com/dennis_jernberg Dennis Jernberg

    I've never autofollowed. I knew it wouldn't be a good idea when I started getting auto-DM spam, from Fun140 it turns out. I unfollowed those accounts, of course. And I routinely get unfollowed by accounts that follow me expecting me to autofollow them (as well as losing spambot accounts).

    The day @Scobleizer unfollowed all his followers, I manually culled the accounts I follow. I could do it because I had only 375 follows; it got me down to 350. I'll continue to manually search for and add accounts to follow, but I'll never make the mistake of autofollowing.

    Down with Fun140 & spambots!

  • http://twitter.com/dennis_jernberg Dennis Jernberg

    Oh yeah. Sponsored Tweets are spam, too.

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  • Mariela Castro

    The Twitter etiquette established that you should follow back who is following you. I don´t agree at all. We should follow people with whom we can establish significant relationships and/or with whom we can learn and grow. Otherwise, this would be a mere competition to get more followers by following no matter who.
    The etiquette should be: Follow interesting people who share interesting content. Easy and simple.

  • http://www.viziun.com/ Erin

    I know! I get SO many messages in my DM box and with no bulk delete it's so annoying. I found this tool that lets me bulk delete though and it made such a difference. The only down side is you have to use it in FireFox.

    Anyway, it may come in handy if you get too many messages in your DM box and don't have the time to manually delete them. It's called DM Whacker and you can get it here: http://dcortesi.com/tools/dm-deleter/

    Hope that helps.

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  • http://webandyou.avelient.com/ Mariano

    Thanks for posting this Chris. I actually found it because I got a DM from someone this morning about “fun140.com” and I decided to look it up before I followed the link. Thank goodness I did, and thanks for writing about it!

  • http://webandyou.avelient.com/ Mariano

    Thanks for posting this Chris. I actually found it because I got a DM from someone this morning about “fun140.com” and I decided to look it up before I followed the link. Thank goodness I did, and thanks for writing about it!

  • http://www.MyTwitterAdder.com/ Twitter Adder

    If you can get more twitter followers, then you will be in a very good position to use the twitter marketing to get more buyers. By having more followers, you will be able to have a multiplied effect of your marketing efforts. More and more people will be seeing your updates.

  • http://www.cosmeticdentistryinsandiego.com/ Cosmedic Dentistry San Diego

    I don't blame you making this decision. For one the auto DM levels are crazy and secondly once your Twitter account gets above the 50K level it is hard to keep up with the daily followers that follow you.

    Wendy

  • http://www.BadCreditAutomotive.com BadCreditAutomotive.com

    Yeah – same thing happened to me and drove me nuts.

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  • http://twitter.com/BraunDoug Doug Braun

    Chris, I wouldn't worry about it. I don't believe in auto-followbacks and all of the headaches they create. A person should follow those who have something to contribute that interests *them*. I even wrote an article about the problems with auto-followbacks: http://thedustpan.com/2010/03/evils-of-reciproc… … if it helps to put your mind at ease regarding the issues that you are now leaving behind. :-) Good move.

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