How to spot a self promoter on Twitter

When you first join twitter you will you will find yourself followed by people that you have never heard of. Why are they following you? Well, these ‘followers’ fall into two categories based on their (very) different motivations:

1. They want to listen to what you have to say

OR

2. They want you to follow them back

The people who are following you for the first reason are great. Who doesn’t want to be listened to? This is exactly what the follow functionality is for.

The second category are not so great. These people are just trying to grow their network of followers in an effort to grow their influence and/or ego. They aren’t interested in you or what you have to say. We know this because nobody can consume the tweets of 1000 people, let alone 30,000 people.

These people just want you as their audience or (even more inane) they just want their follower count to increase.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind people using twitter as a broadcast mechanism. It’s a great way to use it if you have a lot of people interested in what you have to say. I do have a problem with people using the ‘follow’ button of twitter as an underhanded way to market themselves as it is not obvious that this is what they are up to.

So, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? How do you spot a self promoter on Twitter? It’s easy, if they are following more than 1000 people there is a very strong chance that they are abusing the twitter follow functionality to try and get under peoples ‘marketing shields’.

I also recommend turning off email notifications for when you are followed. This setting can be found in your Twitter accounts Settings -> Notifications -> Activity.

-James