How to fail fast on Twitter: an easy-to-follow one-step recipe!

At last … the information you’ve always wanted: how to get un-followed on Twitter.

If you use Twitter, you’re familiar with the following scenario: someone follows you, and you find out via email, or some other software you’re using for the purpose (unless you’re automating Twitter, which is usually a bad thing in itself, but we’ll deal with that another day).

You take a look at the user’s stats, and if he or she has a decent number of tweets in relation to following and following numbers, you consider following back. You also check to see if the user is following way more people than are following him or her … because that’s usually a sign of someone trying to game Twitter to develop a big megaphone without putting any significant energy into earning that megaphone.

Sometimes when you’ve done this step, and even noticed that the user’s tweets are potentially of interest to you, you notice something else. Like this, for example:


I followed this user, then read a few more of his tweets. Lo and behold … multiple repeat Tweets.

This is a sign of a user with one or more problems:

  • Boring
    This person does not have a lot to say … but like the boring person at the party that you can’t detach yourself from, insists on saying it over and over.

  • Lazy
    This person probably actually has a lot to say, but is too busy or otherwise occupied to put appropriate attention on Twitter. So she is putting her account on autopilot and just repeating the same thing over and over again without the bother of having to think up (or experience) new things to communicate. This is the broken record (remember those round spinning black things) that keeps on keeps on keeps on keeps on …

  • Forgetful
    This person just says the same thing over and over again … like the old sales guy who has chatted up (sorry, networked) so promiscuously and with so little emotional investment that he forgets who he has told his stories to, and keeps repeating the sames ones to you every time you meet.

  • Rude
    This person doesn’t care about the signal to noise ratio, and doesn’t care what any one individual might think of his or her behavior. It’s all about the mass to this person, and to get to mass attention, they’re repeating everything twice or a hundred times, like old-fashioned advertising spewing out mindlessly and repetitively to an essentially unknown audience.

As soon as I saw all the repeat tweets, I un-followed this user. The funny thing here is that I’m actually interested in some of the topics he’s covering. But his behavior smells like spam.

Moral of the story? Old methods may not work in new media.


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