Re-Thinking Twitter

Twitter is full of spammers, and I am one of them! OK, that might sound a bit harsh, but I really lost my likening of Twitter lately and, sub-sequently have only tweeted to announce new posts here and on my other blogs or to pass coupon codes and other offers on. Few real exchange with other twitters, apart of some DMs. On the other hand, I must also admit that I haven’t received much of value from my followers. 95% of the tweets in my timeline consisted of invitations á la “join my mafia family” and @spam. Seems to me, I and Twitter have reached a dead end road, or not? So I decided that I have three possibilities to make the best out of Twitter:

1. Delete my Twitter account
No, I am not exhausted enough for that, there are some people I want to stay in contact with and hopefully a few that are genuinely interested in what I tweet. Apart of this I am still convinced that it is possible to use Twitter as an addition, or even replacement, to and for a traditional email list. Plus it is more fun 😉 So, I scratched No 1.

2. Unfollow most of my followers
That is something, what is really en vogue lately, the latest of the A-list bloggers to do this was John Chow. Read about his reasoning here. Now, John unfollowed 55000 over night, and, as I pointed out in some comments on his blog, this poses a few problems. The most important one is that it is a way to manipulate Twitter to think that you are incredibly important, I think John’s ratio is now something like followers >40 000 and following <200. The other is that John rode for years on the “follow me, I follow you” train, unfollowing now nearly everybody is a betraying the promise he once gave and that helped him to get this many followers. I wouldn’t feel comfortable by just doing an automated mass unfollow, but I still want to get value back into my twitter list, for me and for others. So, I scratched No 2 also.

3. Make my updates private
That sounds completely stupid at first sight, but for me, after some thinking, it makes sense. By making my updates private I don’t appear anymore in the public timeline, hence, I am far less a target for spammers, @ and others. Second, by semi-closing my list, I have the possibility to check out the people I am following and decide on a by case basis if I still want to follow them. And as a third, I add value to my list by sharing information only with my followers, hopefully making it more attractive to follow me 😉

Over the next days and weeks I will sort through my twitter list, and unfollow those I am not anymore interested to follow. Sorry guys and gals, no hard feelings 😉 At the same time, I will start to get my tweeting out of auto-mode and concentrate more on meaningful interactions, then on auto-tweets. And if you want to know what I am tweeting, just apply here to join my new Super Secret Twitter List. If I like your tweets, I will follow you back, big paw promise 😉

So what is your approach to Twitter? Do you follow everybody, only a few? Do you use it at all or have you given up on Twitter?

If you like this blog post and found it helpful, why not share it with your preferred social network? Handy links and bookmarklets above ^^^ 😉

30 comments to Re-Thinking Twitter

  • Hi SY,
    I fell into the trap of using tweets just to publicise my new posts, but after a while I realised I didn’t like it when those I followed did that, so why was I being part of the problem? Around that time, I linked Twitter to my Facebook status updates: knowing that the tweet would also appear as my FB status made me want to tweet more meaningful stuff.
    Since I’m not facing spam problems at the moment, I’ll continue to have public tweets, but will certainly consider it if the spammers start to think I’m worth their time :p

  • hospitalera

    Hi, long time not seen, how is life? I agree with you, to receive better tweets, you have to become a better twitterer 😉 As for facebook, I disconnected the two services, as the two “crowds” are completely different in my case. BTW, have you noticed that the next WBSD is just around the corner, clicking the blue banner in the top right corner will take you to Sher’s blog if you are interested in participating again. SY

  • Hi,

    I totally agree with you when you say *twitter is full of spammers*. it seems that everyone want to be rich overnight tweeting crappy CRAP :).

    Actually Twitter should do something againt these folk who are polutting this cool system.

    BTW possibility N°2 is the best lol

    .-= Tonny – eXsmoking´s last blog ..14 Steps To Giving Up Smoking For Good =-.

  • hospitalera

    I agree, but I must admit I also took the over promotional approach when it came to Twitter. No2 has it problems, as it doesn’t take in account if I actually like / look at the tweets of my followers, I think, for me, personally, the way to go is to cut down on the people I do follow and to provide real value to the people that follow me, SY

  • I have the same opinion about twitter. I tried once to chat personally but all I get is promotional twits. It’s so annoying.

    If there is only a service to filter spam twits because their so annoying.
    .-= nathan´s last blog ..Stuffs I Do In 4 Internet Hours Per Day =-.

  • @hospitalera I visited the World Blog banner. I don’t quite understand what it is all about. Will you be kind enough to explain it to me briefly?
    .-= nathan´s last blog ..Stuffs I Do In 4 Internet Hours Per Day =-.

  • hospitalera

    It will be very difficult to develop a spam filter for Twitter, on what would you base it? Regarding WBSD, it is a kind of blog carnival for expat / travel bloggers. If you don’t have such a blog, you can’t particpate. The idea is simple to post the same day about the same theme and then to link these posts together, forming a “journey around the globe”. SY

  • I agree, twitter is full of spammers,I have been using twitter for quite sometime now to communicate and update with freinds, but now I have to check some of my followings/followers since I’m receiving tons of promotional messages and it’s making it hard for me to check important ones. I also made my updates private as you’ve said it won’t appear anymore in the public timeline.

  • So the problem is there are too money follower which not genuine. It is not the twitter fault. 😀
    .-= LetUpdate´s last blog ..Statistic for Blog =-.

  • hospitalera

    @Sean Patrick
    True, often the things I am really interested in are so deep buried that I see them too late, if at all. Making the updates private really paid out also, as the @spam has completely dried up.

    Sorry, I don’t understand what you are saying? Can you try again, please? SY

  • I think LetUpdate means that it’s not twitter’s fault that there are a lot of spammers on it. It’s the abusive users’ fault. I’ll try the private twits, I hope it works for me.
    .-= nathan´s last blog ..Stuffs I Do In 4 Internet Hours Per Day =-.

  • hospitalera

    Then she is correct, twitter is just a tool, it is up to us how to (mis)use it, SY

  • I would believe that John Chow’s followers feel betrayed, and they should! Whenever someone looks at his profile, it looks like he is wildly popular, when really those were reciprocated follows, and then he just unfollowed his entire list out of the blue! I do have to agree with you that I despise Twitter spam though.

  • I think it is not a big deal if you use Twitter to just announce your blog posts. If you are clear that that is the purpose of your Twitter account, it should not be seen as spam. The real problem comes when people begin getting the massive lists of followers and selling Tweets to other people. It is becoming too spam-driven and it is really unfortunate. I hope they find some way to clean it up a little.
    .-= shae@Internet Make Money Online´s last blog ..Choosing a Niche =-.

  • @Chuggin Why get so worked up for being deleted as a follower, I wouldn’t. I don’t get it actually. Why be so serious of being someone’s follower. I think it is much better to be a real world friend than to be a twitter-mate.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-John or whatsoever.
    .-= nathan@blog marketing´s last blog ..Video Archives – Mel And Joey =-.

  • hospitalera

    Correct, it would have been far more honest to start with a new account and to follow from there only the people he wants to follow.

    I tried this “selling tweets” for a short while, perhaps you can make some money if you have really huge numbers of followers, but generally spoken it is only a quick way to annoy your followers. And from an advertisers perspective it must have one of the worst conversion rates on the internet.

    I think what got people was that he first promised to follow everybody back and as he had what he wanted (a large list of followers) he unfollowed most of them over night. Like others have said on his blog, it would have been more honest to start fresh with a new account. SY

  • Its true twitter has lot of spammers , but its very helpful for making good contacts too , I made some good friends on twitter , just block the spammers and enjoy tweeting

  • Twitter is one of the popular social media sites today. There is no surprise that it gets infested by spammers struggling to gain some traffic or whatever in equivalent. I hope Twitter can do something about this soon.

  • hospitalera

    @linda @Jannice
    Yes, Twitter is a useful tool, that is one of the reasons I am not -yet- giving up on it, SY

  • @hospitalera you’re active again! you’re still on that tour right?
    .-= nathan@blog marketing´s last blog ..Be Active In Social Media =-.

  • hospitalera

    No, we are leaving Monday 😉 SY

  • I think you are doing these to get quality peoples who are really following your tweets. Selecting again to unfollow is very weird task.

  • good post, i think this is a good thing, i wish more people would use twitter how it’s meant to be used.

  • hospitalera

    update: Twitter just introduced lists, now that might be an option to separate the goodies from the baddies and also to see which twitter accounts are more worth for advertisers and which less by the number of lists there are in. SY

  • I was thinking the same thing, I love that everyone can see my recommended links, but I am over seeing only spam links show on my pages. I might do a John Chow and only follow people who I know.

    I just saw your update, twitter lists seems like a cool idea!
    .-= Internet Business Coaching´s last blog ..The Right Mindset For Starting An Online Business =-.

  • hospitalera

    @Internet Business Coaching
    Yes, so far the combination of setting my updates to private, weeding out whom I follow and whom not plus the new twitter list feature works really well out for me! SY

  • Yeah! I too agree I am followed on tweeter by many whom I don’t want. This really annoys me a lot. Thanks for the post anyways. It was really nice.

  • hospitalera

    @Jane Wandy
    I do’t mind being followed by them, but I do mind the spam some people send me via DM and @reply, SY

  • Sally Brown

    Twitter is an excellent Social networking site, with lot of beautiful things in it. Yeah, it so irritating when someone only follows you to spam.

  • hospitalera

    Sally Brown
    Yes, as irritating as people that leave comments only for a backlink, SY