Why won’t I follow you on Twitter?

There are those that follow and there are those that get followed on Twitter. Some people have decided to adopt the “follow everyone that follows me rule” but with thousands of spam bots out there, many have decided to drop this rule.

Twitter Fail

Then there are those of us that pick and choose our Twitter followings very carefully.

Whether you are using Twitter for business or personal use, Twitter is an engagement tool. Being as such does not mean, “He who dies with the most followers wins.” but rather “How can I maintain quality relationships to meet my professional/personal needs?” Twitter has become quality over quantity for those that see it as an engagement tool and want true success. To gain a better understanding, let’s use me as an example.

Why I won’t follow someone on Twitter

  1. Twitter Bird RedactedYou’re an egg. If you don’t take a moment to change your Twitter avatar from an egg to a picture of yourself, then why should I take the time to follow you?
  2. You’re a logo/landscape/cartoon/etc. Being engaging means letting me get to know the real you. If you are a business, then have a picture of you or your team. Remove the logo and let a person connect with your smile.
  3. You’re lost. You don’t tell me where you’re from or, even worse, you give me your coordinates on the globe. Don’t make me work to find out if we speak the same language.
  4. You don’t know who you are. Every Twitter profile should have the “Bio” area filled out and a real name. If you don’t tell me a little about yourself, then how am I to know if we have anything in common?
  5. You’re mute. Start following people and engaging in conversation. Do not follow people and never say anything. Every good profile should have several relevant tweets to give me background on what tweets I can expect from you.
  6. You have no style. I love creative people that market themselves. If you have the default Twitter background, it means you are a robot. There are thousands of free Twitter backgrounds online. Find one or make one yourself. Show me you care about your brand.

Why I will stop following someone on Twitter

  1. Twitter Fail WhaleLink demon. If I want links, I will go to Google. Don’t spam links without any conversation. Again, quality over quantity.
  2. The unlikely tour guide. I do not need to know you are at the bathroom at Disney or the local strip club through Foursquare pushed tweets. Pushing location updates from Foursquare to Twitter is fine – as long as the information is relevant to your followers.
  3. Ham over spam. Give me something to feed off of rather than conversation spam that has nothing to do with me. Spamming a Twitter feed will result in immediate blocking and spam reporting. There are free tools to schedule your tweets (Hootsuite, etc.) and conversations can be taken to Direct Messaging (DM) within Twitter.
  4. Political or religion junkie. There is a fine line between constructive dialog and creating controversy. I’m fully respect your position but badmouthing people (even politicians) continuously is not constructive. If I want to follow politicians or religious leaders on Twitter, then I would do so. Otherwise, please keep them to a minimum or I will have to stop following you.
  5. Annoying salesmen. Tell me about your products or services but don’t cram them down my throat. There is a right way and a wrong way to tell people about how cool you or your company may be.

There are many reasons why someone may or may not follow someone on Twitter. There are businesses and people that will follow everyone in their geographic location because of the chance to connect offline. Making the decision to follow someone is both a personal and professional decision.

We are our own brand and whom we choose to engage with online speaks volumes about the people we are. Outline your Twitter goals and engage with people that will help you meet those goals. Twitter is not a popularity contest; it is a online tool to help create engagement and success.


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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Grace

    You’re an egg – that’s funny! But I know people won’t follow you if you don’t change the twitter default pic to your real pic. 😀

    • Shannon Steffen

      It’s one of the simplest ways to optimize your Twitter profile for humans. We want to connect with people and, considering there is no face-to-face interaction offline, having a real avatar is crucial to that connection and engagement.

  • There are many different styles of Twitter usage. Some use it like chat to talk to specific individuals they know. Others want everyone to follow them, but think they’re too famous to follow anyone back.

    I respect that you want to use Twitter a particular way that works for you. But it isn’t the only way to use Twitter. Some of us do share a lot of content and retweet a lot because we are into content and so are our followers. You wouldn’t want to follow us, but it works for us.

    We also participate in Twitter chats, which means a lot of tweets and interactions and question answering. Some find that incredibly annoying; others love it and join in. Again, how people use Twitter varies more than many realize.

    No matter how you use Twitter, it is important to not ONLY tweet links. Interacting is key. Knowing the type of people you contact is important for best results. Extroverts don’t mind chit-chatting about nothing. Introverts will gladly debate any interesting topic, but struggle with engaging over what we see as nothing.

    The most successful bloggers on Twitter are extroverts because they don’t mind thanking people for every retweet and answering every comment. They have answers to “thanks for following” that just don’t come to me.

    When I’m busy, I may not take the time to look at someone’s profile, site, research what they’re into and come up without something intelligent to tweet to them in response to “thanks for following”. Typing “you’re welcome” dozens of times a day just isn’t high on my priority list. Answering something more compelling always is.