Twitter "Spam" Followers

To Block, or Not to Block?

I’m going with “block”.

Twitter recently went through a round of cleaning up spam accounts, and a lot of people have noticed their follower counts dropping because of it. That inspired me to take another list at the “people” following me, and weed out several more that Twitter hadn’t deemed as “spam”, although I think they may have understandably been trying to be conservative for fear of trashing a “real” account.

No harm, no foul?

In the beginning, I was of the opinion that it didn’t matter too much to me if these other people (or bots, etc.) wanted to follow me, because I still wouldn’t see stuff from them unless I followed them in return. That position is still pretty much true, in that their actions don’t ever really impact my day to day use.

The one issue that changed my mind and made me think that it might be a negative thing to “allow” these kinds of followers is that search engines may index those links, and give their Twitter account “link juice” by following it from my page. It’s not clear whether this happens or not, but I’d prefer to avoid being a part of it just in case.

So, how to decide?

I basically just went through and cleaned up (blocked) any followers who appeared “spammy”. I give a free pass to anyone I actually know, and in a few cases some local businesses that I’m OK with giving whatever benefit they may get from following me.

Other than those, I just try to decide whether it’s a “real” person with a genuine interest in following me, and if not, I axe them. Some of the indicators I use for “blocking” criteria are:

  • Following tons of people without reciprocation (“following” count is way higher than “followers”)
  • Primarily “marketing” related content (usually web / social network “experts”, etc.)
  • Majority of their tweets are just links promoting their own web site / blog

There are probably others, but that covers a good deal of them. In rare cases, I’ll see a person I don’t know who seems “normal” enough, so I give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re honestly interested in following my posts, so I’ll usually leave them.

What Do You Think?

I’m curious to hear how other people go about making this decision, or whether you’re in the “who cares” camp and let anyone follow you.

Now that I’ve gotten my list paired down, I think I’m going to be more careful about weeding out every new follower, blocking them immediately if they seem suspicious according to my standards.

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One Response to Twitter "Spam" Followers

  1. Douglas says:

    “Following tons of people without reciprocation (“following” count is way higher than “followers”)

    Not all Twitter accounts that follow more than being followed back are necessarily spam accounts! My Twitter account right now has about 100 followers and I follow about 165. All of the 65 that doesn’t follow back are essentially accounts from my favorite musicians, television channels, etc.

    I also have a policy of not following anybody (non celeb, media etc.) unless they follow me to begin with if I don’t know them.

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