Friday, March 4, 2011

Twitter Limits

I've been banned, railroaded, stopped.

When I checked my Twitter account yesterday, it wouldn't allow me to follow any more people. *Gasp!* Really??

Apparantly, my follow limit is set at 2000. After spending a few minutes learning more about the rule, I learned I could weed the accounts I follow to get below 2000 which would free me to begin adding people again. Or I could wait until my followers, around 1600, grew closer to the 2000 mark. Twitter adjusts the thresholds as the two merge.

Well, I knew I'd had a brief period where I'd followed back many accounts without checking them out, so I scanned my list see where I could make some cuts.

Twitter Disclaimer: You Do Not Have To Follow Everyone Who Follows You!

I went in with a clear agenda, and I quickly made my own set of rules on who to unfollow.

Jill's Red-Flag List of Tweeters to NOT Follow:

1. Random Businesses. I'm building a network on relationships, and I'm not going to have a relationship with a fish market. I will build a relationship with a reader who owns a fish market though. And I love Taco Bell, so I still follow it.

2. Anyone who doesn't tweet in English. Sorry, I don't speak many of the languages of people who follow me. I wish I did. However, if you tweet in French, I might follow you regardless, because I adore the way French appears.

3. Anyone who's profile contains the following: Network marketer, home business coach, optimization specialist, "help me help you," Twitter secrets, SEO guarantee. You get the idea. I'm not interested in whatever they are selling, yet I'd blindly followed about 50 of them because I wasn't paying attention.

4. Anyone with a profile picture of a. an egg (usually spammers) or b. someone in skimpy clothes or overly sensual (usually nasty spammers). It's not hard to upload a profile picture. It can be of anything--a cat, a gravatar, a flower--I don't care. Just avoid the egg. And put on an extra layer of clothing.

So who didn't get cut?
Real people. People who had taken the time to fill out a personal profile. I follow oodles of writers, both aspiring and published, along with industry professionals. I also follow publishing houses, news sources like the Wall Street Journal and Publisher's Weekly, and various artists. If someone follows me but has no ties to the writing industry, I follow them back because I'm interested in personal interaction.

Do you ever blindly follow back fellow Tweeters? Or do you have your own set of rules on who to follow? Care to share your rules? I'd love to hear them!
Have a terrific Friday!


  1. I've followed some egg heads! If I don't know them personally, I will delete them. I love your posts on Twitter, Jill. I always learn something valuable!

  2. Oh my goodness.... I had NO CLUE there were limits to Twitter Followers (I have also blindly followed anyone who follows me for weeks now). Of course, my follow list is up to a grand total of 65 so I'm not really at risk for being banned... but I'm sure a year from now I would've been had I not read this. Great info! Thanks and I'm RTing now.

  3. I didn't know twitter would limit you. My rules are pretty close to yours. I try to follow anyone who looks like a real person.

  4. Holy buckets, you follow (and are followed) by a TON of people! I'm waaaay behind apparently. :)

  5. Oh, I have to clear things out nearly every week. That's because some people follow me on Twitter to get the follow back from me, then they unfollow me a couple of days later. Well, if they've unfollowed me, why am I following them?

    I know about the 2000 ceiling, so I try to clear out as I go.

  6. May not surprise you, I check out everyone I follow--clicking on sites, etc.

    OhNuts followed me the other day after I tweeted about pistachios. Made me a little sad not to follow back, but oh nuts...I can't follow everyone. ;)

    ~ Wendy

  7. I usually follow back. Try to steer clear of the eggs, though some of my colleagues aren't twitter savvy and use them, scanty clads don't get followed, and they get blocked, I think I have a few of those life coaches, but I'm not anywhere near the Twitter limit. The rest is an eclectic mix of artists, authors, my young one's college, and businesses like Land's End (I can get trouser hemmed free!)

  8. Yikes, I don't tweet! Not yet anyway, but thanks for sharing the tip ...

  9. So far I have been pretty selective but I don't follow many people so I am actually wondering if I should follow more... I agree with you completely though... if I can't read it, I am probably not going to follow them! And I don't want anything distasteful... good thoughts Jill!

  10. When someone followed me, I followed back. It seemed the polite thing to do. I soon learned from my mistake though. Now, I check them out and see if their past tweets are of interest. If not, I don't bother. And I certainly don't follow eggs... :)

  11. Wow, this is educational to me. I had no idea there were Twitter limits. Thanks for that solid list of red flags, too. Happy Friday!

  12. I don't blindly follow everyone. I look at their twitter feed and see what their tweeting. I'm looking to follow real people, usually writers. I feel bad, but I usually block the businesses that follow me.

  13. Good morning!

    Jessica P: I think it's good to decide early about who you do and don't want to follow. Smart!

    Erin: I didn't either! Learn something new every day, right!

    Julie J: Same here. I love meeting new people--even if it's only online!

    Katie: Silly! I just like Twitter. It's really fun meeting other writers through it.

    Cassandra: That happens to me too, except I have no idea if they're still following me. I guess I don't care too much. If they look fun and don't follow me, big whoop!

    Wendy M: No nuts? How dare you! You're smart to check each person out.

    CJ: We're so much alike. Your list and mine are similar!

    Joanne: I think we gravitate towards sites that make sense to us. I spend much more time on Twitter than FB, but it's a personal thing!

    Angela C: No pressure. Do what you feel comfortable with!

    Shirley W: I did the same thing! And I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but that's not how Twitter works anymore!

    Karen H: I had no idea either. I'm constantly learning new things about these sites!

    Laura: Don't feel bad. You're smart to keep your account to people you want on it.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  14. Well, you know I still don't use Twitter. I guess I'm trying to be the last person I know who doesn't :) But this is good to know for the future. I'm stocking up information in case I ever decide to join the crowd.

  15. I still am not on Twitter yet. In fact, today I was deliberating on whether or not to keep my Facebook!

  16. Jill,

    This was interesting. I guess I never really read the small print, but I am not very active on Twitter. Post every few days and am very lax on the follow thing. I use Facebook more regularly.

    OK, no profile pics of EGGS?

    All good wishes for a great (and productive) weekend,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  17. Great info to know about Twitter, Jill. Have a great weekend.

  18. I have ALL the same rules! These are great!

  19. I think there is a weeding out thing called Twitter Karma that you can goolge. It will show who you are following and that is not following you back. That may be another way to weed out people. :O)

  20. Wow...this was definitely educational! Thank you for sharing. I'm not overly selevective, but I do kind of weed people out if they aren't in any of my areas of interest like writing or homeschooling.

  21. I have two accounts and I learned from the first one about the limits. I try to follow writers and people with interesting bios. I don't follow people without any bios, or any of the ones you mention.

    Great tips, Bill!

  22. Cindy: Ha! I'm a big believer in doing what fits best, and Twitter fits my personality! Have fun this weekend!

    Melissa: Ooo, you rebel, you!

    Sharon L: I think most people fit better on Facebook or Twitter. I spend less time on FB because of my personality! And yeah, there's a generic picture of an egg that I consider a red alert!

    Loree H: Thanks--you do the same!

    Nina: You're a genius! :)
    Diane E: Ooo, Twitter Karma! Ouch!

    Ralene: I'm not overly selective either. As long as the account seems human, I'm pretty much following them!

    Talli: Good addition--the lacking bio. I do follow some without bio's, but only after I check out their profile first.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  23. There's a limit?

    This is new to me. LOL

    But yes, I pretty much follow anyone--unless you have nothing written in your BIO (or what you've written is scary), you have tons of followers but no tweets (what's THAT all about?), or I look at your tweets and I get confused. LOL Then no, I won't follow. :)

  24. Jill, thanks for not un-following me.
    I try to follow people who post interesting stuff. I drop bores and those who are full of themselves. Mostly I follow writers and agents and editors.

  25. Thanks, Jill. As always, you make me think, help me to not just act randomly.

  26. Jill, my rules are similar to yours, although I don't have nearly as many followers. How can you keep up with 2,000? If it weren't for TweetDeck I'd never manage.

    I follow @TacoBell, too, because I'm a total TB addict. =)

  27. Good rules! The ones I follow have to be 1)real people; 2)not professional marketers seeking my business; and 3)have under 2000 followers, preferably under 1000. Why do you have a limit? I see all kinds of people with 100,000 followers, and I hear Charlie Sheen went to 1 million. I think you deserve followers more than Charlie Sheen. :-)

  28. Jennifer S: I know! Limits--huh? I agree with you on the non-sensical tweets. Makes me wonder if it's some type of spam.

    Scott: Ha! Ha! Just don't start tweeting in Russian!

    Patti M: I make the mistakes so YOU don't have to!

    Keli: Ah, the big question: How do you keep up with 2000? The truth? I don't. I keep lists of friends, stand-outs or people I see on #amwriting. But I do check the regular feed to. If something catches my eye, I respond to it.

    Rosslyn: Well, Twitter's answer is that everyone has a limit at 2000, unless they currently have the same number, or close to it, following them back. I'm not sure if this is a new rule to discourage spammers or what.

    Thank you so much for stopping by!

  29. I joined the Twitter community last fall with the same reluctance I had about Facebook. It's the same reason I don't include the 'Followers' widget on my blog. That's because there seems to be more emphasis on numbers out there than on relationships, and numbers aren't my goal. I didn't know about the limit but I won't likely ever have the problem. I don't follow anyone automatically and I don't hesitate to 'unfollow' anyone whose comments indicate their intent is entirely for self promotion.

    I'm like you when it comes to guidelines, wanting to be sure that (a) I've checked out both their bio and their website if one is listed, (b) I have something in common with the follower, and (c) the following isn't likely to result in spam. This online community is wonderful, but only if we control how we use it, and not let it control us.

  30. I gave you the Stylish Blogger Award. Pop over to my page to see what you need to do

  31. twitter rules: I am just getting into it. You are big time girl! 1600!

  32. Twitter is a material world of followers and following. And yes you get some dickheads over there. Anyway it was a nice post on twitter world!

  33. I had NO CLUE there were limits! I guess I'm not that far along ((blushing)). I don't follow back businesses either. For a long time I followed everyone who followed me, but no more.

    Speaking of which, I haven't tweeted in ages! I do love it, but without regularity I stopped altogether. Been considering picking it back up because I love to see what's going on with everyone.


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