Thursday, August 26, 2010

Twitter tactics

I still don't exactly "get" Twitter.

Over the months, I've amassed... let's see... 308 "followers." In not much more time, Turk has over 1000. And, as you'd expect, Phil has, let's see...1,024,375,918,327. Totally figures.

Now, I'm "following" 28, and Turk's "following" 89. Again, figures. He's such a follower. (Phil, of course, follows no man.)

I've noticed recently that some people with huge followership have "followed" me... several times. Same person, adding me, 2, 3, 4 times.

I wonder if that's a tactic. Is the theory that the more you follow, the more will follow you back? So when it doesn't work with me, they just re-follow me, in the hopes that I'll reciprocate and up their followership?

Weird world.


Barbara said...

Yep, that's it - even with my itty-bitty numbers, which I like, I have noticed people follow and then un-follow, either when they read something they don't like or when I don't follow them back. Not that it matters to me, I don't follow people to have them follow me, I follow them because I am interested in what they have to say (and I'm one of your followers)but my goodness I can't keep up with bunches of people! And I have a sneaking suspicion that those who follow hundreds or thousands of people don't really follow all those tweets either.

Fallen, narcissistic world.

Tom said...

The Bible I can understand (usually). Twitter, not so much.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I just can't help but think: No one's playing solitare at work anymore; they're all on facebook and twitter.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Me, I can hardly keep up with the comments at TeamPyro and Bibchr, let alone blog at my own place. Not to mention putting 3 square meals on the table and keeping up with the laundry. What's the world coming to?

Pierre Saikaley said...

I started with Twitter a couple months ago, also didn't "get" it so I cancelled my Twitter the first time, and I was "following" you, DJP, then.

I reactivated my Twitter last week , and added DJP a second time, but I don't think it counts as two follows.

Anyway, you know I'm around, I dig your blogs, and as I'm of no consequence in the blogosphere anyway, I hope you don't mind me following. It's all for edification. :-)

Pierre Saikaley said...

Merrilee...Solitaire is so 90s.

It used to be that you could go for days and weeks and not know what was going on in your neighbour's life.

Nowadays, it's not.."so, what's going on?"'s more like, "so, I saw your Tweet about X...or, "saw your X, Y, Z, on FB"

It's a global village (hate to sound all Hillary Clintonesque)...and then the AntiChrist is going to come and use social networking to take over the world.

VcdeChagn said...

Yes, I get some of those too...people follow me hoping I'll follow them.

Some of them have very bad theology.

Terry Rayburn said...

Twitter's internal "rules" change as they are growing, but here's the basic scene and explanation:

1. The quickest way to grow your followers is to be famous. Brittany Spears doesn't have to work to gain followers.

2. If you're not famous, the quickest way is to follow others, since some of them will follow you back as a courtesy (or even as a result of automatic software).

3. However, Twitter will only allow you to follow so many more than are following you, before they stop allowing you to follow any more. (That number is arbitrarily changed - used to be a flat 2000, but it varies with Twitter's own internal testing).


4. If you are following too many (compared to those following you), what a lot of people do is "unfollow" those who are not following them back, in order to make room to follow more.

5. They then follow them again, either through auto-follow software (which Twitter doesn't really like), or manually by following those who follow someone else (for example, I might follow those who follow John Piper, in order to gain "followers" of a particular stripe -- or...if I'm a salesman of digital cameras, I might follow those who follow Darren Rowse, a photography guru, so I can market to those people, either subtly or with blatant spam).

6. The interweaving of etiquette rules & Twitter rules, plus the knowledge or ignorance of those rules, makes Twitter a wild frontier sometimes.

Clear as mud?

DJP said...

Terry Rayburn: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Aaron said...

You have to follow a person/entity to engage in direct messages. I've followed/unfollowed companies for that reason. I don't keep them followed because I don't want to see their threads.

I've had to reconsider a few friends on facebook. They think they need to post something every ten minutes. But at least on facebook, you can "hide" a person so they don't show up on your newsfeed.

Terry Rayburn said...

Some people, by the way, hesitate to follow many people because they don't want tweets to flood in so fast that they can't read the ones they want to keep up with.

Simple solution is to start a "list" of those you want to follow closely.

You could have a list that you label "christian friends", for example. You have the choice of making it "public" or "private".

In that above case, you would probably want it "private" so no one would be offended if they weren't on your "special" list.

You might have a separate list labeled "family", or "knitting" if that was one of your hobbies like it is mine (just kidding, but you get the idea).

So in addition to being able to see your "Home" tweets, you can click on "christian friends" or "family" or "knitting" and see those separately.

Mike Westfall said...

That happened to me, too. I figured that the person who did that wanted me to follow him back, but I didn't, so he unfollowed/refollowed me every couple of days in an attempt get my attention, since follow notifications show up in your email.

I finally just blocked that person.

Terry Rayburn said...

Mesa Mike,

"I finally just blocked that person"

Twitter, like America, is a free country (more or less), but if your main goal is ministry of some kind, I'd think twice about blocking someone, since if they follow you even for a short time, they may profit from your tweets.

I know people who block hellraisers or Muslims, for example, just because they don't like them.

I say, "Any hellraisers or Muslims wanna follow me? Please do. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved :)"

Exceptions would include porn peddlars -- or enemies I don't intend to pray for (which are none :)

WOW, my word verification is pyromett -- is that weird?

Pierre Saikaley said...

Terry Rayburn:
"Twitter, like America, is a free country"

Oohhh, you ah sooo naiive....

NoLongerBlind said...

Knowing too much + too much time on

your hands = cause heads to explode!!!


Terry Rayburn said...


Gee, I hate to be in the goofy position of exegeting my own former comment, but I actually said, " country (more or less)..."

1. You ignored the context, wherein I acknowledged some lack of freedom (still the statement stands relative to, say, N. Korea),
2. The freedom I spoke of (in context, again) extends to being able to choose whom you block in Twitter,
3. The phrase itself is a well-know slangy cliche/aphorism which is not, nor ever has been absolute.

All of which doesn't prove, of course, that I'm NOT naive :)

Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

I was following people just so they would follow me and ended up following myself. I then ended up following me following me… scary. I considered a restraining order against myself but decided to quite twitter instead. I just play solitaire now. ;-)

Stefan Ewing said...

Terry wrote:

"Twitter's internal 'rules' change as they are growing...."

I wonder how many people are engaged in studying the phenomenon of social media and how it is impacting and changing the way that people interact (for better and worse). Ditto for text messaging (a separate but overlapping phenomenon).

Pierre Saikaley said...

Terry Rayburn:

lol. Point taken, my friend. I was just being tongue-in-cheek. No harm intended. I saw the "more or less" very clearly.

Have a good day.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I' ve tried to teach my kids how to play solitaire, but we were always a few cards shy of a full deck.

Speaking of which, I do enjoy seeing the Pyro guys' tweets on their sidebar. Seems Pecadillo has found his home there. But I don't follow tweeters, nor do I tweet. Unless I'm wearing hiking boots and holding an aviary guide. I know, my loss...

Robert said...

This reminds me of a cartoon I saw on here once...and then it showed up somewhere else...and there was this realllllllly long comment thread.

Anonymous said...

The people who follow you repeatedly are spammers. If you don't follow back, they unfollow to keep their numbers even. It's automated, so they refollow from time to time.

Terry Rayburn said...


Too broad of a brush to paint with.

Some are spammers, many are not.

Some are automated, many are not.

True, they sometimes unfollow to keep their numbers even.

threegirldad said...

I have yet to fall victim to this "Twitter follow/unfollow" malady of which many speak. And I doubt that I ever will.

I shall now go feel sorry for myself. As you were...

Kim said...

Twitter? Is that a game or something? Do you need a real bird to play, or will a stuffed parrot do?

Brad Williams said...

This confirms my suspicion that Twitter may be of the devil.