1. Social Media

Would You Follow This Person on Twitter?

One of the great democratizing forces on Twitter is getting a concise look at the stats someone’s followers and who he or she is following. When you’re not sure who a person is immediately, there are some heuristics you can use to figure out if they’re worth following.

A dead giveaway is when someone’s following a ton of people and few are following back. It’s okay if there’s a decent disparity – a 2:1 follower:followed ratio is perfectly normal. Yet once you start getting into 3:1 or definitely 4:1 territory, something appears off.

Would you ever follow a Twitter user with these stats?:

That’s 12.5:1 follower:followed. Sure enough, the messages reeked of twitter spam. Is there any scenario where you’ve followed someone with numbers like this?

An aside: I’m trying to get into Twitter more these days; follow me and (assuming you’re not a spammer, psychopath, or former governor) I’ll follow you back.

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Comments to: Would You Follow This Person on Twitter?
  • Avatar
    March 28, 2008

    Some interesting analysis here indeed. I also wonder where is the point of diminishing marginal returns on twitter following? How many people to follow is too many? or many how many tweets/day is too many?
    You could analyze it using the tool here

  • Avatar
    March 30, 2008

    Interesting way to evaluate a Twitter user.
    Over the last few weeks I have seen some Twitters who I follow drop the number of people they follow. I think this has to do in part with the questions jer979 asked. Sometimes there is too much info or not enough good info to spend time following people.
    I am one of your twitter followers feel free to follow me if you want (http://twitter.com/directmaestro).

  • Avatar
    April 2, 2008

    I was thinking the same thing the other day. I actually look at it first when someone follows me. It is fondly reminiscent of Myspace when someone would friend you with a ton of friends. I believe it was the decline of the social trust factor with the site and ultimately led to its steady decline in active users.

  • Avatar
    April 6, 2008

    The first thing I look at when people follow me is their f/f’ers ratio and also if they’ve filled out their profile. I like the glimpse into who someone is and where we might have common ground.
    I had wanted to say hello last night at BS08, but things got crazy. Hope you had fun!

  • Avatar
    March 17, 2009

    http://followontwitterlists.com/ is big a list of “follow on Twitter lists”.


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