Twitter Auto Follow Back? No Thanks.

image for auto follow backAlthough I am a fan of automating just about anything you can, I think when it comes to crafting a Twitter stream and following, you have to be discriminating. Twitter auto follow back practices lead to meaningless lists of people collectively ignoring each other.

Twitter Auto Follow Back Creates Fictional Authority

When your followers are looking at a potential friend and deciding whether to follow, they can see whether you already follow that user. This equates to a level of endorsement from you.

image of follower endorsement on Twitter

That is why I choose to pass on potential followers that I feel are not a good fit for me and my followers. If someone will never see me as a person of influence, then I feel I lose nothing if I lose her as a follower.

On the other hand, I believe I will lose influence if I do not exercise restraint about those I follow. Potential followers judge you by the company you keep.

My Twitter Math

Being mathematically inclined, I see my equations this way:

Lose low quality, non-engaged follower = 0 effect on influence
Keep low quality follower by follow back = (- X) effect on influence

Others who have a different Twitter strategy or who believe their influence results from their enormous Twitter followings may have a more aggressive follow style than me because their equations are different. It’s a big Twitter universe with room for all kinds. :)

Twitter Lists

Some folks on Twitter auto follow back and then use lists to discriminate privately against reading certain followers. That is one way of managing things, but not my way.

If I am not interested, my honesty should not hurt anyone’s feelings, especially since we all understand that a follow doesn’t mean someone is reading you.

Your Twitter Strategy

How strict you will be about the friends you choose to follow and what criteria you will apply are highly individual matters best kept private. You have a strategy for your Twitter account, presumptions perhaps about how Twitter should be used, so you should devise some rules for choosing your friends in keeping with your strategy.

What about you? How do you manage Twitter? Auto follow back or selective discrimination? I would love to read your comments below.

Please contact me today if you are interested in learning how a freelance writer can help you manage your Twitter and other social media.

Follow me on Twitter.

About Tammi Kibler

Freelance writer and online marketing coach
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10 Responses to Twitter Auto Follow Back? No Thanks.

  1. Murlu says:

    Hey Tammi,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on autofollow on Twitter.

    I admit, I was a bit swept up in gaining followers and did a bit of following back and forth in the beginning but just recently I parsed through my listed and removed a ton of people I really didn’t have interest within.

    I cut down my follows from nearly 700 down to around 70 – Twitter is quieter but I’m actually interested in nearly everything said because its from people I truly network with.

    Not only that but it makes me spend lest time checking the feed and gives me more time to work on my actual projects that matter most.

    So yeah, like you were saying, some people want to go after those numbers but whats the point if people don’t add value to the feed? Be selective – that’s my vote.

  2. You make a good point. I am admittedly in the follow everybody camp. I try to keep up on dm and @’s from people I know and may catch the occasional passing tweet.

    Smaller lists certainly do make you engaged more. But larger lists, you might also catch people who you might never think would be interested in what you have to say.

    Of course active people are preferred but I still fall into the mass follow camp…you camp a great counter-argument though.

    • admin says:

      Your follow policy is certainly working well for you, that’s a nice following you have @stevescott1

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  3. Interesting viewpoint Tammi,You raise some good points.

    I don’t use Autofollow, but I do follow back in 95% of the cases. Mainly because I think everyone brings something to the table, and I want to get to know them. I do use a list to watch those I am really interested in a bit closer, But I follow the “all friends” window right next to it.

    Something about not following followers back really bugs me. It feels to me like it closes the door to interaction, and that’s a reason I unfollow those who unfollow me. Not as a tit for tat, but rather I feel like the interaction is just isn’t there.

    Twitter is more enjoyable for me to have the two way street.

  4. admin says:

    Hi Scott,

    We agree not to auto follow, we just differ on how we grow our list and with whom.

    I certainly agree with a two way street. I never expect anyone I fail to follow will continue to follow me. I am flattered though when it happens.

    Once a month I use to check the people who follow me that I didn’t originally follow back. Sometimes, their Twitter conversations have improved and I change my opinion.

    Best Regards,


  5. The only automation I use with Twitter is HootSuite. I follow people I find interesting, and many times I find them because they follow me first. If someone is consistently not interesting, I later unfollow. I have no hard feelings about others unfollowing me for whatever reason. I only have 69 followers right now and I’m fine with it growing organically. I could follow a lot more people in the attempt to get more followers but then the tweeps I care about would get lost in the shuffle. This is probably not the best strategy for marketing but it keeps me sane. I’ve only been on twitter 2.5 months anyway.

  6. Sandra Lee says:

    There are some interesting arguments here for both approaches. I use the selective discrimination approach, but I try to stay open to all different types of people. I would rather have a quality rather than quantity experience on twitter.

    Thanks for the interesting discussion.

  7. Thu Nguyen says:

    Hello Tammi,

    This is an enlightening post! From reading Adam’s and Steve’s, your look at Twitter from a scientific viewpoint is very interesting indeed. While I use Twitter sparingly and not well as I should, I can not NOT tweet well from the information I found. The equation itself is one heck of a keeper.

    My rule of thumb is as long as you keep some filter towards who follows you as well as who you’re following, you can keep up with the conversations and shares. Thus, as Steve says, following at least a percentage daily will help.

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