Twitter for Beginners – Part 6

There will come a time when you no longer feel a thrill at a jump in followers.  I never thought that day would come for me but it did yesterday.

It is pointless to speculate on cause and effect when it comes to gaining and losing followers on Twitter (because generally there’s no way of knowing).  But here is my story and my speculation.

I saw my followers spike by about 200 during the last two days. I had been just north of 1700 followers and at this writing I’m at 1911.

I wish I could tell you that this was a result of being the darling of #FollowFriday.

I wish that I could tell you that my Tweets were simply irresistible and inspired hundreds of RTs.

I wish I could tell you that my blog posts were such a siren song to readers that the word got out and I was another viral success story.

I wish I could tell you that Conan O’Brien decided to follow me.

No such luck.  I was being followed by bots and MLM types.  Based on what I’ve heard from other nonBots and nonMLM types there are two reasons this might have happened.

  1. You get to a certain level of followers and you are targeted by the Bots and the MLM types.  In just about every “How To” book on Twitter, there is the recommendation that you follow people who are active and have a lot of followers, but not an ENORMOUS amount of followers.  The idea is that you will actually be noticed.  My guess is that the less welcome element have been similarly advised by their up line manager.
  2. You allow an application access to your Twitter account.  There are lots of applications that are designed to access your Twitter account (What kind of Twitter personality are you?  Which Tweeters are you most influenced by? Who’s stopped following you, etc.).

I plugged into one of these applications over the weekend – this application was originally going to be the focus of this article.  Yesterday I removed the application and the number of followers has returned to a more normal trickle.

I’m not going to name any names, because, again, it is very dangerous to speculate on the reason for follows and unfollows.

I leave you with this:  be very WARY of Twitter applications that need access to your Twitter account.

Also, if anyone can shed additional light on what spurs an onslaught of junk followers, I’d love for you to weigh in.

Update 4/2/2010 – And as quickly as the swarm descended, they have melted off.  The strategy must be to lure you into a follow, and if you don’t after a prescribed time, they unfollow. Goodbye, alight elsewhere!

Twitter for Beginners – Part 1

Twitter for Beginners – Part 2

Twitter for Beginners – Part 3

Twitter for Beginners – Part 4

Twitter for Beginners – Part 5