My Twitter Followers

Thursday, June 4, 2009 12:00 | Filed in twitter

Unless someone is really, obviously a spammer, I tend not to block them from being my followers on twitter. I work on the assumption that as it is a one-way deal (they can follow me without me following them back), I am quite content to be followed by people who I suspect may simply be after the follow-back.

So I thought it might be amusing to look at some of the people I’m a little sceptical of. Only this quickly escalated into a general poke around at my followers and trying to work out what I say that is of interest to any of them, and why they started following me in the first place.

There’s the ones who say something I find almost a contradiction in terms…

[the] insurance agent you can trust@larsoninsurance

There’s also the fact that I seem to have picked up a somewhat religious following, although I’m not exactly sure why. I am being followed by both Father Dave and the Rev. Bosco Peters, both antipodean clergy, and while I’m not entirely sure why they ended up following me, I’m not complaining as both can be funny…

The Rev Bosco tells a good joke and also features a cartoon which reduces the Athanasian creed (relating to the ‘trinity’) to tweet-length, which I was so impressed with I had to repeat:

Creed as tweet: the dad, son & spirit are god; god is dad, son & spirit; dad ≠ son, son ≠ dad, dad ≠ spirit, son ≠ spirit, spirit ≠ son.

That’s quite impressive, no? Of course, one of the reasons that men of the cloth could be interested in what I have to say is that email I received the other day…

Iehovah (God) is following you on twitter

…if the ultimate Big Yin is following me, then I suppose it’s only natural his ministers should, also. There are a couple of people following me who haven’t said anything at all, ever, not even a ‘testing’ message on twitter. Which is fine, if you just want to listen. What I can’t understand is why the likes of @tammara_batti have 347 people following them back.

Then there’s @film1, which seems to post — in Dutch — the film listings for a Dutch TV channel. What possible relevance I could have to them, I’m not entirely sure.
I am being followed by a couple of breweries. This is not surprising, given my attempt to track twittering UK brewers.

I am also being followed by a surprising amount of ‘new media strategists’. The UK ones seem to be fine, but there is a tendency to find ones from the US who post headlines like:

[media company] issues [press statement] [link]

…without actually including any information about them, or what they are doing. This does not interest me. I want to (mostly) use Twitter for communicating with people, not just having people churn out random headlines at me. These people also seem to have around 30,000 followers. I’m assuming this is either out of politeness (you follow me, I’ll follow you back) as I can’t imagine regurgitating press releases is really of that much interest to all those people.

Then of course there are some of them who report the suspended message when I wander over to take a look at them.

Some of my favourite followers though, are the ones that I don’t know. Or rather, I didn’t know until I’d accidentally bounced into them, either through seeing a reply written to them and joining in, or through them following me, or having them recommended or something.

There’s people like @jiminthemorning, who presents morning radio on BBC Radio Shropshire, and there’s others, such as @StarsandSpace who offer great advice like:

…..And…..When your children write their names in the household dust, don’t let them put the year. BFN.@StarsandSpace

There appears to be quite a variety of follower categories, some of which inevitably overlap…

  1. People I know in real life
  2. People I know from blogging
  3. People who know me from blogging / accessibility / local government stuff
  4. Political bloggers and politicians (still not entirely sure why some UKIP people are following me…)
  5. Automatic follow-backs
  6. People who follow me because we have a surname in common
  7. People who follow me because of something I said once. For example, I think @f1tweets follows me because I cracked this joke about the torrential rain stopping the Malaysian Grand Prix
  8. People who ‘connected’ with me via some odd means over twitter or elsewhere
  9. People who want to spam me or get me to follow back. Sometimes easy to spot (e.g. when called ‘Britney fucked vids’) sometimes less so…
  10. and er… buildings. There’s @YuffyMOH which sounds like a spammer, but is actually the ‘Museum of Hartlepool’ (Yuffy being the name of its mascot) and @BeethamTower from Manchester, which is quite a striking building, but not one that I would particularly have assumed was interested in my twitterings…

Who — or what — is your oddest follower?

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11 Comments to My Twitter Followers

  1. Stuart Harrison says:

    June 4th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    What I find really annoying is followers that are blatantly keyword-based auto follows. I try not to say iPhone too much as that tends to win me a few extra followers.

    The worst one is when I tweeted about going to a wedding in Clitheroe (up Blackburn way) and I got followed by a local radio station up there – I was only VISITING, I don’t live there!!!

    Fair enough, try and find people who share your interests, but keyword following is dumb and annoying, or maybe I’m being oversensitive?

  2. TGRWorzel says:

    June 4th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    I tend to block anybody who appears to be from any sort of business or anything that might result in a proliferation of SPAM, so if there’s a plausible British name and the tweets seem to be non-commercial about everyday experiences,observations, thoughts and opinions I let them follow me.

    Obviously I block all the porn sites too. I’m amazed that some Twitterers can essentially follow whoever they like with graphic sex-acts (i.e blow-jobs) depicted on their photo. I’m no prude, but the way that they hit Twitterers with such unsolicited images simply can’t be right.

    Also if I get a new follower, I make a point of not looking at them for a couple of days. Surprising how many, when I do eventually look, have had their accounts suspended…

    As for my oddest follower, no it’s not you Jack.

    Actually, I haven’t got an oddest follower, because I’ve weeded them all out. All of my followers are reasonable people I think, which is exactly what I want from Twitter and Social Networking in general. Thank you all for following me.

  3. JackP says:

    June 4th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    @Stuart – yeah, but it can be entertaining. There is someone who retweets virtually everything containing ’sausages’ and someone who does the same with ‘God’ (not @Iehovah, mind you). So there was the theory that if you tweet something involving ‘the God of Sausages’ they might spend some time retweeting each other…

  4. Andy (@mr_beeps) says:

    June 4th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I haven’t got any odd followers, but I’m following a few odd ones – none more bizarre than magician THE Paul Daniels (@ThePaulDaniels). He does a brace of tweets early in the day then tends to go a bit quiet. He comes across as slightly unhinged, as you’d probably expect, but he’s quite entertaining.

    I always remember when Louis Theroux spent time with him, and we got to see how Paul would summon Debbie to his side using a whistle when he lost sight of her at parties. Awesome.

  5. The Goldfish says:

    June 4th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    I can’t find them again, but?last week I was being followed by “a black cloud”. Who had made no updates.

    Apart from that, it’s all pet supply shops. They think I’m a real goldfish who wants to eat fish food, apparently.

  6. Gary Miller says:

    June 4th, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I don’t have any followers – mainly, I suspect, because I don’t use Twitter!

    However, I know an oxymoron is only supposed to contain two words but, “[the] insurance agent you can trust” is worthy of a mention!

  7. Kerri Simpson says:

    June 4th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Mine is Mark Victor Hansen who is:

    “Official Twitter account of America’s Ambassador of Possibility. Author, speaker, passionate philanthropist and humanitarian”

    Why he would want to follow me is anyone’s guess!

  8. Darren Taylor says:

    June 4th, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    I have 6 followers and considering how little I use Twitter I really wonder why! They don’t appear to be spammers but reading their Tweets I don’t see why on earth they choose to follow me. Very bizarre.

  9. Shannon says:

    June 4th, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    I get random people from Milan or Minsk following mine and posting in other languages. I never follow them back of course, but I usually just end up blocking them after a while anyway.

  10. JackP says:

    June 4th, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    For those people who are feeling somewhat perplexed at Shannon’s comment, may I suggest you take a look at the title of her blog. This may answer your question…

  11. Seb Crump says:

    June 6th, 2009 at 8:55 am

    I, like you, take a rather pragmatic approach to only following back those that have some sort of commonality. It seems to have stopped now, but a couple of weeks ago I had several curry dishes e.g. Masala, Tikka, etc. trying to follow me, which was rather random.

    They seemed to be spammers as their timeline just contained the same tinyurl link endlessly repeated, so I blocked them. I must admit to being rather block trigger happy, I see it almost as a civic (”twivic”) duty.

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