Tavern History

December 1st, 2012 | Marketing & Messages, Social Media & Marketing

Twitter Tip: Focus On Who You Follow, Not Who Follows You. Avoid TrueTwit.

The Stupidity of @TrueTwit Validation Service & Other Secrets To Responsible & Rewarding Social Media Interaction

Why You Should Focus On Who You Follow, Rather Than Who Follows You.

If you are an active or moderate Twitter user, you likely understand that for many the objective of your Twitter involvement is to share valuable content to an interested and engaging follower base. In addition, you also are likely interested in engaging with like-minded people who are also sharing valuable content and engaging in conversations with people who you find interesting, can learn from or can help. The essence of Twitter — and all of social networking — is engagement and conversation. This is a two-way street.

The beauty of Twitter and how it’s different than Facebook or LinkedIn, is that it’s an open community, yet it’s also flexible. That is, you don’t need to accept or approve new followers. If you wish to close your Twitter activity to only approved followers, there is an option to protect your tweets.

Another benefit and differentiator of Twitter is users have freedom of choice. That is, you get to choose which Tweets appear in your streams or feeds by choosing which Twitter users to follow. You likely follow those users who intrigue you, share common interests, work in the same industry or are colleagues, friends or other connections. In the same manner, users who find you interesting or intriguing can choose to follow you.

What I find annoying and incredibly foolish and short-sighted (read: downright stupid) are users that choose to use a follower validation service such as TrueTwit. These services require new followers to read an email, click a link and land on a page where they must complete a CAPTCHA-like form. Upon successful completion of this form, users are “allowed” access to the Twitter stream of the TrueTwit user.

Why I Will Ignore and Write You Off If You Use TrueTwit

While the concept of TrueTwit might have some merit, the idea is flawed for many reasons. According to its website, TrueTwit will verify people from robots, help avoid Twitter spam, and save time managing followers. In fact, TrueTwit by its very nature and its process is a Twitter Spammer, and by signing up for its service you are a spammer. Why? Because the TrueTwit validation notice comes to you as a Direct Message — and it’s direct messaging that TrueTwit is supposedly protecting users from.

The only way that Twitter users will get Twitter spam or be bothered by robots is if you choose to follow robots and spammers. Why would you follow robots and spammers? So why would anyone need to validate followers?

By forcing users who are truly intrigued, interested and who want to follow you through the laborious and silly step of validating them sends a clear message: “You worry me and I don’t trust you.”

So you see, the TrueTwit validation service targets and promotes poor Twitter behavior: the auto-following of anyone who follows you. The only way a Twitter user could be subject to spam is via Direct Messages (DM). The only way a user can send anyone a Direct Message is if they are following that user (spammer). So why would you be following a spammer, bot or anyone who doesn’t interest or intrigue you? And there lies the fault and stupidity of TrueTwit validation. And if notifications of new followers bothers you, it’s a simple setting you can turn off in your Twitter profile preferences. Keep in mind anyone can “mention” you in a Tweet; there is no requirement that you must follow someone to mention them. TrueTwit cannot protect users from “mention spam.”

If I find someone and choose to follow them and they then force me through this silly TrueTwit validation scheme, I ignore them. And there are many in the Twittersphere that will do the same. So if you desire to have followers that are interested and intrigued, the worse thing you can do is put them through TrueTwit validation. Here’s a suggestion, next time someone sends you a TrueTwit scheme, mention them in a tweet and include a link to this post.

So, instead of putting senseless energy into who follows you, the more productive use of that energy should be put into who you choose to follow. How should you do this. First, let me explain who you shouldn’t follow.

Four Flags That A Twitter User Is A Spammer

  1. The user has the standard Twitter “Egg” placeholder bio photo
  2. The user’s bio is blank or simply has a single link
  3. Tweet stream is blank or filled with non-sensical junk; nothing of interest
  4. Follow to follower ratio is unbalanced. If the user has a disproportionate (or none) followers to how many the user follows, run! Personally, my rule of thumb is anyone with more than a 4 to 1 Follow to Follower ratio is a suspect bot, spammer or other bad Twitter decorum.

But you already know this. Even the lightest Twitter user can quickly determine if a user is a spammer. By taking a few seconds to look at a Twitter profile, you can tell whether someone is a legitamate follower or not. Resorting to TrueTwit to do your work sends another clear message: you don’t care and you’re a spammer. Sorry, it’s true. And I’m not the only one who feels this way. A quick “google” will unleash a rash of rants by people taking shots at TrueTwit.

If you’re looking for help in just managing your Twitter follows and followers, there are a host of better services that won’t send a message that you’re a loser in the Twittersphere.

Five Tools To Help You Better Manage Your Twitter Follows & Followers

  1. TwitCleaner — This is a free service and will quickly run through all the people you are following and identify whether they are social, antisocial, spammers, robots or simply taking up space in the Twittersphere.
  2. Twitter Manager — this is an excellent iPhone/iPad app that provides not only follow and unfollow help, it analyzies the content of those you follow and lets you know if it’s interesting or otherwise
  3. Tweepi — helps you manage followers, follows, allows you to unfollow, manage lists and gain other insight on your followers and uniquely allows you to force others to unfollow you by accessing Twitter’s block function.
  4. TwitSweeper — this service automatically scans your Twitter followers and unfollows spammers; it will also notify you of suspected spammers and give you the option to continue to follow or not. A much more unobtrusive way to flush out spammy followers than TrueTwit.
  5. ManageFlitter — this is more of a full-service Twitter management tool, but it has powerful follow and unfollow features that will have you taking control of your followers easily.

So don’t fall victim to false promises and into the trap that will turn you into a spammer, avoid TrueTwit at all cost. Check out these other tools. But remember, focus more energy on who you follow, rather than wasting valuable time and resources on who follows you.

Looking for more info on tools to help you better manage your Social Media efforts? Check out my previous post on my clearcloud digital marketing blog “In case you missed it, check out my post on “Taming The Social Media Monster” — Seven Twitter & Social Media Management Power Tools Worth A Closer Look.

 

Follow allankarl and Digital_Tavern on Twitter (we promise not to force you to validate through TrueTwit!.

  • http://www.3blsustainability.com/ Steve Garvin

    Great advice. I love the openness of Twitter and the opportunities to learn from a diverse array of sources.

    • allankarl

      Yes Steve! The spirit and essence of twitter is to be open and to be intrigued and to intrigue and to learn, share and to be shared. Thank you for stopping by the Digital Tavern, hope to see you here again soon!

  • http://twitter.com/muselady11 Joanne Sprott

    Excellent advice. I use TwitCleaner. Worked fine and gave me control over unfollowing (sometimes you keep real friends who post too much just ’cause). I also never follow folks with the lock thingy on their accounts. This is a Twitter feature, I gather, and I see no point in having a private stream unless you have specific group for a purpose and they all follow just each other, if that makes sense.

    • allankarl

      Thanks Joanne – Yes. Twitter friends always. And we’ve got lists for those too :)

      And I agree, never did understand locking one’s Twitter stream. Great thing about TwitCleaner is you can always go back to see if you might’ve unfollowed and you have the opportunity to follow them back— keeps a log of your unfollows.