Still wondering why people follow me on Twitter

Last year, I wrote a couple of posts explor­ing the reas­ons why people fol­low me on Twit­ter:

Well a year has passed since I did that basic research, and Twit­ter has been ‘improved’ in the mean­time — revised ReTweet func­tion, Lists, new desktop and mobile applic­a­tion, etc.

So it’s time to ask that ques­tion again. In the last year, I’ve doubled the num­ber of fol­low­ers, but since I did my last bit of research, I’ve not asked them why they fol­low. Time to rec­ti­fy that.

Start­ing tomor­row, I’ll go back to the pro­cess I used to gath­er the first bit of data — a return fol­low and DM to my new fol­low­ers — some­thing like this:

thanks for fol­low­ing me. This is NOT an auto-DM, I’m live :)and track­ing ‘reach’ and was won­der­ing why you ‘fol­low’ me in Twit­ter?”

I’ll let it run for a few months, and come March, I’ll ana­lyse the data again, and con­trast the res­ults with last year’s.

But in the mean­time, if you already fol­low me on Twit­ter, please feel free to send me a DM with your answer to the ques­tion “Why do you fol­low me in Twit­ter?”

Getting Twitter Spam? Here’s how I deal with it

This is the second part of a post series I star­ted a few days ago, deal­ing with Twit­ter spam.

What got me think­ing about it was the recent spate of incom­ing DM tweets from trus­ted people I fol­low. I received anoth­er one this morn­ing.

I’m com­ing at it from the per­spect­ive that it’s not delib­er­ate. Rather, these unwit­ting spammer’s have fallen vic­tim to diabol­ic­ally-craf­ted account phish­ing schemes and their Twit­ter accounts are now com­prom­ised and send­ing spam without the real account owner’s know­ledge. As such, I always give own­ers of spam­ming accounts the bene­fit of the doubt, once. Only once.

Part Two — How to deal with Twit­ter spam

If it’s a nor­mally trus­ted user send­ing spam DMs
A spam DM (Dir­ect Mes­sage) can only come from someone you fol­low. You can only reply via DM if you, in turn, fol­low that account. This is why it’s such a dis­ap­point­ment when you receive spam from a trus­ted source…but remem­ber, at this point we believe the account has been com­prom­ised.

The pro­cess I use is rather simple yet it gives the account own­er a chance to:

  • recov­er con­trol of the account,
  • let their fol­low­ers know what’s hap­pen­ing,
  • con­tin­ue to be a respons­ible mem­ber of the Twit­ter com­munity.

Alert the spam­ming account
First con­tact the spam­ming account. I do this through DM to allow them to safe face, and deal with the issue in their own way and time­frame.

  • Let them know the account has been com­prom­ised
  • Ask them to change their pass­word, so the spam­mer can’t get back in
  • Ask them to review out­go­ing DMs to see who was spammed, to alert their com­munity and veri­fy that they indeed did send the spam
  • Ask them to check their ‘approved app rela­tion­ships’ that they’ve giv­en account access to. This is usu­ally per­son­al­ity quiz or ‘What Hero Are You’ type apps. If some­thing is sus­pect, revoke the apps access.

Here’s what I usu­ally send, via DM:

I think your account has been compromised - just sent me 'quiz' spam. Check your Sent DM, change PW, & review Settings/Connections

Non DM ‘Men­tion’ spam
If you notice a tweet or RT (ReTweet) that has your twit­ter name men­tioned, but a spammy shortened link in the body (not one you’d used) run, do not walk to your DM pan­el.

Your tweet was har­ves­ted and hijacked by spam­mers. The con­tent was altered to include the spam short­link, mak­ing it look like you sent the ori­gin­al tweet.

Send a DM to @spam with the account name. Twit­ter folk will deal with the account. And let your fol­low­ers know that a pre­vi­ous tweet was hijacked. You will, of course, need to fol­low @spam (which is kinda weird) but it works 🙂

So, as far as Twit­ter spam goes, that’s how I roll. How ’bout you? Do you have any cool or crafty tech­niques you use to deal with spam?

There’re two parts to this sub­ject, which logic­ally means that I’ll deal with it in two posts:

How to avoid becoming a Twitter spammer, the easy way

Over the last few weeks I’ve been receiv­ing spam on Twit­ter from trus­ted people I fol­low.

It’s not that they’ve all been over­come by the need to mon­et­ize their Twit­ter accounts (there, I said mon­et­ize in a blog post, I’m doomed), rather, they’ve fallen vic­tim to diabol­ic­ally-craf­ted account phish­ing schemes and their Twit­ter accounts are now com­prom­ised.

There’re two parts to this sub­ject, which logic­ally means that I’ll deal with it in two posts:

Part One — How to avoid becom­ing a Twit­ter spam­mer
To keep from becom­ing an unwit­ting vic­tim of Twit­ter scam­mers hijack­ing your Twit­ter account for their own nefar­i­ous pur­poses, there’s really only a few simple things to remem­ber:

Trust
Only give your Twit­ter pass­word and account name to people or ser­vices you trust — treat it like your email or bank account.

And Veri­fy
Veri­fy that the Twit­ter login page is actu­ally asso­ci­ated with the Twit­ter domain, and not a numbered IP address or some oth­er domain name. It should always be http://twitter.com or https://twitter.com. As long as the domain name is OK, you should be fine.

A high-tech solu­tion
Don’t use your Twit­ter name or Pass­word to sign up for ‘free offers’ or per­son­al­ity tests. Instead, open a new tab on your browser, log in to Twit­ter the nor­mal way — this sets up a secure ses­sion. Now that you’ve estab­lished a ses­sion with Twit­ter, go back to the pre­vi­ous tab with the twit­ter ser­vice show­ing you the pass­word requester. Refresh that page, and you will likely see a OAu­th login, like this one.

OAu­th is a more secure way to give a third-party access to your Twit­ter account, without reveal­ing your pass­word.

But don’t rely on tech­no­logy alone, no pro­cess if fool proof — even OAu­th.

Con­sider the first two points and always weigh the risk. Ask your­self the ques­tion, “is it really import­ant for me to give them my Twit­ter login, take that per­son­al­ity test, and poten­tially spam my friends and fol­low­ers — put­ting my repu­ta­tion at risk?”

The reasons why people follow me on Twitter

In the pre­vi­ous post, I star­ted to answer the ques­tion “Why people fol­low me on Twit­ter.” I went through some back­ground, reviewed my tweet his­tory, and wrote a bit about my exper­i­ence using Twitter’s Dir­ect Mes­sage (DM) to ask the ques­tion.

This fol­low-on post gets into the actu­al reas­ons and num­bers.

Over the three months I con­duc­ted my highly inform­al research,  I’d asked new fol­low­ers the fol­low­ing ques­tion:

Hi (fol­low­er name here), thanks for fol­low­ing me. This is NOT an auto-DM, I’m live :)and track­ing ‘reach’ and was won­der­ing how you ‘found’ me in Twit­ter?

Over that time, I’d gained about 300 fol­low­ers, many of them ‘busi­ness’ accounts with ‘great money mak­ing oppor­tun­it­ies’ or people look­ing for ‘oth­ers who are motiv­ated to be suc­cess­ful’.

Oth­er were the gems I was hop­ing for. These new fol­low­ers add value daily, offer­ing new and insight­ful opin­ions. They’re the reas­on I check ever new fol­low­er, read­ing their pro­file and review­ing their tweets. I want to be exposed to this new per­spect­ive or new inform­a­tion, who wouldn’t?

But enough back­ground and pre­amble, on to the data 🙂

Con­tin­ue read­ing “The reas­ons why people fol­low me on Twit­ter”

Wondering why people follow me on Twitter?

About 6 months ago I got curi­ous as to why people were fol­low­ing me on Twit­ter. Basic­ally I asked them… and then found out some rather inter­est­ing things, both about why they were fol­low­ing me and also about the evolving etiquette around Twit­ter inter­ac­tions.

This has turned into a two-part post. Ini­tially I was going to address both the pro­cess I used, and the res­ults, but once I writ­ing about the pro­cess, I real­ized the post was  too long to digest at once. So, I’ll get to the num­bers in the next post.

On to the pro­cess.

How do I know when someone’s fol­low­ing me?
If you look under the Notices tab on your Twit­ter Set­tings page you’ll see the check­box beside ‘New Fol­low­er Emails:’. Check it and you’ll be auto­ma­gic­ally emailed every time someone starts fol­low­ing. Simple ‘eh? Without this fea­ture, know­ing when someone star­ted fol­low­ing me would have been much more dif­fi­cult.

Ask­ing the question…it’s all in the ques­tion.

Ini­tially, I thought a simple DM (Twit­ter Dir­ect Mes­sage) along the lines of ‘hey, thanks for fol­low­ing me, how’d you find me?’ would suf­fice. But no, it’s too simple, and didn’t really get much of a response. I think it ten­ded to put people off by it’s brev­ity, and it was gen­er­ic; it looked like the DM could have been gen­er­ated by an Auto-DM script.

Auto-DM is cur­rently con­sidered bad form as many people inter­pret the Twit­ter to be at its best with live inter­ac­tion, and the DM chan­nel to be reserved for inter­ac­tion that may not be of interest to all of  your fol­low­ers.

So, I settled on this pro­cess to review can­did­ates to sur­vey:

  • Click on the link to the new follower’s pro­file in the New Fol­low­er Email.
  • Check out the fol­low­ers details: loc­a­tion (if any), interests, web page, tweet­ing his­tory and con­tent to see if they’re inter­est­ing to me.
  • Look for a ‘mes­sage fol­low­er’ link under the Actions sec­tion of their pro­file. If it’s not there,  they don’t want to be soci­able, so I won’t both­er them by fol­low­ing them back. In my case, when I fol­low you, it’ll say ‘mes­sage bgri­er’ as indic­ated in the image to the right.
  • If the pro­file or a quick review of recent tweets reveals that all this fol­low­er is writ­ing about is a ‘new money­mak­ing sys­tem’ or ‘SEO secrets’, then I’ll use the link on the line below it and block them from receiv­ing my updates. I effect­ively van­ish from their ‘fol­low­ing’ list. I have no time for these type of spam accounts.

Over the peri­od of my inform­al sur­vey, both my ‘tweet’ fre­quency and my fol­low­er counts have increased. I don’t think one is a sig­ni­fic­ant res­ult of the oth­er, as dur­ing this peri­od, Twit­ter has gained a lot more pub­li­city, and spam-fol­low­er activ­ity has increased. The tweet fre­quency may have had a small impact.

Regard­less, it’s inter­est­ing data and is dis­played in cool charts 🙂 As you can see in the Tweet­Stats chart below, I have been increas­ing my online activ­ity.

And my fol­low­er count has also grown, as indic­ated in this Twit­ter­Counter chart.

All right. I’ve seen sig­ni­fic­ant growth of fol­low­ers over the last few months, and of those, a pretty good seg­ment of people have taken a moment or two to explain why they fol­lowed me. Dig­ging into those details will be the sub­ject of my next post, but in the mean­time, let me ask you a ques­tion.

Why do you think people are fol­low­ing YOU on Twit­ter? Post your answeres in the com­ments below.