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Summary:

Updated with comments from Twitter: Dave Winer points to a series of discussions and blog posts about Twitter allegedly limiting people to 2,000 followers. In his opinion, it is a good idea, because “the expensive thing in Twitter is distributing status messages to large numbers of […]

Updated with comments from Twitter: Dave Winer points to a series of discussions and blog posts about Twitter allegedly limiting people to 2,000 followers. In his opinion, it is a good idea, because “the expensive thing in Twitter is distributing status messages to large numbers of queues.” Actually, Twitter isn’t doing anything formal. Ev Williams, co-founder of Twitter, left a comment in response to an earlier version of a post that explains it all.

I’m afraid this has gotten confused. There is no limit to the number of followers you can have. There is a limit to the number of people you can *follow*. This is mostly to reduce spam and depends on a number of factors. More details here: (link)

In other words, there are no such limits. Earlier reports were based There is no official word from Twitter, and all on a couple of blog posts and status messages, where people reported that they were running into the 2,000 follower problem.

On their web site, the only limits Twitter talks about are: 1,000 total updates a day, 250, direct messages per day, and 100 API requests. If the San Francisco-based company is indeed going in this direction, it wouldn’t be as hard to see them adopting a fremium model. A post on Statisfaction forums indicates that the follow limits are more recent and were prompted by the nefarious Twitter-spammers, but there are some on the Twitter forum who are unhappy about any kind of limits.

In my blog post from May 2008 about their infrastructure problems, and how they can deal with it, I had suggested that they should limit the followers, charge for additional followers and messages.

$10 a month for 1,000 subscribers. 25,000 subscribers means someone like Scoble should be paying them around $250 a month. Let’s take it a step further. Twitter should limit people to 500 free messages a month. Any more should come in a bucket of, say, 1,000 messages for $10…. This would also fit the Freemium business model that Twitter investor Fred Wilson so loves.

Anyway, that post got mixed reactions. Some agreed and others didn’t much care for my proposed pricing structure. Regardless, if Too bad this rumor is not true, then this is a step in the right direction for the company as it helps them get a handle on their infrastructure and scaling issues.

  1. It’s not 2000 – it depends on how many people follow you, your follow rate (how many, how often), etc. More info here: http://getsatisfaction.com/twitter/topics/what_happens_if_i_hit_a_twitter_limit

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  2. @Chris Thomson

    thanks for your link. I think there is something to the “limits” today and I will check with the company in the morning. Thanks for your links.

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  3. Om, I’m afraid this has gotten confused. There is no limit to the number of followers you can have.

    There is a limit to the number of people you can *follow*. This is mostly to reduce spam and depends on a number of factors. More details here: http://blog.twitter.com/2008/08/making-progress-on-spam.html

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  4. Well, @Ev just tweeted that this was not going to happen, but it would have been a good idea anyway.

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  5. [...] GigaOm: Twitter Limits Followers to 2000?  Going Freemium? This entry was written by admin and posted on July 24, 2008 at 10:51 am and filed under Journal. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Read WriteWeb: “New Twitter Anti-Spam Bot Causes Chaos” Are You Following @Johng77536? » [...]

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  6. [...] like Ev Williams is denying that there is a hard limit at 2,000.  His tweet is in response to a recent post by Om Malik. This entry was written by admin and posted on August 11, 2008 at 9:25 pm and filed under [...]

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  7. I’ve been working on an idea for “channels” through Twitter where local, niche, or mass conversation could take place on a single Twitter account, kind of like a group system. It would facilitate common interest conversations, live group-reporting on events, etc. If these limits were to take effect and include paying for more than a certain amount of followers, it could seriously limit the idea since it would hinge on allowing as many people as want the information, to have access to it.

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  8. I forgot to include in my post the question about TwitterFeeds like CNN, The Consumerist, etc. They might as well go back to the newsletter system through email – at least they don’t have to pay for that.

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  9. Wait, are they proposing to limit the amount of people you follow or how many follow you? If they’re proposing to limit the amount of people you follow, I’m all for that, as long as it’s not less than about a 1000.
    On the other-hand, I’m totally against limiting the amount of followers you have. Low-budget projects like Dr. Horrible would have never manifested on Twitter if they were limited in the number of people that are allowed to follow.

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  10. One of the arguments for going with a model like this is for Twitter to become somewhat economically viable. As a commercial venture, Twitter has been sucking money for its infrastructure but hasn’t put in any user-based funds. This would not only allow the company to potentially make some money but would leave it with no excuse for its infrastructure woes. One thing that I believe Twitter should not do is to charge people for following others. That is, if I want to follow 10000 people, I should be allowed to do so. Popularity is a price; loneliness, on the other hand, is not.

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