There’s no unwritten rule on Twitter that says you must do unto other followers as you would have others do unto you, Much as we would like everyone we follow to follow us back, sometimes that isn’t the case.

Wondering why people don’t follow you back? I asked some Twitterers their reasons. Perhaps you’re breaking one of these Twitter commandments.

Twitter Banner BirdThere’s no unwritten rule on Twitter that says you must do unto other followers as you would have others do unto you. When you click that “follow” button you’d like to think that the person will want to follow you back. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

I met a new Twitterer who commented that she thought it was a compliment to follow people, so she followed everyone. That sounded like good ol’ common sense, but Twitter has its own unwritten rules. She didn’t realize that following a high number of people while having a low number of followers hurt her chances of people following her.

Wondering why people don’t follow you back? I asked some Twitterers their reasons. Perhaps you’re breaking one of these Twitter commandments.

Thou Hast a Bad Profile

avidwriter: I don’t follow back people who are following 300+ people with no bio, URL or haven’t bothered to post a tweet.

debworks: No face picture, no real name, not following anyone.

overthinker: I won’t follow people without bios.

adenin: I tend not to follow people with a lopsided following/followers/updates ratio.

Thou Hast a Case of Bad or Irrelevant Tweets

thursdayb: I can’t stand people who do nothing but post quotes. There are so many accounts that are nothing but pages of quotes.

Yelwrose: They are not interesting; they are teenagers that tweet about teenager things.

goodwolve: I don’t follow back if we really don’t seem to have anything in common.

scoblitz: I don’t follow back if someone posts incompatible content or broadcast-only tweets.

LoriLowe: Usually look self-serving, XXX-related or not a real person. I look for people with common interests.

mikecompeau: Because their stream of tweets is off the mark for my interest or attention requirements.

geekygirldawn: Too self-promotional. You should use your Twitter account to promote your activities; however, it should be a part of what you do. If every post talks about how awesome your company is, people will lose interest fairly quickly.

Thou Art Spreading the Information Overload Disease

SMBRob: Too much info already. I only follow those I know I will get good info from.

MerylORourke: I simply don’t like too many tweets on my page.

amylillard: I don’t follow back if someone updates too often. I don’t want my Twitter stream to turn into one person!

spiky_simon: I don’t usually follow people back unless I recognize them from elsewhere. I try to keep my Twitter stream pretty pared down. I do use Twimailer so I can quickly check out people who follow me.

Thou Sounds Like a Snake Oil Salesperson

Yelwrose: They are pushing get rich quick or MLM schemes.

scoblitz: I also tend to dismiss those who proclaim themselves Social Media or SEO experts. Not a rule, but usually the case.

AlexFayle: I don’t follow Internet marketers back because I often get hit with DMs like “Get 10K followers in 2 days with my report.” No thanks!

Thou Faces Twitter Limitations

meancode: The utter lack of organization that Twitter has. If you could set up groups, like in TweetDeck, it would be different.

bobbiegoheen: I am limited on the number I can follow.

Thou Blows It

Vocino: I auto follow back and then when I see their updates make a decision. I give them a shot rather than spend time investigating.

Thou Plays Games

scoblitz: Those who are obviously playing the follow/unfollow game to boost their own numbers.

Thou Dost Not Interact

andrewghayes: Mainly if they don’t respond to my “Hi, thanks for following, how are you, interesting profile” message. I’m on twitter for conversation and interaction. If you don’t bother to say hello back, why do I want to hear what you have to say?

overthinker: I drop people who only post monologues and have no @ convos.

We all don’t like everyone we meet, no matter how nice we are or they are. Even nice people have enemies. Focus on quality not quantity, and building relationships with the right people, and the followers will come. Find us on Twitter @webworkerdaily.

What are your reasons for not following back?

Image from Twitter Buttons.

  1. I choose to follow only people I’m interested in. This basically amounts to only a dozen or so high-profile community members. That and I simply can’t handle all the noise that would be in twitter from all the mutual people had I followed them.

  2. [...] Staff | Wednesday, May 20, 2009 | 10:34 AM PT | 0 comments Why people don’t follow back on Twitter (WebWorkerDaily) Why partner with Google PowerMeter? A utility’s perspective (Earth2Tech) [...]

  3. As a rule of thumb I stay away from people who:

    -broadcast their tweets (no @ msgs=no follow)the purpose of twitter is to engage in conversation. Isn’t broadcasting for traditional media like TV and Radio?

    -fall into the “Thou Sounds Like a Snake Oil Salesperson “-I don’t want to find out how to make money from my blog, the reason I have a blog is for personal growth.

    -People that exude overt negativity, I have to deal with this in person all day everyday, I don’t want to see this on twitter!

    -any weird/sexual/porn type spam. I can’t stand checking my followers to find some disgusting picture. This is always followed by a “Block”

  4. There is great follow, no follow game going ON on twitter! I really hate this!
    Therefore i used to follow only those guys who are sincere and have something in common with me!

  5. I won’t lie, I try and keep my following count under my follower count, so there’ll be long stretches where I won’t look to follow anyone unless I personally know them (in one of those stretches right now, actually).

    The exception in these periods is when I decide to hook on to some new group of people (lately, I decided to make a tweetdeck group of Twisters and the like, and more recently with the fake #lostarg, which was fun anyway).

    Besides that, keep away from internet marketers, SEO Geniuses and Myspace Pornstars.

  6. I like to follow interesting people. If someone gets too self-promoting, I’ll generally unfollow. I’ll respond to a “thanks for the follow” DM if it doesn’t appear to be automatically generated. If your “thanks for the follow” is a sales message or a plea to join your Facebook fan page, I’ll probably unfollow.

  7. Elizabeth, Hamilton, Ontario Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    I don’t use my photo on twitter because I am ashamed of how I look so I use an bonsai tree instead. I follow about 80 twitters because they have the information I like to hear and I have about 18 followers.



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  9. I agree! Especially with the sales-y pitches, get rich quick schemes, overtweeting and “I’m an expert!” tweets. I actually wrote about this same thing on my blog, but I likened it to how you behave at a networking event or conference.



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