Image by alist via Flickr
People have many different approaches to determine who they will follow and not follow on Twitter. A whole lot of folks won't follow anyone they don't know. Others sign up for spammy, follower-generating tools that permit them to amass tens of thousands of followers and followees (who couldn't give a darn what each other have to say). I know a guy who won't follow more than 140 followers at any one time.
My preference has been to follow just about anyone who follows me–this approach struck me as fair, open and social. There are drawbacks to "reciprocal following," such as that it makes my Twitter stream a relatively useless flow of wide-ranging tweets. On the plus side, it exposes me to more folks, and when I see one I find interesting and pertinent, I can choose to follow him or her more closely by adding the individual to lists in my preferred Twitter client, Hootsuite. Also, this practice permits people to Direct Message (DM) me, which I welcome until and unless a given Twitterer abuses the privilege by littering my DM "in box" with spam.
As my Twitter follower list has grown, I found it was tiresome to review each and every follower individually using the tools Twitter provides. Instead, I use SocialOomph, which offers a "Vet Followers" feature I find very handy. You can view a list of recent followers, see their profile and last tweet, and click a radio button to follow, ignore, block or report as spam each new Twitter follower. Using SocialOomph, I can review dozens of new followers within minutes.
Another feature offered by SocialOomph is the option to enter a list of keywords that cause a follower to be ignored. If any of the entered keywords appear in a Twitterers' profile or last tweet, SocialOomph will automatically ignore that Twitter user and omit him or her from my "Vet Followers" list.
Over time, I've come to note there are some keywords that pretty much guarantee the person will not offer the sort of tweets or relationship I'll find relevant or interesting. I thought I'd share my list and see if you have any "warning signal" words that cause you to ignore, block or unfollow Twitterers.
My "reject" words fall into several categories:
- Get rich quick: cash, money, MLM, ebay, rich (I'm on Twitter to be informed and form relationships, not to get rich, thank you.)
- Dating: date, dating (I'm very happily married, and I suspect the vast majority of Twitter profiles that mention dating are probably spam, anyway.)
- Ethereal: spiritual, happiness, joy (I'm not on Twitter to improve my soul, achieve happiness, or hear how someone else has found their bliss.)
- Spam: Free, ebook (People on Twitter who create true value simply do so–they don't need to explicitly offer value in their profiles.)
Of course, using these keywords to eliminate some new followers from consideration may result in me missing a few worthwhile Twitterers. For example, someone might offer a "free" Twitter tool, may be promoting a calendar "date" for a conference, or may want others to know that "happiness" is value-based one-to-one marketing. Still, my experience is that these words are generally associated with Twitter profiles I'll find noisy, unhelpful, spammy or otherwise worthless.
What do you think? Are there words that should be eliminated from my list? Or do you have any "pet peeve" words that, when they appear within a Twitter user's bio, are a warning signal for you?