Brands and Twitter: The limits of following
Twitter is a pain. Sometimes, I think this channel does everything it can to be as unpopular as possible.
For instance, Twitter has a spambot problem, as automated accounts clog chats, hijack hashtags and blanket timelines with sales pitches and viruses.
But the solution is as bad as the problem.
I had no idea Twitter was limiting how many people I could follow. In theory, this keeps spambots from following everyone and inflating numbers and luring followbacks. But it punishes legitimate accounts, too.
My tactic for @YallConnect was to follow as many real people in the Southeast as possible. After following 2,001 users, I saw the warning message (shown above) that stopped me cold.
The linked policy from Twitter outlines all the following limits:
Once you’ve followed 2,000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow. This number is different for each account and is based on your ratio of followers to following; this ratio is not published.
I have little choice but to break my rule from my previous post: Brands shouldn’t unfollow anyone.
I’m using Unfollowers.com, one of many free tools that show which followers and friends are inactive on Twitter. Since following people is now a limited commodity, I must spend my follows carefully.
Unfollowers.com can scan Twitter accounts for inactive followers.
Unfollowers.com can show me who hasn’t tweeted in the last 3 months: 138 users. Unfortunately, they might be using Twitter every day as a news source, but not to tweet or interact. I’ll unfollow them (I could put them on a Twitter list, but it’s not worth the effort.)
Another 20 have no profile image, but most are fairly active accounts. I’ll unfollow the ones who haven’t tweeted in a long time.
Also, I canceled all 17 pending requests to follow users who have private accounts.
And I’m following 838 users who aren’t following back; of those, 78 haven’t tweeted in a month or more. I unfollow those 78 for starters. Some 70 have less than 100 tweets, so I unfollow them, too.
A few minutes of effort has freed up nearly 250 slots.
Maintaining a Twitter account shouldn’t require this much work. But artificial limits mean periodic cleaning to keep accounts lean.
Even if it means cutting some tweeps loose.
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