Do you remember the days when it was a daily occurrence to get spammed on MySpace? I was frequented by at least two sex bots, four bands and an empty profile almost every day. These are issues that made Facebook what it is today. Facebook has stronger filtering systems and a more difficult registering process that help to remove computer programs that create random profiles for God knows what purposes. As both of these sites matured, a new service arrived that is most commonly known as Twitter.
Twitter emerged from an age where Facebook was eating the MySpace footprint but it still seemed as if the percentage of people who logged on and stayed on continued to drop. What do people visit these pages for anyways? A recent study indicated that a whopping 81% of people that have a profile on MySpace or Facebook primarily log on to check for new messages, update their status and browse recent bulletins (or wall posts if you are a Facebook user). Twitter targeted the most common reasons for visiting these sites – updating your status. It seems, though, that spam bots are at it again and targeting people by simply ‘following’ them. So, what sort of harm could this do to you? After all, it only adds to the number of followers you have, right?
As social networking grows to be one of the first source employers are turning to for information on potential hires, business to consumer connection and personal branding, it is incredibly important to maintain your ‘Big Three’ on a daily basis. When I say maintain, I don’t mean to just check for new messages or tweets, I mean to actually maintain your profile. Now more then ever, it is imperative to ensure you are not what I like to call a ‘follower whore’. Younger generations love to build their number of followers and do whatever it takes to have more ‘friends’ than the next person, regardless if it is a real person with valuable input or not.
I suggest that with every new follower; take the time to do the following:
1 – Review their profile.
2 – Read recent tweets and consider there value to you.
3 – Look for how often they tweet.
4 – Check the number of followers vs. following.
5 – Decide to follow them or not.
6 – If necessary, delete.
Let’s break that down. If you cannot take the time to review someone’s profile who took the time to follow you, you are not considering what others could bring to the table that may improve whatever it is that you are doing. Take a look at their recent tweets and if they post things that are interesting, compelling or even funny – follow them! By looking at their tweets you can also tell if they are spamming advertisements, are a real human or not and even see how often they tweet. You do NOT want to follow someone who tweets every two minutes! This will only make it more difficult to filter your tweets whenever it is you login and if you have every tweet texted to your mobile device, I sure hope you have unlimited texting! After that, quickly take a peak at how many followers they have versus how many people they are following. If they are following 10,000,000 people and have only 9 followers…. there’s a problem – they obviously don’t have anything valuable to offer anyone.
At this point, you should be able to properly determine if you should or shouldn’t follow them.
“So, why would I delete someone?”
If someone (or something) is following you and you don’t see a relationship there or you aren’t Ashton Kutcher, delete them. I know that it may seem really neat to have a large number of followers displayed on your Twitter homepage but what isn’t cool is when someone of importance (future employer, business partner, investor or client) decides to browse your followers to see what type of people felt your updates were of value and sees nothing but spam/porn bots. There are three points here. First, don’t accumulate followers who do nothing but follow and second, don’t be the follower that gets deleted. Offer value in your tweets, have fun with them and add personality. If used properly, Twitter can be a great place to meet new people, learn new things and promote you and/or your business. Finally, maintain what I call your online portfolio. Log into these websites daily and update your content, create something fresh for other people to enjoy. After all, networking requires more than just yourself – that’s why it’s called Social Networking.
If all else fails and you love bots, do yourself a favor and mark your profile and tweets as private.