Follower Trolling on Twitter. AAARGGGHHH!

Earlier today I mentioned to a friend that I’d had a sudden rush of new Twitter Followers on Monday afternoon. For about 4 hours they were coming in every 3 minutes. I commented that “3/4 were probably just Follower Trolls”. I got a blank look.

Hence this quick blog to highlight Follower Trolling.

Follower Trolls are interested only in increasing their number of followers on Twitter. They provide little value. They do it because they believe that a high follower count will in some way be beneficial to them (and perhaps, to the gullible it does make them look important).

How do they do this? Simple. Using automated software that runs to a very simple algorithm. For a new account it will look something like this. (And yes, I know this is rather simplified).

1. Follow 2000 users.

2. Wait a week.

3. Unfollow those that have not followed back.

4. Follow more users to the maximum allowed (2000 or 110% of the number of followers the account has).

5. Repeat 2-4 ad infinitum.

This is why you see users on Twitter with 100,000 followers, who are probably following 110,000 users – yet they rarely, if ever provide any value in their tweets.

Follower Trolls. Grrrrrr. I don’t like them.

5 Responses to “Follower Trolling on Twitter. AAARGGGHHH!”

  1. James Shaw February 11, 2010 at 8:32 pm // Reply

    Follower trolls are um, followed up by a slightly less annoying Twitter occurrence known as auto-direct messaging or auto-DM. I don’t like auto-anything in the online communications world. It’s robotic, cold, and often totally irrelevant. It’s hard enough to sift through endless reams of info on the web, without impersonal trolls, and robotic DM’s. Actual confirmation emails? Fine. Out of office auto-responders? Serve a purpose. But “Thanks for following, blah, blah.” Makes me feel worthless like when you’re on the phone for 5 mins with a computerized phone system to activate a credit card that Visa or MC make gazillions of dollars from.

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  2. Richard Taylor February 12, 2010 at 12:57 am // Reply

    Here’s something automated I don’t have a problem with: http://twitter.com/arsenalnewsuk – or http://twitter.com/am1150

    You can tell pretty quickly that there’s no person behind 95% of those tweets – but they don’t pretend otherwise – and clearly aren’t trolling to increase follower numbers. If I message them and don’t get a response – well – I should know better than to expect one.

    Here’s a key point on follower Trolling:

    Your home feed is useless once you’re following more than a certain number of people. I’d say around 500. Less if you’re not able to check twitter half a dozen times a day.

    You get more followers, you have to have lists.

    So you see these people who are following 100,000 people.

    And they have a list titled “A-List Tweeps” with perhaps a hundred people in it.

    Well guess what – they are really only following 100 people.

    Those other 99,900 may as well be unfollowed for all practical purposes.

    It’s just a pointless game – and makes me thankful Edelman built their tweet level tool. And thankful everyone is not a Follower Troll.

    Otherwise we’d have 70 million users all following 70 million other users.

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  3. Kazia Mullin October 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm // Reply

    Followers trolls… when will they learn that just because they have 100,000 followers, they are not Twitter rockstars, ninjas or jedis. They simply have a huge number of people who are paying no attention to what they’re saying.

    Not to worry though, Klout is beginning to show these people for what they really are.

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  4. Steve Shaffer March 24, 2011 at 1:51 am // Reply

    First I’d like to propose a Don’t follow Thursday and listing all of the trolls you’ve had in the past week.
    Have you been watching the follow behavior of these folks? Do they keep following you if you follow back? The scripts seem to be getting quicker (they quit following within minutes)

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