Social media, in some quarters, has this unwritten expectation: If I follow you, you should follow me back. But this ignores any number of common sense reasons to not connect on a social platform.
For example, on Twitter I have roughly 12 reasons I won’t follow or follow back another Twitter account. (This is an updated list from one I blogged about in 2013.)
I won’t follow you if …
1. You don’t have a Twitter bio: There may be a good reason, but I can’t imagine what it is. It takes 30 seconds to say something about who you are. The same thing goes if you don’t have a geographic location. It does not need to be specific: city and state or city and country will do just fine. Of course, if you have something to hide … that too is reason enough not to follow you.
2. You don’t have an avatar: The generic "egg" icon just tells the world you haven’t made the time to get a small picture or symbol out there … or, again, maybe you have something to hide.
3. Your account is locked: You may have good reasons to lock your account (or, again, maybe you have something to hide), but how am I supposed to keep track of whose content I can retweet and whose I can’t? If you want to be that private why are you on Twitter?
4. You have been on Twitter for less than a month: Unless there’s a history of activity I suspect all Twitter accounts to have a.) hidden agendas or b.) be the accounts of people not fully committed to being part of the Twitter community … yet. This might be hard on newbies, but I know of too many newbies who set up an account, tweet a few times and then go silent.
5. You don’t tweet regularly: You don’t have to tweet every day, but if you’re only tweeting once or twice a week (or less) the chances are I will miss your tweets and we really won’t interact at all.
6. You have nothing to say or share: We have all seen the accounts where people build large follower numbers and in three months on Twitter have only tweeted a few dozen times to let the world know "It’s raining here now" or "Just made a killer burger." Is this adding value for anyone?
7. You follow way more people than follow you: You may just be desperate to build a large online following. You may have even purchased followers. Either way you concern me.
8. Your profile and tweets reveal you are mostly on Twitter to sell: I get stuff pushed on me in plenty of other ways. I don’t need Twitter to feel like a selling channel.
9. Your tweets are all about that one axe to grind: You may be passionate about your cause, but if it’s not something I feel strongly about don’t expect me to follow back.
10. Your tweet history is full of self-promotional words or links: If your tweets are full of "I" statements and the things "you" want to sell or promote, then "you" clearly missed the memo that Twitter is supposed to be a social medium. "You" don’t need me to follow "you." All "you" really need is a mirror so you can admire the view. See Commandment No. 1 in 10 Commandments for Social Media.
11. You are promoting porn, gambling or other vices: ‘Nuff said. If I want this stuff I’m pretty sure I can find it on my own.
12. You are a business and only ever tweet about the business: As much as you love your business and think everybody else should too, I’m sorry I just don’t care. If your business doesn’t have a human face I’m outta here. Having said that, I will admit to connecting with social causes and the organizations that support them. That at least seems more in the spirit of social media.
So, what do you think? Did I miss any reasons you have for not following or not following back on Twitter?
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