Aaah, Twitter etiquette. That murky, often overlooked aspect of Twitter that says it’s OK to add your personal touch to tweets, but that you shouldn’t tweet too many times at once. We’ve got you covered, though, if you’re looking to navigate the Twitter-verse. Today we’ll take a look at mass following on Twitter, and why you should almost never do it if you want to see a modicum of success using the microblogging service.
What is mass following?
If you’re new to Twitter, you might not fully understand how to go about finding and adding people to follow. Following someone simply means you will be notified on Twitter when they post a tweet – your home timeline will include their tweets, along with everyone else you’re following, in chronological order.
Mass following, however, is a different beast. Rather than seeking out connections, coworkers, friends-of-friends, and people within your niche, you simply follow every account in your sights.
There are a few ways to mass follow: you could find a list of Twitter accounts in your industry (photographer, marketers, journalists) and follow everyone on this list. Through a simple Google search you’ll find plenty of resources to show you which accounts to follow.
Or, you might just go to Twitter.com and add everyone in the “who to follow” list generated by Twitter itself. And finally, you could use a mass follow third-party application to find and follow to your heart’s content.
Why some people mass follow
Before we get into why you shouldn’t mass follow, we’ll look at why people do it in the first place.
Mass following is generally done on the assumption that those you follow meet the standard of Twitter etiquette that says “whoever thou followest shall follow back”. It is generally understood that a follow deserves a reciprocal follow back. So by following thousands of random or niche Twitter accounts, people are usually working under the assumption that the majority of these accounts will follow them back in return, increasing their overall follower count.
Why you should never mass follow
Despite the elusive promise of thousands of reciprocal follows, mass following is usually a bad idea.
Firstly, there is no rule which states that people must follow back. And it isn’t even everyone’s idea of good form on Twitter. Think about it for a minute: if everyone who followed anyone got followed back, our Twitter home feeds would be filled with thousands of random accounts that we don’t really care all that much about, and we would quickly be turned off the service altogether.
Twitter finds much of its strength in the fact that you can refine who you follow, choosing to only follow family, or people in your niche, or your customers. By diluting this with agreeing to follow those who have mass followed you, you will likely lose interest in Twitter.
Because people won’t usually follow you back unless they see some value from your account, mass following should be avoided. One of the biggest red flags on Twitter is a lopsided follower/following count. If you are following thousands of accounts but only 35 are following you, that’s a good sign that you’re either a bot, a spam account, or those you follow just don’t find you interesting enough to follow back. Either way, mass following usually makes people less likely to follow you than more likely.
We prefer finding and following people organically, using references, retweets that you find interesting or the “who to follow” list to follow a handful of new accounts at a time.