Do You Know Each Person You’re Following On Twitter? You Might Want To Check

If you follow more than 500 people, odds are you don’t know each and every one of them personally – or even remotely. But should you? During a recent debate, one political candidate accused another of attempting to follow his 14-year-old daughter on Twitter. The accused claimed he had no idea, blaming a staffer-automation combo for the mix-up. Is this acceptable?

On Twitter it’s common to see folks with following/follower ratios in the thousands or even hundreds of thousands. If you are one of these “power users” take heed: the folks you follow may be more trouble than their reciprocal follow is worth.

Senate candidate, Jon Bruning, recently accused opponent, Don Stenberg, of attempting to follow his 14-year-old daughter on Twitter.

Stenberg replied that “his staff runs his Twitter account. The campaign later clarified that it has a program that searches for words like “Republican,” “pro-life,” “Stenberg,” and “Bruning” and automatically follows them.”

And now it turns out that Jon Bruning is following some teenage girls as well. But it’s okay, they likely followed him first. Hmm.

Is it “creepy” to use automation on Twitter? Possibly. This kind of makes the case for not using it. Vetting who you follow makes sense, of course – particularly if you only follow a limited number of people. Why? It shows that you’re selective and could imply endorsement.

But what if you’re not selective? What if you follow fairly indiscriminately and sort folks into lists? Should we all realize by now that many folks with significant numbers are likely using some form of automation and accept it as a necessary evil? Let’s face it, unless you’re some variety of celebrity in your given field, you have to work for those numbers and reciprocal follows happen (unless you’re a Twitter purist and absolutely refuse!).

What do you think? Should politicians be held accountable for who they follow? And should this same standard apply to the rest of us?

(Follow button image from Shutterstock)

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