That IS the question.

A quick disclaimer: I was inspired to write this post after reading AmberIsMe‘s take on why she doesn’t read your blog.

It’s not personal. Actually, it is a little personal. That is the point of social media after all, right?

Building personal relationships with folks you admire that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to in ‘real life’

Don’t let me put words in your mouth, but that’s one of the primary reasons I spend a LOT of time on Twitter.

I don’t know why people follow me on Twitter, and I can only tell you why I follow people. I’m guessing you are a bit more interested in hearing why I DO NOT follow you. I mean, you took the time to hit the ‘follow’ button. You and I both know it only takes half a second for someone to return the courtesy. Why the public disrespect?

You are not giving me a good reason to follow you.

Following me is a reason, but not a good one. If I followed everyone who followed me I would have a very hard time being able to ‘keep up.’ I spend a lot of time on Twitter, and I expect and demand that said time not be wasted. Sometimes I’ll take a gamble and follow someone ‘on a hunch’, but it’s not very often. More often I’ve chosen not to follow someone because…

1. You don’t have a profile picture.

‘The egg’ tells me you’re either new to Twitter, or you don’t understand how it works. Either way, I’m not ready to follow you yet. If you think your tweets are fantastic, engaging, and will better my life simply by being exposed to your 140 character expositions on life, then please do yourself a favor and setup a profile pic.

2. You don’t have a description.

Unless you’re the President of the United States, you shouldn’t assume that people know who you are. Use keywords, let me know if you lean towards hobbies, work, or humor. It’s not a term paper, it’s your elevator pitch.

3. You don’t have a blog.

'Seal' the deal - if you blog, I'm probably going to follow you back.

This isn’t a deal-breaker. But, if you DO have one, it’s more likely to ‘seal the deal.’ A blog gives me a chance to get to know you better. And if you DO have one, link to your ‘About Me’ page, not your site index. One less click for me and all your followers. More importantly, don’t leave it up to chance that we’ll bother to hunt for your bio and read it.

4. You don’t tweet.

Less than a tweet a day or maybe even 0 tweets. Why follow someone who doesn’t say anything? We’re not talking about LinkedIn recommendations. Just because I follow someone doesn’t mean I endorse that person, or vice versa. So if you want people to follow you, say something once in a while. And by ‘while’, I mean maybe every day or so.

5. You tweet, but it’s crap.

You are are a bot. Or you are in marketing, and you’re not very good at it. There’s no personal aspect to your tweets. It’s all links to stories. We all occasionally tweet for the sole purpose to promote ourselves, but we should also try to let our personal selves shine in our tweets.

That’s it!

We’re not talking about a college entrance exam. There’s no need to hire a tutor here. Don’t be a mystery, be yourself, and actively participate.

I DO check these four things every time I go to follow or NOT follow someone. If you are guilty of more than one of these ‘crimes’, then that explains why I don’t follow you. Also, if you quit tweeting (has it been months?), then I will unfollow you as well. If you come back, then so will I.

I’m sure others have their reasons…which they will probably blast me for in the comments that follow ๐Ÿ™‚


I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


  1. I have read some good stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting.
    I surprise how a lot attempt you place to make this kind of magnificent informative

  2. First, I came over here from Empire Avenue, which proves that some folks will visit your blog from there. lol

    Second, I love your points, and strangely enough I seem to be with you often on #3, though that’s not really a deal breaker What’s more of a deal breaker is if I see a link that’s a or some other type of shortened link. I don’t trust those and I can’t figure out why someone would use that to highlight their business or blog so I run the other way.

    • JeffS

      Subtle but great point on the bitly and otherwise shortened links on the bios. I totally see that as another SPAM opportunity by the user.

      Thanks so much for digging through all the technical crap to find this post! I try to step away from the pure tech content, but don’t get to as often as I’d like.

  3. I thought the point of social media was to build up stock value in otherwise anti-productive cybercompanies? Isn’t it a lot of work to make time on twitter “not wasted?” I think the medium works against it, just as blogging encourages me-me-me.

    +1 to Jeff Kemp’s “inverse” comment.

    • JeffS

      I think the point of social media lies in the eyes of the tweep. I can only share my perspective and opinion.

      It’s not a lot of work actually. I spend a few minutes figuring out if someone who crosses my path is worthy of a ‘follow.’ I’m sure I make mistakes, but I love just about every minute I spend on Twitter b/c the folks I follow are engaging, entertaining, and informative.

      If I follow your formula, the best Tweets come from people who only tweet once a day or so? I’m not a math whiz, but I don’t think that’s true. They say it only takes one example to disprove a theory, and here’s mine – Karen Lopez aka @datachick. She rocks and I love all of her Tweets. Frequency and quality can go together.

    • JeffS

      BTW, I love the discussion we’re having and would love to follow you and Jeff but I noticed neither of you are very active there. I really appreciate the feedback and I’ll try to be a little more forgiving with my ‘rules.’

  4. Maybe your post was directed at people who are trying to use Twitter to promote themselves? If so, please ignore my comments…

    To each his/her own, I guess – but what has my photo, my bio, my blog or anything else got to do with it?

    If you like what I write on Twitter, follow me. If you don’t want my drivel polluting your feed, don’t follow me. That’s what I do to everyone else ๐Ÿ™‚

    Personally, I prefer to follow people who post infrequently – because when they DO post, it’s usually interesting. Quantity has an inverse relation to quality, I find.

    That reminds me, there’s a few people I need to unfollow…

    • JeffS

      The bio is more important than the pic I suppose. I like to know who I am following. If you post less frequently, I’m more likely to miss your tweets altogether.

      My post was aimed at people who wonder why more people don’t follow them, or why I don’t.

    • The real issue with no custom pic is that by using the egg, your tweets are screaming I AM A SPAMMER. It may not be true, but 90% of the egg (the current default pic for Twitter) tweets that mention me are spam. I have gotten to the point that my eyes just skip over the egg accounts on Twitter.

      So it’s not so much that we need a pic *of* you, but a pic that isn’t the default.

    • JeffS

      Thanks for the assist Karen, couldn’t have said it better myself.

  5. You are right on all accounts. I do not do #teamfollowback or any of that garbage. I usually look for an actual avi (no eggs), bio, and then I check the last 20 tweets. If you never engage on Twitter with anything other than links, I don’t even bother. Great post!

    P.S. Thanks for mentioning my post. I never realized it would get the attention it did, but I am thrilled!

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