Tech & The Web

Are You Making Twitter Too Difficult for Your Audience?

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I’m on Twitter. I’ve come to embrace it, although I like Google+ and Facebook more. But on a slow day on the blogging side of things, Twitter posts can help you generate blog ideas.

That alone might make it worth the price of admission.

On Twitter, you build a following (and more importantly, expand your network), by following others and having them follow you.

If you’re interested in things like Klout scores, you want a lot of people following you and interacting with you. If you’re more interested in reading what others are buzzing about, it’s more important that you follow them.

But ideally, you’re trying to follow interesting people and trying to make sure they’re following you back.

I do not automatically follow everyone who follows me. I have some, shall we say, strange followers. Some of them clearly tweet about things in which I have no interest. Occasionally, one of those Groupon-like deal sites will follow me. I live in South Carolina, so a daily deals site offering me savings at local businesses in Topeka, Kansas is of no use to me. So if that kind of site follows me, I won’t bother following it back.

Here’s the Problem
But once in a while, I’ll attempt to follow someone I do find interesting who has somehow stumbled across my account.

Then I’ll suddenly receive a little message from Twitter: the user uses “TrueTwit” validation service, or a similar service, to make sure I’m who I say I am. I have to follow a link and enter some kind of Captcha.

Just so that I can return a follow.

Sorry, but I don’t do that. If I have to verify that I’m not a spammer to someone who has already decided to follow me, I just won’t follow. At all.

It might be one thing if the person hadn’t followed me first. Maybe I could understand someone trying to protect his account from the possibility of spam tweets from a complete stranger.

But if that person follows me first, it’s unreasonable to make me verify that I’m not a spambot to follow them. If they think that’s a possibility, they shouldn’t follow me to begin with.

Maybe, at some point, they’ll see that I’m not returning their follow. And maybe, in response, they’ll unfollow me.

I won’t lose sleep over it.

5 Comments

  1. @patricksplace@Ari Herzog I’ve had that happen… Earthlink used to have a feature to their email service where you could filter all email except ones from those on a “white list”. I sent an email to someone and got an automated response saying I have to follow a link to submit a request to validate my address, because only email from pre-approved addresses went through. I wasn’t thrilled.

  2. @Ari Herzog Hmm…an interesting question. The email scenario is inherently different because of the effort and kind of communication involved, but my answer is the same.

    For Twitter, clicking “follow” on a Twitter account only indicates an interest to see that person’s Twitter feed; if that person follows me first and I reciprocate, I shouldn’t have to prove I am a human; if he thought I wasn’t a human, he had no business following me to begin with. And frankly, if it’s not a private Twitter feed, I should have to prove nothing: whether I chose to follow his Twitter feed is my business and no one else’s. The followed always has the right to refuse me by blocking me.

    But if someone emails me first, then I reply, then, yes, I’d have the same problem. If I’m replying to an email someone else sent to me, the presumption is that the other person assumed I was a human. I should be able to reply without having to go through a captcha.

    The only way I can imagine that I’d actually respond to such a request was if I had a bona fide business reason that I needed the email to go through. Otherwise, I’d close the box, and if that person didn’t get a response, that would be his problem.

    I can honestly say that while I’ve experienced the Twitter issue I mentioned several times, I’ve never had an email sent in REPLY to someone else bounce back asking me to prove I’m not a spambot.

  3. Does your logic carry into email? If you email someone (who emailed you initially) and a bounced message indicates you need to visit a website to confirm you are a human, do you confirm?

    Or, is email different somehow?

  4. I have tried to enjoy Twitter, but I just can’t bring myself to get into it. I find that if I don’t follow a bunch of people, I don’t get anything at all out of the site, and then when I do follow them, there’s way too much going on for me to keep up with all the nonsense. I enjoy the well-written, thoroughly thought-out blog posts that Patrick, for example, writes, as opposed to 140 characters of short URLs and “clever” one-liners that most people on Twitter seem to contribute.

  5. I’ve never run into this problem on Twitter! I don’t think I’d bother to go through the effort, either!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.