oliverg: Twitter Policies

I am oliverg on Twitter and Twitter-spam is getting on my nerves.

*I usually do NOT follow back I already follow more than 2000 ppl and want to go back below 1000
* if you follow @olivergassner that account has autofollow on yond you can reach me via DM

Twitter-Spam is why I put down some rules that I intend to follow.

* I don't autofollow.

* I will usually NOT follow you, if you follow me, because there are just too many following-messages every day. I am following you if, on my profile you see the option to "message" me.

* Sending me an @-message (that has real content besides 'Hi, I am here') increases the probability of me following you;)

* If I feel that your tweets are not interesting to me, I might unfollow again (I am followed by 3000+ as of July 2009 and keep losing track of tweets by _real_ friends ;) ) If you feel I should: Send an @-Message to me. I read those even for accounts I do not follow (if I did not block you ;) ).

* I might unfollow or block manually in some of the following cases:

* If you follow me and if you follow 2-3 times as many people that follow you, chances are high that I will block you. Blocking means that Twitter is notifies that I deem your contact spam.

* I also might unfollow if you unfollow me and if I don't think that your tweets are interesting for me. (I follow 200+ people who do not follow me as of July 2009. I plan not to raise that number ;) )

* I might unfollow you if you do not tweet for 6 weeks or so.

* If you have no other way of communicating with me (cause I blocked you), try commenting in this article or use one of the contact methods in the sidebar and point to your Twitter account and explain why I blocked you mistakenly or why you would want to communicate with me.

* Same is true if you have questions: Comment or contact me.

* Abusive comments will be deleted.

* I might update this occasionally, It is usually linked from my twitter profile.

Why do I act this way?

* I get lots of follower e-mails a day. Many are from people who obvioulsly want to spread their messages and therefore follow thousands of users - they are followed back by some and spam those. But the time I need to separate the 'real' followers from those spammers is wasted. I consider those mails spam as they only seek attention without the will to give attention.

* I think that the net is giving and taking. Spammers disturb this symmetry. I think following thousands of people just to lure some into following back is damaging Twitter and stealing the time of those who have to weed through all those follower-messages via e-mail.

- Updated March & May & July 2009
cc-Foto (some rights reserved) linkt auf Uhrheber.

Facebook Kommentare


  1. Less spammers on twitter will also make failwhalespotting more difficult ;-)
    Well written, I specially like that symmetry-thing.

    1. Thanks.

      My impression is that the failwhale is nore caused by external services that put load on the twitty databases.

      tzhose spammers who have really 50.000 contacts are few. must have 2000-9000. (But I assume they eithr use sweatshpws or scripts to add that many followed.


    2. That's plausible, I'm convinced.

  2. I see that you requested a beta code for Twitterless so I sent one to you. Twitterles has settings in place that allow you to automatically block users with a specified follower/friend ratio and also auto follow using similar parameters. I'd love to see how it works for you, you'd be a great test case for this system.

    1. Thanmks, I registred and will ahve a look at it.

      I am not sure automatisms cover all cases, cause theer might be accounts that follow many but are not followed for technical reasons. Accounts like "tless" etc ;)

      Looks like Twitter is taking their own measures on people that show weir behaviopr or are blocked often.

    2. I agree with you, it certainly doesn't cover all cases. Another tricky problem is that most of these Twitter spammers will follow and unfollow you within a matter of seconds cuz they know it sends you an email. Twitter should only send you an email notifying you of a new follower if they've stuck with you for a couple days. Hmm.. sounds like a job for Twitterless ;-P

    3. If it is days it does not cover the case that there is an event and I follow all ppl who twitter from there cause I am also there. If I get notiified days later...

      But untikl now I have not seeen a service that could reliably tell me
      - who was unfollowing me
      - who was not following me in return

      IMO you recognize spammers by the scripts they use, cause nobody subscribes to 2000 ppl in a short time by hand.

      BTW *if* one was spamming twitter, one could do it in _really_ ingenious ways by emulating interest profiles and by targeting niches etc.

      (Twitless ist still loading stats, going to bed now ;) )

    4. Very good points. I will think on that for a while. Especially the bit about wanting to know who doesn't follow you in return - that would be a useful feature indeed.

      Looks like your followers have been compiled on Twitterless so you can view them in a variety of different ways, however until you lose or gain some followers the stats page won't have anything to show you.

  3. I always love it when Twitter starts a suspension! ;)

  4. That´s cool Oliver. A good Twittiquette ;)
    I remember earlier this morning I saw a lot of accounts, who follow me. Then I browsed to this accounts and guess what. A lot of them are suspended.

    1. BTW you might wanna user [url=http://ewanleith.com/idlefriends/]http://ewanleith.com/idlefriends/[/url] to figure oput who has left twuitter again or who is inactive and needs no following ...

  5. I often wonder why people with a totally different backgrund and interests start to follow me.

    What other conclusion can I come to than to think that they are collecting followers for the shere number and not for who they are.

    That's probably a consequence from the same "strategy" on other social networks.

    I wish twitter had an option to ask for following (plus dm) without having to protect your updates.

    1. Well, twitter is somewhere between RSS and 'fiending' on a SN.

      a) It is like RSS because people 'follow' you.

      b) It is like a SN, because you can both see who is following whom and who is following back.

      In the very beginning I was following way too many people (this was in 2006/2007) just because I was so fascinated by how many interesting people there were. I did NT do it to provoke followers.

      Nowadays some people say: "I follow peple who interest me and if they do not follow back, in unfiollow." This is very much close to spamming, I think.

      I also have begun to unfollow
      - people I do not know and who post boring stuff and who do not follow me (mostly there are peple I followed on a whim just becauuse someone I know was @talking to them).
      My timeline is far too crowded with stuff that is not interesting to me.

      I still follow people that interest me even if they are not following back. If they are ppl I now I must admit I try to regain their attention by un-following and following again. As those are usually ppl I knw I hpe they do not consider this spam ;) (I might have to think about this behavior).

      I still usually follow back when somebody fllows me and does not only post boring stuff (making coffee, riding bus, god night).

      But I 'weed' my non followers.

      next step is: Check who is folloowing me and who I need too follow ;) Mr. Tweet(er?) hopefully will help there ;)

  6. Hallo Oliver.
    You are the first Twitterer I have met in my first Twitter days who is questionning the habit of getting followers via becoming a follower. Everywhere else (as far I have seen it till now) people shouting out the "rule": "Follow everybody who follows you."
    No. Follow ONLY those who are interesting for you. It is part of the game that some are more intersting (have more followers) and some are less (have only a few followers).
    What for a nonsense if Barack Obama would "follow" his 340.000 followers!
    The rule is:
    Do not follow more people as you can digest. Nobody can digest the output of 30.000 people.
    Or am I wrong?

    1. Today I bookmarked asn interesting piece on following.

      It justifies to follow 30.000+ (or 2000+ in my case) because this is the group you want conversation with, meaning: you allow those to DM you.

      Nobody would say: You have to read the blogs of all peple who blogroll you.

      Twitter is not e-mail. 8And I do not read all e-mail from Newsletters and Mailinglists: other people's conversations.

      But I want to be able to tune into those conversations of one of my filers (they used to be called 'intelligent agents' in the mid-90ies) 'finds' something that is interesting for me.

      I might ebven change the above policy to 'if you want to be followed, talk to me via @' because I do not have the TIME to check and learn about all my followers (og whom many seem to be spammers - but of course not all are).

  7. Trackback: OliverG / Oliver Gassner - Welcome
    * What I do. * List of my current customers (This also shows what kind of projects I support) * List of my own projects (still to come ) * My Public Calendar / Dopplr (If you want to meet me: Ask again, I might not delete something in the calend

  8. Moin,

    ich folge Dir, Du aber nicht mir :). Und nach Deinen Kriterien würdest Du mich wohl blocken. Insofern melde ich hier mal mein ernsthaftes Interesse an deiner Twitter-'Freundschaft' an.

  9. Interessanter Ansatz. Während es wohl viele bei Twitter genau so halten, veröffentlichen die wenigsten eine 'offizielle' Policy.

    Das hat was. Irgendwie müssen wir uns ja auch über neue Medienregeln verständigen und da ist eine explizite Erklärung ein hilfreicher Beitrag für alle.

  10. Twitter has no meaningfull purpose outside it's disignfunction ,much like a car or a televisionset


    Thanks for following...

    1. Could you elaborate on that a little? I am not sure I understand. What is the 'design function'?

      Looking at the traffic twitter generates here I very much see a fuctions beyond design ;) (and a car also has more 'purpose' than design, right? with a TV set we might agree ;) )

    2. A car has no purpose because it doesn't think it has a purpose and we use cars because we designed cars to serve OUR purpose

      Twitter is a tool made(designed) to fuction and serve OUR purpose ...


    3. as long as that purpose is not spamming we are 100% d'accord ;)


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