cc licensed flickr photo shared by lynchseattle

I’ve read and pondered some of my colleagues concerns when they find some creepy account or nefarious avatar follows them on twitter. They have to deal with blocking or reporting or just feeling slimy.

My own approach is quite simple, but I’d never presume to suggest it is the best strategy for others.

I have no idea who follows me.


cc licensed flickr photo shared by abbey*christine

You see, I turn off email notification of new followers, so there is no time wasted looking at their profile, trying to figure out who the person is or whether they are creepy or wonderful.

It does me no harm if some spammer, scam artist, weirdo, or just stalker is listening to me tweets. I don;t see ’em or hear ’em.

And I don’t choose in turn whom I follow based on some expected reciprocity (e.g. if I monitor my follows, then I may feel some obligation to turn the favor around). I base my decision on what I see people producing in twitter, when they tweet me a message, I might look at their profile then, maybe.

To all of you followers, I now wave a hello, and send thanks for the interest, and express my sorrow if you did so in expectation of a follow-back. That’s not my routine.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by striatic

So is there a hole in my strategy? It cuts down on email and time spent click checking. And I don’t even get the creeps.

But that’s me.

The post "My (backwards?) Twitter Follower Strategy" was originally zapped with 10,000 volts and declared "It's ALIVE" by Dr. Frankenstein at CogDogBlog ( on November 25, 2009.


  • I left email notification on, just because I’m curious, and because sometimes somebody follows me that – for whatever reason – I’m not following but want to be.

    But I don’t feel compelled to follow everyone that follows me, nor do I check out their profile, nor do I worry about blocking them for the same reasons you mention. I suppose if they really started spamming my @ replies, then I might block, but so far that hasn’t happened.

  • Robin2go

    Actually, this is very similar to how I roll as well. It took me a while before I had the clarity of thought to turn off email notifications, but once I realized I didn’t have to sit there for 10-15 minutes at a clip and mass delete, it was wonderfully freeing. I like to think that the people I follow are people I *choose* to follow, because they add value to my twitterstream — one way or another. Of course, the fangrrl in me gets excited when one of The Really Cool Edupunk Kids follows me. But that’s few and far between.

    Thanks for following. Alhamdulillah. :) Happy Turkey Day.

  • Heather Ross

    I tend to look at blocking and reporting spam as helping to clean up the neighborhood for not only myself, but others. Yes, most of the people that I block are simply marketing people, but earlier this week I blocked somebody who sent a message to me telling me to check out their porn site. Their profile picture was of a woman engaged in a particular sexual act. I certainly don’t want that coming up on my Tweetdeck when I’m at work or have my daughter on my lap at home.

    • Alan Levine aka CogDog

      @Heather- I do block a few of those that end of tweeting me rather indecent links. Its pretty easy to tell from their icon; and its easy to block and report spam in TweetDeck.

  • Stephen Downes

    My strategy is the same. I have followers, I don’t know who they are, and I only vaguely know how many there are. I don’t follow people who follow me, so I don’t worry about who follows me.

  • Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by cogdog: CogDogBlogged: My (backwards?) Twitter Follower Strategy

  • Beth kanter

    I do the same. I take action if they misbehave

  • darnals

    its same with me.
    just follow and not check their profile after it
    just need follower

  • Jim Groom

    Do you follow your mom?

  • Langwitches Blog » So, You Want to be Followed?

    […] The reason for writing this post, is to make one part of creating and growing my PLN transparent. Maybe it will be insightful to some, helpful or useless to others as they are trying to grow their own network or become part of someone else’s. There are many different strategies regarding the Twitter following/not following issue (Always remember the “personal” part in PLN)  For a different approach, check out Alan Levine’s “My (backwards) Twitter Follow Strategy“. […]

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