So, you follow more than 2,000 people on Twitter

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Many people seem to be unaware that the person who just followed them on Twitter who has somewhere north of 20,000 followers did not reach this impressive number by the merit of their wit. They are not some person of stature, nor do they hold any degree of internet-celebrity. Actually, they’re doing a lot of work following as many accounts per day as Twitter will allow, or paying some shady company to do so, in the hopes of getting a reciprocal follow. And it’s a pretty hollow gesture on their part because Twitter imposes follow limits and can only show you tweets from the first 2000 people you follow. That means they’ll never see your tweets. For some unknown reason, Twitter makes special allowances to allow your follow count to go higher than 2K, dependent on how many followers you’ve managed to dupe.

You may be one of these people. And you probably aren’t meaning any harm. But mass-following is bad for the Twitter eco-system, and here’s why:

  • The person who is mass-following will never see your tweets, despite the fact that they “follow” you — your tweets will never even get into their feed.
  • The person who is mass-following will probably unfollow you anyway, to keep appearances up that they aren’t just following people for the reciprocal follow. I call it the “pump ‘n dump”.
  • It diminishes the value of notifications from Twitter. “Oh, another pump ‘n dumper followed me”. Some people probably turn off Twitter notifications altogether.
  • Mass-followers often (though not always) tweet lousy content like “10 ways to grow your business with social media”, trying to drive traffic to their ad-infested blog. Barf.
  • All of this dilutes the entire Twitter experience.

So many people game Twitter like this, only to be rewarded with more followers. Almost 10 years after Twitter’s birth it’s still going on. My guess is at one point when Twitter was doing everything they could to grow users, lots of following created engagement.

If you mass-follow people on Twitter, please consider stopping. It’s long been exposed for what it really is, and it’s hurting the Twitter experience.

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