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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Feeling A Way: Twitter Follower Snatchers

This one is for all the @Twitter account holders out there. This is for the account holders that work so hard to build their followership, only for your followers to somehow pilfer off your results. Yes, I am “feeling a way” about this.

So how can people snatch up your followers when @Twitter promotes “Follow Fridays”? The obvious answer would be that you are willingly sharing your followers on Friday. The snatching comes when you begin to notice that your personal circles are beginning to blend together without you initiating it.

Let’s say you’ve worked hard to cultivate relationships with trendsetters, A-List talent, the wealthy, etc. You sent out all the emails, made the phone calls, appeared at Happy Hours, sang drunken karaoke tunes together, the whole nine yards. You’re following this person on @Twitter and so happen to Retweet a valuable part of a conversation with that person. Your followers have access to that message as well as to your credibility. This is where the snatching begins.

So your follower @GettingStarted (for example) reaches out to your contact (@CrownJewel) in one or two ways; by retweeting on top of your retweet or simply making a follower request. @CrownJewel, you know, the one that you’ve spent all that time cultivated a relationship with, questions the request. @GettingStarted decides to use your name as a co-sign to their credibility. Now @GettingStarted just cut their cultivating time in half by saying how cool of a person you are, and that you go way back (even if going way back means 6 months).

Suddenly, you’re looking on as one of your followers, in a separate circle, is chumming up with your crown jewel. And all your follower has to do is keep dropping your name until they don’t have to pick it up anymore.

Imagine if this happened outside of the digital world. You’re sitting at the bar with @CrownJewel when @GettingStarted walks in. You see @GettingStarted walking towards you and try to duck your head into your drink. Too late, @GettingStarted saw you and bowls through people to get where you are. @CrownJewel is talking about their work day, @GettingStarted overheard a part of it and immediately jumps on top of the conversation.

“Oh, you had a tough day, not as tough as mine,” says @GettingStarted with a laugh. “I see you’re here with my long time friend @Deshair. We go way back. @CrownJewel right? @Deshair repeats what you say from time to time. And any friend of @Deshair is a friend of mine.”

Doesn’t that come off as quite obnoxious? It gets worse. @GettingStarted takes over the conversation from there; might even do business with @CrownJewel before you do.

The only way you can get around having your followers snatched is choosing who follows you, more wisely. There is a @GettingStarted in everybody’s batch of followers, just waiting to pounce on every @CrownJewel you have. This is real. Don’t ever say you haven’t been warned.

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