My Twitter Following

I get asked multiple times per day how I got so many followers or if I’m famous or generally what’s the deal with my follow count. I think it’s around 315k right now, I don’t bother checking anymore. So here’s my story:

In the early days of Twitter, I didn’t get it. I finally got talked into setting up an account and started tweeting… It was interesting, but the more people I followed the more interesting it seemed to get. I wrote some scripts to start scraping, indexing and following people. There was no daily rate limit, just the 1.1% ratio. So my script would go crazy, almost doubling my followers every day.

Around 20k followers later, the “1k follows per day” rate limit went into effect. This made things more difficult. My new direction was to create a profile of a user that would follow back – the simplest case of this is a user that has around a 1% ratio but has never tweeted. My bots would crawl, index and filter based on a list of criteria. If there was a match, follow. Do this 1,000 times per day. Every day.

At 100k followers, I started getting people following me in small numbers – a couple hundred a day. I wrote scripts to follow these people back, plus follow new people and keep a database of who I was following and who was following me. Also in that database I stored basic info about the user – when they joined, their last tweet, following ratio, etc.

At 250k followers, the number of people following me each day started exceeding 1,000. I could no longer follow back as many people that followed me. I changed my scripts to stop following new people altogether and just follow people back. I still record statistics in a database, but I only use it to dump deadbeats – those that haven’t tweeted in X days. I also started actively unfollowing based on a set of criteria, but have a whitelist in place for those people I always want to follow.

It was around this time I started auto-DM’ing people that followed me. I’ll write another post on why I auto-DM even though I despise people who do just that.


9 thoughts on “My Twitter Following”

  1. Reading your post reminds me why I am not so keen in following back folks when their number of followers/following are in 5-digits and up already. It begins to feel like all is automated with hardly any interaction. Just a thought.

  2. Of course it has to be automated. It is hard to keep up with following 50+ people, especially if someone tweets too much or posts too many articles/links. That's why you use Twitter lists. But interaction, and personal interaction always exists – as with email or post – you can't answer to everyone personally, but to some people you can!

      1. Do you use social media solely for marketing? Having such a large following makes it hard to keep track of people. I actually like everyone I follow. I think you're mysterious. ahd Brilliant.

        1. I have more private networks that I have my friends on. For the most part, the accounts that have massive followings are for broadcasting stuff I find interesting.

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