11 Ways to Lose Friends and Followers Online

by Brett Borders on March 16, 2009

You and ‘SuperJenn’ were once pretty good friends, online. But one day you logged in and noticed that she’d axed you from her friends list. Shocked at first, you thought it must be some kind of accident. But after a few moments of soul searching… you realize that you probably over-engaged in one of the 11 behavioral triggers that can cause people to drop friends online.

1. Banality

It’s okay to share some trivial details of your life – but live-blogging your lunch, alerting the world you’re at the post office, or saying “Good morning, Facebook Friends!” increases the noise and doesn’t interest most people – especially those who don’t know you in real life.

Ask yourself before sharing: Who will be interested? What entertainment or value will people get if I broadcast this?

2. Narcissism

Narcissism is an excessive interest in oneself and one’s appearance. You see it online when people blog about themselves constantly, preen over their own pictures, and not-so-subtly seek admiration and attention. Some celebs get away with it, but many people will find it plain annoying.

Ask yourself: Will people think this is vain or self-centered? Should I lavish attention on someone else instead?

3. Self-promotion

If you’ve got a blog that’s dying for comments, some classes you teach, or you need new clients – it’s okay to let people know about it in moderation. Some have suggested the 90-10 rule, where you aim for 90% of your updates be insightful and helpful to others, and only 10% be directly beneficial to you. Social marketer Marty Weintraub says his company drops one promotional link for every 25 useful links they share.

Ask yourself: Can this wait a few days?

4. Pushing an Agenda

Maybe you’re really passionate about solar energy. Or a killer rock band. Or you think marijuana should be legalized. Sharing this kind of legitimate buzz is totally acceptable in social media, but if people begin think you’re an agenda pusher more than a person – they’ll give you the cold shoulder.

Ask yourself: Have I been talking about this to much? Could I strengthen a relationship by helping to promote a friend’s cause instead?

5. Negativity

Negativity usually detracts from your status. The only time negativity can win you points is when you’re the first one to complain about something that’s starting to irk other people, also. But if you’re late to complain, or your negative opinions don’t resonate with a majority of people – they’ll see you as a downer, a dark cloud (or dead pixel) on their pretty screen. And they’ll be much more inclined click the “remove friend” button.

Ask yourself: Do I need to share this at all? Can I add a humorous twist or useful tip about this negative situation?

6. Lack of Reciprocity

I just think it’s rude not to follow people who follow you,” says freelance writer @DorianDavis. Although many people staunchly reserve their right to follow only people they know or find interesting, an increasing number of people think it’s polite to follow back – seeing celebs and people who don’t follow back as elitist snubs who violate the law of Twitter reciprocity. There are now enough tools to filter you Twitter & Facebook updates + Digg submissions that allow you to follow a lot of people without losing your closest friends’ content in the shuffle – if you choose the ‘follow everyone’ route.

Reciprocity also means conversing with your followers, rather than just collecting them like baseball cards.

Ask yourself: How’s my social media karma? Am I missing out on important conversations and insights by not following people back?

7. Politics & Religion

If you single out any specific political party or religion, you’ll lose followers. That means: No Obama. No Republican. No Christian, No Jewish, No Buddhist, No abortion / gun control / gay rights or Gaza. Rob says the only safe way to vent about politics is to speak in generalities, and to call out both sides on an issue (i.e., “Both the Democrats and Republicans are are totally missing the boat with their economic bailout plans.”)

Ask yourself: Am I prepared to lose followers or score “negative points” by talking about religion or politics (no matter how carefully I say it)? Is it worth it?

8. Recycling

It’s okay to re-tweet interesting stuff – and to post old links occasionally. But word travels fast online… plus, some people are snobs about smoking nothing but the latest and greatest digital info-crack. And if you ReTweet heavily or blog “I read this great article“-type of posts too much, you become seen as an echo that’s safe to ignore.

Fresh links and original perspectives will get you bonus points.

Ask yourself: Do most people already know about this? What value or perspective will I add by sharing it again?

9. Overload

Some people will drop 50 interesting links a day, 7 or 8 of them in a row. If someone is new to a social site and doesn’t have hundreds of friends, then your information updates can be overwhelming and seem disproportionate. Don’t dominate the data-stream or conversation!

Ask yourself: Have I talked / tagged / tweeted / text’ed too much, today? Should I spend more time listening what other people have to say?

10. Bragging

If you live an elite lifestyle filled with conferences, first class flights to wine-n-dine foreign CEOs, luxury yachts and hot babes – and you brag about it online – it can make people jealous and feel distant from you. A majority of peeps online are stuck in an office somewhere, have screaming kids to feed, or worry how they’re gonna cover rent this month. They might be tempted to unfollow you:

Ask yourself: Will sharing this make people feel jealous or distant from me? Is there anything more humble or universal I could say?

11. Direct Hostility or Attack

A hostile attack is the quickest way destroy a relationship with someone. But it can also damage your own reputation by branding yourself as a temperamental bully. Some people will drop you in advance, to avoid the risk of possibly getting on your bad side. Others will see your attack as an invitation to scrutinize your own behavior and criticize you back. In social media land… we live in transparent glass houses, our neighborhoods are filled with voyeurs, and any stones we throw go on your permanent digital record. Think twice before stomping someone!

Ask yourself: Is it really, really worth it? When will burning this bridge gonna come back to haunt me?

Do you agree or disagree with any of these unfollow triggers? Did I leave an important one off the list?

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  • http://Www.solardave.com Dave

    That was great I really enjoyed it. However I am guilty of a few of them myself on twitter

  • http://www.room214.com James Clark

    Great list Brett.

    I would have to say that Banality is the #1 reason I stop following people.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Dave,

    We’re all guilty. Hell, I just self-promoted this article on Twitter. :p I hope it was in moderation and my karma card is good enough that all my friends don’t drop me.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    If it ain’t interesting, I ain’t listening. Too much noise out there for anything but the most compelling signals to stay relevant.

    p.s. I had cereal and soy milk for breakfast ;P

  • http://blog.affiliatetip.com Shawn Collins

    I don’t agree with #6 – why should anybody be obligated to follow if they’re not interested?

    Personally, I limit the number of people I follow, and then also follow about two dozen keywords, ideas, and topics.

    This way, I can use Twitter more efficiently and limit the noise.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Shawn Collins,

    I feel your sentiment. I used to be more particular about social media connections and only connected with people I was interested in – but recently I’ve decided to “go bigger” and connect with more people. Using the right tools and filters, I’m finding that it actually enhances rather than detracts from the experience.. but it definitely takes more time.

    I totally respect your style but some people think it’s rude or not social to make friends with everyone – and they might drop you. #6 is a heads up, rather than a “Thou shalt”

  • Alicia

    Me too!

  • Alicia

    Great list :)

    I agree with nearly all of them to a point (well, the narcissism I agree with 100%, ha). I think it’s all a balancing act that includes the reason you created your particular account in the first place (strictly social? mostly professional? are you keeping it private? what?) and the kinds of people you WANT to follow/friend you.

    I think the only one I kind of disagree with completely is number six. I don’t think people should feel compelled to follow/friend others just because those others followed/friended them. I made this mistake early on, and ended up following a lot of people who posted, quite frequently throughout the day, about stuff that had nothing to do with anything that interested me. Then, I ended up missing a lot of the posts that I was actually interested in from people I followed BECAUSE I was interested in them (even if they didn’t follow me back – I was still interested in what they were posting).

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Alica,

    I agree with you but some people will think you’re snubbing them if you don’t follow back and they’ll drop you. Stick to you guns, but be prepared to lose a few folks who probably aren’t your “real friends” anyway.

  • Molly

    Thank you for the list. Being new to Twitter these pointers help.

    The only one I am not sure about is #6. I agree with your sentiment but not sure I could follow everybody. There is only so much time in the day. Pretty sure I will get there. Right now I am going to get comfortable with the community before going big.

  • WTF?

    Wow. So basically if you want to be “popular” all you have to do is… NOTHING? How about having a personality? All of the things you mention make up our individuality. Without it, I would be blogging about knitting. Maybe you should try that, my guess is that you would be more successful.

  • http://blog.affiliatetip.com Shawn Collins

    Yeah, I accept that some people don’t like it, but I am following a lot more people than my follow numbers, since I am also following ideas, industries, etc., and I certainly don’t limit my interactions to those I follow.

    I think if I were to follow thousands, I would essentially stop following anybody manually and only follow keywords.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    The Time Squeeze is ruthless. Soon even a 32 hour day + 8 day week won’t be enough.

  • http://www.LondonsTimes.us Rick London

    I agree with what you say, but may I add that Twittering is not a one size fits all utility. Many use it for many different reasons. Some use it to share their passion (on environment etc) and couldn’t care less what smokers think. Some want to brag of weath (and things) and attract similar types. Others want to talk. This is a great guideline for someone who “just wants more followers” but many of us are there for like-minded followers, and this would not work for us. It is an important tool for us to share our thoughts, speak our hearts, and if others don’t like it, their loss, really. My theory of course would not work for an “Internet guru” or Ebook salesperson who is their to grab $$ only. Thanks.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Yo WTF,

    This article is NOT about how to be popular or how to cultivate personality in social media. (That’s a great idea for other posts.)

    It’s about the most common reasons why people drop friends online. Nothing more.

    Thanks for reading!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Rick,

    People most defintiely use it for different reasons… but I still contend that:

    Even if you have just an intimate handful of friends and followers, doing one or more of the above 11 actions — in excess — is likely to irk them!

  • Steve Charles

    Great article Brett!
    I’m fairly new to Twitter and have seen most of these 11 things already so I hope this article gets a lot of circulation. “Overload” (#9) is the one that puts me off the most.
    I learned from a Christine Comaford presentation this weekend that if we are patient and follow the sequence of: “Building Credibility, then Rapport, then Trust” we will create a great following that are open to our offerings.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    #9 – Overload is the WORST. I’ll drop you if you go on and on and take up my whole screen. #11 – direct attack is also pretty sketchy. I tend to hold it against the attacker as having a hostile character in some cases.

  • http://www.leavittbrothers.com Jason

    Nice list. I disagree with #6. This isn’t a game; the goal isn’t to follow as many people as possible. You shouldn’t have to follow everyone who follows me. If you’re an expert in your field, you’ll have many followers. If you’re a celebrity and wanna let others know when your next appearance will be, twitter is a great tool, but you shouldn’t have to follow others back. JMO.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Jason, Thanks makes plenty of sense.

  • http://rantingharetek.blogspot.com Haretek

    I haven’t been using social media very long, but I have seen a lot of different posts on social media etiquette. This is so far the most helpful and the one that best fits with my experience. Have struggled with how to choose whom to follow. Finding the balence between what I want to see from others and what they will want to see from me is key. Thank you for your insight.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Hartek,

    Thanks for reading! I am sure you’ll find the right balance and create an online presence that works for you. It’s a personal decision and you create your own digital reality!

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuart Foster

    Hahaha, all of these are insta-classics. Great article Brett :)

  • http://www.davinciinstitute.com/ Deb

    Blocking people (especially in your circle of influence) without giving them a reason or a chance to respond. There are times when you will block someone (porn, excessive language, stalking) but for the most part if you block someone, you should let them know why you are doing so. That gives the person you are thinking about blocking a chance to correct the problem.

  • http://www.alvalyn.com Alvalyn Lundgren

    Hello, Brett:
    These are great reminders that everything we put out on the internet “brands” us. We should be good stewards of our online presence on Twitter and everywhere else, and be concerned about our impact on others as we are about expressing ourselves. I’ve blocked a couple people from following me on Twitter due to their avatars being too raunchy or inappropriate. I don’t want to be associated with some images. So that might be another item to add to your list…

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Deb,

    It’s very kind of you to let people know why you’re blocking them or unfollowing them – but you’re one in a million. I’ve found that most people are in a tremendous hurry – or else they might even feel guilty – and so they’ll drop you without saying a word.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Avalyn Lundgren,

    #13 – Pictures of private parts or weapons of mass destruction in your avatar.

    Check!

  • http://katiealender.com Katie Alender

    Great post, Brett! Your little examples cracked me up.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Katie,

    Thanks for stopping by! Do you blog? Where?

  • http://relentlessinquiry.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/stop-watering-my-coffee/ Stop Watering My Coffee « Relentless Inquiry

    [...] 16, 2009 by srchalup Clicked on a Twitter link today, to a well-written and pleasant piece on how to retain friends and followers. I’ve got no issues with the author or the piece, but reading it got me verbalizing my uneasy [...]

  • Anonymous

    I have to strongly disagree with #7. Many of the friends I follow on twitter have strong political, religious (or lack thereof) leanings, and while I may disagree with them, they are whole people, and their faith is what makes them who they are.

    Of course, I may be misunderstanding the thrust of your post entirely, and you’re discussing using Twitter as PR and or brand management.

    But that, I think misses the point of social software as well.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Whump,

    I definitely understand. I can handle people’s political viewpoints too (as long as they are not cruel or extreme) – but a lot of people can’t and they’ll just ditch you if you get religious or political and they don’t know you well.

    I don’t think you’re missing the point of the post, totally…. but I’m not saying “Never, ever discuss religion or politics.”

    I’m saying “if you want to discuss politics, be prepared that some people might unfollow you with no warning”

    And some of them will. For sure.

  • http://tinyurl.change.org/zXUto SleepyTexan

    This is great! Thanks for posting!

  • barney

    I missed that point. If they follow me – don’t know ‘em from a bug in the carpet – and they feel snubbed because I don’t return the favour, somehow that’s my fault?!? In the brief time I’ve been Twittering, I’ve had a dozen followers that were patently trying to sell me, several that were, seemingly, approaching from a porn perspective, and several more that were just trying to accrue followers, regardless the reason.
    Maybe those filters that have been mentioned would weed such stuff out even if I did follow, but you know what? They ain’t on the front page! In fact, apart from some tweet mention of ‘em, they’re damned hard to find – and frequently harder to utilize.
    Until there are more user-friendly safeguards in place *within* Twitter, universal re-follow is simply not practicable for this old man.

  • barney

    Brett,
    Congratulations. All in all, a quality post of things to avoid over-doing. As noted in a separate response, I disagree with your general take on item six: I simply do not hold the ‘snob/elitist/polite’ rationale to be a legitimate cause for following someone who’s bio is unclear or nonexistent.
    And I certainly do not need a Judith Martin (aka Mis Manners) dictating how I should utilize a social medium to which I subscribe for my own reasons. If I lose my ‘closest friends’ for a no-follow, then they weren’t very close friends, were they?
    Too many times, the auto-follow concept – it’s not new to the current crop of social media, ya know? – been around since the days of the message boards, long before the Web came into being – brings everyone down to the lowest common denominator. If I meet someone in a bar or a church – both are social environments – that I dislike, I’m not obligated to hold discourse with them. Why should that be any different here?
    I’m not trying to tell you, or anyone, how you should do things. But I’ll live my life as I see fit, not by your standards, on Twitter, in the real world, within any social context.
    That having been said, you’ve produced a yeoman piece of work here that should be required reading for all habitues of social media sites.
    Congratulations upon a job well done. Yech! That sounds elitist doesn’t it? Oh, well, congratulations anyway [chortle /].

  • http://www.tokeofthetown.com/ Steve Elliott ~alapoet~

    Good advice, on the face of it…

    But if everyone took it, damn would Twitter ever be a boring place.

  • http://www.thecoffeevideo.com Chris | Inspiring 1M People

    You left off the all important “Follow people then unfollow them when you have exactly 2,000 people and need more followers so you can follow more people and repeat the process.”

    Or another great way to lose followers is to frequently tweet about how many followers you need to reach a certain follower # (although this is arguably covered in the narcissism point)

    Chris (http://twitter.com/ChrisCade)

  • http://www.AuctionDirectUSA.com Eric Miltsch

    Brett,

    Very nicely done; echo’s the advice one may want to heed in face-to-face/group settings.

    Wonder why your follower count stays flat – or drops? Curious as to to why people don’t want to go to lunch with you?

    It might stem from you doing any/all of these…

  • http://popurls.com/pop popurls.com // popular today

    popurls.com // popular today…

    story has entered the popular today section on popurls.com…

  • Steve

    For the general joe-public then, yes, doing any of the above is likely to lose you followers.

    However, I’m sure some people will be able to run with some of these angles, taking them as far as they can and end up really quite popular by distilling their audience into particular niches. Perez Hilton got famous for the bitchiness and gossip – a heady combination of negativity and self-promotion has made that guy very successful.

    It depends on your agenda and goals.

  • http://thevoiceswith.in rampantheart

    Great list! I personally unfollowed some people due to the following reasons:

    1. Their views didn’t support mine and they were too loud mouthed about it. Like, tweeting about their views all the time. This comes under narcissism I guess.

    2. Excessive blog promotion.

    3. Not giving a damn about others. I am the kind that loves conversations. I unfollowed people who didn’t reply to my tweets continually.

    That’s about it.

  • http://www.twoexpats.com/ Matteo

    I like the discreet blur on the penultimate twit’s swearing, at point 11.!

  • http://www.aarknet.org/ Faryal Humayun

    One more thing I’d like to add is the “lack of personal touch”. I’d like people to respond to my tweets to know that I’m communicating with human beings.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Alapoet,

    It would be boring, indeed! I kinda don’t like this whole new paradigm of “striving for popularity and politeness” and people using their real names all of a sudden… the thrills, spills, chills and flaring egoes make it a kind of interesting place.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Faryal Humayun,

    That is a GREAT addition. I’m going to update the post and throw it under #6 – Lack of Reciprocity. If you follow people and don’t talk back to them ever – that’s lack of reciprocity!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Chris,

    Yesterday @msaleem quoted Leo Laporte:

    “You know, @leolaporte is right, talking about your followers is like talking about how much money you have. Stop boasting.”

    I totally agree!

  • http://ceejayoz.com/ ceejayoz

    Sorry, but the number one thing that’ll make me unfollow someone?

    Caring so much about your number of followers that you change what you’re tweeting about to avoid losing a single one of them. Some of these might be applicable to corporate accounts where you’re the voice of a company, but otherwise? Tweet about what you want and screw the numbers game.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Eric Miltich,

    It’s kind of eerie how much this is common sense / real life! Not some kind of social media / digital voodoo.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    SleepyAVON,

    Thanks for reading. I spent half my weekend on it – glad u enjoyed!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Steve,

    No doubt that some people break all these rules and do well – some people are quite obnoxious and get bizilions of followers – but they also lose a fair share of followers in the process, guaranteed.

    You might like my post on “Voyuerism: Social Media’ s Delicious, Guilty Pleasure” – which explains how social media can reward some “reality TV” behavior and personalities.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    It was a little dirty on my eyes. It just looked kind of harsh / raw. I figured i’d give you the chance to avert your eyes it if you wanted to, read it if you were interested!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Ceejayoz,

    I hear you. I really do. I started off using the internet when it was underground / illegal for anyone but government researchers to use.. and it was a very different culture that I kind of miss, a lot. No one used their real name, very intelligent and blunt discussions, no holding back.

    I totally and heartily encourage you to talk about what you want to! And I admire your courage for not caring about the numbers!

    When I use social media for fun, I go all out. When I do it for business (like this blog, my Twitter account) I have to use a kind of business etiquette that still reflects who I am. Hopefully it’s still interesting and not sterile.

    You, my friend, should screw the numbers game and let it all hang out!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Rampantheart,

    1. No one like a contrarian loudmouth.

    2. Being a blogger is a hard job. I am sure struggling to write content and get people to read it – until
    I reach the point where people will regularly recommend on my behalf and I don’t have to self-promote. For now, I grit my teeth and ask friends to check it out.

    3. Yup… one of the downsides when people start to follow thousands is the inability to participate in the conversation :( Like it or not though… social media is gonna get bigger and bigger, and that includes the numbers!

  • http://twitwall.com/view/?who=ccgal CCGAL

    These may well be reasons that people will unfriend or unfollow you, but how important is it that you retain every single “friend” or “follower” in your network? To stifle your creative voice for fear of losing a follower makes you, in my humble opinion, boring, boring, boring. Controversy is King of Content; every good story has a Protagonist AND an Antagonist, else we fall asleep while reading.

    The beauty of Twitter is that everybody has the ability to unfollow so as to create their own perfectly dialed in feed, so speak up and be yourself – if they unfollow, that’s a good thing because they are selecting their “play list” and there will be others who prefer your voice.

  • Fred Gondzar

    Boy, all of those points really hit the nail on the head!!

  • http://www.SimplyDivineSolutions.com Dr Jeanine

    This is GREAT!~ And so true!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    CCGAL,

    It’s not important to retain every single follower in your network. I totally agree that you should be able to express yourself and have a following who fits.

    This post wasn’t a list of “Thou Shalt Nots” – it was designed to give you a list of questions to ask yourself beore broadcasting content to make sure it was relavant and interesting to a majority of people – not all of them.

    If I had to boil this post down into two points, I’d say:

    1.) Don’t share a lot of negative / trivial / vain stuff
    2. ) Pay attention to other people, listen to them, coverse with them

    I agree that people should unfollow and select whom the wish to hear from and get a perfectly dialed account with the perfect audience for their broadcast.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Fred Gondzar,

    I’ll bet you’ve seen all of them, huh?

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Dr. Jeanine,

    Only YOU can prevent rampant online narcissism! (*by clicking the unfollow button! “)

    ;)

  • Me

    What’s there left to talk about? *rolling eyes*

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Me,

    Lots!

    Just don’t be negative, self-centered, pushy or religious – at least all in the same update ;)

    Respond back to people and you’ll do fine!

  • http://www.noodlejunction.net MisterNoodle

    Anyone who follows me knows I Tweet a lot. I mean a lot! But they also know if they send me an @MisterNoodle, I will answer them. I try to make every Tweet interesting. As more and more people converse with me I am sure I am guilty of #9 and have even been told that I am being unfollowed because of it.

    My question: Where’s the balance? I want to connect with everyone I follow or I wouldn’t have followed them.

    I figure that those who can’t tolerate the # of Tweets can always unfollow, or they could say Hi and connect…

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    @MisterNoodle,

    I just think of Twitter like a big, noisy dinner table conversation. It’s okay to talk but if you talk too much, it might block other people’s conversations from trickling though.

    It’s okay to Tweet a lot – nothing wrong with it – but if people unfollow you – you’ll know why.

  • http://jesamakateli.blogspot.com/ Jake

    Great post. I think the key to getting away with some of the above is to be personable. I’m in my 3rd week on Twitter and haven’t really gotten stuck in, but already I’ve dropped a few who have done the above. I’ve also kept some who do it. The difference? The ones I still follow are the ones who also take the time to interject personality into their tweets. There is one who even, despite having 28,000 followers, manages to tweet back from time to time.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    You can get away with all kinds of stuff if you’re personable / charismatic or famous. Different rules seem to apply to celbs than “normal people” like you and me.

  • @Kara_Elle

    Self-promoted, but I’m glad you posted! Thanks for sharing — it was very insightful and a gentle reminder for all.

  • Anonymous

    Brett first let me say thanks for posting this. Yes, we are all guilty of a few “ways” on here. In regards to #6 I have stopped following all the “Guru’s” the way I see it is I will see their post via a RT so why bother since what they have to say is self serving and really of no use to me or my clients.With that said I am curious are any of these samples you stated above real people? If they are how funny is that? lolol

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    @kara_Ella,

    thanks for being part of the conversation!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Gabriella,

    All of these were real updates taken from my Tweetdeck. In some cases, the names or the avatars were changed to protect privacy but the updates were for realz.

  • http://beadinbythesea.blogspot.com BeadinByTheSea

    Great list, since I’m still trying to figure out Twitter. I’m guilty of #6 but I’m trying to choose my friends wisely. I think #1 bothers me the most because it’s such a waste of space.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    BeadinByTheSea,

    No doubt, banality is one of the first objections people when adopting social media. You, rightfully, don’t want to be exposed to unfiltered, user-generated content… any more than you’d want to watch hours of someone’s un-edited home movie footage!

  • Anonymous

    Really true and perfect tips to lose relationshipn in 11 easy steps. And this is a handy guide for bloggers and social media users, espacially the seos.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    RitualJ,

    Glad you enjoyed! Always helps to remember and ask ourself if we’re crossing the line.

  • http://authorlisalogan.blogspot.com Lisa Logan

    All too true, and at one time or another since joining Twitter I’ve been guilty of almost all of these! Hey, I’m a work in progress.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Lisa Logan,

    I’m guilty of all these plus about a dozen that were too fringe and irritating to make the list. ;)

  • notlistening

    Basically you want people to be fake and boring. These rules are really stupid, PASSION about anything is interesting,,standing for something is important. If you need mediocrity..don’t engage at all. You socalled EXPERT OF SOCIAL INTERACTIONS,,ARE ATTENTION WHORES. WHY ELSE BOTHER!!!

  • notlistening

    I just deleted,,YOU. Media etiquette??? try being real. idiot.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Notlistening,

    I’m guessing I hit on some kind of nerve or something.

    Be yourself. Say what you want to. Let it out. But if people unfollow you, at least you’ll understand why.

  • http://adrielhampton.wordpress.com Adriel Hampton

    Hmmm. I find it really sad that numbers focus has created so many soulless social media folk. I’d just say, be real, be multidimensional, and be you. The rest will find you.

  • http://www.fullondesign.co.uk/ Mike

    Fantastic article, unfortunately I think I’ve done a few of the above :(

    Either way, RT’ed

  • http://www.rutgerblom.com/ Rutger Blom

    Great article!

  • http://tokbox.com damon billian

    Sheesh…what are people going to talk about if they follow the list? Just kidding…

    My personal take as a Twitter novice….
    I don’t focus too much on number of followers (I do check, obviously). I don’t really pay attention to people that stop following me that much because I look at it as a free will type of thing, much like how some relationships are transient in real life.

    In the order of things, here’s what I would be most concerned about:
    1. Losing a friend (real, not virtual).
    2. Losing a customer at any of the services I’ve worked at.
    3. A follower.

    Conversing with all of your followers, notably those that have tens of thousands, is probably not all that reachable by any single human being. Not responding to a direct inquiry, IMHO, is probably a lot worse than not sending a message to every person directly.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Adriel,

    It’s not about being neutered and soulless. It’s about having good manners. Not being unnecessarily negative or banal. Not overloading people. And focusing on your friends as much as you focus on yourself.

    That’s all!

  • http://www.twitter.com/Piecemaker Beth B.

    I think most of these are right on. I disagree somewhat with #7, however, IF the person has advertised in their bio where they stand or that they have a particular reason to tweet about that stuff. For instance, I put “preacher” and “theologian” in my bio and tweet about putting sermons together, faith issues, etc and follow others to get similar information.

    If it’s part of their online personality, I say it’s acceptable–but that #5 should be followed. I’m pro-choice, for instance, but I’m not going to tweet rants about pro-lifers.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Beth B,

    I’m not saying it’s “wrong” or “bad” to talk about religion of politics… just that you MIGHT lose some followers who aren’t interested in your religion. This isn’t just a “trying to inflate your numbers social media” thing – a lot of savvy business people avoid discussing politics + religion in real life too.

    You should, by all means, discuss what you do — as it is your life..!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Damon Billian,

    I agree… the point of this list is to “be nice” and a good conversationalist… to focus on others as much as you rant about negative / inane / narcissistic / banal stuff.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Rugter,

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I’ve done ALL of them. And 5 of them that aren’t on the list. Live and learn.

  • http://www.crimsondesigns.com Em Howes

    Thanks Brett. I have only been tweeting about a month or so. I wasn’t even sure how to respond to other tweets at first. It was confusing. Maybe some of us seem narcissistic at first because we don’t know any better.

    In my experience so far, I didn’t follow one person back because his picture was of a muscular bare chest. He seemed really vain.

  • http://tokbox.com damon billian

    Hi Brett,

    Understood. Just mentioning that there are more important things to lose than a follower:) I only mention politics sometimes on my Twitter account, largely due to the fact that politics can be like talking to wall (nothing I will say will change a person’s affiliation with a particular topic). The same goes with religion, which is something that can be a very divisive topic.

    I actually think that folks that have 10k+ followers are in for one hell of a ride. T

    he best advice you gave is to be personable, which I wholly agree with. A simple response back to a Tweet, or any other medium, is appreciated by the person that received your response.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Em Howes,

    It’s kind of Twitter’s fault. They ask, “What are you doing now?” and that’s a strong prompt for banality. For instance, now I’m sitting here in my PJ’s, drinking a glass of soy milk.

    p.s.
    I guarantee if I posted pictures of my bare chest, I would lose followers too.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Damon,

    It’ okay to mention politics and religion.. I do absolutely do it sometimes and on some sites… but not on sites that I use for business. I depend on Twitter to make a living so I leave politics out of it. If you’re just using it for fun to to be social – there’s no limits you should even consider… let ‘er rip!

    I don’t know how the people who follow 50k manage to do it! It’s like having a conversation with an entire small city!

  • http://www.words4theweb.co.uk Jane_Howitt

    Brett, that’s brilliant! Thank you!

    Sad how people don’t read carefully, though, isn’t it? You must have said *at least* 200 times that these aren’t ‘Rules’ but might be ‘Reasons’.

    And I think a dash of good manners never comes amiss, wherever you are. Poor old Notlistening really got their knickers in a twist, didn’t they!

    Anyway, want to pick your brains about the filtering tools. What? and Where? and How? Have you blogged about them?

    Keep up the great work! x

  • Anonymous

    Hi Brett,

    Great article. Your points were valid and good reminders.

    I will RT, oh wait maybe not.
    Okay, I will tell people I found a great article that I want to share… oh wait maybe not. Ummm?

    Well. This article is so good I will take the chance and both RT and suggest, but not at the same time…. cuz I don’t want to bogg down the wall of new twitters….

    Kudos and hats off. I look forward to your future articles.

    Deann DaSilva

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Jane,

    I use Tweetdeck and keep people deep to my heart in a custom group so I don’t miss their messages. That way I can follow everyone and not miss the critical stuff. I use Whiz RSS to keep track of friend’s Digg submissions so stories don’t get lost in the shuffle. And Facebook now has great controls for silencing some people’s updates.

  • http://tokbox.com damon billian

    I don’t know how the people who follow 50k manage to do it! It’s like having a conversation with an entire small city!

    Nor do I! While I have engaged with a large number of communities in the past, that number is still quite large to me. Props to the folks that can do so to some degree.

    Politics and religion: Even if I have my own views, I am personally loathe to do so in any environment that would affect my relationship with my employer. I am actually a weird hybrid when it comes to politics (Democrat and Republican), and perhaps even more strange when it comes to religion (largely Buddhist in thought, terrible in practice, and practitioner of the Judeo-Christian ethics that permeate Western culture).

    Thanks for the interesting article. Appreciate it!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    That’s for your feedback. I dunno where this article came from. Last Wednesday I was anxious for something to blog about and all these annoying factors on my screen just kind wrote a blog post for me.

    It’s wednesday and I need to come up with something again… Any ideas for a good blog post you’d like to read?

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I share my political views with friends, have learned the hard way about mixing them with business associates. Recently there was someone I respected who made disparaging remarks about my religion and it kind of soured the relationship. I made some tweets on election night that I thought were very moderate and innocuous and a guy unfollowed me who I’d spent two years building a relationship with.

    However, on some forums I don’t use my real name or I don’t use for business so I let ‘em rip! ;)

    Glad you liked, please subscribe via RSS and I’ll see what I can do in the future!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevelodge Steve SEO UK

    In a way, I’m a bit guilty on the point of following followers. The reason why, is that I was missing a load of important tweets that were mixed up with a mass of other unimportant ones. Perhaps after reading this article, I will be a bit more liberal.

    RT’d what is a great tweet and article.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Steve,

    I’m gonna do an article soon about how not to miss important updates.

  • http://twitter.com/Iwasframed IwasFramed

    Nice post, makes you wonder if they should post this on do’s and don’t for twitter!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    IWasFramed,

    Thanks a lot! Feel free to suggest it!

  • TJSharky

    In my opinion, if you worry for more than two seconds about being unfriended (is that a word?) you are wasting too much time online.

  • Michelle

    I agree. Everyone uses Twitter for different reasons. I like to be entertained and sometimes banality entertains me. I will usually follow anyone who follows me, but if all someone does is tweet about improving social networking, I will probably stop following them. I don’t need 1000′s of followers, and don’t want to sort through the tweets that don’t sound like they come from real people. So, we are all here for different reasons. :)

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    TJSharky,

    I like your style.

    Keep it real and not worrying what others think gets respect points in my book.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Michelle,

    I am using Twitter for professional reasons… so that definitely inspired this list.

    It sounds like you are a “Give everyone a chance, then unfollow if problematic” kind of follower… which is how I am doing it these days, too.

  • Charles Knight

    “”Negativity usually detracts from your status. ” hum – there is a cultural element to that, I’m English and would rather see that the “wow, today is going to be AWESOME!”, “wow, having an awesome day at my SEO workshop” that Americans(sorry guys!) seem to love in their post.

  • http://www.meetjulius.com Julius Solaris

    Excelent post,

    thanks for the lesson, a lot to learn. I think everyone is guilty.

    Julius

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    ToJulius,

    Thanks for stopping by and connecting, giving me a chance to “meet” you and see your event planning Blog…

    We’re all learning!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Charles Knight,

    I’m not sure I understand… are you saying the English are more positive than us yankees? Or vice vera?

  • http://lifeofpursuit.blogspot.com George

    Great post, and a lot of positvie insight. Look forward to reading more…Thanks for expanding my knowledge and empowering me to get the most out of my time and also not waste the time of those following me.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    George,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. It gave me a chance to check out your Life of Pursuit blog and it’s good to meet ya!

  • Charles Knight

    Americans have more of a tendency to place emphasis on making public statements about positive thought (or so my encounters on twitter suggest) – we tend to see that sort of behaviour in corporate drones and used car salesmen, I’d suggest that cynical commentary goes down better with us brits.

    So

    “feeling really positive today about the business, here are my top five tips for SEO success” c

    comes across to us as

    “Drone ! Will work for food! desperate desperate desperate”

  • http://www.meetjulius.com Julius Solaris

    Thank you Brett

    I love your approach.

    Great post again

    Julius

  • http://www.debohobo.com Debo Hobo

    Okay #9 may be an issue for me. I’ll try to wotk on that……….

    Supper dupper post very helpful and to the point.

  • Social Media Rock Starlet

    Yo, I found myself laughing out loud reading this. This is great. the bragging stuff with some twitters really gets to me sometimes.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Charles Knight,

    Gotcha.

    Syrupy sweet positivity can come across as new age fluff for the Brits, huh?

    Some fo the most engaging people I follow take negative stuff and make it funny. Snarky. Witty. Sarcastic. They vent their frustrations but it makes you chuckle rather than cringe.

    I recommend @toddmintz – he’s awesomely funny.

  • http://marketingmystic.wordpress.com MiaD

    Great post! I don’t think your TweetBack tracker’s working because this did get tweeted, I will RT this for sure :)

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    MiaD,

    Thanks so Much! Appreciate it!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    We’ve all got a lot to share, but sometimes less is more. Spent more time sending people replies or messages, perhaps?

  • http://www.mostlymatt.com/ Matt Jacobson

    Excellent article! A few of these were very insightful. Thank you.

  • http://livitluvit.com LiLu

    Banality… this one KILLS me. Trust me, nothing will make me unfollow you faster than telling me everything you had to eat that day, or how your evening jog went! Unless you spewed soup on your boss or tripped and landed in the lap of a bum, I DON’T CARE.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    MostlyMatt,

    Cheerz, Mate!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Narcissism is the one that kills me the most, but banality is a close second.

    “I just drank a sip of water and checked my email” =–NO#@@$@@#@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!#$!@!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.twentysteps.com/ Mike

    Genuinely good advice not just for online relationships but also offline ones too.

    Too many of us find ourselves wrapped up in the online safety blanket that we forget the “rules” that govern real life.

    Loved the post hence the Stumble and Twitter RT.

  • SB

    While these are all valid tips if you’re looking for thousands of followers (particularly on a more professional level), most of them are questionable at best if you’re looking for fewer, more meaningful online relationships; if you can’t talk about yourself, politics, religion, etc. with those closer to you, what CAN you talk about? I personally enjoy learning about people I’m following. As long as they’re not hostile (#11), I’m happy with them expressing who they are. Conversation is the whole point of social media.

    I’m not countering these arguments; I just think it depends on what your Twitter goals are.

    #9 is probably valid on all levels. If you’re over-Tweeting, get a blog. :)

    Thanks for the post!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Mike,

    Cheers, mate! Thanks for stopping by and giving me a chance to check out 20 Steps!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    SB,

    The point isn’t to censor or not talk about things… it’s trying to find GOOD stuff to talk about that will endear you to your RL friends. Even close friends and family members can get inflamed about politics..I know at my family dinner table there were always 4 different sets of beliefs and arguing.

    People should be able to freely converse.. but the art of social media is picking the most interesting and relevant things to talk about – and talk about other people!

  • SB

    I guess I’m more open-minded than most. I have loads of friends who don’t share my political or religious beliefs, personal interests, etc., but we are always respectful of each other. The people who are hostile are the ones that are un-followed. But just stating a non-hostile political opinion or sharing that someone is going to church? Surely those aren’t so inflammatory as to destroy relationships. Sharing our diverse thoughts and beliefs is what makes us stronger as a community. Avoiding certain topics just seems really odd to me.

    To each his own.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    SB,

    You’d be surprised! Because politics and religion have an emotional / territorial component to them more than logical … so people can “see into” what you’re saying and come up with all kinds of helter-skelter misunderstandings and projections.

    Your friends and family will forgive you but SOME acquaintances will drop you. At least that has been my own experience.

  • http://www.knyshov.com Leonid S. Knyshov

    I will argue about reciprocity.

    I follow plenty of people. Many people choose to follow me. While the numbers will look similar, the reality is different. Most of the people whom I follow at first are not my followers. If I don’t find a follower’s updates intriguing, and I follow back quite a few of them, I am perfectly fine with sharing my thoughts with them without reading theirs. :)

  • http://www.goldenwebdesign.com/locations/m304-charlotte-web-design.html Charlotte Web Design

    Its really nice to know all that. Will try to follow them from now.

  • http://twitter.com/joshlowe JoshLowe

    Disagree with #7. Barack Obama being the first or second most followed person on Twitter says to me that politics are of great interest to many. What I think makes the difference is being very mindful of rule #11 when addressing those topics.

  • http://www.alyssonfergison.com Alysson

    There are no “rules” to using Twitter and whether or not the above referenced “11 Ways to Lose Friends and Followers Online” apply is based entirely on who your audience is and what your purpose is in using Twitter to begin with.

    I’m wildly opposed to the idea of “Twitter Reciprocity”. It’s perhaps the quickest way to render Twitter useless. If I subscribed to that mindless notion I’d have a Twitterstream filled with “Hey, guys…I just got my free laptop” and “I just made $3,800 in an hour – you can too”. Using social networks with purpose and truly building a rapport with others requires being as choosy about those you associate with online as you are about those you associate with in life.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Josh Lowe,

    Obama is a celebrity. Celebrities have followers and attract interests no matter what they do.

    Different rules apply to normal folks like me.

    No one is saying you must never discuss politics, but be prepared to have the occasional misunderstanding of what you’re trying to say! And be prepared for some random guy to disagree and drop you as a result. I’m not saying it’s “right”- but I’ve just noticed it happens.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Aly,

    I hate the spam on Twitter. I definitely unfollow the MLMers and such. I agree that having good quality interactions is better than having “lots of” interactions… but the cost of following someone on Twitter is very small – just to try it out… and it’s very easy to unfollow someone.

    I personally tend to follow anyone who looks like a real, non-spamming human and “drop” people if they become annoying… and that works well for my style of using Twitter as an independent social media marketer.

    You have every right to keep it intimate, and the article doesn’t contest that… but rest assured some people will AUTO DROP ya if you don’t follow them back. If you can transcend concern or fixation on number of followers you have, this should pose no problem.

    Thanks for your comment!

    -Brett

    p.s. how did you manage to make $3,800 in an hour? WHERE CAN I SIGN UP? ;)

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    .

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Leonid,

    you shouldn’t follow anyone you don’t wanna. You have every right to keep it as personal as you like!

  • septer

    Nice list, with some new categories. Most of all is common sense. One other one I’ve seen mentioned is idleness or undertweeting. Just not saying enough.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Septer,

    Cheers man, that is a huge reason I left off the list. For sure, being inactive means some people will drop you.

    EXCELLENT comment, thanks!

  • http://www.strottrot.com strottrot

    See which of your tweets caused you to lose followers or pick some up: http://tweeteffect.com/
    (But beware. Each time I’ve checked this out, I get paranoid and update my status a lot less for a while. :-) )

  • http://blog.wizardofcheese.com Greg

    I think there’s validity in some of these points. I have issue with “Reciprocity” though. I started down the path of following everyone that follows me but now I go to their homepage for a quick check on what they tweet about. I find it great that people choose to follow me for whatever reason they have. Unfortunately I only follow tweets through one plug-in and do not appreciate it flooded with “Overload” and “Banality”.

  • melissa

    I just love ur articule….looking forward to ur future articules!

    All my best from Mexico

  • http://twitter.com/teknomantik Joel

    1-3 nailed it. 4 is borderline but the conditions keep it good.

    5. Well okay, I’m grumpy and negative sometimes, but this, like all things, in moderation. I do admit I really hate filling my blog/feed/whatever with nothing but grump and grar, so I try to avoid it.

    6. This is a philosophical thing — I follow people if I’m interested in what they have to say, and generally not celebrities. Following me is not a guarantee that I will follow you, because IMO filtering misses the point.

    7. Maybe this will get people to unfollow you, but I tend to think it’s a quality-over-quantity thing on this one. If someone’s unfollowing me because I talk about … well, anything they disagree with, then I’m probably not interested in them anyway because I’m not likely to see real dialogue from them.

    8-9. Spot-on, and they go hand in hand.

    10. This could go both ways — your example at the top is one I’d really hate, but if they’re talking about, f’rinstance, what’s being discussed at SXSW or live-tweeting a keynote at Apple WWDC, something like that… that’s stuff I want to know. Quality over quantity again, I guess.

    11. Would that more people would learn this. Unfortunately it lies closely with #5 and I’m probably guilty of more of it than I’d like (which is to say any at all).

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Strottrot,

    Cool tool! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Melissa,

    Thanks for your comment! Glad you enjoyed!@

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Greg,

    good on ya. You have every right to be selective about who you follow.. .and not enter into relationships with people you don’t even want as followers.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    @Joel,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful and excellent comment. We all do all these things sometimes, but we live and learn.

    In my game, social media marketing is about polishing our online presence until it resonates with a large mass of people… because I want to have connections, opportunity and audience.

    Making this list forced me to reflect on what worked and what didn’t.

  • http://www.juniorseo.com Dan Alderson

    This is a good article but I’m sure everyone would own up to at least two of them. Some are worse then others, it’s not too bad if you do it in moderation, everyone has a whinge and a moan about “stuff” its just human nature but it’s like real life – no one is going to hang out with the person who moans about the music at a party all night they go off and find more interesting people.

  • http://teddy-o-ted.com Terry

    Be proud that you actually promoted this article – it’s a golden lesson that everyone using Twitter should actually read. I’ve seen too many people tweeting about their private lives, engaging in live fights/arguments/disagreement episodes on Twitter. Not to forget those who display an elitist attitude.

    But of course, these people are just a few spoiled beans out of the whole basket. Twitter still remains an amazing place to connect with like-minded individuals. I’ll keep an eye for such black sheeps in the future, thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Humbled by the Social Media Rockstar. ;)
    Only small issues with points 2 & 7 but your “Ask Yourself” qualifiers remediate those.
    Good article.

    Thanks
    DPBKMB

  • http://www.bulkyweb.eu BulkyWebEU

    This is so true. I do agree with all of them. A few comments are against No. 6 Their point of view is from different angle. I agree with you.
    One more reason is F-FB-UF Someone start to Follow you, you Follow Back, after few days you find out they Un-Followed you. This is just fishing for new followers to artificially increase their numbers. Its rude and definitely leading to boot from me. If that happened few times with the same person – I even block them to prevent it from happening again

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    BulkyWebEU,

    Yeah – the F-FB-UF ‘fishing’ behavior is the worst. I might have done it accidentally a few times tho… as it gets hard to remember who is who when people change avaters / bgs, etc.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I admit. I’ve done all these and more. Some of them in the process of writing and promoting this article.

  • petebrown

    Solid list. Thanks for posting.

    My money is on you changing your stance on #6 one day down the road. The Lack of Reciprocity shouldn’t be on this list. Not being followed is the market’s way of saying “your Tweets aren’t of interest”. Nothing wrong with that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I get hurt feelings too when someone doesn’t follow back or talk to me. But, we all have priorities and I cannot expect others to waste their time on my Tweets if I’m not offering any value – entrainment, educational, etc.

  • Erika Engle

    A good, common-sense read — but a MUST-READ for social media noobs.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Well this pretty much wraps up 90% of the Twitter community.

  • http://jeffnolan.com/wp/2009/03/20/friday-link-post/ Friday Link Post | Venture Chronicles

    [...] 11 ways to lose friends and followers online. [...]

  • http://bacatu.blogspot.com Matthew Cain

    I would be more convinced if you could have demonstrated that those people had actually lost followers as a result.

    #4 #5 #7 #10 #11 can all work in the right circumstances – and as many others I’m not convinced that if you followed all the rules all of the time that you’d have anything interesting to say on Twitter at all.

    I’d much rather follow someone interesting and provocative rather than bland.

  • http://azurelunatic.livejournal.com AzureLunatic

    I’m someone mostly using Twitter for personal reasons (though in the case of technical problems on livejournal I tend to spread the word as fast as I hear about it, as a public service and so I don’t get panicked inquiries from my friends).

    I’ve noticed a few things that really irk me that you haven’t mentioned specifically.

    The first seems like an edge case that’s mostly covered under a combination of #3 and #4. If I catch someone declaring that they are participating in a dodgy scheme to collect followers, I will not only not follow them, but block them, and un-follow them if I’m currently following them. It’s also a #6, as while they seem to be only too glad to follow people who follow them and in fact follow first, they are about getting followers without putting forth the effort to even try to build a relationship.

    The second is keyword-following without sane human intervention before the following takes place. I have occasionally said a few highly uncomplimentary and profane things about, say, Web 2.0, or social media. Each time I use a keyword, I get a little shower of followers. It’s very clear from their feeds that they’re doing this in case I’m one of them, but without looking at what I just wrote and saying “Wow, this frill is not the kind of input I need if that’s what she thinks of my entire industry.”

    Don’t get my wrong: I have no problem with coming to the attention of people via an automated keyword search, otherwise I wouldn’t be posting in public. However, when people are using an automated keyword search to replace any human judgment in their selection of people to follow, they are immediately in violation of #4 (their keywords are their agenda, and I can usually tell what that was by looking at my recent tweets from the last 10 minutes and a glance at their profile), #3 (they are following me to promote themselves; their first and only impression is negative and I am likely to consider them a spammer), and #6 (they do not care enough about building a relationship to actually care about the meaning of what I have said, just that I have said keywords that they are interested in; they may never actually read what I have written).

    I have strong feelings about spam and spammers, to a point that’s almost religious (and doubtless I run the risk of losing followers when I rail about it, under principle #7). There are undoubtedly spammers out there, spammers who know what they are and what they’re doing. However, there are some people out there who doubtless are just following the “rules” they’ve been taught for Twitter, and, in doing so, have become spammers, just less professional than most. Rule #12 should be: “Don’t be mistaken for a spammer.”

    I also think automatic follow-backs are evil, because they encourage clear spammers. By all means, follow everything that looks like a legitimate person following you. However, 5 guys named Jason who are all trying to survive in this economy by getting a free laptop are not legitimate people. But seeing that 205 people are now following Jason will lend legitimacy to a spammer before Twitter suspends them.

  • http://tango.livejournal.com Tango

    Any of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11 are ok in moderation. Stranger still, that with respect to themselves far more so than respect with each other.

    I can understand 6. In fact, I disagree with 6. I don’t have to follow someone to interact with them (unless they have their posts locked – really, I have no idea who you are and you follow me with your locked posts – your profile better damn well tell me who you are!). You can see if anyone with public tweets (or anyone you follow who has locked tweets) has (properly) directed a tweet at you by checking your @replies.

    9 is just painfully true and I’m guilty of it at times. I don’t tweet from my phone often or by text message ever – I don’t have unlimited tweets. I tweet through proxies at work and in reply to people in groups.

  • Sharon

    Brett, this is terrific and much needed guidance. I think it should be included on all of the social media sites
    as “strongly suggested” protocol! Thanks for sharing this!

    ~ Sharon

  • http://www.myspace.com/3devious Nik

    I thought Twitter was more of a status message kind of thing… I didn’t realize it was important to have followers.

  • Jamie

    I would much rather post my true thoughts than censor them for the sake of keeping followers. I would consider my life to be pretty sad if I actually cared whether someone stopped reading my Twitter posts.

  • http://zas07.net Ken

    great article — congrats

  • Elana Rabinovitch

    Er, yeah, just posted it to my Fbook page. Loved the article. Thanks.

  • http://www.lornefade.com Toronto SEO

    Great article, I am definitely guilty of a few of those myself, and it helps to have an outside perspective sometimes I guess.

  • johnincolorado

    these things work well if you want to be polite and safe in order to build a business or marketing network. personally, i’m looking for connection on twitter, thought, intelligence, not marketing or business networking. i pursue social networking on twitter; i want to get to know people. i actually WANT them to answer the question, “what are you doing now?” and if you don’t want to know what i am doing or thinking or feeling or believing; or what i am passion about, i am not a food “follow”
    i am banal, dry, sarcastic, religious, political and narcissistic. i do not like reposting/recycling but i LOVE when people brag about the cool things that are going on in their lives because i want to get to know them. and dang it, if i go out and ride 80 miles over a mountain pass on my bike, i want to tell people about it that care.
    i also don’t care too much if i have 100 or 1000 followers. i won’t be following someone that only tweets unoriginal quotes or only posts links to another person’s articles.
    i guess the author and i have different goals for what they want to accomplish on twitter and i’m okay with that. @johnincolorado

  • Jeff

    “Both the Democrats and Republicans are are totally missing the boat with their economic bailout plans.” … seems as if this hits banality, negativity and recycling …

  • Holden Caulfield

    If you care passionately about politics, then censoring your speech so as not to lose followers is pretty pathetic.

    Mind you, the concept of doing anything with the specific aim of gaining or placating followers seems sort of pathetic to me anyway. Just do your thing, and be yourself.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Holden Caulfield,

    If you don’t care if someone drops you or not… go for it! Let it fly. Some people will disagree and drop you, but who needs if if you’re passionate about politics!

  • Linda Wyatt

    You have great advice here on keeping friends and followers. But…I don’t care if I lose anybody. Numero uno for me personally, is to run my biz, then if I have time to twitter I am true to myself. I think it all comes down to what you want to get out of twitter. I will make a political statement occasionally. And, if someone is offended they can unfollow. If I can’t make my statement and if I have to watch what I say too much, twitter is not what I thought it was. If people leave me because my opinion is different from theirs, I don’t want them. I mean would you? I see too many peeps around boring me with cutesy stuff or leading me to their latest pep rally. I am nice about it. I am a nice and helpful type, but those “used car salesmen of marketing” are the people I will just not interact much with. I think it all comes down to balance. I do have quite a few peeps who seek me out and interact with me BECAUSE of my sometimes off-beat humor, politics and my knowledge about biz. Some have become great friends and we have entirely different politics. Whatever works, umm…works. Love your blog. I’ll be back.

  • http://www.waynejohn.com Wayne

    Great list, I think I’ve broken each and every one of these at some point. And I’ve identified a few I need to address within myself.

    It’s certainly hard to keep your passions from interfering with your stream though. Especially when you follow people that push your buttons. Why do I follow them? Just a gluten for punishment I guess.

  • Lou

    very valid article and some really good tips as ell

  • Anonymous

    What I get out of what you’re saying here is to count the cost of self-expression, and that has everything to do with WHY you’re tweeting (or networking or blogging or whatever). I have a personal political blog (notice my restraint in not pimping it here?). I’m also an ardent member of a particular faith community. A few months back, I shared a small something from the faith part. In the post I said, “I hope this doesn’t offend you too much. After all, this is primarily a political blog. Then again, it’s also personal. And I am who I am.”

    On the other hand, a lot of people in my local faith community have joined me on Facebook, where I’m definitely on a mission to “educate” politically. So far, nobody’s cut me off. But I sometimes look at all I post and ponder what it may look like from outside my peculiar belief system. Interestingly, a number of people—some of them quite surprising to me—have stepped up and joined the discussion. But I make sure I leaven the dough with plenty of funny things, especially if they show the less-than-stellar side of yours truly. I’m passionate about some things and deeply concerned with some of what’s going on and I don’t hide that, because it’s part of who I am. But I’m a lot more than the sum of my passions and I care about a lot more than politics and religious convictions. Starting with the people who live in my “world.”

  • http://totalteamsolutions.com Lalita

    I’ll follow anyone who is being authentic. I don’t care if they follow me back or it I agree with their posts or if they have lots to say on a particular day. Some people I follow because I’m interested in learning more about their opposing point of view.

    I don’t automatically unfollow people who unfollow me, either.

    People I don’t follow tend to be those who use Twitter to Sell! Sell! Sell! in advance of (1) an express need for the product/service or (2) spam me. My favorite are the life coaches wanting to sell me coaching–when I’ve taught business and executive coaching internationally for the past decade and been in the industry for upwards of 2 decades. When I point this out, they are always surprised. So, I guess (4) people who can’t be bothered to read the profiles of the people they follow. Oh, yeah, the (4) the people who are trying to be the generic all things to all people? Boring as hell.

    I think the insistence of twit for twa (OK, that didn’t come out right) and generic inauthenticity will kill the freshness and cause Twitter to run counter to how we operate off the twitter grid.

    Lalita
    (@LLAmos)

  • http://kristeclectic.com/2009/03/31/to-compensate-for-my-writing-block/ Krist Eclectic » Blog Archive » To compensate for my writing block…

    [...] 11 Ways to Lose Friends and Followers Online Though #6 is crap. I follow people I’m interested in. I can’t keep track of everyone. If everyone followed everyone it would be a disorganized, meaningless mess. I want to make real connections. [...]

  • http://go2graphics.com/g2 Steve

    What a load of garbage – especially number 7 which basically says don’t write anything that isn’t bland which directly contradicts the one that says don’t be banal (and all the others on the list to a lesser extent)

    A proposed #12 anyone that links to or produces a self canceling list.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Steve,

    Sorry you thought this was “garbage,” but I have found from personal experience that SOME people will drop for all 11 of these reasons… wheter or not you think they are just – it will happen because they do trigger some people.

    if you’re using social media for fun and you’re not concerned with offending someone , somewhere.. and don’t mind losing a couple of followers who ultimately weren’t for you… don’t worry about this list.

    If you’re sensitive or your trying to run a professional brand or company account, beware!

  • http://prophecygirl.twitter.com Prophecy Girl

    Agreed. I don’t follow someone just because they followed me–especially if I don’t find them interesting. Or worse yet, if a simple glance at their Twitter/Myspace reveals that they have stringent views on subjects that are the exact opposite of mine. For example, I was being followed by someone who spent half their MySpace profile talking about how evil homosexuality is–I’ve been with my girlfriend for eight years, and I have nothing to say to someone who thinks I’m an “abomination”, nor do I care what they have to say. Or whether they think I’m rude for not following them back.

    If someone wants to follow me, more power to them. I don’t feel compelled to follow back a perfect stranger that I have nothing in common with–just because it’s polite.

    But then, I’m not on Twitter to gain e-fame or sell a product, I’m there to communicate with my friends. If someone else finds me interesting and wants to follow me–okay. If I find them interesting, then okay as well. I also follow a lot of people that don’t follow me back–I don’t feel snubbed, or that they’re being elitist.

    People take everything so personally. “OMG I’ve been defriended, WHY??”

    Who cares? At least it’s less awkward than defriending someone in real life. At least this way, you don’t have to worry about getting your CDs back from them.

  • spamless

    Not a bad list. I am amused because the founder of Twitter seems to fall into the trap of Rule #1, banality. I unfollowed him after a week on that account. Ironically, posting about mundane actions is covered in the Twitter orientation video as the original concept behind the service. OK, I think people are generally interested in when Madonna or Obama is having lunch, but probably not when I am — or maybe not even when the founder of Twitter is.

    I disagree with Rule 6, reciprocity. I follow 64 people — a nice power of 2 — and I am trying hard not to follow more. I can’t keep up. I do try to read everything they say. And I have other activities and social media besides Twitter (mainly text-based Usenet Newsgroups, the old-style, original, UNIX way, without a GUI). If everybody fakes out his or her followers by filtering them, then the entire stats and ego-boost from being followed becomes nothing but a sham. I follow people I find interesting.

    There are many — thousands — I’d like to follow. If someone’s excluded, it isn’t a statement I’m making about his or her self-worth or even about how much I might really like that individual.

    An important point for me that doesn’t seem to have been covered is, if someone is following and followed by thousands and then adds me to his or her follow list, I have to doubt that he or she really is interested in what I have to say. Rather, I’ll suspect the person is fishing for new followers to raise his or her own stats. This kind of thing tends to send me scurrying rather than following in return.

    I try to use irony and wit in my updates. But I am not the best judge of how successful I am at that. :-) Last bit: I’m pretty new around here.

  • http://stephinfectionisinyourhead.blogspot.com Stephanie

    Very good tips. I have witnessed all and have been guilty of a few myself, lol!

  • http://dailyblonde.blogspot.com The Daily Blonde

    I totally suck. I am guilty of 1, 2, 3, 5, 9. I almost feel like I should just close my Twitter account and hide under a table in a dark room somewhere.

    I need a Twit Slap. How does anyone tolerate me…and why didn’t anyone say I am a horror show on Twitter?? :)

  • ros reines

    I loved reading this list and found it to be true to my own beliefs. (Does that sound as though I am too up myself?)

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Stephanie,

    I am guilty of ALL of these plus 7 or 8 minor ones that didn’t make the list.

    Live and learn!

    Social media is a personal communications evolution for all of us!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    The Daily Blonde,

    You’re doing fine… this isn’t a list of rules… it’s just a list of suggestions that “can’t hurt”….. no need to follow them unless you are keen to add lots of new people and not lose anyone!

    Please don’t die…. stay alive… come back… read, share, and follow me on Twitter!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Ros Reines,

    No… it’s just applying real life manners and conversational strategy to the online medium… good for you!

    Some people seem to think that going online gives them license to talk about stuff they’d never want to mention in real life.

  • everysandwich

    Many of the blogs I follow have really cut back on the number of posts, and I think it’s because they instinctively understand #5, that spewing negativity often helps no one, and these days there’s a lot to be negative or depressed about. While I agree with #7 if the goal is to keep all followers, I hope it’s possible to address charged topics with reason and fairness. With the state of the press these days I think we have something of a responsibility to try to sort out information from misinformation and disinformation collectively. Thanks for the reminder of the basic landmines to avoid.

  • http://www.gerlaine.com Gerlaine

    You were totally on point with this article!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Everysandwich,

    Politics and religion is tricky. If you go for it, keep in mind that there’s a 90% chance that 40% or more people will disagree with your stance and feel distance from you, rather than closer.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Spamless,

    Following more people doesn’t have to be overwhelming… as long as you don’t think you need to follow every single detail of people’s lives. I challenge you to try following more people and just soaking the flow of information in. You can still keep tabs on all your close friends:

    http://socialmediarockstar.com/follow-more-people

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Thanks Gerlaine,

    glad you liked it!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Jognincolorado,

    If you’re not concerned with using Twitter for networking.. let you freak flag fly and forgot the people who don’t like what you have to say.

    I use it for business so that has an influence on the way I use it and what I say and do.

  • http://www.streetfire.org Karla Woods

    I’m a brand new Twitterer and I’m really glad I found this article. Thanks so much for posting this!

  • http://www.globalsearchinteractive.net Massimo Burgio

    Very good article, dude!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Karla,

    I am so stoked that you enjoyed this. Please check back for more.

  • http://www.cityscope.net ingridfuller

    This sounds like you have to be politically correct. I thought we were suppose to be ourselves so that people get to know us. People are going to have up times, down times, possibly promote themselves, possibly offend someone, but hey free speech is something we should not be afraid to do. To be positive at all times, to be non-confrontational and not question things is NOT normal and I hope people are not that shallow on Twitter. I have noticed that most of what you say is correct. It’s sad though, that people don’t give someone the benefit of the doubt or at least some time to get to know them first before you just write them off and unfollow.

  • Anonymous

    Negativity… Huh, why does Warren Ellis have so many followers than?

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I don’t follow Warren Ellis cause he doesn’t follow me back ;)

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Ingrid,

    It might be sad, but people can and do unfollow people for a variety of reasons. These are 11 of the most common ones.

    This isn’t a list of commandments to be politically correct. Just gudlines / things to think about for people who are trying to gain more followers.

  • http://glennhilton.com Glenn Hilton

    Great article Brett! Still chuckling to myself on some of those as I think I’ve experienced them all thus far and probably done quite a few myself. When you first start on Twitter your really don’t know how you should go about it, but funny way relationships work, you get unfollowed a few times and you quickly start adjusting what you’re doing and saying. Probably the most helpful article to me was Kris Colvin’s “Twitter & the Law of Reciprocity” (http://twitterface.me/twitter-the-law-of-reciprocity) article that you mentioned above. It really helped me get a new perspective on how to go about twittering. The more I thought about it the more I realized that we all need to do our part to preserve Twitter for the greater good or the awesome community that we have could begin to diminish in it’s value for all of us. I like to follow people of all sorts and I typically like to give almost everyone a fair shot if they follow me (unless it’s spammers, fake accounts, etc.) Then as I observe the Twitter stream If I see things that create too much noise then I’ll eventually unfollow. One women thought is was her duty to share her daily devotions and every third tweet was a Bible verse. It was awesome that she was passionate about her beliefs but it’s so annoying for anyone else who may not share them… unfollow.

    There was actually a lot of value in your comments to this post too. I’m sure you gained new insights yourself Brett as you heard others opinions. Thanks for sharing and look forward to hearing more from you on the subject.

  • http://glennhilton.com Glenn Hilton

    Must have been tough to respond like you did on that one Brett. Not sure I would have been able to be so gracious after all the work you put into writing that article.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Glenn Hilton,

    Glad you enjoyed this article. I too just unfollowed a Bible verse tweeter, an overloader… and also someone with political views that offended mine.

    The reason I put the effort into publishing this blog is because it’s a tool for me to meet people and connect with them.

    My philosophy: “Write something that will help someone else, see who responds to it, and then those are most likely people that’d be good to connect with for personal and professional reasons.”

    Thanks for your comments, I checked out your site and you do some first class Drupal dev work. I know who to send people too for solid sites and gorgeous themes.

  • http://glennhilton.com Glenn Hilton

    Very smart strategy. You’re doing a great job of it. You take the time to reply to almost every comment which is very commendable. What’s more impressive is that you actually listen to what people are saying and try to understand their perspective (even if they’re different from yours). By doing this you show you care about your readers. I think the most disturbing thing I read in the list above was the comment “I find it really sad that numbers focus has created so many soulless social media folk”. That’s so true and yet so sad. Saturday I read this article: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_to_sell_your_soul_on_twitter_and_whos_buying.php?page=2#comments , which I found VERY disturbing (and has been bothering me ever since) and I can totally understand where people are coming from when they say this. So it’s great to see people like yourself who are seeking to do what it takes to change this perception.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Glenn,

    Some people criticized “11 Ways to Lose Friends and Followers Online” as being some kind of lisrt of rules for becoming a soul-less, bland McSocial Media personality.

    I disagree… I think that a lot of the subtle nuances and background bits about your personality are sometimes concealed online… and if you talk with a diverse global audience the way you’d talk with your church friends or stoner buddies… a lot of people may mis-interpret what you have to say. A certain kind of “universal” eqituette may be helpful.. but not necessary.

    Thanks for that Magpie story link. I knew of the service, but hadn’t seen it in action. The crass personalization of the Tweets is pretty lame.

  • Dolores Rosari

    I did enjoy this article. I am new to Twitter and still trying to learn how to use it and it doesn’t seem to come with instructions. I appreciate hearing from established and experienced users. However, I do not agree with numbers 6 and 7. Being new to Twitter I am eager to get followers but I have declined to follow a few because I have found some of their comments to be offensive (foul language or sexually motivated). I believe I have the right to choose my friends, even online, and I have no desire to associate myself with that type of person.

    Also, I believe that being a social media, Twitter is a good forum, and should be tolerant of people expressing their political and religious views. A steady diet of anything gets old fast and noone wants to hear anyone rant about the same old thing all the time but I believe that religious and political views are important and should be shared when something comes up that you feel passionate about.

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    CA DMV approved DE…

    When you are required to report an accident to the DMV…

  • Beth

    I liked the article, but I disagree with #7. one of the reasons I enjoy Twitter is to meet folks with similar interests, but I also follow people who don’t have the same beliefs/interests I do, as long as they act respectfully. I treat others with respect and I won’t follow someone who doesn’t no matter who they are.
    As far as #6, I follow most folks who follow me, unless they’re obviously spammers, or they are rude, or don’t have any interesting updates already posted – I’m being followed by someone who only posts ads for cars, trucks, etc – since that’s not something I’ll be looking online for, I see no need to follow them.
    I’m not in it for the numbers, I’m in it to meet up with new friends and learn something.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Beth,

    Do you do disagree that some people will, in fact, drop you if you
    talk about religion and political things? I’ve found, time and time
    again, some people will. No matter how carefully you word things.

    I’m not saying that this is “right or wrong” – or how things should be
    - I have just found from hard knocks that many people don’t share your
    admirably thick skin and ideological tolerance.

    Good for you for not being obsessed with numbers and trying to make
    connections with people who really like you and what you’ve got to say.

    -Brett

  • http://www.MySpace.com/sneakatoker Sneak-A-Toker

    Good list =oD

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Sneak A Toker,

    Cool nickname!

  • http://www.conseilsmarketing.fr/entreprise-marketing/story.php?id=747 pligg.com

    11 erreurs pour perdre des amis et des suiveurs sur Twitter…

    Est-ce que vous aussi vous faites ces erreurs ?…

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    [...] une libre traduction d’un article sympathique de Brett Borders de socialmediarockstar.com. Il nous explique les erreurs classiques qui font perdre des suiveurs sur [...]

  • Anonymous

    Follow back people who follow me ? What if I am not interested in what they are saying ?

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    You definitely shouldn’t follow them back if yo aren’t interested. I
    don’t. Howver, be prepared that a sizable percentage of your new
    followers will drop you – and you’ll only be left with the ones
    who are really interested in what you have to say.

    -Brett

  • Anonymous

    I am following 2 friends but I have 419 followers. http://twitter.com/mixbeat
    I am not the least bit after growing my following base. I started twittering about what I like, and one in a while, I take a peak in my followers to see if there is somethiing I like, but I don’t think we should feel obligated to follow back.

    2 Following 419 Followers

  • http://glennhilton.com/2009/06/twitter-demystified-great-posts-to-help-your-twitter-journey-be-as-enjoyable-as-mine/ Glenn Hilton’s Blog » Blog Archive » Twitter Demystified: Great Posts to Help Your Twitter Journey Be as Enjoyable as Mine

    [...] to Avoid: 11 Ways to Lose Friends and Followers Online Brett Borders writes some great stuff in his blog, but this post is one of my favourites. It’s [...]

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  • Rachel c888

    Good points. Tks

  • word2urmutha

    i just unfollowed you, judgmental jerk.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    good

  • Anonymous

    I’m a new “Twitterer” and appreciated your comments and ideas. Thanks,

  • Anonymous

    Excellent tips. Thanks for bringing these to our attention.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • Anonymous

    Good advice. Thank you.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    I sometimes break these guidelines, but I accept the consquences that
    some people won’t like it.

    -Brett

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  • http://www.endhereditaryreligion.com Totanaca

    Good advice. Sort of like what our mom’s tried to teach us about how to get along. I’ll do some self checking.

  • http://www.my-twitter-success.com/blog/11-ways-to-lose-friends-and-followers-on-twitter 11 Ways to Lose Friends and Followers on Twitter

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  • Anonymous

    IMO there are exceptions to all these. “Know your audience” has never been more relevant.

    but follow these and you are a nice person and the Twitter equivalent of Terry Wogan.

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  • http://www.nikkipilkington.com NikkiPilkington

    Hmm I’m not convinced that the ‘you should follow me on Twitter because I follow you’ argument is a good one – I know some people swear by it but I’m not one of them… I follow people because I’m interested in them, and if I followed all 11k who follow me I’d pretty soon have a very unmanageable Twitter stream…

  • http://twitter.com/kabissa Afrika Kabissa

    This is a helpful post, thanks! I think I may be guilty mostly of #8 but will think about the rest as I tweet in the next few days.

    Without running afoul of #11, I think @nikkipilkington might want to reflect some more on #6 and #10.

    As regards #6, I do follow everybody who follows me, and it’s great. I have created a list of people @kabissa/interesting that I follow every day so I don’t get lost, and all the people who follow me can also send me DMs which I really appreciate. It’s only fair.

    The only issue I have is with spammers who quickly unfollow, and I have to prune my followee list regularly. @Twunfollow is a good help with that.

    Cheers,

    Tobias

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    Thanks for your thoughts , Brett,. I liked your point about keeping in mind that you are in social media to market yourself, your business and build your livelihood and to do it with good manners. Too many seem to forget that.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t agree with the “follow me because I follow you” sort of thing because spammers like to leech onto your profile based on keywords. Such as in the case I tweeted about an adorable baby video, got a follower that was only about the buying and selling of baby clothing. It has nothing to do with my common interests and following people just to have spam on my timeline isn’t something I’m wiling to try just to gain a following.

  • Anonymous

    You may want to reconsider #11. I love a good cat fight and I don’t think I’m alone. When two celebrities go at it on Twitter it’s just so much fun. That is all!

  • Marigold298

    11k people follow you, impressive!!

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    My mum would have asked, “Are you bragging or complaining, Nikki?”

  • HerMelness Speaks

    Just RT’d this since good, balanced article. I’m not sure about reciprocity for its own sake though. My Grandmother was a great believer that you are who you hang around with and I believe that holds true online as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=531422120 RJ Russell

    Wow. One year later and that’s 2 Following 10,842 Followers. Impressive!

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    Yes, more than 10 000 followers jump a year after reading your post. I must say that your post helped me. I followed most of your tips except the follow back one. I try to keep bragging at a minimum, stay away from too much banality and avoid being constantly negative. That’s it. Appart from that I guess it’s word of mouth.

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    Did you write any of those with me in mind? ha ha. Great insight into connecting and interacting with others. I often find that people are more interested in their number (friend collecting) than fostering meaningful and useful relationships. Your tips are great to avoid the Twitter/Facebook feux pauxs.

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