Team Follow Back Sucks

This guest post is by the well-above average Brian Meeks.

For the record #teamfollowback, I will not ‘Follow Back’, I will block, and likely report for spam.

I have started to see a hashtag #teamfollowback in tweets and bios. It makes me tingle, and not in the fun ‘my date has had 3 vodka tonics, I bet I am looking pretty good right now’ sort of way. It makes me cringe because these people don’t get it. - I ain't no Follow Back girl.Please let me rephrase what they are saying:

#teamfollowback = Hey, please follow me, and I will follow you back. Do I care about what you are interested, of course not; I am a princess/prince, who desperately needs the external validation one gets from having 50,000 adoring fans. I want to be on Jersey Shore. My parents don’t love me.

(Note: I am really not the woman in the bikini pictured, but actually a 50-year old balding male who ‘takes care’ of his mother, from her basement. I bathe on days which begin with a T.)

To those who don’t quite get my point. Let me be a little less, well, of an ass. It is like this, if we want to have success in social media, we need to be, well, for lack of a better word, SOCIAL!!! You stupid pratt!!!  Sorry, I lost control there for a moment.

Imagine that Twitter is gala party.

Everyone has on their best formal ware and is thrilled to be invited to the affair. There is music, champagne, and little bits of food, which are to die for. There are also celebrities. You think to yourself, everyone who is anyone is here, so this is a great place to talk about Amway. - Let's go to a crowded bar or party to socialize exclusively with ourselves

The problem is that you have been invited to the wrong party. The list was created from people who are much like you, completely deaf.

Everyone there is selling how great they are and getting drunk on their perceived power. They wonder through the crowd and follow all the people who are wearing neon signs, “Follow Me…I’ll Follow You”. A few hours later, or perhaps days, they have a massive army of people who are just waiting to do their bidding. The problem is…they don’t.

Nobody can hear their pitch. Every one of their followers is deaf. You don’t know a single person’s real name, what they blog about, who they root for on Sunday afternoons. [Editor’s note: Or Saturdays, as this LSU fan cheers G-E-A-U-X Tigers!]

When I see that in a bio [AKA crappy Twitter profile] not only do I usually block the person, I block them and often report them for spam. There are other offenses which can get a person blocked, like having only tweets with links, NOT having anything personal in their stream (Yes, I do care what you had for breakfast), or simply following 800 people while you only have 100 followers. It makes you seem a bit needy. It is also how spammers build their follower base.

Twitter takes time. [Editor’s rant: Twitter is WORK, damnit!]

Follow a few people, watch their tweets, and if they seem friendly, then strike up a conversation. You will find you have much more fun and people won’t assume your parents hated you.

You may read people, gurus if you will, who tell you NOT to tweet trivial stuff. They are idiots! It is the trivial which lets us see the real person. If I tweet something about the Ohio State Buckeyes, it may be trivial, but you can bet, a comment about the tweet (even from michigan fans [I don’t capitalize the m word]), will get me into a discussion.  [Editor’s note: GASP! To discover I’m following a Big 10 fan, yet I agree with you mocking michigan. As you should.]

The simple tweets about our lives and struggles are the best, in my humble opinion, so don’t feel everything has to be “Guru Approved.”

Just remember the famous old saying, “You get more runway models with pharmaceutical grade narcotics, than you do with links to win a free iPad.” Wait, I am not sure that is it, try this. “You get more bees with honey, than with links to sure fire riches from Twitter schemes.” Yes, I think that is the one I meant.

Be real, be friendly, and don’t follow for the sake of following.

Guest poster Brian Meeks very own not crappy bio: I have delusions of novelist, am obsessed with my blog, college football, and occasionally random acts of napping. I also Mock! Will follow cats & guinea pigs. My first novel, “Henry Wood Detective Agency” is scheduled for release the 1st week of June.

Photo credit: I wrote that exact thing, complete with Gwen Stefani’s singing and voila, someone has it on a Someecard. Brill.

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23 thoughts on “Team Follow Back Sucks

  1. When I first started tweeting as ‘bizchickblogs’ I got into the wefollow thing and immediately wanted out. It was some 7 months before they made it easy to get away from it.

    My favorite line from this post is, “Everyone there is selling how great they are and getting drunk on their perceived power.”

    O.M.G. Perceived power. I could not have said it any better myself and if there is one place on earth where perceived power runs rampant, it’s social media – blogging and Twitter, especially.
    Tia Peterson recently posted..Fix Your Corporate Blog- 3 Reasons No One is Sharing Your Posts

    1. Tia, I’ll let Brian know your comment is here.. gotta jump and and agree with you. Been debating the ‘influence’ thing elsewhere and like perceived power, it’s kinda bullshit.

      My first reaction to the ‘wefollow’ stuff: pyramid scheme. I am all about returning the kindness and courtesy of a comment and RT, but it’s about community and professionalism, not this blind leading the blinder. FWIW.

  2. Tell the editor that it’s Go Tigers as in ‘War Damn Eagle’……………:).

    As I clunked around and followed some celebrities, politicians and a few local people in my early days trying to find out what this twitter was all about; I found out quickly it was not fulfilling. Once I started engaging w/ some interesting people and they actually responded, this is when it came into focus.

    I see the people w/ 10k+ followers and I’m thinking: 1) how can they stay actively engaged and (somehow Gini D does it) 2) is it just for the numbers? I decided I wanted real engagement and have not intentionally kept my numbers small, but I am selective……not a snob, just selective who I follow back on.

    It’s still a journey, but it’s the real people like you I enjoy being connected to.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Fork in the road

    1. At least those Tigers from Auburn kept the championship where it belongs, S-E-C!

      Never followed the celebs really, but the ‘gurus’ and superstars of social media, PR, marketing. Some really do engage and share quite a bit, others .. not so much. I’ve been adjusting my Twitter policies from the beginning, always wanting to be open to new and smart voices.

      I flip-flop back and forth on the numbers but always go back to 500 or 5K people won’t be tweeting me at once. I can use searches, hashtags, lists, client columns to keep it manageable, keep an eye on those I follow. In a post I was just drafting, was thinking of more Twitter chats.. gotta make the time. Now I DO moderate my own following to block spammers, let people unfollow me when I don’t follow back right away, block older inactive accounts, etc. Don’t care about the vanity numbers, ya know?

      I like the real people thing too Bill. Scott Monty tweeted from EPCOT the other day, I replied w/ a joke about getting me a Grey Goose slushie. IIRC Jennifer Devitt @sydcon_mktg replied too, we had a nice chat, discovered we’ll just miss each other this October as we both will be in WDW. Just a nice little way to make a connection; I see her in comments and am now making a point to visit her blog once in a while. IMO that’s kinda how it’s done, what works for me. FWIW.

  3. LOLOLOLOLOLOL! That bit of acronym-ese should satisfy both your and Davina’s souls, Brian.

    I love anything you write. You could pretty much rewrite the phone book, and I would love it.

    And I love this.

    Particularly the bit about gurus telling you not to tweet “trivial stuff.” Are you (they) kidding?! I’ve had more fun, “met” more people, and yes, gained business, by tweeting the trivial stuff. When I talk about SM, etc., now, I tell people, “You know that whole thing about ‘no one cares what you had for lunch’? Well, guess what, *I* care what you had for lunch.’ ”

    It’s about people. Always has been, always will be. And I think you know that better than most.

    OK… now what do I have to do to get you back to MY blog? :p
    Shonali Burke recently posted..Bad PR Measurement Gets a Smackdown

  4. Brian, If I didn’t say it enough.. I LOVED this when I read it. I get the courtesy of following back, or being in a community. That rocks; this “I follow back” scheme is bullshit. Over on Joey’s post on crappy Twitter profiles, think that’s what everyone hated most along with the “I’m on FB, LI” crap. Anyway.. thanks again for letting me run this.

  5. Brian, after the first couple of words I could quickly see why Davina had you stop by for a GP– you two are cut from the same cloth, and it’s one that I like quite a bit to tell you the truth.

    I loved what you said about being real with our tweets. I’ve read so many ‘gurus’ say not to be trivial, but it’s my natural inclination to be trivial…and I like trivial..and I like others being trivial. Now granted, I don’t need to know everything, please no, but some of the normal day to day stuff is nice…and real.

    So thanks for this Brian and good luck with your book, that’s wonderful news.

    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted..The Uncomfortable Road to Success- A Story About You and Me

    1. Brian will be by later, but I loved this Marcus and you’re right.. this is so me. The “guru approved” line cracked me up.. and it’s so smart. Yes I try for the deep and meaningful ‘come hire me’ business tweets, but it’s the fun and silly that get a conversation going, help make connections. My cheering for LSU or the Braves, an aside about Disney or wine may seem trivial… but it’s very real. And fun! 🙂

    2. Marcus,

      Thanks so much for the kind words. I am glad Davina has done such a good job of replying to the post today, while I was toiling away at work. The gurus really rub me the wrong way. Most of them, if you take their twitter handle and put it into Klout, they will have scores in the 50s, with their 50,000 followers. I have 1100 followers and am in the 60’s, because I have made an effort to know who my followers are and have built relationships. The self proclaimed gurus are often just spammers in disguise.

      I love your avatar. Lions are excellent.

      Brian Meeks recently posted..ExtremelyAvg- RT @3HatsComm- Team Follow Back Sucks http-bitly-fPSNLL A kick-ass guest post by @ExtremelyAvg &ltThanks

  6. Brian,

    First off let me say I am a fairly new user to twitter and I have been equally annoyed by the auto DM and the follow back crap. I thought twitter was to make real connections with people that matter. For a long time I was scared to put my true thought on twitter because I didn’t know if it was the appropriate venue. How niave was I. From this day forward I will use twitter to make real connections and display my actually personality. I might even say next to my name I don’t follow back and maybe that will get rid of a lot of the posers. 🙂

    Davina thanks for allowing Brian to create for you. I needed to read this.
    Frank recently posted..In Honor of National Poetry Month

    1. Hells yeah, that’s the idea Frank. I have my own rules FOR ME so that means I’ve developed a preference for the styles I like, and what I don’t. If my actual silly, sometimes cursing and ranting personality isn’t for someone, they can just as easily unfollow me. I’m still in an unfollow and/or block kick.. can the spam or dead accounts, just clear out the clutter to make room for some better connections. (Hopefully I’m not stealing all of Brian’s thunder.. just can’t help myself. 😉 )

  7. Hey Brian,
    Thanks for this – I feel as if I’ve just screamed out a lot of frustration (or was that you? LOL) I mean that in a good way!
    I’m still figuring out this Twitter thing. It takes time, right? When someone follows me I read their bio, check their tweets, go to their site, if they have one. But when I see “I follow back” I feel like I’m back in kindergarten – I will share my candy if you will share yours. I don’t think it’s a good reason to follow someone. But I’m still new.
    While we’re ranting, if I may, I don’t like those automatic replies which say Now that you’re following me on Twitter, follow me on Facebook as well and sign up for my stuff and visit my site. To be fair, they probably don’t know what they’re doing – they don’t have a great social media coach (like I do) so I don’t blame them. They just don’t know.
    The best thing, though is that we can learn from what people do that we don’t like and know what TO do. Things like saying Hi, how is your day going, adding their site to your reader, if it looks interesting, RE-ing their stuff in creative ways like someone I won’t mention because I’ve pushed her enough to blog about that skill! All this takes time. I spend more time in the Blogosphere than I really have to spare, so I’m not doing all I know I should and would like to do.
    What would you recommend? Ah –
    “The simple tweets about our lives and struggles are the best…It is the trivial which lets us see the real person.”
    Yes! thanks Brian!
    Lori Gosselin recently posted..Laughter- Sweet Therapy for Stress

    1. Hey Lori, Hope my replying doesn’t mess up Brian’s replying.. think I got the nesting thing set on maximum blogginess. When I ranted against the auto-DM, I mentioned the “friend me on FB and/or LI too” and the free e-crap. All turn offs for me.

      I get the NOOB thing but if one’s goals are genuine social media networking, marketing then 5-10 minutes of reading should be an education: this is how you figure out YOUR follow/don’t follow strategy, that is what you should consider for YOUR LinkedIn policies and so on. When some slacking slacker of a blogger gets around to it, there may yet be a ‘ways to RT’ post to help others. 😉

      1. I just got home from work, so I wasn’t able to reply. Way to step in and carry the ball. I am not sure I can add anything better than your reply, so I will just cheer from the sidelines, despite you being from the SEC.

        1. Tigers FTW! 🙂 And per your reply to Marcus, I’ve modified my position on this so many times. I ‘get’ the debate (there’s a good podcast, some blog posts from Mitch Joel and Mark Schaefer on this) on being selective vs. being open to anyone and I’ve decided on my own type of snobbery if you will.

          – I won’t follow back just to follow, I gotta check you out first make sure you don’t cheer for some 2nd rate sports teams. Even if you are a guru, I may not follow. If you’re new blogger w/ only 234 followers but your tweets rock, I probably will.
          – I will block spammers and trolls and porn hucksters; don’t need bogus, inflated numbers or rabid Bieber fans mucking up the works.
          – I’ll adjust my follows and followers as needed, to get the best Twitter stream I can .. for me and my followers. That last bit was for @jennwhinnem who was commenting about the LinkedIn network being not just about helping yourself, but the rest of your network too.

          Shutting up now, except to say TEHO.. everyone is fine for their own Twitter style b/c I know where the unfollow and block buttons live. And ain’t afraid to use them. Thanks again.

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