7 Deadly Kinds of Twitter Followers

Admit it. After all that pooh-poohing about jobless people loitering on Twitter, you’ve graduated into acknowledging it’s a fun place to hang out. While it is a lot of fun to engage in banter with some of the best minds out there, I’ve come to realize this is one terrific place to observe human behavior and make up for those Anthropology classes you were too cool to take. Just sit back and watch for a while; you’ll be amazed how much – and what – you learn. In the meantime, I present to you to the seven deadly kinds of new followers you may (not) have come across:

THE ANGLERS: They will follow you and give you a day or so to follow them back. When you don’t, they will promptly unfollow you, but their offer hasn’t expired just yet. They will give you time to regret that you didn’t follow back when you had the chance, and will follow you again after a few weeks. This is your chance – follow them back, or they won’t follow you again. Forever, or till the next chance they decide to give you, should you be worthy – whichever they think comes first.

THE HAMMERERS: These are the social media equivalent of corporate climbers. They know exactly who and how many people they want following them within the next 6 months. If you are what people consider The Elite, they’ll follow you, and focus exclusively on you till they have your attention. All their RTs and adulatory mentions will be for you. They’ll reply to almost anything that you say (If you don’t believe me, try tweeting “I had cereal for breakfast this morning” or “Brad Pitt rocks!!” The first one to reply “with whole milk or 2%?” is the Hammerer you’re soon going to succumb to.) They’ll do what it takes, praise you, interrupt converse with you, reply to every tweet, heck even prepare the topics you like, and RT you left and right till you are finally a sucker obligated – or flattered – into following them back.

THE SEDUCERS: Clever lot. They’ll watch you for a long time. They won’t follow you, but they’ll observe who you converse with, and carry on extensive dialogs with them. Occasionally, they’ll throw a casual tweet your way and go back to ignoring you – or start a gradual dialog (but still not follow you yet), until one day you happen to follow them. Rest assured, they’ll follow you “back.” It was all so smooth, you didn’t even realize it.

THE REDUCERS: These are people who want to expand their horizon while narrowing their focus – all while maintaining a high follower to followee ratio. They keep preening their list obsessively time and again to see who they can unfollow every time they follow someone new.  If you haven’t been on your toes tweeting to their interest or interacting with them, off with your head!

THE VOYEURS: Oh believe me, these guys admire you. They want to follow you. Why, they even would, had it not been for the fact that they have a whopping 850 followers – as opposed to your paltry 64. Now how will that look on their résumé? But do not be deceived by these Tweeting Poms – they may not follow you, but they will go tippy-toe and peek at your tweets every now and then.

THE MUTUAL NON-FOLLOWERS: Technically, these guys don’t quite need a title to themselves. They’re only a sour-grape version of the Anglers above. They’ll follow, unfollow, follow, unfollow till they finally realize you aren’t really going to follow them unless they start tweeting topics of your interest. They’ll then take this casual approach of “Oh it never really mattered anyway! We don’t follow each other, but we still converse; there’s mutual respect and it’s all good.”

THE CHINESE CHECKERS: These are the guys, who like the hammerers know who what they want. They don’t really care to follow you; your role is only to stay put so they can jump across you and land right under the nose of that coveted celebrity who happens to be your friend. They will find their way in a conversation, @reply to you like it’s you they want to talk to, and sneak in a courtesy @reply to your friend on the side. From there on, it’s just a matter of hammering. Or seducing. They will know exactly which. And now you will too.

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150 responses to “7 Deadly Kinds of Twitter Followers

  1. H-o-l-y f-*-*-k! This is sheer genius! @Mujib is right, I bow to you! You forgot to mention twitter celebrity a*holes who desperately want u to follow them but will still diss u and ignore you once you oblige :p

  2. haha excellent stuff….. ugly shoelace referred me to this blog …and i think by definition I fall somewhere in the league of hammerers and seducers :p …

  3. lol, i was just about to mention the orkuters/orkutians.
    looking at this list seems like I’m a reducer… hmm. i should figure put how to become a seducer.
    lovely post…

  4. Considering that I did get a 99 percentile in data interpretation in my CAT exams a few years back, I should be able to come up with a devious, cunning, foolproof strategy to ensure how to make at least 523,000 people ‘follow’ me. With the count refusing to exceed beyond 203, I think its time I jump into one of these categories ;)

    Nice post, Gauri. Keep writing, and I’ll go ‘angle’, ‘seduce’, ‘hammer’, ‘thrash’, ‘bulldoze’ some specimens into following me ;)

    • I’m quite convinced data interpretation in CAT exams is a meta-test for examiners to interpret how many of those who passed the test can actually interpret data. Glad you like the post; do let me know if it worked ;) -g

  5. nice read… don’t tweet much actually…but one other category – The casual follow requests… those who signed up blindly via their mail id! or worse some one who got a smart phone which is smarter than them. It sends out friends request but they have still not figured what twitter is or how to use it (0 posts since joining ) ….

  6. Count me with the “Reducers”. But I don’t want to believe that the first three types of people exist.

  7. just stumbled across your blog via Twitter, have to say, Amazing analysis. Will try and keep pace with the blog now though you seldom post. :-/

  8. Where have you disappeared? Hope everything is ok, please come back soon! Miss your one-liners.

  9. Write, g! It’s almost half a year. What is this? :(

  10. Really nice post! I’ll be tuned for sure!
    here’s my link if you’d like to see:
    http://www.girlfromkarachi.wordpress.com/

  11. Won’t you ever update your blog? :)

    Pliss do!

  12. Haha good one! :)

  13. Whoa that was quite an analysis, spot on. I confess I do angling for some people, and do reducing at times :-) Chrony was the first and only person i hammered. Chrony was very kind enough to reply, what started of as a scheme actually ended good. I got to know him. When I first started twittering i was obsessed with angling. I was even doing that a month back. Now i have sort off gave up and i am now following whoever i like to follow whether they follow me or not. But at times i get extremely pissed off when normal people act like celebs, I do reducing.

  14. you fit most of it. writing from experience?

    • You must be the evil twin :) For a minute I thought you were me, but then the capitalization gave it away [no pun intended, promise!] :) -g

  15. Brilliant article! :)
    I’m a ‘Reducer’ myself, but only out of compulsion. Some people start off with fun tweets but end up with utterly ridiculous spam and my computer screen hates it only.

    • Thank you! Yes, I think I’m one as well. More because I use the web interface and don’t have tools to filter people out. -g

  16. Great post , i did a similar one on types of ReTweeters , see if you find time to read this.

    http://vgoel.blogspot.com/2010/05/peter-repeater-and-retweeter.html

  17. I have no clue which category i belong to … still cant make head or tail of this twitter thingie.. but so many devious intentions huh? ..

    • Chances are others will know who you are ;) You got the first step to Twitter right! Nope so many devious methods for one intention – getting followed back. -g

  18. Hi Gauri

    When I read your post the first time I didn’t recognize any of these types. After a few more months on Twitter I’m gradually beginning to see them. Amazing analysis!

  19. Endearingly, wittily, truthfully SCATHING!!

    Two thumbs up ;)

  20. Visiting from @emilycagle’s tweet. The funniest and scariest form of truth I have read in a while. Keep going!

  21. ROFLing, at the same time scared to know which one I am :) Seen all these types, I might be an angler tho ;) Hit the nail on the head, I can’t believe what a perfect analysis this is of the human mind or social media!

    You forgot “bulbs”, tho. If you know @cgawker, ask him he knows.

    • Heh, thanks! If Alexander Graham Bell knows what a telephone is, there is a chance @cgawker might know what a bulb is. I’ll ask anyway ;) -g

  22. Write, G! I miss your posts.

  23. Excellent Analysis.

    And I thought I knew everything about Twitter followers when I did my own analysis. (http://www.digitalpost.org/2010/06/seo-guide-to-twitter-user-psychology.html)

    If your analytical tool is integrated with http://thetwitcleaner.com/ it will be almost priceless.

    • Thank you! Liked your post – more so because you put me in the “Rare but sensible specimens” category :D -g

  24. Happy birthday :)

  25. Thought I should round off the number of comments to 100; 99 looked just cheap, as we are used to here.

    And with that also sending in a hopeful request to see a new post in here.

  26. This was a fantastic post Gauri :razz:
    I was nodding my head all the way.
    Loved the names you’ve given to each of these categories of people on Twitter :D :D

  27. Knock knock! No posts, no comments no tweets. What’s up? Hope everything is ok.

  28. Waiting. Two months and counting…no need to hurry ;)

    • How far did you get? :D (You do know you’re very close to being crowned The Official Nudger at 42? :) ) -g

  29. Hey..you left out Twurkers… I am one..I give a damn about who follows me..i have just two you knw-who type of followers. I just follow others and get information/news/or a good laugh.
    It is so relaxing when you dont have to think of witty stuff all the time….

    • Ha! Here’s to you Twurkers, although you don’t quite make the cut – because you follow and let others live :) This one’s a tribute to those who follow and waste no time launching Operation Get-him-to-follow-back :D -g

  30. Confession: I joined Twitter, just didn’t get it and now I guess my account died due to malnutrition! So, unfortunately I don’t know if your analysis is spot-on or not but definitely made interesting reading!!

    • I’m working on an equation; not there yet. But it’s something to the effect “If people don’t understand Twitter, they generally understand life.” I think you’re just fine ;) And good to see you after so long! -g

  31. A Cynic in Wonderland

    i have been offline for too long….

    now we need an analysis of tweeps depending on the types of tweets the do. eg. the twats ” i just tied my shoelaces pl RT”

  32. Excellent Post…you’re absolutely correct. We’re still getting used to Twitter, but you can certainly see what takes place! It’s amazing to watch it all unfold. Thanks again for the information.

  33. So true – in fact…I think I am an offender as well! But I guess it’s just part of the fun of being on Twitter right?

    • Absolutely. This is more an observation that amused me rather than a judgment of any kind :) Thanks for reading! -g

  34. Oh.. I forgot to add: The reason I am curious about twitter is that most people who know me think that I adapt (to) technology (Is Twitter a technology?) very fast! But, Twitter has stumped me…

  35. nice analysis; as always!

    Unfortunately, I am a bit lost with twitter. I don’t understand it, and don’t feel like tweeting, at least not regularly. I follow people and read only whatever shows up on the first screen at my page at twitter.com and, at most, one scroll down.

    I follow new ones only if they show up on my main screen automatically. I need to find out how Twitter relates tweeterers (is that correct?) and shows me tweets of some others.

    What kind of follower am I?

  36. Hahaha. Good article and nice tweets. Thanks for the laughs.

  37. Haha! Seen all kinds and been all kinds.

  38. Absolutely brilliant! Are you a very intuitive person? :)

  39. And, what about those who follow their idols just for fun, or to keep up with the latest news?

    Of course, I have been guilty of being an occasional reducer. Only occasional, mind you.

  40. Lovely analysis, Gauri. Sometimes I RT people all the time, I wonder what category I am! ;)

    • I RT people often too. One thing to do it because you like a tweet, a different story if you RT anything with a scheme in mind :) -g

  41. This is fantastic. People have only now started following me, and i’m useless at trying to figure out why they keep increasing/decreasing every 15 minutes. I was starting to question my interesting-ness, but now ill console myself by saying they were just some bloody anglers.

    Great post!

  42. Howlarrrrrrious! And *unbelievably* sharp insight! Please take a bow :)

    I used to be puzzed why you’re hardly on DP when so many if not all yr posts should have been there (especially with all your community “friends”). But now I’m convinced this blog is *way* above their clannish, back-scratching, self-promoting and mostly mediocre standards (except Bosey, Ramesh Srivastav and Bharadwaj Rangan, they’re good, not sure what they’re doing there, lol).

    Phew, I said it. A bold post like this deserves an equally politically incorrect comment isn’t it? ;)

    Cheers!

  43. So I introduce this friend to Twitter, and his first tweet is, and I’m almost paraphrasing, “Where are all the women?”.

    Which category do you think fits him best ?

  44. Now follow me on twitter you guys! Hope you don’t fall in the above deadly categories!

    http://twitter.com/jeffkolodny

  45. Frak!! Frak frak frak. You’re so good, that I hate you! (just kidding!) This is incisive, insightful and most of all VERY TRUE!!!! Write a book, I’ll be the first in line to buy it!! (NOT kidding!)

    vids

    • LOL. Now you’ve got me wondering what it means when someone who hates you asks you to write a book :D
      Thank you, Vidyut! -g

  46. Astute! Thats what u are..
    I’ve met all these people on twitter & more.

  47. The you-owe-me counter-followers : When you follow them on a whim, they immediately follow you, retweet one of your tweets to show you they care, then you lie unused in their follower list while they create a separate list of ppl they actually follow. And then, even if they start tweeting crap, you don’t unfollow them because you are bound by the retweet.

  48. Well…you seem to have collected a lot of followers..me included with this one post. Well…you sure know how to draw attention to yourself. Next post should be what sort of a tweeter are you. :)

    Trawling through your works. Wonderful style. No regrets following you. :P

    • It’s never about how many followers you collect. It’s about how many want to stay :) Thank you for your kind words; I do hope you like the rest of this blog :)) -g

  49. great read! :)
    Now all we need is some digital agency to make a “what kind of twitterer are you” app on facebook

  50. While reading this I got the similar feeling that of reading personality descriptions based on sun signs. The ones you receive as forwarded emails.. Everything seems correct!

    Kudos on a nice post.

  51. i fall under all these :) haha

  52. Excellent analysis..
    The Orkuters (aka #mahi types) should have made there presence felt on this list though…
    P.S: This comment is not made with an intention of getting hits on my blog.. Its been dormant forever :P

    • Thank you :) Yes, I recently learned of #mahi! And just for that, let me hop over to your blog. Why did you stop writing? -g

  53. amazingly insightful and yeah i recognised myself in some categories there,but wont let the cat out the bag regarding which category exactly.This should b enuff for u to know, u were very accurate in analysis.btw am following u now on hehehe :)

  54. Agreed. Please don’t count this comment as any response to or invitation for anything :P

  55. Fortunately, I’m quite versatile, can be any of the above, and can deceive tweeple like you into putting me in the wrong category! :P Also, wondering what would @Athe do, were she to be on twitter? Ah wait, he/she’s already there!

  56. Ha ha good list. There are also bots. Every time I tweet with a good catchy popular word like “Hollywood” I will get followed by “Hollywood4u” like twitter ids almost immediately.

  57. Good One. Met all of the types on twitter till date.

  58. Spot on Gauri.
    In all honesty, everyone’s played a bit of all 7 types at some point.
    But an insightful analysis like yours does this – I thought twice before retweeting this post :)

  59. lol..excellent analysis..
    Same holds good for facebook?

  60. Yup, Twitter is a wonderful place to observe human behaviour….I usually follow interesting people and don’t care if they follow back..celebs, news channels are put into lists, so no following them…
    I have been on twitter for a looooong time and yet have only 240 followers- I am happy to make friends and I like to really know them at that :)

  61. Hehe…one helluva analysis!
    I might be stalking you already if you haven’t noticed. If you do not follow me back, I might have to unfollow you. :-D (just kidding)

    Cheers

    • Thank you :) For the record, I hadn’t noticed – and for that matter, you aren’t stalking! Thanks for stopping by, Usha :) -g

  62. Hahaha.
    My route to this blogpost:
    Started following @sidin thanks to his book. Found @krishashok who RT’d this link. (en route I found others like @cgawker, @neo_indian and of course you).
    I guess I’m a bit of all the types you mentioned. I find Twitter to be a useful place to work out my approval/ abandonment/mummy-daddy-pet doggy issues.
    (Perhaps your analysis can be extrapolated to which psychological profile each ‘type’ fits into. If not, I shall be forced to unfollow you.)

    • And here I was thinking the types are psycho (pun unintended, I promise!) profiles in themselves :-\ Glad you found your way here; I owe those guys one :) -g

  63. there are worshipers too.. those who are in twitter just because their fav. celebrity is in twitter. they will follow you if you are a fan of that celebrity and in most cases they don’t want you to follow them. coz they just want to know new news about their hero/heroine if you follow them back in most cases your timeline will get flooded with their @ mentions to the celebrity :-) lolz . . .
    and wonderful observations sis :-) keep going :-)

  64. The hammerers definitely show up a lot, it really seems creepy most of the time. If I was a big-time twitter celebrity, I’d be considering a restraining order, not a followback!

    Is Angler syndrome caused by automatic twitter management software or something? I’ve noticed that a lot of the users that do it seem pretty noninteracting, if they’re even human at all :P.

    • LOL @restraining order. With the mention of twitter mgmt. software, I think you just gave the Anglers some bait! -g

  65. Rose Tinted Glasses

    Having been on Twitter for a while, I think I have committed a li’l of most of the 7 sins mentioned above. So where does that put me? Just wondering …. :)

  66. Hahaha interesting analysis, Gauri. As always spot on. Have seen almost all types.

    You missed fraandshipers and MAJORs.

    Majors = Mutual Admiration JOke Rters. Bunch of people who will RT anything their pals churn out and create an illusion of exclusivity thus gaining followers.

    It is fun to watch people. ;)

    • :D I was talking about new/potential followers. Majors is funny! -g

      • Gauri: Not all of them. The unfunny ones too get followers because they follow the same pattern of their funny friends who append their tweets. They follow exact same people as their friends and almost look like clones.

        Vishwa: Your twitter id? :P

    • @solilo: “seen almost all types”? ya, sure :P Ppl have eyes u know :D

      @g: Awesome analysis, now I want to see how many people change their behaviour ;) I’m already guessing which of your “friends” whom I follow will not RT this and I’m becoming a pro :D Hahaha this is addictive, thanks for teh laughs!

      • @Solilo: I know what you mean :-)

        @Vishwa: Thanks! Yes, it’s addictive, and now you’ve practically put words in the mouth of anyone reading this :P (And stop giving Solilo a hard time, willya! (I assume you know each other)).

        -g

    • Oh! forgot to mention ‘THE VOYEURS’. Yes! Yes!

      Know someone who once tweeted me newbie tweet with no credit.

      • @solilo: as if I’ll tell you my id :P And why are you commenting again and again? because this is a trending article and you want clicks? Hahahaha Solilo’s bhanda is out! ;)

      • Vishwa V: Che! Why did you ‘phodo my bhanda’? I lost 3. I’m outta here.

        :D

  67. I confess I am an occasional seducer. But it is addictive, what can you say :)

    • True :) Besides, it’s not like anything is wrong with it, it’s just that someone happened to look ;) Thanks for stopping by! -g

  68. Heh!

    As a Does Not Matter tweeter myself, haven’t had any of these followers, but have seen quite a few of THE HAMMERERS in action. Quite amusing at times.
    They be happily RTing away this post I guess.

    • Yes :D What’s amusing is that the hammering is focused only on the latest followees and stops (or at least subsides) as soon as they’re followed back :D

  69. You are an analytics whiz. :)
    You missed one category: Orkuters. Wanna fren?

    • Sankyu san ;) Orkuters pretty much wear frandship on their sleeve – what you see is what you get; no deviousness there. Almost makes you feel sorry for them. Almost :) -g

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