Gaming Twitter's New Follow Limit

After reading about Twitter’s new limit on how many people you can follow, my immediate reaction was, “It sounds like people will have to create a rolling list of people they follow.”

Backing up, one problem with Twitter is every time you follow someone the person you follow receives an alert that they have a new follower. This is a good thing since it’s good to inform people about followers since many people who are followed would like to follow people back. However, it’s also a bad thing since it can be abused by people who attempt to create large lists of follower by bulk-following people to create awareness. If even a small percentage of bulk-followed people find their new follower interesting enough to reciprocate, the spammer has succeeded.

With follow limits in place, it becomes more difficult for people to follow-spam their way to large lists of followers.

So, what’s the workaround? Bulk follow people as before, but unfollow people who don’t reciprocate within a certain time frame so you can free up additional follow space for additional spam. Would someone really do that? Yes. Check out the first comment from the post linked to above:

# Don Droper on August 11th, 2008 1:33 pm
I hit the 2K limit shortly after I started testing our twitter GM script last week. Yesterday (Sunday), with 675 followes, I hit a new limit: 900. It appears that if you follow too many, they drop your following limit even further. Luckily, I can easily drop the non-mutuals.

“Non-mutuals” is a term Don Droper uses to describe people who don’t respond to his automated follow-spam script by friending a robot. I’d use the term “suckers” to describe the, apparently, 12% who do in some fields according to Mr Droper’s explanation of his script.

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