Twitter Changes The Rules
Getting Twitter followers is tricky. One popular strategy to increase social media reach and influence was to automatically follow new Twitter followers to can strike up a conversation. However, that practice via a third-party app has now been disallowed. On July 3 Twitter announced changes to their “Developer Rules of the Road” and “Developer Display Requirements.” I’ll describe (as geek-free as possible) what the change actually means.
Twitter Follows: Automatic Function Disallowed
According to a post by Twitter’s Sylvain Carle (@froginthevalley), the main goal behind these changes is to better clarify the guidelines for using the API and other platform tools. Ultimately Twitter wants to maintain or improve user experience. Since this announcement developers are asking for further clarification. Carle posted just a day or so ago this response “Aggressive following is defined as indiscriminately following hundreds of accounts just to garner attention. However, following a few users if their accounts seem interesting is normal and is not considered aggressive.” Ok, that was clear as mud.
According to another Twitter employee in charge of Twitter Platform Operations, @truebe stated:
We removed the clause permitting automated follow-back, as we would prefer that users manually review their new followers and then choose whether or not they would like to follow back individual accounts. We understand that some users feel pressured to follow back; however, if not all of the accounts which followed you contained content which interested you or were gaming the system for your attention, would you still want to follow them back if they weren’t actually interested in you or your content? Accounts which follow-back may quickly find their home-timeline useless due to too much noise if they didn’t carefully pick and choose who to follow.
We still welcome services which perform analyses on recent followers and highlight those that may interest you, but only if these services only allow you to follow back each account individually and manually.
Guess the rule of thumb is that your Twitter follows must seem realistic. Another factor is the focus on content / topic / interest. We used SocialOomph to curate our accounts and automate a follow-back on those Twitter followers who met our criteria (had something relevant and interesting to say in the online marketing realm). We used the automated function to leverage our time; we weren’t doing it to build huge networks of Twitter followers in order to spam them.
While we’re sorry to see this function go, it’s not the end of the world. What Twitter function could you not live without?
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