Swimming Through Shark-Infested Waters (a.k.a. Twitter)

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 7.46.21 PMTwitter is a befuddling, churning sea, particularly if you’re there to sell stuff, not collect dick pictures. So far, I’ve gathered most of my Twitter strategy from watching other Tweeters.

But how do I figure out who to follow back? Why not follow everyone back in a frenzy, eyes rolled back blindly like a Great White through a bloody sea? A couple of reasons. First, people look at who you follow. How do I know this? Because I look—and I’m hardly a ground-breaker. Second, following spammers makes them look more legitimate and allows them to profit. And if anyone is going to profit off me, I’d rather it be me, ffs.

So here are my lists, which may or may not help you sort through the tweet-chum.


Escorts & Cam Models. While other people are on Twitter for sex, I’m not. Even if I were in the market for some hot pixel time, I’m going to assume that you’re some underpaid dude in a click farm on the other side of the world. So, nope.

Bots & Spammers. Your avatar picture bears a startling resemblance to Demi Lovato or Tay-Tay Swift, but your name is Oasis Gentrify or some other nonsensical combination that is clearly male…or something. You use the same blue header photo as a thousand other accounts. You are a spammer. Nope.

True Twits. You followed me, and I’m trying to return the favor. Instead, I get your TrueTwit blocker. If I have to go through more clicks, some trial-and-error typing of an irritating advertising slogan, I’ll pass. Unless you’re a literal rockstar or Nathan Fillion, I’m not jumping through hoops just to be polite. Sorry, nope.

Haters. This year is for you. It’s an election year in the US, so you can spew your angry rants all down people’s timelines. Just not mine. Nope.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 7.30.38 PM
Fashion is king.

Lonesome Doves. It’s cute you think a social media platform like Twitter is still for socializing. Your tweets are close-up photos of your face in mirrored-sunglasses or wide-angle shots of you in skinny jeans standing in front of…is that a Moped? I understand you’re looking for a girlfriend, wife, money, a job, or citizenship. If I were a dude, I’d follow you back. But I’m not a dude, so following you back implies encouragement. So, nope.


Writers. Your bio says “author,” “writer,” or “blogger.” Yes, a thousand times, yes. What if you write erotica? Yes. What if you write donkey porn? Yes. What if you’re a web cam model who loves Creationism anjackassd writes donkey porn? Still yes, even if you literally write using your boobs. Writing is writing. I’ll support your double-D efforts.

Motivational Speakers, SEO Experts & Hawkers of Crap. If you sell services or stuff on Twitter, I’ll follow you. Betamax tapes on eBay? Yes. Stinky, direct-home, pyramid scheme candles? Yes. You’re trying to make a living or finance your spaceship to your home planet or whatever. That’s cool.

YouTubers, Cosplayers, Geeks & Nerds. Board gamers. Dice rollers. Comic book readers. You’re my peeps. (I’ve never actually said that word out loud.) I have a ComicCon badge, piles of swag, and a strong urge to log back into my MMORPG. So, yes.

Artists & Musicians. Heck, yes. Double-heck yes if you’re filling my timeline with cool images and music. Your art can only make my day better. I need all the help I can get.


I’ve made mistakes. I’ve been lured by a funny meme. Then, a closer look has made me dive for the Unfollow button faster than you can say “the Constitution protects my toddler’s God-given right to an AK-47.” More often than not, however, the Mute option works just as well.

Twitter-Egg-Profile-PictureEggs. I won’t follow you if you have an “egg” for an avatar. That is, you haven’t bothered to upload a photo for your picture. The exception: you have interesting posts and a couple thousand followers. I don’t know what’s going on with your decision to remain egg-like, but I’ll wait and see before I give you a pass. So, yep…for now.

Foreign Dignitaries & Non-English Speakers. As a rule of thumb, I won’t follow you if I can’t minimally muddle through your language. (Bom dia , Brasil !) I’m sorry my surname means “tiger” in Turkish, I Ben Türkçe bilmiyorum without Google translator.  The exception: you have thousands of followers, which makes me wonder if you’re someone interesting. In this case, I will translate a few posts to try to figure out who you are. And if you’re not a boiling, rage-filled hate caldron, I may follow you out of curiosity. So, yep.

Grandmas & Gamers. Personal pictures of grandkids? Levels in Candy Crush? I’m not sure why you’re following me. But if you seem semi-literate, I’ll follow you. Sure, okay.

Fitness Freaks, Inspirational Meme Addicts & Animal Lovers. Are you a bot or are you recycling other people’s crap out of lack of original thought? You don’t have a single post of your own. I see glistening abs and rippling butts, memes about shakes and protein powder and giving it 110%. Rainbow flowers in baskets and prancing, sparkling unicorns. Hang-in-there kittens and bouncing goats on Vine, but—D’awww, look at the floofy puppy. Oh, what the heck, yep.

So these are my basic Twitter follower navigation rules. What have I forgotten? Let me know.

I spend way too much time on Twitter and Facebook when I should be writing another snarky Josie Tucker mystery. Please kick me off the internet. Please.

17 thoughts on “Swimming Through Shark-Infested Waters (a.k.a. Twitter)

  1. What about tweeps (twerps?) who want to sell you followers! I add just two words to my follow-back filter, along with egg-heads, no bio and ratios <90%: "followers" and "horny". That seems to cover it!

  2. I mainly try to follow back other writers, but I search through their tweets to see what they’re posting about. Proclaim to be a sci-fi author and all of your tweets are rants about politics, wall street, and the government? No thanks. And I hate when people follow me, direct message me to ask me to visit their website/facebook/whatever then unfollow me. I want to interact with fellow writers who want to talk about writing or their books.

    1. I’m so with you on that Taylor. I had a DM this morning that even dared to tell me, right at the very beginning, that it was an automatic DM. It then went on to tell me they’d never write to me again so I may as well read that particular message! Unbelievable. And yes, it was directing me to their website/FB. Can’t remember. Didn’t go there, that’s for certain. So far, in the last month of being on Twitter, I’ve ‘met’ some super writers, who show personality in their tweets and I’ve ended up buying their books. It has to be worth being human on Twitter. Surely? Argh!

      1. You’re absolutely right Helen. Being real on twitter is what is going to draw people to you and make them want to buy your books. Spamming people with DMs is not the way. I think Twitter should just remove the ability to send DMs completely. I had one like you mentioned too. It read “I know you hate getting DMs, I hate them too, but here is why I’m sending one”. I didn’t read further than that.

  3. I followed you because your protagonist has the same first name as me. Just sayin’. Honesty is the best policy.

    Oh, and yes, you and I both wear glasses (as does 36 percent of the rest of the world.)

    Keep up the great books.

    PS: Love your covers.

  4. HAHAHAHA! This would have been great about 2 months ago when I joined twitter. I would not have had to learn these rules by trial and error. Some rules I follow, some I don’t and others I have of my own. The biggest difference is I often find myself asking the question as I troll their first 10 tweets, did I find anything in these that I would actually retweet? The more of these I find the more likely I will follow. If it is rants, ads or anything like that, like you, I don’t need them.

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