On blocked followers - ask Miss Manners

Twitter is new enough that the rules of social interaction are still being worked out. I'm a bit puzzled by something. Perhaps this has already been addressed by cultural cross-talk from the societal norms of Facebook. I wouldn't know, since I'm not on Facebook. There may be well-developed politesse for this already. If so, would someone please enlighten me?

I don't auto-follow back on Twitter. When I follow someone, it's with the expectation that I'll see some value in what they tweet - humor, insight, interesting links, good fiction, conversation, etc. Some people have followed me, then unfollowed when I didn't follow back right away.

So, what do you do when someone follows you on Twitter, but they have protected their updates? I can't tell what sort of a person they are. It strikes me as strange to ask someone if I can follow them when they followed me first. Without being able to see their tweets, how can I know if they are the sort of person whom I would wish to follow? I can check their website, or do some background Googling, but that seems like a lot of effort.

It's a puzzlement, and so far, I've been simply sticking to a no-follow policy for folks on whom I have no information, or for whom I haven't been able to put together a decent picture.


  1. I agree with you on the auto-follow. I think there are various levels of twitter usage, and I'm just not as obsessive about it as many. Not only that, but I've had the same person follow, unfollow, and then repeat the process a couple more times. I would never even consider following someone whose updates were blocked unless I already knew them.

  2. The follow-unfollow-follow thing tells me that the person isn't really interested in what I have to say. They just want to bump up numbers.

    Misguided, since a simple number is the least meaningful measure of one's influence.


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