Who Are These People and Why Are They Following Me?

by Joanna Pineda Posted on November 20, 2008

Unlike some of my friends and many staffers at Matrix Group, I’m relatively new to Twitter, the mini-blogging site that lets you broadcast your status, location and thoughts. I’ve been “twittering” for just a few months, but I’m addicted. I “tweet” all day long and read most of the tweets of the people I follow. On Twitter, btw, I’m jmpineda.

For those of you who are new to all this, you can “follow” people on Twitter and people can follow you. When you follow someone, their tweets are posted to your Twitter home page all day long. In my case, I’m following a random collection of friends, Web thought leaders and organizations. My friend Joe tweets his location, the books he’s reading, the articles he’s reading. The National Wildlife Federation tweets about promotions, events and issues.

The vast majority of my followers are people I know — friends, family, clients, acquaintances. But here’s the strange thing. I’ve started to get an increasing number of random followers. Twitter lets you know via e-mail when people start following you and the last six people are strangers to me.

I know that my tweets are not that interesting, no matter how hard I try. I asked my friend Cat if random people follow her and she said, “oh yeah.” Who are these people and why are they interested in my tweets? How did they even find me?

I guess this is all part of the big, social world we live in. Many of us choose to broadcast and share; evidently, there are many people out there willing to receive all this data.

13 replies on “Who Are These People and Why Are They Following Me?”

LOL on the random people. When this started happening I was utterly flummoxed. I mean, really, who wants to know that it’s cold today or that I finished writing something? But then I realized that every person following me could be a potential reader or just someone who likes observing people. In any case, it’s been amusing and I’m also totally hooked. 🙂

Has anyone stopped to notice that many of these “followers” are MLMers or given thought that they may be database information trolling done by companies rather than individuals. I hate to be a conspiracy theorists but, yes, Ive read your posts about the weather and they are pretty boring. However, even if it is not a company or the government but an ex- or a burglar?

Most of the tweets by any celebrities or experts are rather self-centered, contrived or self-promotion while doing plenty of name dropping. Frankly, I prefer just genuine “what are you doing” or what thoughts are you putting into something you are doing or what you learned from something.

One final comment. Could this be just another time waster by individuals not even actually following but just collecting as many “reciprocal followers” as possible?

Yes, I have come to realize that many of the people/entities following me aren’t really people. Or if they are people, they have set-up programs that send an automatic tweet when someone follows. Not nuts about that. It’s obviously not genuine.

Me, I don’t follow everyone who follows me. I try very hard to look at every profile and follow people who post about things I care about. I agree with you that the most interesting tweeters are people who tweet about what they are doing, interesting and cool articles, things they’ve learned, successes they are having, etc. And I’m more interested in personal tweets (where they are going, kid updates, etc.) from people I actually know.

All of the new random followers on my twitter have names like Alicia1980 — there is always a four digit — year? And when I check their profiles their twitter accounts have been suspended for suspicious activity — or they are advertising sex websites.

JP — That’s a good point. I’m really annoyed with all of these sex websites! I hate having their stupid profiles plastered onto my “Followers” Page. How the heck do I get them off of there? Even if I block them, they still show up!


Ben and JP, if you block someone on Twitter, they can’t follow you. So if you unfollow them, you should be rid of them entirely! BTW, I now have a few more rules for following people on Twitter:

* The person has to be actually tweeting. I see all these accounts with hundreds of followers and zero tweets. What’s up with that?
* I read the profiles and my interests align with theirs, I follow.
* I look at the tweets. If I like what I see, even if I don’t agree with the tweets, I follow.
* If there is too much skin in the photo, I don’t follow.
* If the tweets are racy, contain profanity or express a lot of anger, I don’t follow.

Hi Joanna,
I took your suggestions into consideration and I went ahead and completely blocked everyone who was following me that I didn’t want following me anymore.

However, I guess my question is – why are they still on my list of people who follow me if they are blocked? If they are blocked and therefore banned from following me anymore, then why are they still showing up on my “Followers” list if they aren’t following me?

It’s just a little annoying because I don’t like having all of these weirdos on my Twitter page – a page that I created to communicate with family, friends, and develop new friendships, but not with people like those who are following me. I get at least 2 emails per day with a new person following me and when I follow the link in the message to check out their profile, they’re always a weirdo!

Anybody know how to completely remove them from the list altogether?

Thanks, Joanna, I know this is a weird question but it’s kind of an interesting part of Twitter!


These random people following you are actually accounts owned by twitter itself. They are trying to make people feel like their thoughts are being read in order to increase twitter traffic and make people who would have stopped using twitter continue to use it. This subsequently makes their site worth more to advertisers. It’s all a scam by twitter and its ridiculous.

Hi Ben. Thanks for flagging the problem with blocking accounts. This is a bug that Twitter has recently fixed. There are two things you can do:

1. Under account settings, click on the Protect my update box-this protects your profile and only people you approve can follow you. I don’t recommend this if you want a wide audience for your Twitter account because a protected profile is a turnoff for a lot of people.
2. If the people you have blocked have not been removed, unblock them and reblock them again. They should be removed then.

Hope this helps. It’s worked for me. And keep us posted. Thank you!

Hey Joanna! Just got your message.
You’re right! They did fix the bug. Hallelujah! Haha.

But, of course, I have yet another question/concern, however this one is much more minor. I went to my “followers” page again and blocked some new people who had began following me during the past few weeks. The number of followers on my Twitter Profile did decrease accordingly. WooHoo!
However, I am still really curious as to why Twitter is telling me that I have 27 followers, yet when I counted them all, I only had 22. I know this is kind of an anal-retentive thing — I mean it’s only a matter of 5 followers, but I just would like to know what is causing this discrepancy.

Thanks a lot, you have been a lot of help to me!

And bc, I’m not sure I bite on your idea of a Twitter conspiracy. Why would they do it to their own clientelle? If Tweeters felt that Twitter was reading their mind, why would they continue to use it? Wouldn’t that creep them out enough for them to discontinue their use?

But what if i WANT people to see my tweets, because Nobody seeing them is kindof’ a waste of time or sounds/looks pretty lonely.
but I also dont want random people following me. i mean, if its somthing like some Bible thing that I dont remember the name that followed me, i left it, because its Something you get me? but i dont want people who i dont even know who have no tweets or just 2 tweets that make no scence at all following me OR those stupid porn people -____-

i’d leave my updates unprotected but i dont wana have to block everyone. i sound so rude. i mean, ive never blocked anyone in my entire life until yesterday when i got my Twitter. Ohh. and i want people to answer me too….

Heck; why do people even follow you if they have NO clue who you are…. i mean, follow a celeb or somthing that makes sence you know?
+ I dont wana get stalked.

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