21 Oct 2009

What's going wrong with Twitter

Now, I like twitter, but I have noticed some underlying problems recently, mainly in people's behaviour:

Firstly, there seems to be a follower plateau. When I first joined twitter earlier this year, I would often have a snoop around people's profiles. If I liked the cut of their jib, then I would click to follow them. 9 times out of 10, they would have mutual jib admiration, and follow me back.

In the last month I have followed 50 people, and not a single one of them has followed me back.
So what has changed? I'm still posting the same irrelevant comments. Have they just now just become, err, ir-irrelevant?

No, I think that many people are on the sheer limits on how many people they can physically follow. In fact, some are maybe over their limits.

If you are a twitter user, ask yourself this question. Do you read every tweet that comes through on your feed? If you answered no, you may be over-following.

So here is my breakdown guide of the average male and female twitter user, for you to compare (comparethebadgermaker.blogspot.com) yourself to:


15% female friends
10% men with nice eyes
30% men with nice arses
10% celebrities to bitch about
15% gossip column feeds
12% diet tips
8% makeup guides

15% female friends
75% men that fancy them
10% weight loss products


10% male friends
15% women with nice faces
70% women with nice tits
5% celebrity men they aspire to be (man crush!)

10% male friends
5% women with nice faces and/or tits, who feel sorry for them
75% sex product companies
10% gambling industry

NOTE: Your own profile might not exactly be like this. There is a 2-3% margin of error.

The second problem with twitter is the number of 'bot' followers.

Now, as an academic student of artificial intelligence, I would be the last person to deny a robot a social circle. But these 'bot' are very sinister. The chances are that, once they are following you, they are analysing everything you write.

This shouldn't be a problem for most people. For instance, I only casually mention my bank account details and pin number once or twice a month. If that.

But the fact is, no-one really knows what they are using your tweets for. So the sensible thing to do is block these users, right? WRONG!

Such is the nature of human vanity and public image, that most twitter users would rather have hundreds of these phantom bots recording their every word, rather than blocking them and looking like a billy-no-mates.

Well I took the plunge and managed to remove almost 200 followers, leaving me with around 45 human beings. I also locked my timeline so they would not pick up anything I wrote, and start following me again. How do I feel? Like Billy-no-mates retarded younger brother. You know, the one with the halitosis problem.

The third and final observation is the celebrity code of conduct. This can be concisely written as a series of rules:

For ease of readership, I will call celebrities - celebs, and non celebrities - muggles.

  • A muggle must follow a celeb

  • A celeb must not follow a muggle

  • A celeb must converse with fellow celebs, in order to generate more muggle followership kudos

  • A celeb must not converse with a higher grade celeb. To them, they are a muggle
    i.e. Stephen Fry does not follow Paul Danan

  • A muggle may tweet a celeb, but must not expect a reply

  • A celeb may tweet a muggle, but must expect an influx of further conversational tweets, with requests of friendship and 'meeting up for a beer'

As long as everyone follows this guide, then celebrities will be free to self promote and indulge in instant gratification whenever they please. And in return, the average Joe on the street may get a say in what wallpaper David Mitchell chooses for his downstairs loo.

1 comment:

  1. "If you are a twitter user, ask yourself this question. Do you read every tweet that comes through on your feed? If you answered no, you may be over-following."

    To be fair, if you do read every tweet in you feed...