Wednesday, 23 June 2010

@Angpang's Twitter Follow Back Formula

Having been on Twitter for about two years now, I feel I can now unveil the... @Angpang TwitterFollowBack Formula™ ...which will reveal the new Followers you should Follow Back, and the new Followers you should ignore, with the might of science and logic on your side.

 Each new Follower starts with 50 points. If they have 50 points at the end of the process, I Follow them back. Fewer than 50 I don’t. A score of 10 or lower means they’re blocked. Below 0 and they’re being reported to @spam for the scum they are. 

So, starting with…

Your Username Yes, a username can make or break a Follow Back situation. If your username manages to be spammy and insulting - think @banishcellulite - lose 100 points.

Your Avatar Avatars of young ladies with cleavage taking up more space than their face lose 25 points immediately. If they then turn out to be bots with fatuous fake Tweets: “I'm just talking a shower… LOL, then off to the mall… OMG” ...punctuated by aggressive marketing ejaculations: “CLICK HERE TO MAKE $$$$$$$ WWW.YADAYADAYADA.COM” … lose another 100 points. Funnily enough, boobs and bots almost always go together. Feel free to mock them thus: booby bot booby bot booby bot...

Your Attractiveness Like any other human, I am attracted to attractive faces, male or female. Gain 10 points. Like most humans, I try not to be swayed by looks. Lose 10 points.

Your Follower/Follower ratio. If your Follower/Following numbers closely match, I suspect you’ve set up auto-follow account that demonstrates a cavalier attitude to this whole Twitter thing. Lose 10 points. If you are Following loads more people than are Following you, you’re a Twitter Trollop who’s putting it about a bit much. I do not feel special. Lose 30 points. As Bowie once said: Don't fake it baby, lay the real thing on me. If you have loads of Followers, but only Follow a few, I’m impressed. People don’t hang around with those that don’t Follow them back unless they’re dishing up something good. Gain 15 points. There are exceptions. Certain celebrities are as dull as dishwater yet Followed in droves. People with a gazillion Followers who only Follow ten - you look like your head is up your bottom. Lose 100 points.

My position in your Following Grid On the bottom right of your Twitter page, there’s a grid of avatars of people you are Following. This is in order, with the most recent Follows at the top. If my picture is on the first line, gain 25 points. You’ve picked me and a few others to Follow, I feel special. You gain fewer  points the further down the grid I am, as I begin to feel I'm in a herd, then a drag net. If I am not on the grid at all, lose 25 points, you click-crazed buffoon.

Your Bio No bio, lose 20 points, unless you're a Twitter Newbie, in which case I’ll assume you're about to create one. I appreciate this is a Big Moment that should not be rushed. A bio that mentions sport, lose 10 points. A bio with more than one exclamation mark, lose 5 points. Any suggestion that you can transform my life in any way, lose 55 points.

Your Tweets. How many @replies? Not a lot? Lose 10 points, you don’t seem very friendly.

Lots of RTs? Lose 10 points, you don’t seem very original.

How often are you Tweeting? Once a month? You’re taking the piss, aren’t you? Lose 20 points.

Tweeting all the time? Hello? Greedy and Needy. Lose 15 points.

Do your Tweets makey no sense? Lose 20 points.

What about your open Tweets? The ones you foist on all your Followers? Are they entertaining and / or informative? Do I want that kind of thing spewed into my stream? They are? Gain 45 points.

Is there much talk of sport or cars? Lose 23 points. Make that 33 if it's golf. It’s not that I don’t like people talking about sport, I just don’t want to listen. The only exception to this sports rule seems to be Arsenal fans, I find them very funny (you know who you are).

Do your Tweets reveal that you are kind? Gain 100 points.

Lots of @replies to celebrities? Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear. Enjoy the Twitter equivalent of a High Five Fail do you? Actually, I do have sympathy. You see a Tweet go bobbing down your stream from a celebrity you admire and/or fancy. A reply that's relevant and entertaining pops into your head and in no time it's floating back to their @name, your heart in tow. You wait, and wait, and wait. You make a cup of tea. Still no reply. But that doesn't stop you trying again. And again. Then one day, many weeks later, the magic happens, they send you a smiley face. Stardust has fallen upon you. You immediately Favourite the reply and shoot back 10 more Tweets to the celeb. :) :) :). A year later you've enough celebrity LOLs and ROFLs to print off on a sheet of A4. Photo quality. Then you pop to W H Smiths for a stamp album... ...or perhaps that's just me. Anyway, back to the formula: too much sleb bothering, lose 35 points.

 Protected Tweets I don’t like the ‘I can see you but you can’t see me’ stance of the protected account. It makes me want to block, to even things up a bit. Lose 10 points. Having said that, several of the best Twitterati I follow are protected, for good reasons, so if the bits I can see impress me, gain 10 points; you're still in the game. Lists Lists are a lot more indicative of twinkly Twitter gold than the number of Followers. Auto Follow back and you’ll soon have loads of Followers, 95% of them bots and peddlers of the curse of modern life: shit you don’t need. A listing shows that a human has taken time to add you, this is much harder to manipulate than Follow counts. A highly listed account gains 30 points.

Introduce Yourself Have you spoken to me? I do really like people who Follow and then talk, to say hello, say why they've Followed. It proves you’re a real person, and that you’ve Followed for a reason. Follow and @reply me? Gain 50 points.

Spam We’re all on Twitter to sell something, even if we are only selling our personality in return for company, so I am not too sniffy about a bit of puff in my Twitter stream, providing it’s done in an entertaining way. If I want cold, hard sales talk I’ll walk into a double glazing sales room, try to throw that at me on Twitter and I’ll laugh with disdain and block you. Companies that Tweet with personality, offer interesting content and cool links gain 15 points. Unless they manufacture cars.

So that's the formula so far. Of course it needs a little tweaks, but it gives a 95% accurate result, or your money back. So how did you score? If you're feeling brave, Follow me now, I'm @angpang. And what’s your Follow Back Formula? Please comment, let me know…


  1. Fun, entertaining and interesting - thanks for writing this up. Now if we could only figure out a more efficient method for reviewing profiles and processing new followers. It's become a task I dread, in part because it offers relatively little return for lots of effort, in part because Twitter too often experiences technical issues that make it agonizingly slow whenever I decide to tackle the backlog.

    Oh, and here are my Twitter bylaws:

  2. Very funny and quite fair I feel. Glad you have great taste in footy teams, not sure of my score though as I had far too much tequila last night to add up properly. Love seeing high five fails in my stream, I know I shouldn't mock the afflicted but its fun. I shall start using this formula as soon as I grow some more fingers and toes to help me.

  3. Absolutely delightful. I don't give following this much thought any longer because it's easy to see who is a real tweet and who is not, but for anybody new to Twitter this is a very useful plan and even more important, it's funny.

  4. @chickenprincess24 June 2010 at 11:30

    Oh *perfect* - jolly well said. I shall RT this link immediately :o)

  5. Excellent system, although I was getting seriously worried about an impending block! In the end I think I've scraped in with 55.

  6. I got a score of 160, but that's assuming you find my Tweets as interesting/informative as I do *laughs loudly at own joke as tumbleweed rolls past*
    Did I mention I can ENLARGE your BREASTS and introduce you to HIGH NET WORTH individuals?
    Although I would be lying if I said either was in any way likely...

  7. Thanks so much for the comments, how kind of you all to take time to 'high five' me here.

    Pleased everyone gets the humour and I've managed to be more 'funny' than 'cocky', it's a fine line.

  8. What a wonderful, hilarious post! I'm wondering how you might score those that give a snarky location?

  9. *Very* funny? Well there's a first time for everything, I suppose...

    Interesting post though - I like the blog's new look, too. (It is new, isn't it?)

  10. This is epic, I love it.

  11. Great post - and as I clicked through because you'd followed me on Twitter and to find out a bit more about you, I'm doubly impressed now I've read this. Back off to Twitter to follow you back - my rule is that if you can make me smile this early in the morning, you deserve to be followed!

  12. is there significance in the fact that i don't even know how to auto follow people on twitter?

    people whose entire twitter feed is riddled with RT after RT are a giant snore.

    what are your thoughts on the criterion for clicking 'unfollow'? i dislike doing so but sometimes there is no alternative.

  13. Thanks for the comment Denice! Glad you don't know about autofollow, bet you don't know about auto DM too, bless you for keeping it real...

    I do click 'unfollow' if someone posts spam tweets too often, tweets hatred, or makes a sick joke that makes me shudder instead of laugh.

    Twitter is a kind of telepathy, you don't want any old guff in your mind, do you?

  14. i've never even heard of auto DM. i'm either totally out of the loop or i'm just a really awesome genuine person. i expect it's both.

    does saying i am awesome and genuine negate the likelihood that i could be awesome and genuine?

  15. I love all the factors that go into your Follow Back thinking. I wonder how many points I ended up with. :) My Follow Back formula: I admire people who use a full name (which I assume is a real name). Folks can say a lot of pithy and clever stuff while wearing a mask. Also, I tend to follow back people who are just getting started. I remember only having 9 followers and getting dissed by a lot of folks. (Heck, I'm still just getting started.) And I look for people who seem interested in Community, not Celebrity. That's kind of my mantra (Community not Celebrity).

    Glad to get to know you. Much to check out here.

    ~Roma (aka ybonesy)

  16. I like this post and will be retweeting it every now and again as it provides some very useful pointers. I can also identify with just about everything you say. A few months ago I set up a "How I use Twitter" page on my blog that sets out who and how I follow. The website link on my Twitter bio links to it. Check it out here if you're interested:


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