Twitter Tactics Auto DMs and Closing the Follower Gap

Twitter transcript . . . .

wiredprworks: if you’re following me and I’m not following you, please send me a message @wiredprworks-trying to close the following/followers gap

DaveTaylor: @wiredprworks but *why* are you trying to close that gap?

wiredprworks: @DaveTaylor – don’t want to miss out any great folks – speaking of great people hope to see you @blogworld

doylealbee: @wiredprworks I’ve been blogging quite a bit about Twitter following. Would like your opinion, including gap closing.


When I got to Doyle’s post about unfollowing on twitter, I realized I’d typed more of a rambling answer than a concise opinion. So, rather than be a heavy-weight commenter, I’m going full-length here.

Here’s my answer to Doyle. . .

Who I Unfollow on Twitter

I don’t unfollow – very often.


I know too many people who mean well, but don’t have a clue that they’re offending me by sending a direct message.

Yes, there are spammers. We all know who they are. We can tell by the auto-message. I do unfollow those folks.

And, I confess: I used to send an auto-direct message to every new follower that said something like:

Thanks so much for following me! If you’re new to twitter, check out or feel free to ask me. Barbara

Surprisingly, many people thanked me for the resource, which linked to a blog post guide and now goes to my twitter category. My intention was to be helpful from the very first point of contact. Call me ignorant, and you’d be right. But, I’m not alone.

I’m thinking of a highly professional and respected national speaker who didn’t know any better and was mortified to find out he was doing something wrong by sending out auto message to new followers.

The next time an auto-DM comes in, why not send a message to the person and let them know that you prefer to be greeted personally instead of unfollowing them right away?

How the Follower Following Gap Got Wider

In another life, I must have been a golden retriever. I really could greet people and be friendly all day [and maybe fetch and chase] if I had enough time and space. With three teens and clients to keep happy, I’m gently folding social media into what can be a blurry, but beautifully mushy messy life.

I find it challenging to make the time to check out every single new follower. The gap grows wider and wider between who’s following me and who I’m following.

Why? I like to know about people. So, I want to read their tweets, visit their site, find a personal connection and then welcome them. It’s not that I’m super popular and get hundreds of new followers every day, it’s just that I’d like to give every new connection more time than I have.

[I’m happy to say that I’ve met Doyle now twice in person – it is easier, for me anyway, to follow and tweet with people I know. But, not knowing someone personally doesn’t stop me from connecting with them online. And, I find it odd, yet comforting to know my teens won’t friend or follow anyone they haven’t met in real life. Sometimes they challenge me to tell them how many people I really know online.]

Instead, every so often I ask people to let me know if I’m not following them. Usually one or two people respond, I check out their profiles and then connect on a personal basis. Tonight one of those people was another professional writer I’ve known for years. She sent back a direct message thanking me for modeling how to live tweet.

Closing the Twitter Follower Following Gap

When I see people with tens of thousands of followers, I wonder how they can realistically connect with so many people. Do they set up tweet deck to manage their closer connections and then monitor replies so that can respond to everyone else? Do they have a massive amount of followers because they follow so many people?

Right now, more than twice as many people are following me than I’m following [1700 to 3800]. Every month, I meet another 40 to 200 people. Even a year ago, I would have thought it was impossible to have a network that spanned over a few thousand people.

I’m not completely sure why people follow me. I do know that when I stray away from business chat into more personal stuff, I lose followers. People seem to want @wiredprworks to be a marketing-pr-social media news update resource, not the voice of a zany mom with three wacky teens, the owner of a perpetually shedding $5438 stray cat or the wife of a guy who climbs every mountain and runs every race within a few hours’ driving distance.

While I’m not really trying to tighten the gap to within a few followers, I am trying to reach out to anyone who wants to connect with me. If you’re reading this and I’m not following you, just @wiredprworks so we can fix that.

How do you feel about balancing the number of follows with followers?

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